Thursday 29 July 2010

Wildflower or weed?

I grow many wildflowers in the garden. Fleabane is one of my favourites. During this long dry spell, indeed the longest I have known, my wildflowers are still in full bloom. I have given them no attention, and they have not been watered. Let me show you just a few of the beauties I grow here.
Bistort, snakeweed.

Ribbed melilot.
Marsh mallow.

Meadow cranesbill.
Purple loosestrife.
Ragwort.......not for those that keep horses or cattle.
Corn marigold.
Yellow absolute favourite.
Ragged robin.........another favourite.
Nettle-leaved bellflower.
Next spring I shall remove perennials that have struggled during this continuous dry spell. I will be planting more native wildflowers. My aim, long term, is to have a wild flower garden. I have given it much thought. Wildflowers are the essence of the natural world. They are brilliantly equipped to survive the most hostile conditions. Sadly, at this time, these precious plants are facing their greatest challenge: to survive the loss of their natural habitats through intensive farming methods, and to compete against invasive foreign plant introductions. I intend to give them a chance here...........
Let me leave you with the introduction from 'Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland' by Rae Spencer-Jones and Sarah Cuttle......
For those of us fortunate enough to have grown up in the countryside or with a garden, wild flowers are inevitably woven into the fabric of our childhood. How many of us have memories of painstakingly constructing a daisy chain, holding a buttercup in hot sweaty hands beneath our chin to prove beyond doubt that we adore butter, or vigorously sucking on the flowers of a deadnettle to squeeze out the faintest trace of sweet nectar..........
Sweet memories.....I have done all about you??

Monday 26 July 2010

Butterflies, fairies, and warm summer days.

Butterflies are in decline in the UK. Can you imagine a garden without butterflies?
I have a butterfly garden.......I am going to do more to help these vulnerable creatures. I have plans for the autumn.

Bee numbers rise each year. I keep a record.
Poppi is learning how to take care of insects. She loves to work with them.
We planted butterfly weed today. The flowers are pretty.
My dreams are held in my grand-daughters hands. She is the future.
Poppi teaches me carefree planting. She is a free spirit.....I am learning her ways. We have something to offer each other.
I like the mixed plantings the borders carry........
I received this lovely watercolour from Lisa. A hand painted card arrived in the post. Such a pretty painting of one of my photographs. I have framed it and it now sits on the old chest in the sitting room. Tku Lisa, everytime I look at it, I will think of you.......

Saturday 24 July 2010

Silence is golden.......

The parents and ma in law came to supper last night. Mother is still unable to eat much and gets by with less than childlike portions.
The upper GI endoscopy has revealed that the lining of her stomach is ulcerated, and there are patches of inflammation between the oesophagus and stomach.

In six weeks she will have a scan and another endoscopy.
Each week she becomes more frail.......and clothes that fitted, now hang on her tiny frame. Her face is etched with lines, each one speaks of anxiety. My mother has never been able to cope with life.....I have always found this sad, as I truly believe, she has never found true contentment.
I know that when she is with me, she finds peace in silence. We do not speak much, there is an understanding that goes beyond words.
The garden continues to give me much pleasure. Despite the dry conditions, I work each day amongst the flowers.......
I find much happiness down on my knees, weeding the beds, with butterflies and bees dancing above my head, enjoying the fruits of my labour.
I wish my mother had enjoyed gardening....sadly she always felt it was a chore and never truly connected with the space outside her own back door.
I personally believe, a garden can be can take you away from the burdens that life can bring.
For a brief moment in time, we are at one with the creatures that live alongside us.
I wish I was Nella, sitting on a bed of flowers.......

or even better sleeping amongst them...........

I leave you with the words of Henry Frederic Amiel:

To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.......

Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday 20 July 2010


Marnie at Lilacs and Roses did a beautiful post recently on the phlox she grows in her lovely garden. I thought I could resist temptation but today whilst at the nursery (buying bird food), I spied Phlox Grenadine Dream and I was hooked.
I don't know how the three plants ended up in my trolley, truly I don't (I'm fibbing). I am hoping they will be happy here..........within ten minutes butterflies were visiting the new additions. The prettiest image is the little meadow brown. Phlox and butterflies, I'm happy.....tku Marnie.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Memories are made of this........

The grand-children stayed for the weekend. We had fun, lots of playing, lots of treats.......and staying up late.
The sweetest thing was seeing them both on the landing, looking out at the moon. Two little figures, in the shadows, with a look of wonder on their face.
After Mummy took them home, I decided to walk the garden. Lillies have done well this year, but just as I feared the lily beetle has arrived. I knew it would, it always does.
As I walked I noticed a small butterfly in the grass. I believe this is the purple hairstreak. I have the right environment for it. Large oaks surround the garden, and betula is one of it's larval foodplants. It spends most of it's time high among the treetops but occasionally it descends to ground level.
Everytime I see this little bird, I feel so very sorry for it. It has been around for about three months now and the other birds are continually attacking it. I have placed food in a quiet corner of the garden......which he visits regularly. Has anyone any idea as to what is wrong with it??
Dill is attracting many soldier beetles. I will grow this herb again, it is just so pretty and great for use in the kitchen. I shall plant it with red flowers next year.....
I bought one Echinops three year ago. They are now dotted around the garden. The insects love them, and I really like their simplicity. They are here to stay.
and finally, little Poppi grew the sunflower. She is so proud of this plant and waters it everytime she visits. It reminds me of her, bright, sunny and colourful.......

I hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.....temperatures are rising again in the South East.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Treasures of a secret garden......

Each garden has a secret life of its own.
Heartbeats and wing beats.

Creatures that crawl, scurry and creep.
Creatures that fly and burrow. We only see a tiny part of what goes on and, if we are able to act the part of the silent watchers........
we will find our own lives enriched by the daily drama of other creatures.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Even the frogs are smiling.....

In SE UK, it has been the driest six months since 1929. Sunday night it started to rain....pitter patter, pitter is still raining, soft summer rain.
I walk the gardens in my 'jim jams'. I am sure I hear the trees sigh........

The plants are upright, and refreshed, and looking so very pretty.

Water is precious......I think we all, perhaps, take it for granted.
Dogwoods are covered in berries......
and hips are swollen.....there is plenty for the wildlife to feast on during the coming months.
As I pass the pond, a frog smiles..........he makes me smile.
I chat to the duck that seems to think this is his home. He has been here for several days. I speak of terriers, and lunch menus and tell him perhaps he should go to the natural pond next door.
He left soon after our conversation, do you think he understood?
I look over the fence at my neighbours pond, and much to my surprise, I see a female mandarin duck (at least I think that's what it is). I wonder where it came from. I shall make a few calls, to see if I can find the owners.........
I suddenly realise that I am soaked through.....but I feel refreshed, renewed. It is not cold..... it's warm, damp and comforting. Time to go in and take a shower..........