Sunday, June 23, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week Twenty Five

Just four simple things from around the house and garden that have made me smile this week..........

1. Cut Flowers - A lovely bunch of Sweet William in a vase on the table in the conservatory.

2. Young Blue tits and their parents visiting the fat ball feeder in the tree near the conservatory window,  they have been such fun to watch! It started with the adults taking bits off the fat ball and feeding the young ones in the branches.  Now the young ones go and get their own snacks.  Apologies, the photos are a little fuzzy as I took them through the window being as careful as I could so as not to disturb the birds.

3. Yellow Flag Iris - flowering at last! They grow by the pond at the top of the garden and seemed very late flowering this year in our garden although I'd seen them around in other places over a week ago.  When we first came here there were just one or two plants in the pond but they have spread across the garden behind the pond as well as around the pond.  Last year we had to pull out the ones in the pond as they were getting too big.  We could do with digging some more out this year as they are taking over this side of the garden.

4.  Tea and Cake -  after the warm weather earlier this week we had to stay indoors today because we've had light rain interspersed with heavy showers and now we have really blustery winds which are swaying and swirling the tree branches and destroying the delicate flowers that have only just emerged in the garden.  At least it is warm and dry inside with a little comfort food to cheer us up.

I'm going to take a break from blogging for a short while.  Take care everyone.  I'll see you in July.

Link to  Little Birdie's blog  where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rain-drenched flowers and a quiet churchyard

It was very warm in the car yesterday afternoon on our way back from Chesterfield so, as Bakewell was quite busy and crowded,  we stopped at Monyash for a break.  We parked in front of the church and the churchyard looked cool and inviting under the trees so we had a wander around.

St Leonard's Church is in the centre of the village and was built c1200 with  the tower, south and north transepts being added in the 14th century.  The whole church was restored towards the end of the 19th century. 

We walked to the top of the churchyard to look at the views of the fields over the stone wall

This squeeze stile was the entrance to the churchyard from the east side not far from where the mere, the  only one remaining of the four that were in the village, is situated.
We could see the water, known locally as the mere, from the lane we were in but couldn't walk any further as the lane down to it was overgrown with cow parsley and nettles.

 What a wonderful season it has been for cow parsley it is just everywhere at the moment and so gorgeous!

I was intrigued by the name of the lane though!

Our drive home through Hartington was spectacular with not only the cow parsley on the verges but also field after field of buttercups too.

Meanwhile back home after a downpour of rain this morning the garden was looking lush and green again and the flowers looked refreshed.  The garden is rather pink at the moment with the sweet peas,

lupins and valerian all in flower and attracting the bees.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week Twenty Four

I'm feeling slightly fragile and insecure at the moment !  Something has happened recently that I can't fathom, nothing serious I hasten to add, just something a bit unsettling.  I expect things happen in life that you just don't understand and probably never will but it doesn't stop me pondering on things and waking up between three and four in the morning with a heavy heart. There have still been some happy moments recently! From earlier this week not least the visit to the Dorothy Clive garden which I wrote about in my last post and the safe fledging of the young wrens mentioned in my 'happies'  for week twenty three (for photos of the wrens see Paul's blog and his last two posts - here.)   Now for my four simple happy moments.............

 1. Stocks and lemons -  I saw this little article about making a zesty room freshener in the current Landscape magazine and decided to have a go myself.  The cream stocks and lemons were cheap and cheerful from Aldi and the smell of both have mingled to give a lovely fresh scent in the conservatory.  So bright and cheerful too.

2.  Wisteria -  I always look for this flowering at Trentham Gardens - it grows on what remains of the old sculpture gallery which is almost all that is left from the hey day of Trentham Hall before it was demolished a hundred years ago. The ageing of the walls and flaking paint somehow add to the ephemeral beauty of the wisteria. 

3.  Apricots -  I love to see apricots as they remind me of the warm summers we've spent over the years in France and the strong, sweet smell of them in the early morning on the colourful market stalls in the pretty little towns of St James and Ducey which were the nearest towns to where we used to stay.

