Archives for the month of: October, 2015

But I can look interested too!

Here’s our lovely Oscar  It’s exactly one year since we drove across the country and came back with our shy and retiring cat. He spent the afternoon and evening hiding under the bed. I worried he was dehydrated, homesick or ill. Then he came down stairs and cried, running back up stairs before returning and doing the same thing several times. Then it dawned on us, it was bedtime and he had decided that he would sleep with small daughter. Not very often a young adult takes to bed at nine 0’clock! (And that has been his spot until she left for Uni in September.)

After three days, he decided he quite liked us and would maybe stay after all. Greeting us with small chirrups and gravelly purrs, enjoying being stroked but never quite sure. Norwegian forest cats love to climb, so he could be found on top of wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and bookshelves. Spending many hours gazing out the window but apparently seeing nothing.  The spiders and flies sheltering in the window frames were easily spotted but never the birds in the trees. At times he was quite cross-eyed and a bit of a teenage boy – washing was the last thing on his mind – until we discovered he loved to be brushed.  With his furry feet he learnt he could slide across the floors when he chased balls, crashing into things and coming up unscathed! 😀

Over the months he has grown into a beautiful, sleek cat, grooming himself but still enjoying a good brush. When we lost our lovely Swedish Bruce we weren’t sure we would have another cat but the cottage was too quiet without a pet. Oscar doesn’t feature as often as Bruce on the blog as he has had a slow introduction to the garden and walks on the lead. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t stand at the door and yell to get out though!

And no, there is nothing wrong with his eyesight, we just watched a lone bat flit over the garden as dusk fell and a brief “huggy walk” round the garden. He notices the seagulls flying overhead, the tiny birds in the cherry tree and can hear a vole from across the garden. And he’s strong. Dragging a reluctant human over the grass to wait in a hedge while he investigates the leaf litter or a tussock of grass. Or playing hunt the chicken and finds he has met his match in Esme! Loving to rough house, chases and hunting, reciprocating with bedtime cuddles and morning hugs, chirrups and purrs and on very special occasions – a good lick with one very rough tongue!

My bored look...

Favourite place to sit  – on the landing – so he can watch everything that’s going on even when he appears asleep. So we are glad we got our Oscar; still early, by nine o’clock he’ll be ready to play and see if he can convince anyone to take a walk in the moonlit garden!

Time to Reflect

The Sunday house lies silent still, in the half-light, a scattering of kitten toys litter the landing. Now I remember, somewhere in the wee small hours, Oscar was quite insistent it was playtime. No sign of him this morning though. BST (British Summer Time) has ended, my head tells me its late but the clock tells me its early. It will take a little while till we adjust to early darkness and this brief hour of morning light.

Two days of wind and rain; the still pools of the little burn are now a torrent of brown water, rushing pell-mell to the sea. No time for reflection. Suddenly, it’s downhill all the way to Christmas!

Flowers tattered and torn, seeds scattered on the wind. The frenetic harvesting has come to an end, the “tattie howking” is finished, produce safely stored in barns. Somewhere in the past, I can still recall when fields were filled with people lifting the potatoes. Now the sleek big, tractors and machinery do the work in no time at all. Already the land is prepared for new crops, turning the golden stubble in and furrowed sweet, brown earth covered in seagulls, hints at a different harvest. The last ingathering of flowers, a bouquet of seed heads, a monochrome study of understated beauty, the last fragrant sweet peas and cosmos.

Fungi pop up in various shades and form, autumn provision for the hardy foragers. No Fly Agaric this year to amuse me, though I’ve searched under the birch and pine trees. Late sunflowers coming into bloom just as the harshest of weather arrives…


The “neighbours”  were curious to know why someone was scrabbling around under the fallen trees, searching in the undergrowth, disturbing their reverie…

Autumn colour

Beech trees have appeared to be in a state of autumn since the wild winds in spring, scorched and scarred their leaves with salt spray. Now in the dying sun the leaves hang golden in the fading day. Sycamore lays down in red and orange. When the flowers fade and the garden is bereft of petals; suddenly each leaf becomes a flutter of colour.

Will it be a harsh winter?  Blackbird has stripped the hawthorn bare; chaffinch, wren, blue-tits, great-tits, goldfinch, dunnock, robin and sparrow have all returned to the garden. Squabbling among themselves, singing out their songs, establishing their territories. Oscar is a little bemused by it all, turning his attention from grassy tussocks and errant voles; now a silent, avid bird watcher. The kestrel watches too from his lofty lookout, while in the early darkness, a lone owl screeches from the beech trees that stand in silent watch around the garden.

Morning has dawned as I write, Oscar calls for breakfast, chickens must be fed and daily tasks undertaken. In the hedgerow the little birds seek food, prodding the lichen, searching the leaf axils, poking bark and berry. Time never stands still in the garden, the waning year marked  by subtle changes until suddenly another season. Even as the leaves fall, next years buds are on the twigs, biding their time, ’til light and warmth call them into being.

Thanks for stopping by today – enjoy the season’s changes.

Still flowering

I love walled gardens, if I discover a walled garden that’s where you’ll find me and my other half. If it has a green house; even better – I love greenhouses too! Culzean has a stunning walled garden that varies throughout the year but always has something new to discover, smell or enjoy. Filled with fragrance and rivers of colour. A haven for wild life too…

Grape Houses

Look at all that glass and pristine paintwork; reminds me of my childhood. I love the warm, damp, green smell of a greenhouse. Grape vines prunes and bearing fruit. Exotic climbers, scaling the walls, in rich deep colours…

Pergola passion!

