Sunday 5 July 2015

Sundays Snaps

  It has been a lovely Sunday away from the stresses of the NHS. The garden is my own medicine, no wander some GPs prescribe garden therapy. Looking at the plants, picking the aphids off, working out what's grown, and just being outdoors in the wind, rain, or sunshine. I have packed a lot of plants in a modest sized garden. The first photo is the Echinacea growing on, with a white flower I hope. A lot of gardening is hopes despite setbacks. Its all a learning curve, trial and error.
 I keep trying to take pictures of the insects that pose long enough for me to get my mobile phone close to them. It has a very good camera, equivalent to a digital camera. This fly obliged and sat on the hanging basket Lobelia.
 The garden had a plastic pot with Asiatic Lily's growing in. I am not a fan of the Lily Beetles that regularly decimate the plant and leaves. The shiny red beetle has the most revolting larvae that poo all over themselves leaving black muck on the underside of the leaves. They gradually take the leaves off stopping the flowering. This pot has thirty stems,  but only one Lily bloom. It is a red and orange fiery Lily. It does not have any scent.
 It was a nice surprise to find it open this morning. The plants will all be composted at the end of the flowering.
 The wrongly labelled not snow white rose (renamed Tangerine Dream for its apple/citrus scent) has had a second bloom open today. It needed a cane to hold it upright. They glow like mountain recue high vis jackets against the white and green of the border.
This pic shows the two Roses in bloom. The only other Rose that has bloomed is the Kenyan one that I bought in York Parliament Street. It was an indoor Rose but moved outside here in Stanley. The Blue Rose, and the Rose Queen Elizabeth have small buds. Maybe there is a difference between being planted in the border, versus pot grown roses.
 I looked today at using Banana peel as an organic fertiliser. I have a regular supply (Julia eats them every day).
 The last pic is of the Farmhouse door that we bought at Decoporium ( a vintage/antique/up cycled warehouse with 40 plus dealers selling within its cavernous area). It was to break the plain white  washed wall. It is enjoying a third life. I love the yellow paint that was on the inside. I have imagined its former life before it was used as a plastering board.
 I gave it a wash to remove years of dirt, dust, and dried plaster. It is painted Blue on the front side (the photo shows the inner door side).
 Julia said I had mentioned the door but never blogged it. It has been on my Twitter feed though. It has now been blogged.
 I bought a new printer today so That I could print photos off and display them in the houses spare room. A little artistic homage to the blog. The photos are the lifeblood of the blog. The words illustrate them but people can see the images from all over the world.
 My heart is what powers the words and the pictures I upload.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Crimson Blood Red And Tangerine Dream

 It was not as hot today in the garden. I went out to try to take early morning photos of some of what was in flower. The Red Rose is one Julia had in Helmsley, in her flats kitchen. It is a gorgeous red crimson colour. I repotted it and have put it outside. It has thrived. This is the first Rose that grew here in Stanley.
The second Rose is called Tangerine dream. It has a delicious apple/citrus scent and is copper or apricot coloured. I bought Rose Snow White for the white and green border. Damn the incorrect label from b and q.. I now have an orange Rose growing in the white/green border. It is fantastically healthy with glossy leaves, no aphids, or black spot.
 Tangerine Dream (my own name for it.unknown variety really) has a stunning traditional hybrid tea look with sumptuous apricot petals. the scent is amazing. There are three Rose buds growing on the Rose shrub.
 The South African Daisies have thick stems and leaves, but a kaleidoscope of colours. They only open when its sunny, and close if it is cloudy or wet. They have covered the biggest basket we made, along with Candy Cane flowers.
The last photo shows Geum Mrs Bradshaw. Lovely Red and gold flowers. I swept up a lot of leaves from the neighbours weeping willow, It has rained since and knocked more leaves down. The collected leaves are going to make new leaf mould compost for the veg beds, pots, and  the borders.
   What I have tried to do is use everything that is in the garden to make compost, and improve the soil. The fallen leaves become a resource. I am a fan of recycling, composting, and up cycling things for use in the garden.
 That's why the battered farmhouse door came from Thorpe Arch at Wetherby to Stanley. Our garden has given it a third life (farmhouse door, plastering board, now garden feature).
 I'm back to work tomorrow before a weekend off. More gardening, shopping, and blogging then.

