Monday, 4 May 2015

Brimming with new growth

The garden is brimming with new growth....


 and it is such a delight for us to look out of the window and see so much green all around. How I love this time of year! What is the highlight in your garden at the moment? It is difficult to choose mine!

Blackcurrant bush

Perennial wallflower


I treated us to a collection of Sarah Raven tulips back in the autumn and they have given us a lovely big boost of colour to our new garden, they were well worth the money! We now have two apples trees- one we are growing in a container and the other one is a step-over tree. It will be interesting to watch it develop it looks just like a branch on a bamboo stick at the moment!. Has any one tried growing step-over trees?

The vegetable and cutting garden are also emerging from their winter slumber. We discovered that we had a crop of wild garlic (see white flowers above). We have also seen plants of this for sale in the local garden centre. It might take over the border, so it will need watching! We have been enjoying using the leaves and flowers in salads and I made a simple omelette with garlic leaves, which was so tasty.We have also had our first picking of rhubarb. The greenhouse is filling up with lots of  flower and vegetable seeds too.

 The pelargoniums have been over-wintering in the conservatory. They have been really enjoying the conditions. This one has been flowering so well, I don't know the variety, I originally picked it up for 50p at a local plant sale.

It has been quite cold and windy here this weekend. To find a more sheltered spot to walk Tavi we visited Abbotsbury Sub tropical gardens, where we have recently bought another season ticket. We try to visit there at least once a month and regular readers will have seen it in previous posts. As usual I took too many pictures, but there is always something different to admire especially at this time of year!

The gardens are celebrating their 250th Anniversary this year, some of the magnificent trees and camillias are so huge and tower way above you.  Amazing to think that some of these plants or their ancestors would have been bought back to England by those first plant hunters so long ago.

They have just built a Burma rope bridge at over the Jurrasic pond. It fits in so well in this jungle like area. My husband walked across it with the camera, so I didn't get a picture! Tavi was extremely keen to join in - so I had to hold on tight!

The bridge made me think about the novel I recently bought for my kindle it was The Elephant Moon  by John Sweeney. The novel is about an English teacher and orphan children escaping from Burma during the second world war through the jungle with the help of elephants. It was one of those books I couldn't put down, which was just as well on my train journey to London last week. It takes 3 hours each way! I was attending a conference near Tower Bridge, so during the lunch hour I managed to escape for a short while and enjoy the views of the Thames. The last time I visited this area was when I was 10 and visited the Tower of London with my sister to see the crown jewels! I was impressed with the area and will have to make a return visit as a tourist.

Although it was lovely by the Thames and the conference was useful,  I would still have preferred to have been with my husband, who was enjoying this scenery on a walk !

Thank you for all your comments on the last post, especially about Nepal. I did update it with news that the village that my daughter had visited had escaped major damage with only one building damaged.

Hope you have had a good weekend too and are enjoying the delights of the season, wherever you live.
Sarah x

Monday, 27 April 2015

The buildings of West Bay and signs of Spring.

The beginning and end of the day are for me the best times to be down by the sea, when the day trippers have returned home and only the residents remain -some of which included the feathered variety......

Most of the fishing boats are safely back in harbour.....

The buildings around the harbour area are all very different in style. My favourites include the old thatch cottages and the arts and craft style of  the Pier terrace which was designed by Edward Schroeder Prior (see below.) The Pier Terrace was originally built to attract the tourists to a new resort. West Bay in the early 20th century didn't become as popular holiday destination as they hoped.

On the opposite side of the harbour the buildings and architecture are more modern...

There are also buildings that were used for the port trade and have now been recycled. This warehouse is now an art gallery and cafe......

Or the more classical style of this building and the 19th century church

the top of which is a popular look out point!

But the star of the show always has to be the natural landscape......

Each day more flowers are reappearing along the coast path here captured here are white bells, sea spinach  mallow. We are going to Sorrento on holiday in early summer I was reading that they used the mallow leaves to wrap the local cheese before transporting it to Naples. Some of the leaves look huge already.

These seed heads look so beautiful at this time of year!

