Archives for category: garden

Sorry about the lack of activity on Jeni’s blog. The hopeful herbalist has left us. She hoped for heaven and is now there. We miss her. Jeni started radiotherapy the day she posted “Walk in the Woods” but the cancer moved too quickly and on 10 June she passed away.

Jeni really enjoyed blogging, developing her remarkable talents, receiving feedback and encouragement and making new friends.

 Thank you for stopping by.

Suddenly the garden is filled with surprise. Every day I venture out there is something new to delight my childlike heart. Snowdrops garlanded with raindrops. Winter Aconite – Eranthis hyemalis, shines like gold in the morning sun; and Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) in bud…

From the bedroom window, the first dainty blossoms shine like fallen stars, closer inspection reveals delicate, pale blossoms on the slender bough. First hawthorn leaves are bright green in the leafless hedgerow…

 Early crocus (C. tommasinianus) punctuate the lawn as I hurriedly planted in the Autumn, not eaten by the voles but flourishing under  the birch and beech. The first daffodils, their gold petals beginning to burst from their protective capsule. How glorious the Spring garden as winter flees, the warmth and sun returns and the garden takes on colour  once again…


Every day in the garden is filled with wonder

Thanks for stopping by today

Dear December

Dark, dull and drear,

Abbreviated day and longest night,

Biding this Advent in quiet contemplation,

Searching for Your Light. 



Super moon

 Six a.m. Slide out of bed, feet reach for warm slippers; slip into cosy dressing gown; step out onto the cool landing into bright moonlight. Oscar ‘chirrups’ a gladsome greeting and takes the stairs in threes; runs into the chilly kitchen. Together we stand at the backdoor gazing across the silver lawn, crisscrossed by pale skeletal tree shadows. Bright white light pours through the skylight windows illuminating the kitchen. Os pleads to be let into the garden but far too cold for an early morning foray…

Later, walking gingerly across the frozen grass, he sniffs the air, pink nose bright in the crisp morning. Everything in the garden shines, frosted, etched in silvery-white. How delicate and fragile the flowers appear, frozen, chrystalised, translucent in the low sun…

Rosebuds, sweet peas, tiny tendrils, dusted leaves, powdered ice; now so vulnerable in the wintry air…

Fungi, fringed and frozen, rooted in time, no faeries feasted here of late. No voles or fearless mice; the tiny pitter-patter in the cottage, speaks of refuge from the biting weather…

Calendula and Cosmos hang down their heads, capitulate to the weather as birds gather at the feeders. Crow family stomp fearlessly across the frozen garden, or roost *gallusly in the bare Beech waiting for an opportune moment to snatch a snack!

Thanks for stopping by today – keep cosy winter’s here!

( *Gallus – Scottish – bold, cheeky or flashy)


Lonely days ahead...

The wind has turned and the cold North wind blows through the trees, suddenly reminded of winters close proximity.The still green leaves pass quickly through copper and gold to rich brown. Flurries of leaves dance across the garden, a deep, crisp, carpet; a satisfying crunch underfoot…

Now the first frost arrives; a flurry of snow, with a bitterly cold wind coaxing, cajoling, withering, drying, prying the leaves from the trees. The garden is alive with hungry birds; a bevvy of blackbirds, a flurry of goldcrests, goldfinch, and a tattle of tits. The hawthorn trees are soon stripped of the haws, the lichen and moss probed for over-wintering insects. No sooner are the feeders filled before the arguments start, the dunnocks and robins content to gather from the ground. Flossy loiters beneath them too hoping for an easy treat….

Even so, the cold dark ground sends forth shoots, the first snowdrops piercing the sunless soil. A few last flowers burst into bloom, calendula golden in the weak sunlight, roses in November and pink lilies. First long winter rains and the little burn rushes by, carrying a flotilla of beech leaves toward the sea on a rush of white water. Three white swans fly overhead and the curlew calls from the field, a sure sign the season is turning.

Inula seed heads

Stark against the muted sky, seed heads offered up to foraging finches, sunflowers submitting to the cold and rain. Dahlias never to flower need dug out and stored, but the moss-lined baskets of viola and cyclamen cheerily open new flowers, sparkling in the evening sun.

Firelight and lamplight, soup and fresh bread, casserole and stew, winter food to feed the body. Poetry, music, reading, writing, time for the soul. Times for reflection and planning and dreaming of next years summer garden. Of being organised and having an orderly garden! Aye, right! 😀

Have a good day, thanks for stopping by!

