Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A very special garden

We went to a very special garden yesterday. The purpose of our visit was to see the tree that had been planted in memory of our friend, the children's author Dick King-Smith.

The garden is special because it was created to be enjoyed by children who are terminally ill. They come, with their families, to Charlton Farm, the Children's Hospice South West, which describes itself as a 'special home-from-home for life-limited children.'
It is the most beautiful and impressive place, funded almost entirely by volunteer action.

See their website www.chsw.org.uk to find out about their community fundraising. Just by sending them used postage stamps, old printer cartridges, mobile phones or unwanted costume jewellery they can raise thousands of pounds.
I am putting photographs and details of the Charlton Farm buildings and Dick's connection with it on Miss Cellany.
Do take a look.

A small hide-away arbour has been created of living willow.

Beyond a willow tunnel can be glimpsed a dry stream bed that weaves through the garden under several bridges.

Perfumed roses and lavender greet visitors in the courtyard entrance at Charlton Farm.

In my own garden we are having such uncertain weather that sometimes the only connection with it is through the kitchen window, rather frustrating when there is so much outside that I would like to be doing. Warm temperatures and rainfall are combining to grow plants and weeds alike at a great pace.

These garden peas are producing lovely blooms, pretty enough to pick. They are the 'Blauwschokker' variety that I got at the seed swap event earlier in the year. I hope the peas will taste as good as their flowers look!

At a rare plant sale a few years ago I bought this very pretty sanguisorba. It has an attractive, delicate leaf and I think that in the autumn I shall attempt to split it and place the division somewhere where the plant can display itself more comfortably. I keep having to stake it in its present position, to the detriment of the plant.

Favourites are flowering now, lavender and thyme, I just need some reliable sunshine so that I can be outside enjoying their perfume. 

Monday, 27 June 2011

Flowers in the house

Here are my flowers in the house for Jane at  SmallButCharming

'Blue Moon' rose

with 'Elizabeth Taylor' sweet peas, and apricots.

The last few blooms from my hedge of  'Paul's Himalayan Musk'

And in the garden a clematis climbs an old apple tree.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Would you believe it!

It's the red berry season and this year there is a particularly good crop, weighting down the branches almost to breaking point. Living beside woodland I have learnt the value of using netting. Before I did so pigeons attacked the brassica, blackbirds devoured or pecked and destroyed the strawberries and birds of all sizes stripped the currant bushes. A few winters ago I neglected to take the top net off the fruit cage and heavy snowfalls caused the structure to buckle and break. I paid a substantial sum for the replacement cage which we erected last year. All the fruit bushes and raspberries now grow in its confines without fear of beaks or talons.

But wait a minute, who has been stripping the ripe redcurrants from the top of every truss?
Maisie gave the alarm with her, 'let me get at you' barking. When I went to see what all the noise was about I saw a small wren inside the cage. Where did it gain entry? I stepped inside to show it the door but before I could do so the wren squeezed itself through one of the tiny squares of my netting and flew away. Would you believe it? I'm contemplating a note to the supplier!

I've made Linzer torte with some of the redcurrants that the wren has graciously left for me.
I've posted the recipe on Miss Cellany .

Small wild strawberries grow freely all about the garden but the birds don't seem remotely interested in them.

We've been having some fierce winds just lately. They have snapped flower heads from stems, knocked young apples from the trees and threatened the staking of my peas. But these giant scabious behave beautifully, bending gracefully to the strongest gusts without suffering any damage.

The pond is looking very murky and producing lots of blanket weed. I keep scooping the stuff out and the newts seem unaffected, but, for the moment at least, the weed seems to be winning.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Watch out!

Watch out! Share my garden has been taken over by Miss Cellany, and she is likely to photograph and write about anything.
Click on her name to link.

I know that I've closed the garden gate but when I opened the kitchen door this morning some iris were flowering in the pond and in my old tin bucket so I had to get my camera out.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Closing the gate

I've been sharing my garden now for a full year and the same plants are flowering, the same bugs threatening. If you've been following for a while you might well ask, "where are the photos of the tulips that you planted last autumn?" My answer is, "ask the mice or squirrels," whoever it was, they ate the lot!

Last May I had no idea what a blog was, but a friend suggested that it was an easy means of recording my garden in both words and pictures, something that I wanted to do before my ability to work in the garden diminished. The following month I started blogging. At first I had no concept of followers, and then no knowledge of how you would find me and what fun you would be once you had.

My garden teeters on the edge of chaos, which is how I like it, full of what someone has described as, 'the awful abundance of nature!' But my back need only deteriorate a little more and my hands and knees become less able and everything will riot out of my control.
It is an old, established garden, and apart from minor details it remains the same year after year. To continue to share it with you would become tediously repetitive, so I am closing the gate. But I am loathe to leave the blogging friends that I've made so I am planning a new title where I can rabbit on about anything, although if an interesting plant appears in the garden then I shall, of course, open the gate and invite you back in.

I hope that you will follow Miss Cellany, a title that allows me to talk about any and everything!

Dictionary definition of miscellany - medley, miscellaneous writings etc. collected together.

What a palaver!

We've had quite a hectic time this last week delivering artwork and attending private views. Himself took 26 paintings to the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol in preparation for an exhibition with Neil, a former colleague. They taught at the art school, which is now called the University of the West of England. (The initials spell 'woe!')

There was no chance to park on the forecourt because the Academy was in the process of receiving a Damien Hirst sculpture. And what a palaver it was! Two cranes and a lot of kafuffle to lift 'Charity', a 22ft high painted bronze version of a Spastics Society collection box.

To quote from the information pamphlet, "Hirst has remade the splinted girl, scruffed her appearance and burgled her charity box to highlight the erosion of society's values and put the issues on a pedestal."
The balcony of the Academy has had to be reinforced to support the weight of the sculpture.
What do I think of it?
Erosion of society's values?

A large crowbar for prizing open
the charity box leans beside the
front door and coins from the 
charity box have been set onto the pavement.

Himself set his paintings out along the walls in the order already decided on in our garage. 

Remember our garage? The rebuild of last autumn? The place where we were going to put our cars? When I saw Himself screwing up pieces of soft-board and painting the end wall white I knew what was afoot. It is now used as yet more painting space, somewhere to  'stand back and take a look."
Don't feel sorry for this man, his creativity is not restricted to just a small wooden shed in the garden!

Once the work was placed in position we went into the main gallery where preparations for a retrospective exhibition of the work of Mary Fedden were taking place.

The exhibition is fittingly called, 'Celebration', with paintings from the 1940's to the present day. Her paintings are very well known in England and reproduced as prints and greeting cards. It was interesting to see the early work, lovely flower studies, with indications of the more abstract developments to come.

Himself also has work in an open exhibition and the private view is tonight. I shall post details and photos of the openings and exhibitions on my new title, 'Miss Cellany', where I hope you will join me.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Good growing weather.

We've had a much needed deluge and all the plants in the garden are refreshed, if a little battered.
Between the rainfall the sun shines - perfect growing weather.

The rose, 'Charles de Mills' is very prolific but also untidy. I took a good look at the rose supports in the Mells gardens last weekend and before next season Charles is going to be given some sturdy staking!

We are reaping the rewards and picking strawberries and raspberries

and eating the first of our early potatoes.

I've picked elderflower heads to make cordial. The recipe is in my 2010 June posting, 'Almost a Spell'.

In the gravel garden blue flowers compete with the puddles.

All my old favourites start to reappear in June.