bEAching ~ another day another border

It is twenty past ten at night here in Scotland and the sun is only just sinking on the horizon.  Each day seems hotter than the one before and today I really found it hard to work for any length of time in the garden even in the shade.

The lane beyond the blue gate is always shady so I decided to tackle the border that runs along side it.  At its widest point it probably measures 3 feet but the back of it drops down steeply into our garden below and it is heavily shaded by the two Hawthorns and a large conifer, which suffered with the salt spray from the sea this winter and is in recovery at the moment but still a sickly colour of brown.

Most of this strip is wild flowers  – pink campion and bright orange Crocosmia which grow and spread like weeds but nearer the gate I have pink Geranium, Aquilegias and Harts Tongue Ferns and I am slowly introducing Foxgloves.

Elsewhere in the garden I have a particularly pretty pale pink one so I will scatter the seed over this border when it has finished flowering.  I keep transplanting tiny Holly bushes into this border so that eventually we will not be quite so overlooked from the lane.

Meanwhile DH tackled the Daisy path with the strimmer – this is how the Daisy path usually looks…

But this is what greeted us when we arrived!

… this really was overgrown and I am surprised the postman has ventured down our path to bring our TV license reminder letter.  It is generally the only mail we get up here.  We don’t have a TV at the cottage but we still get a reminder once a month and sometimes the threat of an official visit – come anytime is what I say for I know for certain they will not find one!

Beside the Daisy path we have some very dead Escallonia bushes which formed a lovely hedge when we first bought the cottage but it died on us after one of the bad winters.  Only one of the bushes has sprung back to life and the others need digging out.  I am not sure what to plant here but it will need to tolerate sea spray.

This strong sun does not make it easy to take pictures. I will take a few more of the ‘transformation’ in a day or two.  Tomorrow I think we are having a day off and perhaps going out to see Castle Kennedy gardens.

Yesterday’s trip to the pictures in Newton Stewart didn’t quite happen.  I got something in my eye during the morning and by the afternoon it had not moved so we went into town to get some Optrex so I could try to rinse it out but the pharmacist insisted I should go and have it checked out at A&E.

The local hospital is quite tiny and only 3 of us waiting.  I must say I felt a bit of a fraud as it was hardly an accident or an emergency just irritating and my eye wouldn’t stop watering.  However, the staff were very pleasant and on first name terms with the locals sat in the waiting room quite different to our much larger and busier A&E in Huddersfield where they are very brusk at times and more matter of fact.  After a bit of a wait for the eye doctor he did manage to get out whatever was causing the irritation but by this time we had missed the film.

 

 

bEAching ~ day one in the cottage garden

Today was the first day in the garden at the cottage.  DH had set off to take a trailer full of weeds to the local refuse site where they compost it down.  We compost what we can but when we run out of space we bag it up and then when I run out of bags he goes to the tip.

The question as always is where do I start when everywhere requires attention – a bit overwhelming at first glance but beyond the chaos there are little areas that are quite delightful.

The David Austen English shrub rose Gentle Hermione, a present from my late MIL, is an absolute picture and must have really enjoyed the late pruning I gave it on our last visit as there are more flowers than ever and the fragrance is heavenly when you walk past.

I decided to make a start by the gate, mainly because it was in the shade (and with the weather being unbearably hot I needed shade) but also because it hasn’t been touched since I cleared it last year and planted a Hydrangea.     It is a very shady but sheltered corner that only gets a glimpse of the sun during the summer months at about tea time.

Not a pretty sight.

The soil is poor and it is not an ideal place for anything too precious so the choice of a Hydrangea with them being pretty easy-going, and having quite a long flowering period was a good bet and will fill the space on its own eventually. You might just be able to spot it amongst the weeds and wild flowers which have been growing there at an alarming rate.   I remembered I also transplanted a pink flowering geranium as well from another border but was not quite sure if it was still in there.

Nothing to it but to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in but as usual in this garden it is never a ten minute job.  The Alkanet although very pretty with its deep purple blue flowers spreads everywhere and  has tap roots that just won’t give in and they always win – I dig out what I can and leave the final bit in the ground knowing that at some later date they will spring up again!

After an hour or two of digging, pulling and tugging I decided on a welcome tea break!

Then more of the same followed by a light easy lunch – egg salad with a little cheese – we are definitely not putting the gas oven on at the moment as the caravan is hot enough.

By the end of the afternoon I had cleared the patch leaving the Hydrangea and the geranium (surprisingly still there) and trimmed back the Ivy.  DH nailed a piece of mesh in the gap beside the gate beneath the Ivy to prevent unwanted dogs sneaking in and leaving their calling cards.  I thought the Ivy would have filled the gap by now but it seems to be ignoring this space and deciding to be rampant in places I don’t want it to be.

After digging in a bucket full of manure onto the cleared patch and adding some much-needed water my first job was done and you can see the result above.

Meanwhile DH had cut the ‘posh’ lawn and trimmed the horseshoe privet hedge on the woodland side then removed the old bamboo plants from the two big terracotta pots.  I can hear him gently snoring as I write this.