A Bouquet for You!

Thank You! 

If you follow me you’ll know I procrastinate – all the time. Yep, I can see a great bargain and by the time I make my mind up, the price has almost doubled. That’s me, and procrastination is my middle name. I’ve just been looking through my drafts and some are over a year old;  just ready for this season! Like the one on “Hygge”… 😀

But seriously; Thank You for all the new follows and forgive me that I haven’t come over personally and welcomed you. And to all of you who follow so faithfully, leaving messages of encouragement, Thank you! These flowers are for all of you…. (Yea, this post has been in my head since summer!)

Gifts from the garden

Gifts from the garden are always welcome, there is nothing more enjoyable than cooking for friends and sharing a meal together. Consider yourself invited to a virtual afternoon tea. Wrap up warmly and come sit in the late autumn sun, beneath the old beech trees as the leaves drift confetti-like across the garden…

Hand pies & Herb tea

Blackberry and Apple Hand pies with herb tea or maybe hot chocolate or a nice cup of coffee?  When we first moved to the cottage, our friend (who is half Danish,) gave us a little ceramic heart which reads:

“Laugh often

talk much

sit long”

She has always done ‘Hygge’, (long before it became ‘on trend‘); hand made chocolates, beautiful handmade decorations and the art of just being. We are all so busy; carving out time to spend with each other is not always easy, so put your feet up for 5 minutes and relax…

“…Every heart has so much history
It’s my favorite place to start
Sit down a while and share your narrative with me
I’m not afraid of who you are

I’m all here, and you’re all there
Some of this is unique, and some of it we share
Add it up and start from there
Well, it’s all right here…”

Sara Groves – It’s Alright Here 

Autumn leaves - Beech

But I hope you like poetry too – what poem will you bring?

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Fall, leaves, fall
Emily Bronte – (1818–1848)
Thanks for dropping by today!

Clouds over Arran

For the past few weeks the weather has been set fair, bright skies, dewy mornings, easterly winds and warm sunshine. Determined not to let the weather overtake me as it did last year, the great garden tidy began and continued to the absolute neglect of everything else – including blogging. Forgive me!

Never one for having a perfectly tidy patch but this year the front garden has become so overgrown there has been no other option but to dig out, divide and prune.

Garden 2013

As the Cottage was being transformed into a 21st century home (parts of the house date from the 19th C) so the work in the garden began. There were clumps of unknown perennials, the Snow-berry bush had strayed across the whole garden and perennial weeds flourished everywhere. Stumps of unknown shrubs littered the garden – gradually huge clumps of nameless plants were removed and small pieces kept  out of curiosity.

Garden 2013

Taking my good friend’s advice; I stopped trying to remove the stumps and planted around them. Summer revealed Day lilies, hostas, Red hot poker, berberis and a holly tree. The herbs were planted where ever room became available, not so much a plan just evolving organised chaos!

Some of us are just slow learners. A clump forming perennial is just what it says – left to its own device you get – well, clumps. Huge clumps! So here we are, digging out, dividing and sending the rest to the composter…

Four years on and the stumps that refused to be removed yield to my efforts and come out with reasonable ease, much to my astonishment. Barrows of garden waste and the composters are overflowing. I guess I’ll be able to use it in about two years! My two companions (Flossie the hen and Oscar the cat) keep me company as I dig. Flossie inspects the freshly turned soil, encouraging me to hurry and turn more over. Os meows, his lead caught around a plant. He will happily sit for hours secreted in a shady patch, the birds know he is there and reprimand him loudly.

The three of us have thoroughly enjoyed our times in the warm, Autumn garden. Last tattered butterflies, birds returning to the feeders. New visitors, a woodpecker, wagtails, curlews overhead. Wrens, dunnocks, blackbirds, gold crests, finches, tree creeper and gregarious, blue, coal and great tits. The hedgehog hibernates in the grass opposite the kitchen window, more grass and leaves have been added to the nest. There are no more telltale signs of nocturnal visits although for a couple of weeks it was obvious that there were a few hedgehogs foraging in the garden.

 Golden Sunflower & beech leaves

Sunflowers have survived into bloom this year thanks to the fair weather. First frosts bring a shower of golden beech leaves across the lawn. I love the colour of Autumn! From my desk a small movement catches my eye, a pair of female pheasants cross the garden, the first this year. Always something new to marvel at…

Have a good day and thanks for stopping by today!

You’ll find me in the garden!

