bees · Flowers · Garden · Wildflowers · wildlife

There are leaves scattered on the grass. September is a time of change. It is a time when people leave and scatter. This is a natural process, one I, as others do, have to learn to live with. Change can be a forward movement, exciting, often nerve wracking but energising too.

We’re in the middle of a ‘tropical plume’ as the radio DJ called it – very warm this week but today there’s a smirr of rain. It does bring out the shades of green in the garden. After seven years it’s a much more mature garden.

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Comfrey – Symphytum officinale

The sunflower peeps over the fence, hopefully making our neighbours smile. Usually I plant the seeds in the vegetable bed so we see the sunflower’s bright, cheery faces too.

This year our small vegetable plot has really been taken over by the giant muppet-like monster that is the comfrey. I am totally taken with it – the bees have loved it. Apparently after a bee has drunk the nectar, the flower produces new nectar in two minutes. I’ve used the torn up comfrey leaves as slow releasing feed, ripped up on the base of the tomatoes plants and in the bottom of planting holes and, as the plant itself likes to do, I’ve spread the message far and wide!

Good Earth Dahlia

A giant pompom dahlia flower is bobbing its head at me from over in the corner, chatting to the enormous daisies which were a gift from a friend. The garden has a wild, overgrown look at the moment but I much prefer the soft lines of this to one that is too clipped and severe. It reminds me of the Oscar Wilde fairytale of the Selfish Giant.

Are there any particular flowers you love in your garden?

I am reading ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn and the poems of Emily Dickinson.

bees · butterflies · Garden · Latin names

Our Natural Time and Tide

September the start of the new academic year but the end of the summer, the seasons sweep me along, caught in the rise and fall of the tide of time. I am excited, new beginnings, time to tidy the garden after the fullness of summer, time to pare down, to cut back and move on. Time to let go but also to plan.

Taking the time to watch the bees and butterflies.

I’ve learned of the importance of the change of seasons on physical health, to me it has an immense bearing on mental health too. We move, behave, react to the natural rhythms of the seasons, the tides of the year.

 

Yesterday I watched the swallows balancing on the line, today I’ll search for the glistening September spider webs.

 

It is a beautiful morning. thumb_IMG_4692_1024The honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium) has grown over the fence and this year we could smell the delicate fragrance drifting on the summer evenings as we passed through the gate.

Now small perfect cherry-red berries have emerged, plump and juicy, a feast for the birds. Sunshine illuminates it on the morning side; the east. The west will have to wait for later in the day to feel the full glow of the light. To sit at the kitchen table and look out of the window at greenery has been my aim since we moved here, it’s getting there.

 

A garden, like everything else, takes time.

 

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This sunflower grew in the pot with the cordon pear tree – a lovely surprise!

I am reading Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson and Swimming with Seals by Victoria Whitworth.

Birds · Garden · wildlife

Wonderful Wildlife!

Tadpoles! We have tadpoles in our wee wildlife pond! I think there’s a newt and many minibeasts we’ve yet to name.

Watching the birds visiting the pond has helped us enormously in this life of lockdown.

I’d have never believed how useful the steps of the pond are. They’ve had the tiny feet of bluetits, robins and blackbirds stepping down them like the owl hopped down the books in Bagpuss. Two dunnocks tailed each other along the pond edge darting back and forth.

As I write a pigeon is emerging from the long grass beside the pond, waddling about, ducking its head watching, watching before dipping in.

And we try to count the tadpoles; twelve, thirteen? Who knows?

 

One visitor to the garden I’m afraid I don’t welcome quite so much are snails. I’ve supplied them with too many tasty dinners! That doesn’t stop me admiring their beautiful shells or their ability to travel and sneak into my little polytunnel and greenhouse.

I’ve just finished reading the book ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. It opened my eyes to the scientific beauty of snails but still …

Couldn’t resist including this poem here.