Herbs And Plants

 I got an email about a Herb Walk and Workshop in Knoll Gardens in Dorset. Rachel Heathcote is a traditional herbalist who uses common herbs and flowers for natural remedies. Knoll garden is a four acre garden attached to a nursery specialising in ornamental grasses. If I was not working Id love to go on the 18th July 2015.
 I started to look around the garden to see what Herbs I  had growing. The first is the traditional garden Mint.
 Great with baby new potatoes and to make a mint sauce to go with lamb.
 The next pic shows the newly planted pots of Parsley Titan. I have grown these from seeds in the staging in the kitchen. still growing but not pictured are Basil seedlings. They have taken forever to grow and the majority have died. Im hopeful that if I can get the seedlings to grow the garden is hot and dry and perfect for a Mediterranean herb.
 Growing in a pot in the garden when I moved here was this gnarly old lavender. I trimmed it and have been nursing it back to health. Lavender is great for sleeping, make little sachets to go under your pillow.
 A good surprise plant that was growing in the garden was this white Borage. The Bees love it. Blue Borage flowers are good in icecubes for summer drinks. The white Borage plant has gone into the white and green border.
The last pic is of my French Marigold, beautiful colour and strong scent. In India they make garlands with these flowers and use them for offerings. I also have Lovage growing in a pot on the patio which I bought from Duncombe Park Country Fair.
  In the distant past before medicine people used herbs, plants, flowers, and roots for traditional remedies. over time we have lost the art of using garden plants in this way.
 The Monasteries and Nunneries used to grow herbs for medicine and for food. The Apothecary used the plants and herbs grown in the monastery garden.
 The Knoll Gardens link is :

   The walk and workshop runs from 1030am to 1 pm, and tickets cost £35 including taking home remedies from the workshop. Rachels website address is with details of tickets there.
 A garden can be beautiful and functional too for growing herbs and flowers.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

David The Gardener (Julias words)

 Julia wrote a lovely piece about me on the back of Cocoa Pops packet. This is her description of me:

"David.. the gardener.
Oh.. and a little about myself. On the day I met David he happened to mention he enjoyed gardening. I thought "that's okay I like a pretty garden to wonder through hand in hand!"
 How little did I know.

    Enjoyed! It his passion, or as he told me was. Myself a total novice who hardly knows a dandelion from a daffodil. He told me about his little blog so I began to read it, I was hooked. I smiled at his anecdotes and was mesmerised by the wonder and beauty of nature in his photography. His visits to Helmsley  I hope inspired him. I knew he began to inspire me.
 I knew he was beginning to emerge like a little seedling ,itching to start creating his newly acquired Mews garden.
I couldn't wait to see it. Every day I began to receive a picture with another task completed.
 I am beginning to learn so much about the garden, plant names, insects, birds all thanks to my happy gardener. no longer Snappy!
 We now live together in our pretty Mews house tending the garden, watching the wildlife.
 Gardening for us has and still does have healing therapies.. and love.
 Thank you David
  Julia X "

Garden And Shopping Therapy


   I went shopping with Julia when we were travelling up and down from North Yorkshire. We stopped at Deans Garden Centre in Stockton On The Forest. I found another Da Vinci home and garden statue named David. I thought to balance the half undressed Lady Id get a classical posed male statue. It is smaller than the Lady. The lady statue was based on a sculpture from 1860. This male is from Michelangelo's large statue now in Florence.
 I googled the original and was amazed at the detail in the carving. Mine is a facsimile.. but fits in well with the white and green border.
 I also bought a metal French Chicken with a solar light in its body. I liked the decorative scroll work. The chicken (or Wonky as we call them after Julias Sisters Chicken) can join the ever growing menagerie.
I also bought a darker coloured Rattan Pig to join the grey one I bought it before. I move the Pigs around the garden so Julia does not know where they will be next. Now renamed Pinky (red) and Perky (grey) they add the fun to the garden.
 In Brighouse on Saturday I wanted something for the Scarecrows head but ended up buying some patriotic Union Jack flags. I love the colours and the movement as they flap in the wind.
 Another purchase at Deans was this Suncatcher. The kitchen window has a collection of five stained glass effect objects. An Indian tealight holder, a Butterfly, the blue Gloucester cathedral stained glass transfer, and the Ecuadorean Suncatcher from Helmsley.
 The sun passes from the left hand side of the garden to behind the trees on the right. The kitchen window receives lots of sunlight.
 The garden tonight before I watered it. It all looks lush and colourful. It is my therapy after the stresses of work and life. walking around it looking at all the plants, flowers. Making a garden is an investment in time and patience. I keep buying new additions to add more layers on the garden. Shopping is also therapeutic for me as you might be able to tell with the new garden additions.
 I bought some mini Scarecrows as well to plant all around the garden. I like the whimsical and the classical to make it fun to look at.
The last picture shows the white and green border. There is another blog post about the Rose. My Dads Buddha looks out next to the two classical statues.
 As I write this the air outside is still. The Petunias and Nemesia smell sweet and fragrance the air. The birds are singing its the end of the hottest day of the year. The food will be topped up and the garden left to grow in the cooler night.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Garden Journey part 2

