Saturday 31 December 2011

A positive start to the New Year.

 As most of you will know the Woodland Walk is one of my favourite areas in the garden.   I shall be working in this area today.   The pretty Cyclamen Coum that you see above is in bloom.    Planted under the apple tree, they are a welcome addition to this garden and are thriving.
Whilst in the village one day, I visited the little nursery that lives amongst the shops.   I noticed a tray of rather unloved Cyclamen.   I asked the owner if they were for sale.    She said not really because they had been neglected and she did not know if they would do well.    I offered to take them  for a small sum (£5.00).     She gladly accepted.   I planted them under the Apple tree, added some smashed egg shells (which they love), watered them well and let them be.    They have grown into the most beautiful plants and I love them for the sweet scent and dainty little flowers.
Our native hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), commonly known as the stinking hellebore.    The nose wrinkling smell of the flowers attracts early pollinating bees, so is absolutely essential in this bee lovers garden.   I must say I find it strangely attractive and now have a small colony of these unusual plants.    Interesting fact :     The plant has evolved an unusual way of dispersing its seeds.   They exude an oil that attracts snails, once a snail has consumed the oil, the seed sticks to the slime and is carried away to a new site.    I find many babies in my garden.....long live the snail :)
I decided a few days ago to add more trees to the garden.     I wanted to plant in numbers, not just the odd tree here and there.    I visited the local garden centre yesterday to browse, and came back with a huge smile on my face.   Ten bare root Hazel.    A native, and a lover of damp soil.   It can be planted in sun or shade, and that suits me well.  

I would like to leave you with a passage from A Tree in my Pocket by Jacqueline Memory Paterson.

The Hazel Tree.......Magic and Inspiration.

Hazel has always been regarded as magical for its presence inspires our intuitional senses.   It is called the poets tree, for in the mind of the ancients it had great associations with faerie lore and supposedly allowed entrance into such realms.

Druids carried rods made from hazel to gain poetic and magical inspiration.

The Hazel is powerful in early spring when its energy and sap are surging outward and in autumn, when its energy is contained within its harvest of magical nuts.     

Hazel can be used for protection.  Its ruling planets, the Sun and Mercury, make it a brilliant healing plant.

Happy New Year to each and every one of you.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

A garden never stands still.......

 Our climate is changing.     2011 has been a difficult year in the garden.    I have learnt a great deal, mainly through experience.    For the last few weeks I have been reading about climate change and how to garden with extreme weather conditions.   Changing my planting scheme is high on my agenda, and the mild winter is allowing me to make an early start.
Many old friends are going to good homes, others will meet their demise in the composters. 
If all goes according to plan the garden will be easier to manage.........yet full of flowers, native flowers.
I am looking ahead.........I am excited.....I needed to change things.

Friday 18 November 2011

'Me' time

Only in calm waters can you see your reflection, not in running waters.    Only in tranquility can you find that resting place which stillness seeks.


Tuesday 1 November 2011

One thing you may not know about me......

I rarely read novels.    I find my attention span is low and I lose interest very quickly.     One thing that has always fascinated me,  is writings on the English countryside.     The myths, legends and old country beliefs that link the fabric of the landscape.
Tales of witches abound, linked with such creatures as hares, bats and toads.    
Springs and wells were once the objects of pagan worship.....we have an old well in our garden.
I remember the day we discovered it.    My husband and I lowered a bucket into its depths.
Should we drink.   I decided I would.   I can remember Mr P's face and his words.   "Well if you are going to drink it, then so will I.  That way we will die together."    We live to tell the tale....the water is wonderful   :)
One of my great joys is walking the English countryside with Nella each day.     I like to sharpen my senses to observe and appreciate more closely the ways of the natural world.     I collect feathers, bones and many other objects en route.    Poppi and Riley love to look at them on a cold winters evening when they sleep over.      I teach them, the little that I know, and find it a joy that they are fascinated by my stories.
 Let me leave you with an extract from one of my books.....Amazing and Extraordinary facts on The English Countryside by Ruth Binney.
 The Sacred Tree

It was beneath the oak's spreading branches that the wizard Merlin is believed to have worked his enchantments and because of its associations with the gods is said to be the first to be struck by lightning in a thunderstorm - farmers will plant oaks near buildings to act as lightning conductors.   At Yule, the ancient ritual from which many of our Christmas customs derive, an oak log was always chosen as being the most likely to draw the sun back to the earth.   To the Druids, whose name means 'oak men' the tree was - and still is - sacred, and thought to embody the spirit of their god Esus.
The mistletoe, which occasionally grows on it as a semi-parasite, was believed to guard the tree from evil.    Cutting it with a golden sickle, on the sixth night of the moon will, they believe, preserve its magic.

