Category: garden

The Tulips 2018

For as many years as I can remember, certainly the last ten, I’ve endeavoured to have a stunning display of tulips in our garden. I have always loved these flowers and they are my favourite….. in April and May at least! We have done quite a decent display this year, possibly inspired by my Tulip Day last year.

Every day for the past four weeks (the season has been short because of the weather, cold then hot) I have ventured outside and within moments had a smile on my face as I see the tulips for the first time that day. Some may not be very perennial but it’s always worth buying more for the amount of pure joy they bring me.

The main display came from four pots. I planted in the same bulbs twos so there would be symmetry on either side of that path.

The top two photos as well as the next two show the evolution of the display in one of the pots.

Early morning sunshine. And it captures another couple of clumps of tulips that Gav planted in the borders. These have come back well for a about two years now.

Practicing with my macro lens….

I adore the darker tulips and this one is Black Parrot.

And this one is Queen of Night.

Totally blown out shot with sun flare but I still like the photo and I’m beginning to quite like this blowsy Antraciet variety too.

More from the pots.

Another fav. Dolls Minuet planted in a pot this year.

And finally another macro photo of an emerging La Belle Epoch. Such amazing detail on those petals!

Truly, truly in love with these flowers.

This is the Year – Garden Thoughts

Last year Gav kept telling me ‘this is the year’….. He meant that 2017 was the year our garden would finished. He did his absolute best I must admit and was out there working many, many, many more hours than I was. And it is almost there. Almost tidy, almost done.

But you know what? A garden is never really ‘done’. That is the beauty of it. What I mean by done is that it is how you want it at that particular moment in time.

Last year I found it harder than usual to do the routine things. The weeding and tidying. I was wondering what the reason might have been for this…..

Was it the weather that makes it hard work?

Was it that I want to garden in the mornings but I’m (was!) at work?

Was it that I have shifted in my love and rather than have a herbaceous border I want grow annuals?

Is it the fact that basically I’m lazy….. hmm probably!

It’s not that I don’t love a herbaceous border I do, oh I do but the weeding! Have I mentioned the weeding??It kills me and now I have trouble kneeling it makes it even harder work. We have pernicious grass that wends its way through the soil and tangles in the roots of the perennials…..

Over the last couple of years we have both worked hard towards getting the middle border in better shape with a view that border being the only truly herbaceous one, although not truly because it does have a couple of shrubs in it too!

And the other borders are moving more to shrubs and bulbs.

The plan this year then is to get all the greenhouse shelving finished. Gav will be working on that in March when he has a week off. He also wants to finish the garden at the front of the house. I’m going to dig all the plants out of what we call the ‘bump’ bed and weed it throughly a couple of times then plant it back up with a few little shrubs.

I’ll give the middle border a good weed too (insert forced smiling emoji) and move a few plants about a bit and also try to get the living fence into some kind of shape. And of course we will be growing veg and flowers.

It is an ebb and flow that I should be used to by now after all I’ve been gardening for over 20 years…..eek!

Hopefully I’ll be back to chat about those flowers soon, I just need to make my mind up on what to order.

Let’s Start the Year Right! With Snow

Technically this delightful day was last year but I’m using poetic licence here.

If you’ve been here a while you’ll know I adore snow. We don’t get much in Leeds s when it comes it is a treat.

This flurry arrived four days after Christmas Day which was bad timing on the weather front but I loved it all the same and the beauty was that I had no idea snow was forecast so when I peeked out of the curtains it was a total surprise!

I donned the wellies and Buddy and I set off for the best morning walk and when we’d been home a while and I had ventured out into the garden for some photos and to clear a spot for the bird feeding area it started to snow again and carried on for a couple of hours.

The flakes at one point were giant. It was a perfect hour or so as I watched it get a little deeper.

I went back out after it stopped and built a teeny snowman.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything to make his face.