Tomorrow we are planning a trip out after lunch to Newton Stewart.  There is an excellent Nursery there and we are taking a picnic tea so we can go on afterwards to the old local cinema which is something rather special and I will provide pictures on my next post.  They are showing a film called Edie with Sheila Hancock – I know nothing about it other than it is set in Scotland and I quite like Sheila Hancock.

back soon x

 

 

 

 

sEAsons ~ summer garden catch up

Just a catch up.  Due to my lack of blogging I haven’t done an update on the garden – both here in Yorkshire and the one at the cottage in Scotland.

Starting in Scotland –

During the winter months we set about clearing some of the dead branches in the upper wood and pruning a few self seeded Elders whilst the undergrowth lay dormant. Milk crates we have found are a necessity in a big garden – they have a multitude of uses!  You may see it featuring in a lot of my photos.

Below in comparison is the same view on our last visit at the beginning of June now the trees are in leaf.

We hadn’t been to the cottage since the end of March and this is what met us – a lovely wild flower garden however, this is actually lawn or should I say grass as it is nowhere near lawn quality and sadly it had to be cut.

Remember the stream to the sea after the flood when part of the banking was washed away with the little bridge.

Below is the same banking last year  – the grass has started to grow on the bare earth.

This is what it looked like at the beginning of June – such a big improvement.

The wild flowers are coming back and providing little pockets of colour.  I am hoping the large yellow flag Irises will take root again.

And soon it will be back to how it was except of course a lot wider than before the flood.    If you want to read about our cottage and the flood go to the menu bar above.

Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog will know about my beloved pond and the excavation work that has been going on to uncover the buried stones.  This is what I found last April.

We added a plank to the top of the old posts to form a seat and planted some Primulas here and there which are nicely self seeding around the pond.

And this is what it looked like when we visited at the beginning of June – flanked with Rogersia and Aconitum, wild yellow Iris and Primula it is looking quite lush.  It is one of my favourite spots and if ever you can’t find me in the garden always look here first!

 

And now in our tiny Yorkshire garden – at the moment this is my favourite little corner – it is the shady side of the garden – Viburnum Tinus, Escallonia (I am not sure of the variety but it is deciduous) dripping in sprays of tiny pink flowers and forming a beautiful canopy over the corner.

The large fibreglass dish beneath was my dads and he had it planted with annuals and grasses but I like it empty and will probably fill it with water when our water butt is back in action and we have some rain.

I was really excited to see the Peony I bought two years ago has at last produced a flower – I can’t even remember the name so if anyone can identify it do tell me.

The black ironwork stand above was another item I brought from my dad’s garden  – it is not really my thing but it reminds me of dad and it has actually grown on me and when planted up with annuals and trailers it stands in the corner of the patio  and gives the arrangement of pots some height.

The Sweet Peas or rather the would be – no flowers to be seen yet and still a way to grow unless I have got a dwarf variety.

I have had to dismantle the display on the patio to put the pots into a shadier place in the garden whilst we are away.  Fingers crossed they don’t dry out in the heat.

And lastly do you remember we have been waiting all winter to have the house re-pointed – I thought the weather was never going to stop raining but at last it happened on the weekend of the royal wedding and then DH cleaned up the brick work with water and a stiff brush – it looks like a new house again now.

So that is the update – and we are now about to embark on another gardening marathon at the cottage so stay tuned.  We never know quite what to expect when we go up and it has been a good three weeks since we were last there.  On the Mull 3 weeks is a very long time and the mild micro climate means everything grows really quickly including the weeds.

back soon x

dEAr diary ~ saying goodbye

It’s official – on Tuesday 31st July I will be leaving work – (notice I say leaving not retiring) for at this point I am not sure what my immediate future holds, and also notice I say immediate future as my working life at 64 is becoming increasingly shorter.

So at present I am saying goodbye to all my colleagues and everything I have known for the last 19 years… to venture into the unknown.

I am not able to draw on my state pension until May 2020 – so a while to go yet and it will be a challenge to see if we can survive on just the pension of DH.  His first instalment has just been deposited in our bank account.  I think we have paid out bigger bills!

I can’t even believe we have reached pensionable age – it has come round quicker than expected.  What happened to all those years that used to stretch ahead of us and are now behind us?  Do I sound a little scared – I could easily be if I sat and thought about it too much.

I have a number of alternative opportunities at this point, other than just to retire.  I have been approached by one or two people to work within the Legal Aid sector that I know and love but remotely from home (I quite like the idea).  But and this is a big but, I do want to have some quality time for myself to do all the things I am passionate about – gardening – crafting – painting, and some time just to be rather than to do and I want to do all these whilst I am generally still fit and able.

So lots of decisions to make and lots of challenges ahead of which I will no doubt keep you posted along the way.  Any tips or advice welcome.

Apologies for anyone trying to leave a comment  recently and thank you to the people who have hijacked other bloggers commenting page to get a message to me.  It seems that WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme that I chose is not comment friendly so I have now switched themes – so I hope this solves the problem and I would love to hear from you if you would like to try again.

