Saturday, 28 August 2010

Little treasures

Whilst digging in the garden last week I found appears to be some sort of buckle. I am keeping it to show the historian when he next visits.
Another find is this ornate bowl from a ladies antique clay smoking pipe. I believe it to be dated somewhere between 1790 - 1820. I do not think it would have belonged to a peasant because it is far too pretty........

I do love these interesting.
Tiny blooms in the lawn make me smile. No bees today, their numbers are slowly decreasing.......the weather is cold and damp.

Butterflies are hiding. Swallows are gathering over my garden. They are growing in numbers. It seems too early for them to leave..........
I can smell autumn. I can see the light changing. Plums are ripe......the starlings, wasps and I are sharing. There was a very slight frost this morning......only slight but it was there. Has autumn come early I wonder.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Being at one with nature.

Fifteen minutes from my home is one of Poppi's and Riley's favourite places.
We visit regularly.....and have done so since they were tiny babies.
Poppi is always willing to hug a tree, this is one of her favourites.
If you ask a tree nicely it may just let you climb upon it.
Willow arches are always inviting, espcially when you are four.
We remember when the Gunnera were planted........Poppi cannot believe how big they are. The leaves make perfect umbrellas.
Even little girls need quiet times.......time to think about school days. Poppi starts in September, she is not an indoor girl.
This was a special day.....a day to be outside, together, sharing magic moments.
Another favourite can climb through the gap, if you are small enough. Poppi got stuck today, it took a while to get her foot out. Fortunately she found it amusing, so did I......
She looks so tiny.........
We sit and eat our sandwiches watching the birds. A mute swan decided it liked my roll, walked straight over and took half. Poppi found it hilarious, so did most of the tourists passing by.
Not far from our destination now.......beautiful old walls en route. I love old walls...
I love willows and water.
And here we are. Leeds castle was built in 1119 and sits in 500 acres. She is said to be one of the lovliest castles in the world. I personally believe this to be true.
We walk on and eventually find the maze. We get lost, along with many other people. We are trying to find the grotto.
After twenty minutes and Poppi believing she would never get to the grotto, we did actually arrive.
This is the entrance. It takes you down to a cave......and a waterfall. The walls are decorated with shells. There is little light, and sadly I could not get any decent photographs. This is Poppi's favourite place, for this is where you find the Green man.............
As we left the Grotto it started to rain. Camera away, and we both ran to catch the little train back to the car park. We had a lovely day.....I do so hope you enjoyed the time spent with us.

Friday, 20 August 2010

A small boy, the Ent and a garden.........

Riley is a gifted child.......he is way ahead of his years. I rarely post images of him, he is sensitive and shy. Today he studied the ancient apple tree.
He was amazed to see that the trunk is completely hollow.

The old blenheim orange is the most loved and respected tree in the garden.
She is being eaten from the inside out, giving life to others, and shelter to birds and bats. I often sit beneath her boughs and reflect.........

Autumn is a wonderful season, especially for the those who garden for wildlife.
I cut the plants back in early spring, so this is the time for me to enjoy the garden.
As the season progresses I will clear the leaves from the lawn. I never clear them from the borders, it gives insects somewhere to hide during the cold winter months.

Soon the grasses will appear, and give the garden a whole new look.

I am always excited by the change of season.....

I love the anticipation of what is to come.

In my mind I can see the lovely autumnal colours that will grace the garden.

Have a peaceful and happy weekend.........and enjoy your garden.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dreams do come true.....

I always hoped that one day I would have a large garden. A space I could give back to wildlife. It was a dream I had held in my heart for what seemed like a lifetime. The first day here, I felt a sense of panic. What had I done? How on earth will I have the time and stamina to complete the task. I was overwhelmed by the thought of it.
But it is amazing at what we can achieve when we have a dream. Each day when I walk this space, I see little things that still thrill me. I can truly say nature never ever bores me.

Even Sidney squirrel has a certain charm.......we won't mention that he has almost brought our native red squirrel to the brink of extinction.
Butteflies are in decline they say......I have seen the changes here. I have a garden full of is amazing what one person can do when they have a dream.
The garden is now full of bird song......and on occasions I am lucky enough to capture an image of the shy visitors. The juvenile mistle thrush has come to feast on Laurel berries. I get many interesting birds here but rarely am I able to capture them with my camera.
This sweet and very beautiful juvenile treecreeper was searching the old hawthorn for insects. His/her flight was uncertain and I could see the fear in the small birds eyes. One photograph and I left it to feed peacefully. I walked away with a smile........a feeling of complete joy. You cannot buy these moments.........

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

'Hot lips' and the bee.......

I am really taken with Salvia 'hot lips'. I love her dainty habit and the way she dances in the breeze.
Her flowers are not consistent. Some are red, some are white, and some are pure 'hot lips' She is drought tolerant, and blooms all through summer and autumn, until the first frost.

The carder bees are smitten with 'hot lips'.............
She may just survive the winter, provided it is not as harsh as last year. I do hope so, I bought another two today........naughty girl!!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Wildlife habitats and wildflowers.....

We have a very large gravel drive. I spend (what seems like a life time) down on my hands and knees removing weeds. Last year, I decided to use it, as a host for plants that would never survive in my heavy clay soil.
I have always wanted to have this native miniature thistle in my garden. The gravel is a perfect situation for her. A few seeds scattered in spring has produced several plants and they are now in bloom.

Carlina vulgaris......... the Carline thistle. Each head is like a miniature sunburst.

They open in dry weather and close when it is damp, acting like flora barometers.
I am sure she will drop her seeds on the gravel and bring charm to the drive.
Today has been cloudy and cool, so I decided to tidy up the beetle mound.
When creating some new borders a couple of years ago I did not know what to do with the turf I had removed. I stacked it grass to grass, soil to soil, and it has now turned into loam, apart from the top layer. It is planted with ferns, hosta, and solomons seal.
I decided to extend the bed in front of the mound to make it look more finished but still be beneficial to the creatures that are now living in it. Bumble bees have a nest in the mound. They live in a hollow of one of the large logs....beautiful, don't you think?
Anyway, after a couple of hours this is the result. I still have a little more work to do but all in all I am pleased with it.

Have a peaceful and happy week.....

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Lie of the land......

Our home is situated near the floodplains of the River Beult. It is one of the few clay rivers in England to retain much of its chartacteristic fauna. The river is designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest.
Our previous home was situated on a hill. To move to a low lying area, has been a huge learning curve.

Ditches take the excess water away from the garden........and out to the river Beult. Mr P and I check the ditches regularly to make sure there are no blockages.
With a high water table for most of the year (excluding this one) the garden is perfect for ferns.
I added plenty of horse manure to the beds before I planted. I have only watered the ferns a couple of times during this very dry spell........all are doing well.
I always put a log or two near the plants.....for me, that is just the way it should be.
All ferns are planted in shade or semi-shade......
My hosta's are still leaf perfect, thanks to the resident song thrush.
I have found many empty snail shells around the garden. I do not use any pest controls here. In my humble opinion, they are not good for the garden, or for me. I don't do stamping either.........I am a sensitive soul, and actually quite proud of it.
Pulmonaria had begun to look rather sad, but the torrential rain that came yesterday has livened them up.

Even Arum italicum has produced beautiful berries...........lovely to see dotted amongst the planting.

Heavy rain is forecast for the next few days......I feel relieved. I love this area for all that it is. I may sometimes curse when the roads are flooded........or the ditches overflow and need unblocking but all in all, I love to live in this damp and interesting area.

Hope you are having a peaceful and happy weekend.......