Monday, 24 June 2013

Fearless Baby Birds and Flowers

At our bird feeder this week, there have sometimes been as many as 14 bluetits at any one time. Lots of them are babies and they are quite fearless. When Steve replaces the fatballs there is one that just does not move. We wonder if it might be deaf.

Unfortunately, on Saturday, Steve was standing at the doors watching them all enjoying an early breakfast, when a sparrowhawk swooped in, flew upside down and plucked one from the feeder. 
It all happened at lightening speed. A bit sad when we have enjoyed the family so much.

On Sunday we opened our garden for our local hospice, St. Michaels, in memory of my Mum.
We raised £280.
The weather was a bit iffy....spitting and spatting with rain and it was quite cold by 5 pm.
We had 40 visitors... all family and friends. We ran a tombola, a silent auction, a craft stall and a plant stall. 
Lots of nephews, nieces and my sister and my brother and his wife all here to help. Couldn`t do it otherwise.
People wandered around the garden and then had tea and cakes.
It was a busy afternoon and we feel quite tired today.
I used my final idea from India, to welcome people.

There have been many gardens open for charity in the village this week. We have been to them all. It has been fascinating to see how people have planned and developed their outdoor areas (and also to see how much bigger/smaller their tomatoes are if I`m honest)
Got lots of new ideas to try.

Today, late in the afternoon, we went to Freshwinds to make a final check before we go away.
The high winds had blown some of the fleece off protected plants, and they were ravaged by rabbits....lettuce, sweetcorn and radishes. Actually the rabbits are beginning to get on my nerves.

I had to cut the lupins right down and that has left a huge gap. I hope it will soon fill up.

I tied the sweetpeas which were blown around a bit over the last few days.
The first flower is out.

The pears are fattening up nicely.

Two kinds of courgette just starting to form.

Tom is surrounded by corncockles.

Some general views.

We still haven`t uncovered the calendula and they are looking so good.

And on Wednesday we are off to Cyprus for a week, hopefully we`ll see some sun. There`s not much around here at the moment. This evening on the weather report they told us that the temperatures over the last few days are comparable with October. We should be getting better.
 It is mid-summer after all.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Flag Iris, Flaming Bugs and Frogs

Our visit to the garden was supposed to be short but we were there for over two hours.
My brother James, came for a short visit and spotted this....

We think it is a Cardinal beetle.
Tim and William walked through and we got talking about frogs and ponds. Then Rock came through. He is working on some more decking. Finally Anne came through and there`s always loads to talk about with her.
I was just there to water tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines. Steve planted sprouts. We ended up putting the flag iris in the pond. We have confined the roots to an old tin bath.

No sooner had we placed it in the water than a frog was exploring.
I have to apologise for the number of frog photos but I cannot resist.

The first corn cockles were flowering. What a beautiful flower this is up close.
It is in our wild area and they have seeded themselves from last year.

The elderflowers are very pretty. Perhaps we should make some elderflower wine or cordial.

The problems with the strawberries have started already. In the top picture they have been bitten off at the main stem. In the second picture there is slug damage (I think)
I have scattered cayenne pepper around the plants to put the mice off.

 The calabrese is just coming.

Back at home the roses have only just begun to flower. This is Superstar.


My palest delphinium is very special.

We open our garden for friends and family this Sunday. 
Some photos coming in my next post ....if it doesn`t rain.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

June Barn Dance

The barn dance was great fun. We had a lot of laughs trying to follow the instructions from Jane, the caller with the Catsfield Steamers. She is very patient with us. The wind dropped thank goodness. In the afternoon the tarpaulins were billowing out and actually knocked hay bales over. The flower arrangements (with flowers and foliage from the garden) had to be wedged between three bricks to stop them blowing over.
Hayley and her friend came to help and she brought some lovely old patchwork blankets to cover the bales. 
They were hand sewn.

In the evening, after several dances, there was a ploughman`s meal and then more dancing.
Many thanks to Anne and Tim for all their hard work along with all the helpers.
It was a good evening.

The orb presence was quite stunning.

Today at home, we are  preparing the garden for our opening, tying in things blown around by yesterday`s gales, clearing paths, finding plants for sale and generally tidying up.

Here are some of the plants for sale.

This is what the hoop turned into. I found the idea on Pinterest. It uses old t-shirts. At my primary school over 50 years ago we used to weave like this, but on a much smaller scale and using raffia. 
We made placemats.

Here is my next project.

I found it outside a neighbour`s house, up for grabs. I grabbed it!!
Later I will post how it turns out.

My latest scarecrow is complete. Photos next time.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Pink Snow and Gigantic Greenflies

I managed to plant out 17 trays of bedding today. The soil was damp and perfect for planting.
The weeds are doing well!!!
Round at the stables Chris, the vet had come to see to the horse`s teeth. 
He was grinding them down....not a pleasant sound. This happens every 6 months.

Here is Holly with Mabel and Chris.

Holly`s Buff Orpington has had two chicks. The mother, Beryl, was very protective and didn`t like us near.

 In the garden I planted more flowers into one of the beds. I had to recover it after watering.
In this bed are calendula, gladiolis, French marigolds and sunflowers.

I cut some lupins to take home and noticed a sticky residue under the vase. On closer examination of the plant, I was horrified to find these gigantic greenfly all over the lovely flowers shown in an earlier post.
I can`t imagine why they have been so heavily contaminated. I may spray them with washing up liquid.

 I was fascinated to watch a bee entering a foxglove flower. It follows the spots inside and thanks to Springwatch, I now know that they rub past the anthers which are on the top petal. Pollen is then carried to other flowers for fertilisation.

 In this closer picture, you can clearly see the orangey yellow anthers at the top.

 This pretty little pincushion scabious seeds itself all over my garden. I have taken a plant to Freshwinds and hope it will seed there.

 Strawberries are looking good. It will soon be time to straw them and work out my strategies for keeping the mice away.

 And through the round window today, a framed view of the garden and beyond.

Here is the rockery I mentioned in my last post.
From the right, my cousin Carolyn, me, Paula my sister and a neighbour. It may have been my birthday as my hair has been curled in rags.

This poem is sooooo true for me:
There was a little girl
And she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good she was very very good
And when she was bad she was horrid.

At home we are busy preparing for our garden opening which is a week on Sunday.
In the fairy garden I have put a fairy washing line.

The wind created pink snow under my wisteria.

 The first barn dance is tomorrow. Hope it`s not too cold.

 And finally what do you think this could be turned into?

Watch this space.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Blog Birthday

Today is my blog birthday and to celebrate, here are a few photos from this time last year.
It is very interesting to note how much further on everything was back then.
Amazing to think we were picking sweetpeas and strawberries.
Many thanks to Peter in the village who helped me set up the blog in the first place.

The cobbing was only just begun.

The shepherd`s hut had just arrived.

Ollie the owl was brand-new.

The sweetpeas were flowering.

The wildflowers were looking good.

Just look at those strawberries. Later in the season, the mice had a feast.

Can`t wait for this year`s sweetpeas but it will be a long time yet judging by the size of them at the moment.
Perhaps they will last longer into the summer.

Here`s to the next year of blogging.
I would still love to have more followers and comments.