Archives for the month of: August, 2013

 Feeling a little sheepish

All week I’ve been watching the seed heads ripen, but Milk Thistle (Carduus marianus) is so prickly and Herbals tell you that the seeds need to be ripe before you harvest them. The envelopes were gathered and labeled but last night’s wind has spirited the heads away. Looking forward to next year’s surprise plantings!

Milk Thistle 

Stormy Weather

West wind has buffeted the cottage, rattling  slates, tugging at flashings. The sea, whipped into a deep swell, flings whites waves crashing onto the shore. The little cordyline throws down it’s sword-like leaves, like a bad tempered armourer, bending and swaying with every gust.

Morning rituals, coffee; unlock the shed, this morning greeted by swallow babies and parents reluctant to leave it’s shelter.  A weak, watery sun percolates the yellow sky, rain drops trace the window panes.

Golden grain gathered in, straw bales line the fields, a frenzy of silage and haylage, winter food for livestock. Such an odd year of weather. Herbs seeds waiting to be gathered, hedgerows share their bounty, blackbird and robin return to the garden.

Astronomical autumn may be  weeks away but meteorological autumn comes in with a thump!


Amazed at fungi which just appear overnight providing Autumn feasts for unknown party-goers. No idea what they are!

In her poem “Mushrooms” Sylvia Plath  describes the mystery of their arrival –

“Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,”

Fungi are out of my league – but I enjoy them popping up indiscriminately, all over the garden…. But I’m not about to eat them!


Time is a fluid commodity, running through our memory like water in the hand.  Memories of birthdays, holidays, Christmas past and sad anniversaries. Twenty years ago it had been a long wet summer; the schools had just gone back, our youngest started nursery. An early autumn day, the first really sunny day with cool, clear air, we went to the park and came back to a phone call. That Christmas my sister and I sat on the end of the parental bed watching “Grandpa” and wept. Twenty years on, as I dig my garden, I think of following my dad through the greenhouses, watching as he worked. I thought he was invincible…

Light & Shade

Now we sit with our mums trying to make sense of our world, as we try and make sense of theirs and realise how much we forgot to remember and how much we forgot to ask. No doubt it has always been thus and always shall be hence.

So I’m designing a “Forget-me-Not” Garden with Rosemary for Remembrance, Sage for the “Sage-ing” years, Roses for Love, Sweet violets. I’ll fill it with flowers from my childhood, Snowdrops, Daffodils, Pinks and Forget-me-not.  The rose I’ve been looking for, the one that grew at home, I found it, growing on the wall at my mum’s care home. Maybe if I show it to her she will remember it’s name… 

Still busy digging, only 5 metres dug today; 30 to go. But if the ground wiggles don’t dig! Found a tiny toad, laid him him on the grass and he disappeared into it almost immediately. The moth was new too

Tiny Toad

Inula resting place


Last night I watched the sunset over the darkling sea, watched blue skies turn to amber – grey. Listened to the seagulls cry from the distant shore. Watched the night flyers emerge into the twilight as day creatures took their rest.

Later, the moon rose bright in velvet blue, diamond scattered sky. The garden, bathed in moonlight, took on a new beauty of it’s own. Dawn arrived, spreading pink fingers of light over the garden and trees before climbing higher in the sky to greet the moon.

Evening returns once more; sunset on a glorious day. Swallow babies, returned to roost, wait expectantly for parent birds, now twisting, turning, wheeling and diving through the warm air. The curlew calls, all is still and peaceful. Guests drink in the view, and feel restored…

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

Seems I was missing the party while I toiled in the back garden, preparing the soil for a new wildlife hedge. Obviously a bit of a spectacle too as small birds twittered in the trees and bushes nearby. Never have my camera when the goldcrests arrive along with the long-tailed tits, coaltits, dunnocks and robins. Needing a rest, I walked down to the sun-drenched front garden to find over 20 butterflies flitting about, almost posing for the camera. Well don’t miss an opportunity when it is offered….