4.  New Fairies There are six new fairies around the lakeside and gardens at Trentham - I think we've found them all now but you never know there may be more lurking somewhere, they always make me smile.

Link to  Little Birdie  where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scenes from a Garden

Every year we try to visit the Dorothy Clive Garden which is just a few miles away from here on the Shropshire/Cheshire border.  We visited in the warmth of the sun earlier this week and were greeted by some of the most beautiful scenes.  Are you ready?  Let's go into the garden........

First we see the white borders

and  the mauve ones

but this is the part of the garden we are headed for because at this time of year it is nothing short of spectacular

Just a riot of colour

as far as the eye can see

The views up here over the surrounding countryside are wonderful too

 Can anything be more spectacular than the quarry garden?  Well, perhaps it can!

 The laburnum walk is pretty breathtaking too

Round to the tea rooms

 down to the pond

and we are back near the start again. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - Week Twenty Three

It has been hard to choose just four happy things this week as there have been  lots of little things that have made me smile anyway,  here goes.........

1.  Young Wrens - Mum and Dad are working so hard fetching food like grubs and long-legged crane flies and taking away fecal sacs and they sometimes seem quite fraught and twittery especially when cats are around,  although they seem to tolerate us enough to allow Paul to take some great photos of the feeding process.  Just one beak here but we've seen three and there may be more.  We are watching closely because a couple of local cats (not ours) have started sitting underneath the bird house and if the little ones don't make it to the nearby shrub and drop to the floor they may be snapped up.  I wish they would fledge soon so that we can see them safely on their way.

2.  New blind in the bathroom -  not much more to say really. We've needed one for ages.  I just love the seaside theme which reminds me that in a few weeks time I'll be seeing the sea. Hurrah!

3. Nature - in all its glory.  It's just such a wonderful time of year.  I love the road sides and verges full of cow parsley under the heavy candle like blooms of  horse chestnut trees.  Fields full of buttercups - it just makes your heart sing.

4.  Reading in the Garden - dozing in the sunshine, flicking through the pages of a magazine, getting immersed in a good book, watching the birds flitting around betweeen the trees and shrubs, cold drink at my side, cat on my lap - lovely.

Link to  Little Birdie  where  '52 weeks of Happy' started. Each week you find just four things that have made you happy to share.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Garden in Early June

I was wandering around the garden early this morning and thought I would take a few photos as it was all looking so lush and green.

Want to have a look around with me? 

There is, of course, too much grass and goose grass and too many buttercups and dandelions in amongst the flowers and shrubs but somehow not noticeable if you don't look too closely.

The two photos above are of what we call the top lawn which is directly behind the house.  The green leaves around the edges of the lawn are hardy geraniums - blue along the top near the bird bath and pink down  the side.

There is a lone peony flower in the side border, I noticed there was also a small striped snail on one of the leaves as I took the photo.  They have been after my lupins again as well so they are in a pot down on the patio and are checked every morning for snails because they decimated the flowers last year.. 

Along the top of the garden we have the raised beds where there are raspberries, gooseberries, black currants and rhubarb as well as potatoes and herbs.  The holly hedge spans the whole top of the garden and is a permanent haven for the birds especially sparrows.  Behind the shed is where we keep two compost bins where all our peelings and food scraps go.

The side lawn and garden is a sort of working area in that this is where the washing hangs, the wheelie bins stand, the birds are fed and the green house is tended.

The pond is in the middle of the garden opposite the raised beds and the shed and there are still a few frogs in there but many of the tadpoles have been eaten by the newts - such is nature!

The paved area, just outside the conservatory and quite erroneously referred to as the patio, needs tidying up a bit.  Finally it has been warm enough to get the table and chairs out again but not the umbrella yet.

Beyond the 'patio' and conservatory is the back of the garage where we keep the water butt for those times during the summer when we haven't had rain for days there hasn't been many of those for a year or two.  The nest box on the wall is where the wrens are nesting.