Many many months ago a fellow blogger asked if I would do a post on 'Ten things you may not know about me'  To be truthful I have forgotten who asked but I did say to her at some point I would join in.   I forgot :)     So todays post is the first......I thought I would write something every now and again through the winter.....until I have completed my task.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Golden days

Nella watches her.......I watch them both.
Poppi loves to help tidy the garden.
 I could listen to her stories from morning till night and never get bored.    Her world is full of mystery.......
We put mulch beneath the trees.
I cannot believe we are still picking blackberries.     
 These days are golden days.    The sort of days, that leave you with a lovely warm glow.   Days that make you feel as though everything is right with the world.
They leave you pretty exhausted too :0)

Sunday 9 October 2011

My mothers words..........

 The leaves are dropping.    Autumn is in full swing.    My parents love to walk the garden and see the changes.    For the first time ever my mother failed to do so.    She is very frail now.
Her weight loss, lack of appetite and other medical problems have left her weak.    We have many hospital visits ahead.    My mother is very stoic, she never gives up, but I have seen changes recently.    She has lost her sparkle......that little twinkle in her eye, that tells me all is well.
We have had many moments where I have had to swallow hard and keep my emotions well hidden.
When I left her on Friday she called me back.    Her words were unexpected.
"I have made many mistakes in my life Cheryl.   You were not one of them.    You have always been my sunshine."    I hugged her gently, kissed her on the cheek and left.    I pulled up along the lane, and found I was crying.   
Yesterday I took Nella to the woods.    I took my lunch with me and sat amongst the ancients.
I find nature helps me to heal and shows me the way.     I needed this time alone.....apart from my little dog.     I spent two hours wandering the forest........coming to terms with what might lay ahead.
I am following an unknown path....nothing is clear at this time.    All I know is my parents have always been there for me.   In my darkest moments and in my moments of joy.     
My father has his own health issues and is finding it hard to cope with mother.
I can see and feel his sorrow........

I leave the forest little dog sitting on the seat next to me.    I feel refreshed, ready to start another week.      I give thanks to Mother Earth..........

Monday 3 October 2011

My dirty little secret :)

 I tend to post the pretty side of my garden, I hope it reflects my romantic nature......but there is another side to this woman.
 I am sure you are all familiar with the entrance to the copse but have you ever wondered if it hides a secret.    Actually the left hand side does.....come with me and I will show you.
This is where I keep my compost bins, six in total.   I have another three behind the garage.    I am without doubt, a compost kind of girl.    
Just look at that, isn't it lovely.    Breathe deeply, can you smell woodland.    If my compost does not smell sweet, it goes back into the composter and I leave it until Spring.
Today three bins were ready.   Lovely black gold.   It always amazes me that kitchen waste, shredded twigs and small branches, paper and cardboard turns into this lovely rich soil.
I spent the afternoon mulching the borders, I shall finish the job tomorrow.......

Are you a compost sort of girl??

Thursday 29 September 2011

Candy floss blooms..........

 My mother never dressed me in pink, she always chose lilacs, greens and white.
 Our parents, can without doubt, influence our choices.     I am not really a 'pink' sort of girl.
 And yet, Filipendula Rubra 'Queen of the Prairie' stops me in my tracks everytime I walk past her.    She is too pretty for words.    Native Meadowsweet grows in abundance in this area.   I have always loved it's pretty frothy white blooms.    I would like to see her growing alongside 'Rubra'
Do you like pink in the garden?    If so, which is your favourite plant?

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Indian summer and natures artwork.

