Tuesday, 30 April 2013


 A couple of days ago, we visited Dungeness. This is a unique area on the south coast. It is a spit of land built up from shingle banks and provides a very special habitat for unusual wildlife. The power station is close by.
The small houses are quite distinctive and fishermen and artists live here.

 Here is Derek Jarman`s house and garden. He was a  film director, gay rights activist, gardener and set designer. I am especially interested in his garden created in such harsh growing conditions, the way he has used the  flotsam and jetsam,  the pebbles and the driftwood.

The power station in the back garden!!

Fishing huts, collapsed and otherwise.

 Piles of fishing nets and boxes of ropes.

Fascinating plantlife.

Piles of rusting metal.

Lots of interesting objects on the tideline.

For campers, this is another unique area to explore....about 15 miles from the farm.
And there`s a good pub called The Britannia Inn which does great fish and chips.


Monday, 29 April 2013

Campers in for a treat

Staying at Freshwinds is a treat in itself 
 if you are coming camping this bank holiday weekend, you are in for another treat. The nearby Guestling Woods, owned and maintained by the Woodland Trust, is quite stunning. 
By then the bluebells will also be more advanced.
We have been for a long lingering walk with the new camera (Panasonic DMC-ZS25.)
I`ve also tried a small video clip and I`m hoping to get that on here as well.
Here are some of my photos.
I hope you enjoy.

The bluebells have just started opening. We discovered a new narrow path which will soon be 
surrounded by bluebells.

The silverbirch have just burst into leaf.

Ferns are unfurling.

The old tractor which has been "ridden" by generations of my family and probably partly inspired
my nephew Toby, to become a mechanic. He is now workshop manager at Ascot Racecourse.

The paths are drying out ....no wellies needed today.

It took quite a while but here is the video clip.
Just listen to those birds.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hot Hot Hot!!

Today has been a baking hot day. We have made the most of it.
When we visited Freshwinds, we sat for nearly an hour talking to Anne about all sorts, including some of the future plans for the garden and we soaked up the most welcome sunshine.
But that was only after catching the new baby guineapig which had escaped in the Wool barn.

 This is the new guineapig home. They are too shy to come out yet.

I dug up the dahlias uncovered last time. I was a bit dismayed to find them rotting away. The smell was apalling and has lingered on our trugs. They`ve gone on the compost heap. 
Looking on the bright side, at least I don`t have to find good homes for them all. I am, however, concerned about the other beds of dahlias I over-wintered in the ground.
One of the problems is, that the bed is heavy with clay and somewhat water-logged. I spent most of my time digging the bed over and breaking it up with well-rotted manure and some chipped bark that has broken down. Quite a bit still to go.

I was very excited when we found our first asparagus spears under the protective netting.

The radishes were up.

Steve planted broad beans.

The pear blossom is just about to burst.

I`m not very proud of this......blanket weed on the pond, but I did see and hear two frogs or toads jump in after sunning themselves round the edge.
Blanket weed is caused by too much sunlight and too many nutrients in the water. More of the surface needs to be covered with plants....difficult when you are first establishing a pond.

The first plants are on the nursery table.....all at 50p this year.

The wheat is just showing.

The first Comma butterflies have been out and about as well as huge bumblebees.
This time last year we had seen no butterflies.
It`s going to be a great year.

At home I have just completed a cushion which is 
a mixture of old and new.

The central blue panel is old embroidery and I am not sure where it came from.
 I made a patchwork frame which was sewn to a pink background. I embroidered flowers on the plain pink.
This is a present for a friend who will be 100 in May. When I first retired, I did her gardening for her until she went into a care home. She is as bright as a button and a joy to talk to.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Camellias and Castles

It has been a really lovely day with warm sunshine and family celebrations.
We spent the morning at the garden and were there by 9.30. Wow.
Anne had cut the grass and it looked great. I used the cuttings round the base of the 
raspberries and blackcurrants as a mulch.

The dahlia bed was uncovered .....in the 
bottom right hand corner.

As we worked, at least three groups of young people came through the farm, all intent on their map-reading skills as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Some were a bit worried about the path that led past the horses but I hope they all got to their destinations safely. They are camping out tonight so good luck and hope it`s not too cold.

I noticed that the poppies have seeded themselves. 

I am wondering what had a go at the rhubarb leaves .....they are poisonous.

Here are a few crafts in the Wool Barn.

In our own garden the camellias are making up for lost time.
This is "Contessa Lavinia Maggi."

This is "Waterlily."

At lunchtime some of the family met up at Bodiam Castle to celebrate 
my brother`s birthday with a picnic.
Bodiam Castle is a great place to visit especially for those of you who will be camping at Freshwinds.
It`s about 13 miles with a lovely drive through wildflower filled lanes.
It is in a stunning location and there were lots of people enjoying it today.
We had a great time.

Finally I spent an hour in my greenhouse, still well insulated against late frosts. My brother, James came to collect some plugs, which are part of his birthday present, so I had some 
I soon filled it up. Ha ha.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Sponsoring Tim, Seeds and bid for freedom

We spent a very warm and enjoyable afternoon at the garden today.
I set up the first crafts in the Wool Barn, had a chat with Tim who was busy feeding the orphan lambs and gearing up for the London Marathon on Sunday. For those of you who can.....look out for a chicken. Tim is running for Farm Africa and it is just one event he plans to take part in, to celebrate his 60th year.
If you would like to sponsor Tim here is his fund raisingpage

Tim Jury

 We wish Tim the best of luck and ideal weather in all his endeavors.

There was great excitement when the sheep made a bid for freedom. They escaped their pens and trampled right across the wire fencing into the garden. I would have taken some film but I was too busy shooshing them out and making sure they didn`t get near my newly tidied and weeded butterfly garden.
After sowing seeds there, Steve and I put a wire fence round it...hope they don`t get into that.

The raspberry canes are shooting well. Raspberries and cream....yum yum.

My sister, Paula walked up with her grandson Tom. They did a few jobs for us.
Here they are putting cane caps on sticks marking my new rows.
 They also sowed seeds in the perenniel bed.

Yesterday we went for a walk in Guestling Wood. If you are coming to Freshwinds for the camping bring your wellies, especially if you want to explore the woods.....

  .....it`s very muddy....

....and even Ents live there.

The woods are very close to the farm...

This is the farm from the edge of the wood. 

There are fantastic views all around the farm. This one looks towards Paul McCartney`s windmill 
(top right on the hill)

The lanes are filled with primroses.
Who would be anywhere else in the world than England in the spring.

 Today I have planted 25 packets of seeds!!!
There comes a point, as any fanatical gardener will tell you, when you start to wonder where all these plants are going when they are fully grown. It doesn`t seem to stop me doing it and every year they all seem to find a home,,,,not always in our gardens.
The names are enough to get you going....
Space Hopper
Sea Shells
Merlin Morn

Finally we saw Dave at the farm today. He has been in Spain for 7 weeks and has missed the foul weather. 
He has the unenviable job of keeping the rabbits in control.
Keep up the good work Dave.