There are signs of spring appearing all around. Walking on the Ridgeway yesterday, we noticed the pattern of the falling blossom in the garden on this old manor house which is now a Nursing home for the Elderly.

The lambs in the field are frisky and full of curiousity.

 Tennis was originally only played inside, the long building below is a real tennis court it was built in 1885 and was one of many similar buildings built throughout the country. Lawn tennis became more popular and many of these buildings fell into disrepair. It is good to see this one has been restored and is still be used for the purpose that was intended.

 The blossom is slowly appearing on the trees....

and the leaves on the beech tree are just emerging.

Over the weekend we were shocked to hear about the massive earthquake that has caused such a huge loss of life in Nepal. Our daughter visited Nepal five years ago and helped in projects to improve schooling and also viewed the water projects to provide easy access to water in the mountain villages. It is this same area unfortunately that was the epicentre of the earthquake. We hope that these small remote communities far away from the main cities will receive urgent assistance as soon as possible.


Update on Nepal - as the news has worsened over the past few days, with the death toll rising and the weather not helping the situation we were relieved to hear that the village that my daughter visited only had one building damaged, they seem to be have been more fortunate than others.

 Sarah x

Friday, 17 April 2015

River Cottage Garden Open Day

We took another visit to River Cottage last weekend as they had a "Garden Open Day  - Meet the Experts". As we have a new garden this season, we thought it would be good to go along and pick up some ideas and inspiration. The talks were from professionals from the Soil Asssociation, Garden Organic, Hodmedods, Heligan gardens and focused on the best practices in growing organic edible food.

We decided to walk down the hill rather than take the tractor ride. My husband's boot laces got tangled up and he ended up flat on the ground with badly cut hands. The River Cottage staff came to our rescue, and patched him up with about 5 plasters! Despite the bad start we had a wonderful day and came away with some good ideas.

I loved these hazel archways created for the peas.

These were some of the hints we picked up from the day:-

  • Three of the most important things to have successful crops are good soil, crop rotation and good planning.
  • The garden methods used in Victorian times are still the best way of doing things.
  • Grow two crops from one plant - white emergo runner beans will produce runner beans and then later in the season you can dry the beans and store for the winter.
  • Growing perennial vegetable crops can save time and effort, examples include globe artichokes, walking onions, sea kale, and perennial broccoli.
  • Plan your garden using a internet vegetable gardening planner.
  •  String the tape from old video tapes over the vegetables to keep the birds away.
  • Fill up an old wooden box with strawberry plants.
  • Use the green house over the winter to grow salads, chard and herbs.
Are you doing anything different in your garden this year?

Images of some of the ideas -Currant bushes grown as standards, perennial sea kale, a box of strawberries.

We also were given a very tasty lunch full of vegetables - it was so yummy and fresh. Has anyone ever tried badger bean (also known as maple peas) they are produced by Hodmedod who are trying to encourage farmers to grow more peas and beans and also get us to eat more of these crops. Some of these crops would have been so familiar to our ancestors. The team from The Lost Gardens of Heligan gave a very informative talk it's amazing that this year they will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary.

A winter crop of salads, thyme, rainbow chard and purple flowered broad beans grown in the poly tunnel.

We are back at River Cottage in about a month's time for a concert. It will be good to visit their garden again and see how all these plants have developed and  also see the lambs again, this one was certainly enjoying the sunshine!

Wishing you a good weekend. Thank you for visiting me and taking time to leave me comments, I appreciate them so much..
Sarah x

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside - in Cornwall!

On our recent holiday in Devon we had only been away from the sea less than 24 hours and we headed down to the Cornish shore at Whitsand Bay. (You can never have too much of a good thing!)

The shoreline is very different to back home and the last few times we have been down in the area the tide has been in - hiding this magnificent view.

  As you pass the gorse bushes you catch the smell of the coconut scented flowers. 

From the top of the cliffs the people walking along the beach just appear so tiny.

Tavi's favourite toy at the moment is this red ball and string he just loved running along the beach after it!

 I am publishing two posts in one today so if you have not had enough of the sea come over and visit the shoreline of Dorset here too ! 
Sarah x


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