Robin's pincushion,  also known as the rose bedeguar gall,  is common all over Britain on the wild or dog rose.    There may be up to sixty chambers inside the brightly coloured gall, each containing the larva of the small gall wasp Diplolepis rosae.   
Nigella has released her seeds.   Wonderful artwork, don't you think??
 Fox and cubs, one of my favourite new macro lens allows me to see more detail.    
 I loved art at in older age, I can use my camera to show you how I view the outside world........I see beauty in every stage of a plants life.
I must have brought the weather back from Spain :)    Temperatures are way above average for this time of year (27C    84F).     It seems the seasons are in such a 'jumble'........

Hope you are all well and enjoying your garden.

Monday 12 September 2011

Plant combinations.......

 Another birthday, another year passes, how she grows.  
 And indeed, the garden grows.    I love this......dwarf pampas grass and Persicaria amp. 'firetail'.       Below are some more combinations that I really like.
 Eupatorium fortunei 'pink elegance'  and asters.
 Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' and aster.
 Susan's and ribbon grass.
 Arum italicum and ferns.
Green can be very beautiful............

Thursday 8 September 2011

Just think about it for a moment......

Can you imagine a world without trees, I can't.     Last year Dan sent me 'A Tree in Your Pocket' by Jacqueline Memory Patterson.   It has travelled in my pocket on many occassions.
I would like to share with you the 'conclusion' ..................
In ancient times Britain was known as a place of initiation and learning, where the qualities of the natural world not only sustained the people, but gave them a foundation upon which the structure of daily life was formed according to the season.   By acknowledging themselves as part of Nature they found inspiration, fulfilment and a sense of security, for they were attuned  to the earth and its rhythms.
Today such a relationship is almost forgotten, for communication between people seems hard enough, let alone communing with Nature.   We are all too busy in a world which has substituted
roads for woodland and supermarkets for gardens.

The memories of trees are ancient.    They show what was and what can be, giving us ecologically sound advice.  The wild places where they grow and prosper, however, are now severely at risk, open to desecration in the so-called name of progress, their unique properties ignored as man and machine determine to control and alter the precious balance of the land.
 Yet we need trees to survive, for by holding the memories of what we were and the seed of what we will be, they form our identity as individuals and a race.   Hence the conclusion to this book is dedicated to saving what remains of our trees and countryside , for as the land is covered in tarmac and concrete its essence dies, and so, little by little, do we.
As Wally Hope, the Stonehenge visionary says 'The greatest evolution is by example.'    It is by our waking up to understand that the earth comes first, for it is our home and provider of life.    It is by accepting that we are but one species of a vast array of life-forms and that we do not rule.   It is by acknowleding that we are utterly dependent upon the other forms that dwell beside us and the communication that we open up with them.    Closest to us are the animals, then come the trees.   They await communication and are willing to share their magic, for it is the key to our identity and the future of the earth.

I would love to hear your opinion ............can we strike a balance between man and nature??
Must progress always come first??    Are you connected to the outside world and do you fully appreciate what it has to offer??

Monday 5 September 2011

Medlars.....the copse.....and seeds.

 Each morning, as soon as I rise, I walk the garden.   I have done so for the last nine years.
It gives me time to think about the day ahead.   To see and absorb all that is around me.
 The copse is the most magical place in this garden, and is almost, almost, like a secret garden.
 It improves each year.......and still has secrets, some I will never know.

 I love the fact that it is natural.   It has been left to tell it's own story.     I love to sit amongst the trees and listen.
 Today I was in for a surprise.   The medlar tree left a message.   
As I climbed the stairs to the tree house I notice Medlars on the deck.
Ripe Medlars that the wind had brought down.   It looks as though the birds have been enjoying them.
Walking back into the copse I did find one, just one, on the woodland floor.    I would not say it is the most appealing fruit in the world but I was certainly going to try it.   On my travels I have eaten worse :)
I opened the fruit and scooped out the bletted flesh  with a small spoon.   I smelt it....smelt quite nice.
The fruit is slightly gritty, only slightly.     It tastes of stewed apples, a dash of spice, and has a lovely zing to it.    I like it, I like it a lot.
I managed to salvage four seeds from this fruit and shall try growing a Medlar.
If anyone would like a seed let me know.   Cannot promise you will get one, as the Medlars on the deck were minus seeds, so something is obviously eating them.

There is a strong gusty wind today.......torrential rain is expected.   I think it might rain Medlars tonight :)