May 1st 2015
I finally went plant shopping with Julia to fill out the back border where the fence is. I had read about Gertude Jekylls white garden at Sissinghurst. I had seen green and white displays at RHS Tatton park and thought Id do one here. I picked up lots of white flowering plants and Cinereria for its upright grey foliage to contrast with the white Daisys .
The corner had some White Foxgloves and a Sedum which I still hope is white flowering. The unknown shrub had grown from the soil in the front of the dilapidated wooden border.
May 5th 2015
The new additions included Strawberry plants, Petunias and Verbenas, a stone birdbath. Some of the exotic plants had been dug up and put into pots. the Yucca, and a few Canary Island Palms. It is a windy, exposed hilly garden with damp clay soil.
I also bought fiery coloured plants for the right hand border. French Marigolds, Geums, Salvias. This has been named the Fire border as opposed to the writers white border.
June 11th 2015
A few months later and the planting has filled out. The maple looks like a luscious lime green fur coat. It is massive. The crocosmia are growing on either side of the brick entrance to the garden. More plants have been added in pots and to the borders.
I went to see my Mum, Sister, and Niece. I brought back my Dads stone Buddah. One of the few things we cleared from his flat after he had died. I think it fits in perfectly in the cool white and green of the ice border.
White Cosmos flowering next to the Buddah. There is a white Rose called Snow White, White Hollyhocks Single and double, White Echinacea..It is all flowering at different times.
  That's a whistle stop tour of the garden from mud and leaves to a place I love going out into. We  also planted three raised beds of Vegetables, and a planter box full of Strawberries. So much to blog about now.

Garden Journey Part 1

December 28th 2014
  I moved to Stanley two miles from Wakefield in November. A rented end terrace house at  the bottom of the cul de sac. The garden had been recently cleared of brambles and weeds. It is over looked by large conifer trees and a weeping willow that drops leaves and branches whenever it is windy or raining (quite often in West Yorkshire). There is a shorter fence to the left, a six foot high fence at the back where they play Sunday league football. the right hand side has a white washed wall with decorative port holes.
 Plant wise there was a gnarled Japanese Maple, various exotic shrubs looking a bit shivery and ropey. there was  a patio area by the back door. and a can of paint between the brick entrance to the muddy sticky garden. This was December 28th.
January 5th 2015
I could not decide to start with  how long Id be staying for. I hung a few bird feeders up to try and entice the local avian population. with gardens, wild grass, playing field, and mature trees it had mixed habitat for the local birds.  I persevered as nothing came to start. I think this was in December when I had cleared a garden bins worth of tree limbs, branches and weeds.
January 8th 2015
 I was looking for recycled plastic paving stones. lots in the USA but none here despite numerous google searches. the mud was very sticky underfoot after it had rained. I finally found a company in Norfolk who made recycled pvc pathways for allotments. It came swiftly and I laid the black track down. A way to walk to the end of the garden. I used a pile of stones by the brick wall to mark out a border in the right hand side. the only plants growing were some Iris who's clumps I split up .
January 25th 2015
Work stopped for a bit when it snowed. It covered the mud and made the garden look magical. January 21st 2015.
April 21st 2015
By April the grass and weeds were growing. My green fingers were glowing by now. I spent half my time working here, and the other half in Helmsley. As the relationship flourished so did my plans for the garden. I had invested emotions into the soil and seeing what plants were there already. trying to garden on a budget and move those plants in the wrong place.
The first serious planting was two containers that had no liner or plants. I had newspaper so I lined the planters, filled them with a bounteous amount of compost from the side of the house. I used the plants I could dig up in the garden. I had not been to any garden centre.
The last picture shows the second planter filled with Ivy, Euonymus, Heuchera, and a lone Begonia from the front door two tier planter that stood over a tree stump. One surviving Begonia was transplanted into the mini garden.
 These were the first planting that I had done. The catalyst for the rest of the gardens renewal.