October seems to be a good month in the garden. Last year we had a perfect ‘Indian Summer‘ before November stormed in with wind and rain continuing well into 2016! Taking as much advantage as I can of this sublime gift, every opportunity I can, you will find me in the garden. Sunrise is after seven now, slowly stealing up behind the hills, as the sky brightens in palest pink and mauve. Disregarding the old adage “red sky in the morning….” I plan my day in the garden beneath the azure sky.

Frost has not yet visited, sweet peas still blossom, pinks mark the garden border, while the roses burst into  flower again. A few late visitors seek refuge in their petals, drinking down the last offerings of nectar. Late bees and hoverflies, the occasional red admiral or small tortoiseshell butterfly. No more dragons in the garden; such a brief adventure, then they are gone.

Sunset is swift and bright, golden and grey, sleeping warriors bask in the last rays. From the depth of the gloaming moths flit among the ivy flowers. Robin pipes his twilight tune and bids goodnight. The quite wind shakes the bronzed leaves from the bough, hedgehog rustles the dry and yellow grass. And the silver moon illuminates the darkened sky, bright stars, the lighthouse beam, ships lights upon the water. Earth never sleeps, someone, somewhere is awake, observing this unquiet world, where minuscule or magnificent, malevolent or mighty acts occur…

Thank you for stopping by today, the sun is out, the dew is drying. Time to tackle a tangle of lilies again!

Oktober postcard

It seems everything falls softly beneath an October sky. Dawn steals around the curtains as sunrise paints the clouds in pink and orange tones. Coppered, golden leaves drift from the gnarled and knotted beech trees, floating across the garden to lie in soft, inviting mounds.

Berries swell on dew-heavy bushes, warmed by late October sun. Butterflies with faded, tattered wings alight momentarily upon the sun-kissed fruit, then skim across the garden on a sudden breeze. Autumn is in the air, paints the garden in richest pallette…

Rose hips gathered, sweet amber cordial to stave off the winter chill. Berries left unharvested, wild things may have their fill before winter ravages the garden and the lean months blow in…

Unexpected guests arrive, basking in bright sunshine, half unfurled in the sun. Unabashed at meeting Oscar but maybe they are well acquainted passing the time, half-hidden in the long grass, beneath the shady hawthorn.

Past the Equinox and night gradually overtakes the day; sunsets fall more quickly now, hurrying beyond the horizon to brighten spring days in another hemisphere. Dew falls readily on the skylight windows blurring the last rays of sunset as stars begin to twinkle in the moonless sky. Air scented with pinewood fires from cottage chimneys, late curlews call splits the tranquil air. From the hedgerows, low rustling, shuffling sounds as the night creatures leave their leafy beds summoned by silent darkness. Songbirds roost in ivy apparelled hawthorn, solitary bat leaves the roof ridge circles quickly then returns to the shelter of home. Autumn falls softly in the garden…

Thanks for stopping by today – enjoy the changing seasons wherever you are.


Full Circle

A steady rain has fallen since late morning in spite of the promised early sunshine. On days like this you learn to move between inside and outside work as the weather predicts. (That may mean achieving very little!) It has not been a particularly good summer so the need of a large greenhouse seems imperative.

The weedy cardoons have been lifted and potted up, a new planting place will be needed in Spring. Sweet peas have succumbed to the attentions of greenfly and the birds seem quite indifferent to this feast of food. But the first cosmos have blossomed and tiny nasturtiums brighten the dying flower beds. Bulbs have been ordered but the whole garden is in need of a revamp and re-planned, as some plants have taken over and others struggle where they’re planted 😦

Apples harvested, the untidy knot of wild flowers removed along with the perennial weeds that have invaded the orchard; Bruce’s memorial uncovered and spring bulbs planted. Seed-heads gathered, seeds cleaned and packaged ready for the new season…

Composters overflowing with spent plants as the gardens are cleared and tidied. Small potted plants placed in the mini-greenhouse, sheltered from the worst of the cold wind and rain that is the staple of winter on Scotland’s west coast…

Green manures sown in the freshly prepared beds, already sprouting after only a few days in the ground. Having uncovered and pruned the Japanese quince there are plenty of fruits this year, and rose hips need gathered to make Syrup for the long, dark winter months…

Sunbathing in late sunshine

Esme makes the most of the sun if it shines. The chicken’s day is punctuated with foraging, sunbathing, begging and pest control – sadly never had any eggs since the traumatic fox visit last year…

Looks like the rain has stopped – too late to garden?

Thanks for stopping by today!