On the same note there are a number of blogs mainly on Blogger that I used to comment on that have recently changed and only allow Google account uses now for comments and I cannot sign into mine.  I would love to leave you a comment if you could adjust your comment drop down to include the ‘Name/URL’ version.

So that is all the technical stuff taken care of and I am now about to run around in a frenzy trying to pack to go up to the cottage for a couple of weeks.  The weather sounds good and I am sure our jungle of a garden up there will need quite a bit of attention.  I am also hoping for a trip out on the Waverley paddle steamer – one of my favourite holiday treats.

Back soon x

 

 

 

dEAr diary ~ the best of Italy

Firstly, welcome to my readers and followers – both new and old friends – and many apologies to blog friends for my lack of comments over the last few weeks.

I am finding now I have time to comment that I cannot comment on the usual sites I visit.  The open ID option on the drop down on blogger does not seem to be available  – only the Google account – and I am locked out of this at the moment – has something changed in blogland?

So much news to tell.  I will begin in beautiful Italy at the wedding in the park.

The wedding was amazing.  We gathered beneath a canopy of trees in the tiny local park located off the main square by the town hall in Cornedo.  It was a beautiful hot sunny day and we were glad of the dappled shade.  The bride and groom arrived together in a classic white sports car and walked hand in hand along the carpeted path strewn with rose petals to the little ceremony area in the centre of a gravelled circle edged with canvas chairs for the guests.

The marriage was conducted in Italian and there was a lot of cheering and clapping throughout by the Italians.  Afterwards we mingled and chatted amongst the guests, taking photos and admiring the dress and flowers then we drove up into the surrounding hills to this restaurant for the reception.

The views surrounding us were stunning and we relaxed outside on the terrace shaded by the large canvas parasols and ate delicious Italian style canapes from paper cones.  Eventually we were called inside to the dining area and began the twelve course menu.

We grazed our way through one dish after another of the most wonderful Italian food – food for the Italians is very important  and each dish is served and savoured separately with everyone taking breaks here and there between courses.  Part way through the bride and groom played an Italian style Mr and Mrs game outdoors and we even had a walk up to the local church and back before returning to our seats to continue eating!

Afterwards, we danced outside in the twilight to live music and the groom  joined the band to sing to his bride…so romantic.   Their first dance ‘I want to be like you’ from The Jungle Book was certainly different and entertaining and set the scene for a great evening.

The next day we moved from countryside to city.  Vicenza, is packed with history, artifacts and imposing buildings that once belonged to the wealthy merchants and nobles.  Shopping here is certainly an experience – stylish shops and bars line the main thoroughfare.  I was tempted to buy on a few occasions.

We spent our time exploring down the narrow winding streets where the grand ‘palatial’ buildings towered above us.  The main square of the  Piazza dei Signori is home to the recently restored Basilica Palladiana – this was a shopping mall in its time selling luxury goods.

Our apartment,  Le Dimore del Conte, is housed within the 15th century Palazzo Sesso, the building immediately behind the statue above on the Piazza del Castello. To the right is the unfinished building Palazzo Porto started by Andrea Palladio, the 16th century architect, and originally commissioned as a replacement for the less grand Palazzo Sesso.  Quite a curiosity, the building was never completed and remains in this part finished state today.

Life in Vicenza has a casual air about it.  Plenty of time to read the paper, walk the dog or both at once!   Plenty of time to sit and socialise and watch the world go by.  The Italians certainly have balance in their lives between work and play.

Parco Querini

After 3 days in Vicenza we moved on to stay in the old historical part of Mestre just outside Venice.  Staying in Venice itself was unfortunately just too expensive for this trip but the tram is so easy to catch from Mestre and it takes you across the water in a matter of minutes.

If you have never been to Venice then add it to your list as a must – it is such a magical place – like entering onto a theatre set.  It is, of course,  essential to do the touristy spots such as St Mark’s Basilica  and the Doge’s Palace but then move out to the less popular streets not far away and there are many hidden treats to be found that show aspects of the real daily life for Venetians.

 

On the last day we took a boat trip down the Grand Canal and out to Murano and Burano – fascinating Islands in the lagoon.  Burano in particular is very interesting  – it seemed a place that might be quite bleak in the winter and is maybe why the houses are painted such bright colours.  They are fisherman’s homes so quite small in comparison with the affluent homes of their rich cousins in Venice itself and a much more down to earth place.  The ladies here are quite proud of their lace making and entice you into their little shops dotted along the canal side to admire their handiwork and watch them at work.

After a whole week of sunshine and high temperatures this was the only time it rained – but the drizzle and the umbrellas only added to the atmosphere.

All too soon it was time to come home…back to the turbulent world of work!

More of my new in my next post.

For anyone wanting to leave a comment – I believe you click onto the title for this post at the top of the page and then it has a comment form on the end of the post page.

It looks like this theme is not ‘comment friendly’ so bear with me whilst I search for a new theme in the next day or two. x

dEAr diary ~ my new journey begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Thanks for joining me – it is good to be back – so much has happened – I will summarise.

Italy happened, it was wonderful.

I have handed in my notice at work, it is a bit scary.

I have been busy, busy, busy, no time to blog.

I felt I needed a new space for my new journey, so here I am.