And perfect pergolas too, a fairly recent addition (we’ve been visiting here for a lo-ong time so everything is relative.) Leading out into the woods along woodland paths to wilder areas of the estate…

Testament to Autumn

The packed borders have bloomed and delighted many a guest but now spent and brown, filled with seed. Waiting for the wind to shake the brittle stems to set them free on the breeze. The gardeners have already started the autumn tidy-up so some areas are bare and brown…

Agapanthus seed heads

African Lilies, in shades of blue and purple, now withered and brown await winter’s cruel blast, far from home…

Educated Thistle

Cardoon stands tall against the sun, an educated thistle, given pride of place. They will still be there well into winter, trimmed with frost, providing shelter and food for finches and wren. I’m hoping the seedlings I planted this year will fair a bit better next spring!

There is so much to see at Culzean Castle  that if you are travelling you should plan to stay for the day. Bring a picnic or eat in the cafe (check opening times). Explore the shore, visit the swan pond, woodland walks, restored buildings or spend time in the second hand bookshop or the castle.






Tree bark

Dramatic Autumn Crocus

Gunnera leaf

In the sheltered garden

she stands, 

warming her back in low autumn sun.


Sunlight on my back, sheltered from the wind, the scent of autumn pervading the garden. What could be more delightful on warm, dry Sunday afternoon?  Woodpecker knocking in the tree above my head, as I trace the textured bark with my fingertips, a stunning abstract in grey and white. As the massive Gunnera (Gunnera manicata)  catches the falling leaves, a collection building in the crease of her leaf. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) bloom, a profusion of purple, nestled between the shadows as the leaf litter grows. Drama in the garden on a quiet Sunday stroll…



No more sofa sunsets; as the sun tracks south…

leaf fall

A single leaf falls,

then suddenly another,

stolen by the breeze.


(1654 – 1707)

First cool, almost frosty morning; dawn arrives in shades of red and gold, painting the western sky in pinks and lilac. Lighting up both sea and mountain, small fishing boats cast their nets, punctuating the still, calm sea…

Morning sun on sea and land

Fungi and fallen leaf decorate the soft green grass, each blade adorned in tiny jewels, fragmenting light. Late blooms shine in the pale morning sun…

Colours fade; a new palette of fawn, brown and grey. Seeds on fairy parachutes drift across the sky, others fall beneath their parent plant, to wait in darkness for springs new sun…

Autumn colours, alchemy within the leaf, turns green to red, gold and brown. As sap retreats, each leaf shivers on the bough until the breeze steals each one, liberated to the wind, to lie in drifts or ride each gust. Autumn fills the land with birdsong; hunger making new neighbours…

Black currant leaf

Slung over a screen,

a dress of silk and gauze.

The autumn wind.


(Haiku taken from The Sound Of Water Basho, Buson, Issa and Other Poets translated by Sam Hamill)

“O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all….”

Robert Frost
Fallen rose
Fall, (or Autumn if you prefer), but everything begins to fall. First a trickle of leaves flutter down from the treetops until the fall becomes a torrent. Roses garland the grass, torn from their stems in the mischievous winds.
Paint the morning pink
Sunrise paints the morning pink, rain or sun? Before the sun rises beyond the trees and shines brightly upon the dew soaked sod…
Thrush was here
Somewhere the thrush trills her morning song, elusive visitor, warrior, striking down the gardener’s enemies.
Snack food
Puff balls pop up overnight, snack food for voles and harvest mice or perhaps the visiting squirrel?
Breaking down
Tiny tables of delight collect around the rotting stumps, appearing like freshly baked rolls in a bakers window.
Autumn fare
Lying in the leaf litter, toadstools spread their feast for small visitors.
Berry nice
Berries hang enticingly, Blackbirds favourite, but for now they swell and fatten waiting for more inclement weather.
Waiting for Harvest
Apples, redden and sweeten in the last days of sun. Tempting the birds and rabbit waiting for the windfalls. Kitchen filled with autumn aroma, spiced apple cake, blackberry and apple pie, mint syrup. Gathering the harvests filling the
Fallen foliageSnuggled in the dew-drenched grass a lonely leaf lies waiting for his near neighbours to join him in this autumn pilgrimage. The last sweet-peas bloom, cosmos blossoms brightly but only ’til the first frosts strike… We all wait for Fall, embrace the changes!
We had a stunning sunset ten days ago, Scottish Instagram-ers shared wonderful photos. The little twins asked “Mummy, are sunsets dangerous?”
Still laughing I ran outside with the camera to capture the last glorious rays of the dying day. And then it happened!
Suddenly, sliding on the dewy grass, twisting my ankle as I found myself lying at the roadside.That’s what happens when slipping on worn out garden shoes and running around in the falling dew!  FALL – yes, sunsets are dangerous!
Crawling back into the house, lying on the sofa with a bag of frozen peas and my foot elevated. R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Thankfully no more than a bad sprain,  nicely bruised and still strapped up but rather cramping my style. So that’s my excuse for being so tardy and not posting for a while! 😀
I did manage to Instagram though – so you can catch up on the less active gardening capers there!
Thanks for stopping by today!