Month: May 2013

Oh Glorious Day!

The sun was shining. Buds and I had been on a long walk and it was only 8am when we got back. We went out to feed the birds as a Pigeon was doing his Pigeon little walk on the lawn. I was transfixed by the calm beauty of the day. Swifts overhead screeching a little and a Blackbird chirping. I opened the greenhouse door and was greeted by that warm composty smell, a good smell not bad.

I wandered down the path and looked up to see the moon. Hello moon. Dare I even say hello silvery moon? I went back inside for the camera at that point. The day was too wonderful not to capture.

While I was taking photos of the moon I could hear a buzzing and found that I was standing next to a blossom tree that I had forgotten all about. And it was alive with bees.

And while I was snapping away Buddy had meandered down the garden eating grass along the way and stopped for a rest.

And to round off perfection here is the amazing Clematis,

And a moody Aquilegia.

What a perfect start to the day.

Catchlights

He was watching Gav mow the lawn from the safe distance of the sofa. And the second he sees the camera he usually turns his head the other way – no honest he does! But I managed to get a good one and with his eyes open too showing that beautiful thing of portrait photography, the holy grail if you will.

Catchlights.

A wonderful light caught in the subject’s eye that makes the photo come alive. Thanks Buds.

Photo a Day – week twenty one

And here are more. We had birthdays and trips to Bettys this week.

A few details – unfurling ferns, my niece and I a photo-op in the loo at Nandos!  At the bottom of the garden, Euphorbia griffithii, the apple blossom and Buddy, H enjoying ice cream, tea for G and B at Bettys.

Read – May

A friend gave me this book, hello C. Yesterday was one of those days where I needed a good book to read so I took it off the bookshelf and read it all in about five hours. I don’t often read a book in one sitting.

Originally a play it was novelised and I’m so glad it was. It zipped along really well and had all the right murder mystery ingredients. A rambling country house, weekend guests and a secret passage. Perfect.

And back onto that shelf it goes.

Layout share – May

Here are a couple more pages I have made recently. Both from last years California trip.

This one is from our visit to the Charles M. Schulz museum in Santa Rosa. A huge wall in the museum was covered in the cartoon strips that in turn made up the picture of Charlie and Lucy. It was indeed really clever.

And this is one of me overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

I got really messy and arty on this one.

The brown ink is Dylusions. Love that stuff. I splattered some and used a Crafters workshop stencil in other areas.

And the chipboard is from a really old Basic Grey pack.

Love both pages, great little stories told.

 

Photo a Day – week twenty

And more.

A few details – the first asparagus this year with poached egg and hollandaise, going to see Star Trek, H and me and Bud in evening shadows, apple blossom, mowing the lawn, Buddy rocking being adorable and my niece again having fun.

Blossom watch

It is one of the marvels of the garden world. Blossom. Ah, wondrous stuff.

We have five trees here that give us a bit of flowery fluffy petals and I have been capturing the stages over the last few weeks.

Here is the Plum tree at the beginning of May. We have it placed up against a fence in the attempt at a fan trained tree but have never managed to prune it correctly. But it does produce lovely white flowers early in the season.

In fact yesterday I took another shot of now spent flowers. Amazing the change in two weeks. The leaves are now here and I wait not so patiently to see if the base of the flower swells to show we have fruit.

Here is the pear tree with more white flowers.

I have to admit that the poor thing isn’t actually planted yet. We bought it last year and are still undecided about where to pop it. But in the meantime it is going to have lots of lovely flowers. Doubt it will give any fruit though but you never know.

There is just one not fruiting tree that lives in the border.

And finally our two apple trees that were planted about ten years ago.

There has been an abundance of blossom this year. Maybe later that usual which is a good thing, you don’t want to lose the flowers to frost. Lets hope we get some fruit too.

Gardens visited – Ickworth

Ickworth is a National Trust property near Bury St Edmunds. The day we chose to visit there was an event going on and it was really busy. We don’t usually do busy but we parked the car in the reserve car park and headed towards the house and garden.

We are garden people and very rarely go into the house that may be attached to a garden we want to see. Looking back I think this house would be worth a visit but we only went in the gardens. We had Lewis with us, it was 2007 and we decided to whizz around the garden separately while the other held the pooch and avoided the crowds watching a re-enacted skirmish……

The gardens are described as Italianate. The building structure and light colour is used to its fullest against the dark green topiary.

We do like a bit of topiary but I certainly am a cottage garden fan so this wasn’t high on my repeat visit list but it was stunning. Glad we got a sunny day where the backdrop of the architecture leant itself so well to the blue sky and green of the garden.

At the front of the house was a herbaceous border and I got just one blurry shot of a daisy.

So there we go. Ickworth. And of course one towards my 100.

Potting on seedlings

Thought I’d just post a quick guide to potting on those seedlings, or ‘pricking out’ as they say.

Here is a clump of Calendula seedlings that I removed from a tray and placed on the bench. You can see they are all growing away strongly and have their true leaves so now need to be moved on into individual pots.

I am no expert but what I do know is that you should avoid handling the stem of the seedling. Best to tease it out of the clump trying to get roots too and hold it by the seed leaves.

Here I have a seed leaf and you can see a good bit of soil with a few white roots peeking out too. That’s pretty perfect.

I prepare the pots they are going into first. In this case it was a tray of six pots and I fill it up 3/4 with compost and make a little hole in the centre with a pencil to pop the seedling into.

Then carefully firm the soil around the roots of the seedling. I tend to be a bit heavy handed but you should really barley firm the soil at all. If they initially flop they will recover.

Water well but again gently trying to avoid washing the seedlings flat to the compost. And there you have it.

Now only another 50 or so to prick out……

The Parsley conveyor

My dearest Gav has performed a mini miracle recently. He has grown parsley and provided us with pots of the herb for months now. It sounds simple and it is but we always struggle with keeping the succession going so it is great to have got into the swing of success.

I thought I’d share the process he uses.

In the greenhouse (or on a sunny window ledge) sow seed in a big pot. It is a slow seed to germinate, a little patience is needed so don’t give up hope. A good three weeks would be usual for the seed to get going. Covering the pot in a clear plastic bag will help the speed of this process.

Once they have germinated and are about two inches high, with true parsley leaves growing away, he pots the seedlings on dividing the big pot into several smaller pots.

What I mean about true parsley leaves can be see in the picture below. The seedlings have two sets of leaves but the plain ones are the ‘seed’ leaves. They just provide the plant with a little umph to get it going the true leaves come next. Seed leaves never look anything like a proper leaf that you would recognise.

When the plants are ‘fully grown’ they come into the kitchen for use. And when they are picked to almost the last leaf they go back out again to recover and we bring in another pot or two.

When the recovering plant has suitable recovered (!) it comes back in again. I guess you could do that process three times before the little plant is all spent.

I suppose how many pots you need depends on how much parsley you use and because we have the greenhouse we can have quite a few pots on the go at once but I’m sure this would work with just a couple of pots of the herb at each stage.

And at the end of the day you have saved a little money and eaten your very own home-grown parsley. Yay for that.