My niece let me know that they were going to the park sledging so I tagged along to try to get a few photos.

Snow is very tricky to photograph especially if the day is overcast and misty! It throws the exposure out because it tricks the sensors into thinking the image is going to be overexposed. I thought I’d got my setting right but when I looked at them back home I needed to up the exposure quite a bit more.

They had fun though while I tried to get a shot. My sister and brother-in-law in the picture above. Then H joined in and they raced….

You can see that we don’t need much of a snowfall to get us out sledging round these parts!

And for the final run down the hill they persuaded me to have a go……

She was very happy about that…… me clearly not so much!

All in all though a fun few hours surrounded by that fabulous snow and a bit more practice with the big camera in those conditions. If only it snowed a bit more I might perfect it!

Beautiful Butterflies


Been so very happy this summer to see beautiful butterflies in our garden and lucky enough to have snapped photos of them too!

Above is the Red Admiral and below we have a Small Tortoiseshell.

Look at that pretty line of purple markings along the bottom edge of its wings. Stunning.


And finally is the Comma.

He/she was so delicate and had those beautifully sculpted wings.

Enjoyed spotting these in the garden and hope they return next year.

Bloom 2017 – Studded with Purple

I mentioned that I have a few more flower arrangements up my sleeve even though the season is changed and the cutting patches have all but given up.

I’d actually forgotten all about this arrangement until I was sorting photographs for Project Life. How could I have overlooked such a lovely crop of flowers?

This was arranged back at the end of July when the Ammi had just got going and the Salvias were the backbone of the cutting beds.

Along with those two there are Euphorbia, Scabious, Cerinthie and Silver Birch foliage. I seared the ends of the Cerinthie and Birch in a little boiling water before arranging.

I like mixing tree foliage into my vases and must remember to try and do it more often. I was still trying to get that whole asymmetrical thing working…….

I think I must pop outside today and harvest all that I can before the strong winds flatten everything that’s left. It might make for a stunning final vase full!

The Bees of 2017

After that floral update I thought it would be fun so share a few photos of the bees I’ve been snapping this summer.

Oh the bees! I love the bees. All kinds, all shapes, all sizes. They are vital little creatures and always have a space in my garden and my heart. I wrote about them a couple of years ago.

As you know we are lucky enough to have a neighbour who keeps honey bees although we are not inundated with then as you may imagine. There are some in the garden but I think most fly further afield to gather their nectar.

Not sure if this one is a bee?? But I liked the photo so here he/she is.

I strive to get better photos with the macro lens but accept I probably will never get that perfect shot. I’m okay with that. It seems I won’t give up trying though because come a sunny summer day the first thing I do is pick up that camera and head outside.

One of my most favourite things is to just stand and listen and watch to see what is buzzing about in the garden that day. A perfect way to spend time in my opinion.




Currently – Spring 2017

The Garden

I’ve been wandering around the garden for weeks now peering at things and making mental list upon list of jobs that have to be done. But the truth of it was that I wasn’t feeling it. I was lack lustre and had no oomph. I actually said to Gav that I though I was ‘over’ gardening!

But before I had chance to panic too much I got out there on a quiet sunny Monday last week and I found my mojo again. And I truly believe that it’s because the seasons are changing and I, like the garden are growing into this new phase once more. Seeds have been sown for the cutting patches and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Bloom 2017 in the next few weeks.

Gifts and adventures and living life

This year has so much good stuff going on.

My birthday treats just keeps coming! I have already enjoyed a weekend away courtesy of my BFF and next weekend is a trip to a local flower show that my Mum and Dad-in-law got me, then in May I’m going on this day out that my Sister and her family bought me. So excited for these events.

We hope to do our usual trip to London with my younger niece too, the baseball is back and we have a trip here to fit in as well. I am so lucky. That one was bought by colleagues and ex-colleagues from work!

