stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Colours of the garden

No its not Kerri's blog, Ive just borrowed her title because my small garden is probably at its best right now. The bluebells and daffodils are over, but all the cool pink and white flowering shrubs are at their peak.
The white wisteria sinensis shows my careful twice yearly pruning (usually when the Man of the House is out and cant see me high up a ladder against the wall) I would dearly love an arbour over which to train it, so that the blossoms hang down and make a perfurmed chanderliered ceiling. But second best, I put a rug on the grass underneath, lean my back against the flint wall and inhale deeply as I look up at the blooms against a clear blue sky. Bliss.

This is a new bleeding heart dicentra spectabils which I have in front of the patio windows, so that I can enjoy its elegant wands of hearts. My old one just didnt show up this spring, probably the snow and cold soils were not to its liking.

The variegated wiegela is a mass of flowers. Every year I tell it that it may be its last year as it getting too big and tall (over six foot). I prune it down just to test it, and have even bought a new smaller one to replant next to it. It rises to the challenge so well that I havent the heart to take it out. Anyone want a year old variegated wiegela still in its pot?

An allium surfaced this year, I havent seen it for years. Normally (when not retired) I havent had the time to keep the area around it weed free. How lovely, now I shall have to buy it some friends!

My "hot" border, next to a warm wall. Hot in colour you understand. I cant put all the yellow day lilies in with the cool pinks and mauves of the other area. The red perenial oriental poppies have gradually increased over the years, and this spring I bought papaver orientale "Patty's Plum" a sort of faded elegant burgundy colour. She reminds me of an elderly lady of the manor somehow, I am sure her name is not Patty but Lady Patricia.

Now here is the view from the patio looking across the dappled grass (hardly a lawn, too many daises and dandelions) towards the front path/drive that leads down to the road - where the children would have walked up when it was a village school. You can see the entrance porch on the right, where the children would have hung their coats on pegs.

And the view back across from just in front of the big evergreen tree - that should really come down but the neighbours and I both like the way it screens walls and buildings. So difficult to prune as it is only green on the very edges. I have the umbrella up over the table where we tend to have meals if at all possible. It gets the very last sun of the day, but is shaded most of the day by a large ash tree (not mine) and a variegated holly that is taller than the house (mine!)

I am off on a 21 day Zen mindfulness retreat in the Dordogne area of France. I have never been before and am quite excited, but I am sorry to miss the delights of my cool garden in the lovely warm sun of an English summer. It will be quite a different three weeks I think!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dancing jewels

Ive taken the title from this wonderful piece from Cate aka Kerrdelune. It contains so much wonderful information and poetic insight, that I wont even bother to quote, but ask you to visit and enjoy! But eagles' talons isnt the first image that springs to mind for me!

But it got me thinking about the more humble aquilegia/columbine/granny's bonnets that I have in my garden. A few years ago, I saw a wonderful colour variety and gaily scattered the seed around for the future. Only to find out (as you probably all know) that the colour does not "come true". Totally random it seems.

However, I was inspired to go and take photos of all the different colours.

I also took a few more images to share with you the delights of a summer's day in my garden..but so many it had better be in a separate post. Also it bliss, enjoying that first cup of tea, strolling on the stepping stones and the grass, knowing that I dont have to tear myself away and spend the day in a hot office. Hurrah for retirement!!!

Today while sipping my first cup of Earl Grey, I realised that the flowers of what I call cornflower (really centaurea montana) were not just amazingly coloured, but were perfect helipads for the troops of bumble bees out on morning patrol. How could the bees refuse the invitation?

Right, thats long enough indoors, back to the book and my comfy rug under the white wisteria. Mmmmmm.....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fifth Annual Crocus Walk

Yes its the time of year that The Ladies hunt around Dorset for a fine tea room, and then plan a walk in the countryside around it. All in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Previous year's walk are chronicled in 2008 Gifts from the gods or passing planes ; 2007 Wonderful walks and before that, 2006 Time for tea.

This year we decided on a coastal walk, but of course first we had decided on the Egg Cup Tea Rooms. There is a poem and review on this website for Dorset Tearooms! One of my good walking friends from the village and I went on a recce to see if the walk was suitable, and my friend Gill and I went on a separate excursion to check out the quality of the tea room!

Here we are, gathered for the start (you can see an old fashioned telephone box behind us) complete with Breakthrough balloons and Rebecca's dog Finty. The weather was so bad in the morning that I had people phoning up to see if it was cancelled. Never!!!

The rain stopped, and we were on our way, but it was still quite windy. Gill is pulling a face and pretending the hill is steep (it wasnt really, but there was a steep hill ahead to climb at the half way point though!)

Jean was the proud wearer of this year's Breakthrough Tshirt, which she shows nicely as we neogiate a stile. We already quite high, and the views were good with the rain in the morning clearing the air.

We took a halfway rest at The Lookout on The Knoll which is a hill just south of of Puncknowle (pronounced 'punnel'). On top of the hill is an ancient round barrow, and on top of the barrow is this late-18th Century building. It is listed, and was originally used as a coastguard lookout. (I always thought it was a lime kiln however) It is in good condition but is just an empty shell with an uneven earth and stone floor. What amazing views it has though.

This is the view to the west, along Chesil Beach towards Bridport and eventually to Devon. If you look carefully in the foreground, you can see an errant Breakthrough balloon that decided it wanted its freedom!
PS Sorry you cant click to biggen these photos, Ive linked to my Flickr photos, which was quick to do, but means you cant see the detail. Sorry.
PPS I uploaded the originals, so you CAN see more detail.

The clouds look threatening, but we made it back to the cars without mishap or rain. And in good time too.

Front left is the LLF (my Life Long Friend) who was down from London, visiting her parents who live in Dorchester. Her mother is in hospital right now, recovering from two major operations. So Get Well Soon Kate!

And here is the well beloved Boot Shot - of which there have not been many recently. The cream tea was up to standard and I promise that I kept my boots on the floor for the rest of the time.
We raised £90 and had a great afternoon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spring wonders

Its spring in London too, and I spent a happy couple of days visiting my lovely granddaughter, who is now 10 months old.

Also visiting her were two amazing visitors - I couldn't believe my eyes. Two jays are setting up home in the silver birch tree at the bottom of the garden. In central London!

I watched this one sidle along the fence and bend down and extract the snails that you can see, hiding under the top rail. One was a bit difficult, and so he attempted a sort of hummingbird manoeuvre - that was not only inelegant but unsuccessful.

Ive lived in the country for over thirty five years and only seen a glimpse of chestnut and turquoise as one disappeared into woodland. What a privilege to watch these two at close quarters (from the comfort of the house) collecting nesting material, and even screeching at the local cats who also use the fence top as a means of travel.

"Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. The screaming call usually lets you know a jay is about and it is usually given when a bird is on the move, so watch for a bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump." say the experts. Hmmm.

Here she is, plus two bottom teeth, with another huge one at the top that you cant see and one only days away! She is an incredible mimic, and can copy movements in an instant (such as her mother shaking her massage oil out of a container onto a palm, luckily the lid was firmly back on!)

It only seems yesterday that she couldnt understand how to make the lights and buttons on this work, they were totally unfathomable to her, and now she is a smooth operator - even if her standing is a bit shaky!

What beauties they are, I love them to bits.