Thursday, 4 August 2016

Plot Progress Report

One month ago today we took over the much neglected allotment plot that is located directly behind our back garden fence.  You may recall it looked like this when we started.....  pretty scary! 

This is how the plot looks today.....

There is still A LOT of work to do, as you can see, but we are getting there... once spade full of dirt at a time.   

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Taking Lavender Cuttings or Hedging One's Bets

Yesterday I managed to enrage about half the bees in East Devon,  I pruned back our overgrown lavender hedge.  It had to be done.  All the flowers had suffered from the heat and drought and besides, it was just time to do it!

As the mound of spent flowers and fragrant foliage grew around my feet it dawned on me that I should be saving the most viable branches for cuttings. I mean, have you seen the price of lavender plants when shopping at the garden centre?  The multi-packs of small plants start at £7 for six little sprigs.  I was standing on a small fortune!  

I collected a big handful of cut lavender boughs and plonked them into a jar of water.  This morning I filled a couple of deep plastic trays with compost and set to work taking cuttings.  Now, I know my method isn't how a proper gardener would do it and this will send a real horticulturalist around the bend but with a little luck some of these sad little sprigs will take root.

If only a handful grow into proper lavender plants it will have been worth the time, effort, and cost of the compost.... not to mention how proud I will be to have grown my own new lavender hedge.  

CLICK HERE to learn how to take lavender cuttings properly.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

OMG! We've Got An Allotment!

It has been weeks since I last wrote a blog post.  There are many trivial reasons why:
1.   Andy has been dieting so there is NO baking going on here. 
2.   I've been too busy taking care of domestic chores.
3.   I've been too lazy after doing domestic chores.  

But this is probably the main reason,  I've been in negotiations for the allotment behind our garden fence.  Yesterday at about 9:30 am we got the 'go ahead' and THIS is this the challenge we now face.

By my calculations, nothing much has been done to this plot since this time last year.  There were four foot tall beet plants and a row of parsnip plants that had grown to about eight foot high.  The blackberry bush had made a bid for world domination and viciously lashed out me every time I walked past it.  Undaunted, Andy and I went out and bought the most ferocious weed whacking machine we could find and by 3:30 pm we were hacking our way through the jungle.  

By 20:45 last night it looked like this:

I know, it still looks a bit rough around the edges.... and in the middle, to be honest.  But at least you can see the beds and a glimmer of the potential of this sadly neglected patch.  So... if you don't see me around much for a while it's because we got an allotment!  

Friday, 3 June 2016

Peter Rabbit's Little Adventure

To mark the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth, a series of new miniature sculptures has been commissioned.  These charming creations can be found at different locations across London. If you look closely you can see there is a special twist to this tale, each character has been ever so slightly modernised. 

Peter Rabbit is going all out tourist with his selfie stick at the London Eye.

Nutkin shows his true political colours outside St. James' Park.

Jeremy Fisher can't resist dropping a line on the Westminster Bridge.

Ms. Puddle-Duck enjoys a bit of fashionable retail therapy....

Meanwhile, Mrs. Tiggie-Winkle has set up a laundry! 

Even urban gardens need tending as you can see.  Mrs. Tittlemouse finds her leaf blower to be a very handy gadget.  

CLICK HERE  to learn more about the artist, Marcus Crocker, and to watch a video about the making of these adorable creatures.  Happy 150th Birthday, Miss Potter! 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Blossom At Last!

It seems as if I have been working in the garden for weeks on end and yet nothing much was in bloom.  Then, after a couple of warm, dry days the garden seemed to explode into flower.

So this evening I thought I'd take a few photos...

We have a bumper crop of ox eye daisies.  I've been digging up clumps to give to my friends but they seem to just keep coming. 

They ramble into the irises and through the rose bushes. 

The quince is doing well...

And this azalea is humming with bees.

As the light fades, the very first rose of the season gives out her perfume.  It makes all the waiting and weeding worthwhile.  

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Pieris Japonica

Today the sky is grey and it has been grim and drizzly but there is a plant in my garden that glows with colour no matter what the weather,  Pieris Japonica.  

It looks great all year 'round but especially in spring when the new leaves are red as flame and the tiny 'Lily of the Valley' flowers are buzzing with bees.

Every garden should have one...or in our case... two!

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Touring Exeter Cathedral

In 1050 the seat of the bishop of Devon and Cornwall was transferred from the small town of Crediton to the city of Exeter due to the fear of sea raids.  This is how our tour guide begins telling us the history of the Exeter Cathedral. 

The original Cathedral was built in the Norman style by the nephew of William the Conqueror.  By 1258 the Norman style was considered old fashioned and the Cathedral at Salisbury inspired a 'remodeling' project to add Decorated Gothic features to Exeter's Cathedral.  Fortunately, not all of the Norman features were lost in the remodelling project.  

Our tour today featured the sturdy Norman towers.  Climbing stair after stair of narrow, spiral staircases, we finally reached the roof space to see the original 14th century beams.  Squeezing under low beams and out tiny Normal windows we finally arrive at the apex and on to the roof.

The sunshine was dazzling as we looked down onto the ancient lead roof.

The view over the city was beautiful.  We could see for miles.  Lovely as the view was, the wind was cold and blustery so we were happy to scramble back down the narrow stone stairs and into the warmth of the Cathedral. 

Our tour guide explained the architectural features like the ceiling vaulting and bosses.

We examined the tombs and effigies of the great and good.  I was particularly interested in the gown of this Elizabethan lady.

But to be honest, it is the simplest things that are the most endearing, like this ancient cat flap cut into the door for the first Cathedral cat.  (see the circular hole at the bottom of the door)

Most cathedrals have at least one cat. Historically they were kept to control the rat and mouse population but the cats have always been more than just 'mousers'.   

This carving is in memory of One Eyed Tom, the Cathedral cat. Tom lost his eye in an unfortunate encounter with an owl.  They were both in pursuit of the same rat.  It seems being partially sighted didn't keep Tom from performing his duties earning the affection and gratitude of clergy and parishioners alike. 

The Cathedral is filled with fascinating stories and sculptures all too numerous to mention here.   CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can take a tour of Exeter Cathedral and experience this magnificent medieval masterpiece.