Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
I don't need to point out the obvious - the weather over the last few days has been more than favourable shall we say?! But this heat isn't just confined to the climate. Our garden has become a veritable hotbed of seediness (get it?) in the past 7 days; wood pigeons, magpies, they're all at it! Constantly. Publicly. Perhaps our most bizarre observation is the squirrels that have transformed our crumbly old tree house-come-woodpile into a love shack. So to Gareth's relief, the re-organisation of this area will have to wait until the wildlife peepshow is over. Unfortunately, it's quite disconcerting when you are trying to entertain in the garden to the bird-like squawking of a squirrel's mating call. They even chase each other around the area in circles, all heady, in lust and oblivious to all around them. If I only had a couple of Terry and June sun loungers and a Benny Hill soundtrack, we could truly be back in the 70s.
The garden gives and it takes away.
It's giving us great fern coverage this year, although I really should thank the woodland for these.
The Lavatera started small but is now charting a path to world domination.
The foxgloves, although not expected to flower this year, are in bloom and brightening up a dark corner of the garden. They are just visible behind the church relic we received as a wedding gift. No idea what it is (I haven't spent much time inside churches during the course of my lifetime), but it's in the photo to remind me not to keep banging my head on it.
In the same area, the wild geraniums have taken over where the spring bulbs left off. We're happy for them to do so.
Since my last post, we now have two frogs in the pond and damselflies are regular visitors.
The honeysuckle is also growing well, but it's making my makeshift bamboo arch less of an arch and way more lopsided.
I also purchased some succulents from B&Q, as suggested by Vicky (Vintage Vixen: The Distancing Diaries - 13th & 14th June, 2021 (vintagevixon.blogspot.com). They were originally intended to edge part of our driveway, but have ended up in a Belfast sink as the slugs have chewed the Cosmos back to ground level. I think Lavender might be the way forward to edge the gravel drive, as it's poor soil and an area we tend to overlook and the Lavender won't mind too much.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Time for another pond and pondering post I reckon.
Inspired by BBC's Springwatch, I've been hanging out by the pond a little more in the last few days. In fact, there are times, when I sit for so long, mesmerized by the activity or what is in flower, that I would not blame Gareth if he came and placed a pointy hat on my head and stuck a fishing rod in my hand. I could be mistaken for a garden gnome.
The pond has delivered on many promises so far.
1. Relaxation and Calm
Nothing relaxes me as much as spending time by water. Admittedly a puddle doesn't quite cut it, but I love the reflective quality of water, sharing it with an abundance of other creatures and feeling its moisture on the breeze. Check out this gorgeous marginal plant - Lychnis Flos-Cuculi, now in flower, having taken the baton and run from the Marsh Marigold.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
Ordinarily we would be away somewhere, at least for some of the time, during Whit week. But we're getting used to normal life being upended, spun in the air and landing somewhere quite different.
With UK accommodation now fully booked, we have been doing more of the same; working, gardening and in my case, exploring familiar territory, but challenging myself to discover something new through my lens.
Sunday was spent with friends at Dudmaston. Sadly, there was way too much talking going on and not enough absorption of history and culture. The weather was hot and for once, our picnic wasn't a couple of dog eared sandwiches slung into a ruck sack. I dug out one of the two picnic baskets we received as wedding gifts and filled the bugger with all sorts of delights, including little cans of G&T. Okay, plastic champagne flutes don't really cut it when we really should have used gin goblets, but I think it's a marked improvement on sips of tepid water from a bottle. Bob and Caroline brought the homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, so a pleasant afternoon was had by all - with little in the way of debate over whether jam or cream should go on first. Incidentally, has anyone else tried Thunder and Lightning? Traditionally clotted cream topped with golden syrup on bread, but these days applied to scones? If you haven't, you really must. It's delicious.
Another family day out took us to the National Trust's Warwickshire moated manor house, Baddesley Clinton. Dating back to the 13th century and with its own medieval murder mystery, it's one of our favourites.
That said, I was so disappointed that the second hand book shop was closed due to continuing Covid restrictions. It's one of the best!
The Canadian geese were pretty apathetic though, continuing about their business, navigating a sea of people enjoying picnics in the grounds to reach their grassy rich pickings.
As I said, there's always something new to discover and I was surprised to find that we had previously missed the footpath to the Grade II listed St Michael's Church. I have always been fascinated with churchyards and had I been alone, I could have easily spent an hour wandering amongst the gravestones, seeking out the oldest inscriptions and photographing their strange angles and lichen covered texture.
One walk took us along the Wordsley to Stourbridge stretch of the Black Country canal network. We've been so lucky with the weather this week and I love the interplay between light and shade. Here's an aqueduct over the River Stour, bathed in beautiful sunlight.
Meanwhile, back on the towpath....
It's a fact that Elihu Burritt, the American Consul to Birmingham visited the Black Country in 1868 and said “the Black Country, black by day and red by night, cannot be matched for vast and varied production by any other space of equal radius on the surface of the globe”. We may have lost much of our industry over the years, but Thursday night's sunset delivered something comparable to how the furnaces would once have illuminated the region's night skies.
I'm slightly obsessed with cloud formations. Yesterday's walk took us through a farmer's field, passing under a particularly weighty display.
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