Thursday, August 21, 2014


I am very excited today, combined with being very busy, very scruffy, still in my pyjamas and justifying to myself that cleaning the house actually keeps me fit, and is basically a work out!

Tomorrow I am being taken to Italy for a week by my son is in Germany for a fortnight so we decided to get away together!
So, as I said, I’m very excited!

In the process of clearing out cupboards before I go away, ( having a house sitter makes you clear out cupboards and hoover under the bed... ) I came across some sort of 'love postcards’ belonging to Beryl and Jim.
I’ve had them a while, as I originally found them when I was helping to clear her house after she died. The response to her diary last week was so generous and lovely, I thought I’d share another piece of her everyday life with a holiday related postcard...

Beryl, ( my Granny ), was away on holiday in Tenby, Wales, at the time, and as there was no texting, Jim ( my Grandpa ) was obviously sending postcards from home as they were quicker than letters...

A postcard from Wednesday, September 5th 1935 (posted at 5:45pm ):

Hello Budd,
Thanks so much for your letter received today dinner time.
Love, I’m so lonely, I am going out to the Empire tonight ( alone ).
The front of this card reminds me of our Wed & Saturday teas, does it you?
Will write letter later.
Please enjoy yourself.
Bye Bye, Love
P.S I leave Coventry at 2.56 Friday afternoon, don’t worry.

...I know love letters are a wonderful and romantic thing, but these short and sweet postcards with everyday details completely bowl me over...
Bring back postcard romance!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Back in June I posted a piece about the amazing wild flower meadow near my local supermarket...

I’ve passed it a few times recently and from a distance it just looks like a piece of scorched scrubland, but I decided to have a closer look today...and put a few seed pods in my pocket too!

I came away feeling that it was as beautiful as it was in June but just in a completely different way...’s so fantastic that it hasn’t been mowed down, and that it’s obviously being encouraged to self-seed for next year.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday...with Ornamental Artichokes

I was in the local park on Saturday for a friend’s birthday and walking along by the tennis courts we noticed the amazing display of Ornamental Artichokes.
Some of them were turning to seed and only a few were still in flower, but they were still pretty impressive.
So on Sunday I decided to cycle through the park to have another look...

When I got there I saw that a load of them at the end had been pulled up and thrown around, and been made a complete mess of, so I thought I’d take myself a few of the heads and possibly try to grow some in my own garden next year...

The wild meadow which was planted in the park a while ago is also still impressive, even though a lot of it is now turning to seed...

( the meadow is a good philip when you have to cycle a long way uphill to get home... ) 

...and just in case the Ornamental Artichokes don’t happen in my garden, at least I can add them to my plant documenting!

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I was clearing some things away this morning and my Granny’s old 1963 diary caught my eye...I wondered what she was doing on August 15th 1963; nearly 10 years before I was born.
What I read in her diary was quite ordinary... “long walk with dogs” and somehow it was a much more pleasing record of her life than writing flamboyantly about things.
Often things are simple, need no explanation and just are.
The entry on November 22nd is particularly poignant...Clive was my father, and I think maybe he came home from London to be with his parents because of the enormity of world events that day.
This is Beryl and Jim...some of the diary entries when he was on a fishing holiday simply say; “Jim phoned"
( Uncle Sport! What a name... )

...and there you have it; Tuesday 26th November, a whole day devoted to Ikebana!

It’s such a sweet little book, and just as informative as any of her old gardening library.

Friday, August 15, 2014


August is such a strange month in the garden: it’s got half a foot in Summer and half a foot in Autumn. Having had May, June and July where everything goes mad, there has been a definite slowing down.
I always think of August as the height of Summer, but I don’t actually think it is in the garden...

However the succulents which I planted back in June have been a success and show no signs of slowing down...

( this amazing succulent, which I didn’t grow myself, is for a friend’s 30th birthday present...)

...and the heuchera and geranium have also done well in the pot

My current favourite is the chocolate cosmos though...
with only one completely attacked by snails...

( ...and don’t worry the cosmos in this photograph is resting in a piece of oasis, so that I could still have it in a vase afterwards! )

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday...flower naming

On Tuesday, during our hedgerow car meanderings, I also collected a selection of wild flowers...

When I was about 10 years old there was a summer holiday project to collect, label and stick into a book a selection of wild flowers. 
I looked forward to getting on with the project all Summer and then, rather typically, I suddenly realised that I only had about 4 days to get it done before going back to school!
I went round to a friend’s house and we collected flowers together...( she told me there were loads down a little path called ‘The Tinker Tank’...I don’t know why I’ve always remembered that ).
I loved it, and then felt rather foolish that I hadn’t worked on the project over the whole Summer, as I could have collected LOADS...and maybe even ones that no-one else had collected (...that’s always important to a 10 year old girl).
...but some of those flowers which I collected and named really stuck in my memory...wild campion, vetch, scarlet pimpernel...
I think I’ve always wanted to catch up on, or rather extend that school project, and now with various books of late grandparents and an iphone handy, I seem to be getting on with it...and I find photos of the plants a much more satisfying record, than pressed flowers ever were to me...

So here are some of my Summer wild flowers so far:
Himalayan Balsam...

( this was really tricky to find on the web, although it seems to be a relation of Lapsana... )

I’m always cautious of this plant, as one year our whole family had to pull up an entire field of the stuff ( from the roots ) as it’s poisonous to horses and cattle...

( ...and the photographer’s companion! )