Old Shellover

” COME ! ” said Old Shellover.
” What?” says Creep.
” The horny old Gardener’s fast asleep;
The fat cock Thrush
To his nest has gone;
And the dew shines bright
In the rising Moon;
Old Sallie Worm from her hole doth peep:
Come!” said Old Shellover.
” Ay!” said Creep.
I am reading ‘Seal Morning’ by Rowena Farre.
Nature · Senses

Spring Sense

This week I finished reading a book I had been savouring. Every now and again I would dip into this book of essays and immerse myself in the writing of Kathleen Jamie. I had already read her book ‘Findings’ and had been looking forward to reading her first book ‘Sightlines’. It didn’t disappoint.

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One lasting impression was her mention of a whale’s eardrum and how the bone is so dense it would often be the only thing left in the furnace from the carcass. The whalemen thought they could hear the sea in them.

 

 

 

 

 

Not a very charming thought really but this, and being in lockdown, made me consider my use of the senses. Perhaps it is a time for me to go back to basics?

So here is my round up of lockdown senses for the week. I wonder what would be on your list?

See

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The cherry blossom tree in our garden is stunning this year.

I’ve enjoyed watching the birds on the feeders and seeing them having a bath in the small pond we put in last year.

Books – Richard Mabey, Erica James, Rebecca Stead, A Little Book of Rhymes, Old and New.

Films – ‘The Matrix’, Doris Day in ‘The Glass Bottom Boat’,  BBC1 Drama ‘The Nest’, Beechgrove Garden, Gardeners’ World.

Hear

Birdsong!

The cheery radio presenters – thank you!

Bill Gibb podcasts

Mary Wesley on desert island discs

Smell

Scones baking – made my first gluten free scones. (Far too tempting, they’ve gone already!)

Taste

(As above!)

Touch

Planting seeds, transplanting seedlings.

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Tomato seedlings

(Scones again – making breadcrumbs from the flour and butter.)

 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy week.

 

 

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Couldn’t resist adding in this photo and thinking of Wordsworth’s daffodils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers · Garden · Seasons

Let Spring Bring Hope and Peace

Nothing is so beautiful as spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Birds are singing. Landing on the fencepost they pause, check all is clear, dart to the feeder and back to the post in the blink of an eye. A robin, blue tits, chaffinches. Magpies launch themselves at the fat ball holder, blackbirds peck at fallen seeds. Two pigeons, one fat, one thin, drink from the pond.

Flowers are opening, welcoming the sun. Crocuses, hellebores, cowslip, primroses. The tulips are appearing, still wrapped up tightly.

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Primula vulgaris in the garden

Glossy green leaves of the Laurel gleam in the shining sunlight.

The first giant bumblebee of the year buzzes past my ear.

Frog spawn wobbles in the pond and we stop to watch two woodpeckers on our walk.

Spring is here. The seasons roll on.

Wishing you all good health and peace.

 

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Spying a heron when out for a walk.

 

 

I am reading ‘The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland’ by Catherine M.Valentine

Flowers · Houseplants · Latin names

Word Webs

I am, I confess, a fair weather gardener. This does make me appreciate the good days even more though.

On wet, dreary, dare I say dreich, days I’m more inclined to be inside but there’s one thing I do know, learning about gardening will never end. There’s always something to discover. Each day is a new opportunity.

When I was a child I watched ‘Beechgrove Garden’ and ‘Gardeners’ World’. As the beauty of the flowers filled the screen their name was listed at the bottom. Not once but twice. The common and the Latin name. The presenters would effortlessly reel off these unusual names and I would listen, unaware that years later I would begin to attempt to learn them myself.

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The mother plant! Chlorophytum comosum

I have a Twitter account and have already stated my intention to learn some Latin names for plants. Apparently if you share an aim with someone it makes you more likely to achieve it. Here’s hoping.

Already I have been encouraged. Watching Monty Don on ‘Gardeners’ World’, he explained how the name for Sedum had been changed to Hylotelephium – this was one of the (as yet few) names I had already learned.

The days may be dark and cold outside but there’s always something to learn and this way I can combine my love of language and gardening. What a winter treat.

 

 

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All these came from the plant above and there’s a few spiderettes to plant out yet!

 

At the moment I am reading, ‘The Cabaret of Plants’ by Richard Mabey – slowly. I’m not very fast at reading non-fiction!