Monday, 30 June 2014


Every year, a good crop of Cherries. Every year, the birds have taken them all before the fruit is ripe. This year, mesh bags over a few branches, to prevent all the fruit disappearing.
It worked.... a bowlful of chunky, ripe, sweet, juicy cherries for us. We don't mind sharing, but feel we do deserve some of the fruits of our labours.

At last

There have been native Orchids in the damp lower garden since we have been here. One day, three years ago, though, Best Beloved came rushing in from mowing the orchard, very excited. He had mowed the tip off another, lone Orchid. The following year, nothing came up. This year, at last, we have a lovely plant.
The flower spike is much broader, more triangular, than the others. The colour is much deeper, almost purple. The leaves are broader, too, with a distinct fold running up the centre. This year  I am keeping the grass as close clipped as I can, in the hope that seed will set and fall. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Beauty in a bucket

This warm, sunny weather really suits the Sweet Peas. As long as they get enough rain, they just go on and on flowering. I spent over half an hour, this morning, cutting sweet pea flowers, and filled a bucket (above) from just over half the plants. I stopped then, as I got bored of cutting, the heat was really beginning to build ( never cut them when it's hot), and there is also the question of what one does with them all?
This enormous bunch ended up in my champagne bucket! ( I must admit that I bought the Dartington crystal champagne bucket at a very good price in a closing down sale, to use as a vase ). And very good they look, too.
Coming back downstairs, later, I found that the perfume from this one bunch had filled the whole ground floor. Delicious!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Here we are at Midsummer. Not the Summer Solstice, that was a few days ago, and belongs to a different tradition. This is an older celebration, spoken of by William Shakespeare, and, more recently ( ! ), by Rudyard Kipling.
Best Beloved and I went out as dusk fell yesterday, and lit the Midsummer Eve Bonfire. We  started off with some garden rubbish, to get a good hot fire going, then ceremoniously burnt some oak trees ( which had died from being in standing water too long, last winter. We did not chop them down needlessly), to show that the reign of the Oaken King is over for this year. The Holly King now takes over, until Yule. The fire burned high and hot, with the flames leaping and dancing, showing the sun how high and hot to be. In much the same way as Morris Dancers use white hankies, to show the clouds their job.
Today, we spent a great deal of time watering the kitchen garden, and what there is of my flower garden. By Oak, Ash and Thorn, the sun already knows its job, really.

Friday, 20 June 2014


 There is no knitting or spinning going on, here at Dragonside. Best Beloved and I have developed a need to finish as much of the building work as possible, by summer's end. We also want to get the remaining ''bones'' of the garden in place.
 While the weather has been dry, we have spent every available moment possible in the garden.
 I have spent the hottest hours unpacking the garage. Most of our last house was packed up, and put into storage, while we sorted this house out. That has taken so very much longer than intended or anticipated. So I am discovering that we have duplicates of many things....  it is surprising how easy it is to forget what one has. 
The positive of all this , is that we are giving lots of things to friends, and the local charity shops. The negative is that my solitary nature allows me to think that it is acceptable to forget to contact friends, to forget to have a quick gossip, or meet someone for coffee. I skim by the thought that friends now, are more important than things anytime.
I just hope that they are still there, when I remember my manners.

Sunday, 8 June 2014


Have I mentioned that Barley and Quince have their own 'blog' ?


It is more a series of pictures from their photograph album, with cryptic comments, really. It keeps them amused!


Returning to the house after walking the Spaniels, we came across a bundle of feathers on the drive, just below the Sitting room window.   

Best beloved picked up what transpired to be a juvenile Greater Spotted Woodpecker. ( The red 'cap' shows that it is not adult. When mature, the 'cap' fades, and will become black. The males will then develop a red patch on the back of the neck.) We feared the worst, initially, but realised it must be merely stunned, as it kept turning it's head, so we put it onto the bird table, expecting it to fly off.

There was no reaction, other than the head turning, so it was obviously more incapacitated than we had assumed. So, we went to put it on the bench, which is nearer the hedge, and also out of the direct sun. The Woodpecker lifted it's feet, so B.B. gently held it against the back of the bench, and it grasped a horizontal bar, and clung on. At that point, we left it to recover as best it could, knowing that the Spaniels could not get into the front garden and bother it.
The bird stayed where we had left it for about an hour and a half. Both of us were thinking that it would not recover, by this time. Then we realised that it was gone.
We have two families of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers in the area, both of which use our feeders. We have never seen one in such circumstances before.