This week is Week In The Life™ and I am happy to be joining in again with this project. I also splashed out as part of some birthday money and bought the kit. Will be getting the big camera out as it has been neglected a little of late.

Photo above was a display in Anthropology. A shop I have never been in before but in the spirit of adventure I wandered in. I loved the display and the products but alas way out of my budget! Good image though.

And of course I have the 100 Day Project going on too. Post coming about how I’m finding it so far soon.

So all in all Spring has sprung, I’m embracing this moment and thinking about things to come.

Let’s do this thing 2017!




The perfect time in the garden


It’s that time of year. The good time. The busy time. The potential is here time.

We have said hello and goodbye to lots of lovely Tulips. This one is Queen of Night.


We have sown seed in the new greenhouse. Below is the very first seed that popped up. Sunflower Valentine.


We have captured this cute boy over and over again.


We have witnessed beautiful light on next doors rhubarb forcer.


We have pondered the allotment patch.


We have found a little ‘flower’ in amongst the Tulips.


We have moved into this new space with makeshift benches.


We have welcomed Robins.


We have delighted in one of the favourites, Euphorbia griffithii ‘fireglow.’


We have played with the macro lens.


We have anticipated pears.


We have smiled at the emergence of the Hostas.


We have photographed.


We have sat a while and reveled in this perfect time of year.


Oh beautiful bees, which one are you?

bee common-carder

I don’t think it would come as much of a surprise to anyone that’s been here for a while that I love bees. They are a vital part of our garden and a vital part of our food production and I can’t sing the praises of encouraging them into your garden enough.

Last year I spent quite a lot of time trying to name species of bees that came into our garden. I didn’t make much progress.

This year armed with the macro lens I felt certain I would fare better. Hmm…

Not sure that I have. But on any sunny day you would find me out there with the camera trying to catch a bee or two. I even resorted to the tripod in the hopes of getting better shots. (You’ll be pleased to hear that the tripod didn’t make much difference – well that the story I’m going with anyway….)

I poured over the images and am finally ready to share what I think are six different bees. I say I think I have because it’s a complicated business. I used this website and a PDF found there to help with the process.

So although I am naming them as I go I am not 100% certain I’m correct! The delightful specimen at the start of this post is a Common Carder bee. This one below is also a common carder bee getting his fill of an Antirrhinum flower.


Next we have a White-tailed bee on a Spiraea flower head. Look at all that pollen on his back legs!


And another White-tailed.


And an Red-tailed one. The Knautia plants in early summer are bee nectar bars.

bee red-tailed-

And a Honey bee.


Here is a Tree bee on a Geranium flower.


And finally an Early bee.


Fairly sure about this one as I managed to capture his yellow hairy face. Below is the same bee where you can see his blunt buff coloured tail.


I would recommend planting the Knautia and also for later in the season Helenium and Echinops.

It’s been a labour of love, this identifying business but a worth while and fun one and I’m sure I’ll carry on photographing and trying to identify more species next summer.

The Hawkmoth Caterpillar


There are some little critters I like. (Foxes, squirrels, bees.)  And some little critters I do not like. (Spiders, wasps, wats – can’t even bring myself to write the correct word….)

This find falls into the like category although I got out the macro lens and a couple of shots do make me go ugh! So be warned.

I was weeding one of the small veg/flower beds ready for biennials and almost squished this fella.


I looked him up and he’s a Hawkmoth Caterpillar and about 3 inches long. When disturbed they curve their body into a ‘U’ shape to make them look snake-like. I think it works a treat.

Here are his ‘legs’ clinging on to a stem. Can I say cute?


But get ready for the not so cute….




Pretty amazing though.

After a while he went back to position he was in when I found him.


Just clinging on doing caterpillar stuff.


He looks like a stick, no wonder I was about to squash him.

I stepped back a bit so you see the setting better.


I actually found three of them all around this spot in the garden.

Nature just rocks it.

Thanks for letting me share the weird but wonderful stuff in our garden.