Thursday 26 April 2012

Water, Water everywhere

This what happens when a drought is declared in England. The heavens open and it rains and rains and rains.
In 1976 it took the appointment of a Minister for Drought to bring on the wet stuff. Not sure who was doing the rain dance this time around but just as the hosepipes were banned, the water came at last.
Its been pretty torrential for a good week or so now. I'm quite enjoying it to be honest.The right weather at the right time of year for once and the plants are surging on at last. Its time for April showers after all.

I had a quick walk down by the river tonight. The rain was so hard its made all my shots go blurry. The river is higher than I've seen it a long time and  when I drove over the bridge this morning it looked like the little picnic island was about to be swamped, but by tea time the flood had fallen back a little. Safe.
It was fantastic to be out in the rain after yet another day cooped up in our stuffy office. No wind just straight down stair rods and the sounds of sploshing and splishing. There's a beautiful wash of green beginning to cover the trees and hedgerows and its brightness and zest is always amazing after a long, brown winter.

And why is it that birds sing so loudly in the pouring rain? The air was absolutely thick with robins singing their hearts out, along with blackbirds and thrushes.
Back at home there's a familiar flush of the brightest blue in the garden and I had to bring in a few for the mantlepiece. Picking flowers I've grown myself is one of my favourite treats. Forget-me-nots remind me of the garden at the house where I grew up. Briar Cliffe forget-me-nots for a rainy day.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Tulip Time

This is the first time I've had a proper display of tulips to enjoy. Because I was under the impression (wrongly it turns out) that tulips in pots needed to be planted later in the autumn, most years the sweetie-coloured packets of carefully chosen bulbs, have mouldered in the back of the vegetable cupboard until they've turned up in March looking very folorn.
Planting goes out of my head by November when my gaze turns firmly indoors until March. Last autumn was so balmy however that I sorted my act out for once and treated myself to several bags of bulbs with the idea that I'd spend more than usual and it would spur me into action. Well it did. My £12 investment is looking fabulous so far.
A combination of offers on websites and the ever reliable Wilkinsons, is producing a display I can't take my eyes off at the moment. Predictably I've completely forgotten the names but who cares, I can enjoy choosing them all over again.

This particular pot is my curent favourite. What I wouldn't give for a lipstick just this colour! There are more pots emerging so hopefully this little show will last a fair few weeks.

I have to get up much earlier than the rest of the house to get to the office on time so, before the boys emerge and need feeding and watering, I've taken to eating my breakfast sitting on the kitchen worktop so I can gaze out of the window on my cheery pots. There's no better way to set up the day.
I'm quite obsessed with the garden at the moment, hence all the recent floral posts. Trays of seedlings crowd the windowsills and there always seems to be a tray getting a drink in the sink. Peas and potatoes are on the way for the "patio allotment" as B calls it and here are sweet peas, cosmos, ammi majus and sunflowers on the way up too.

My bed time reading is Monty Don's fabulous Ivington Diaries and this week I found myself having an accidental email chat with a producer on Gardener's World (he has the same name as a local BBC contact). It was a  fab, friendly exchange of me saying what I loved about the programme (Carol, weekend jobs etc) and what I'd like to see more of (flowers, how to design a planting scheme, keeping colour going etc). On last night's programme I'd say they've got it pretty much spot on. Really enjoyable.

Better push off and get on with some potting up I think. Have a super weekend.
P.S. Thanks for all the lovely comments recently, especially anyone who's been finding out more about Totally Locally (- check out the new Foxlowe Arts Centre website to find out more about our town's new community arts venue) and many new visitors from across the Pond. Thanks for visiting, your comments make me smile so much.Xxxx

Tuesday 3 April 2012


Springy is a pretty good word to describe life in general at the moment. I can hardly believe we're a quarter of the way through the year already though. My new job I started in January has dominated things rather a lot and I've found it very hard to switch the old brain off but so far its all been extremely rewarding.

This week a colleague joined me which will make things much more manageable and its given me a bit of a boost. The job is great and I've never known time to pass so quickly. Being so busy has made me focus very hard on our weekends - basically I do nothing! Well nothing that's isn't fun anyway.
This weekend was a very relaxing one as I had day off on Friday and I spent a whole precious day at home with my even more precious boys. Star Wars Lego is featuring very highly on their "favourite things to do" list at the moment. I told them I'd watched the films years ago and hilariously they have somehow got things mixed up and for some reason think I am a bit of an expert of all things Jedi!

Nothing could be further from the truth but I haven't the heart to tell them so we spend many hours talking over the merits of the X or Y wing fighter, Droids versus Bounty Huntersetc?!?!? I kid you not.
So you can imagine, I needed a bit of a Sci-Fi escape route and I persuaded them to hang up a few Easter decorations. Not a bad job all in all if you don't focus too much on the bunch of eggs in the top left hand corner - bless 'em!
All is Springy about the house indeed. After 12 years together, Woody has realised the quickest way to make me smile (mint chocolates aside) is a bunch of spring flowers when I least expect them. This is my second bunch of tulips in as many weeks! Cynics would say I should be worried but honestly, a rather large penny has just dropped!
Outside too you can feel and see that Spring is beginning to burst out all over. We headed down to the Manifold Valley at the weekend with bikes and boys in need of fresh air. It was a cool, clear day with bright blue skies and buzzards soaring. Beautiful.
Underneath the trees wood anenomes blanket the hillsides like a starry carpet. I remember the woods close to where I grew up being full of these in early spring and it was such a treat to see so many of them en masse.
Sometimes I get the bus to work so that Woody can have the car. Most times an elderly gentleman and his lady neighbour get on and sit behind me. Sometimes I catch what they're chatting about, always delightful subjects such as all the old shops and stores in the town where my grandma used to shop, or what birds have been visiting their gardens.

On Monday the old chap said "And have you noticed the green in the hedges coming in. Wonderful isn't it."
And it is you know.
You can just see my little hedge at the end of our garden flushing green too. Springy indeed!
P.S. Thanks for all your lovely messages after my unintended abscence, they were all just lovely and very much appreciated. Especially to Aqeela,  you're spot on, I've definitely got a damson tree haven't I, which is 100 times more exciting than a cherry I reckon. I'm thrilled to bits. Thanks!