Tag Archive | tulips

Through the Garden Gate

It’s been ages since I last blogged here but life and business have been hectic with little free time despite the virtual holiday I had last month (you can read all about that here!) Summer is now heading towards autumn (boo hoo) but what a glorious one it’s turned out to be here in the UK and the garden has certainly rewarded us with its glory.

To think we went from this:

Garden snow small

to this:


Last year’s weather was a washout and this year was forecast to be the same yet Mother Nature has a way of recovering and boy, did she! From a superb display of daffodils and stupendous tulips:

100_5817100_5830to being eventually entertained, if about a month late, with the most wonderful array of poppies, peonies and foxgloves leading into a hot, colourful display all round. One foxglove grew to over 6 foot tall.


pruned foxgloves


But not everything faired well. The fuchsias haven’t been good, the columbines peaked all at once and were over within a week and my two tall, all-summer-long varieties were blown over in the strong winds we have here. As the plants flourished, so did the snails to decimate my hostas – their leaves are like lace curtains although the flower spikes survived. We aren’t plagued with slugs, thankfully. We have an army of frogs that keeps them in check. The roses have re-bloomed three times now, and we have never had such a glorious or long display of sweet peas. I’m still picking them.


The rear garden is still dazzling splash of colour with many pots and hanging baskets,



and the new lilies we found, in red, yellow and white, were exotic but each flower only lasted a day.


The good weather enabled me to get in the garden more, enjoy my early 7:00 am coffee out there and it’s been wonderful being able to sit outside all day and work whilst enjoying the sights, sounds and perfumes.


Along with the glorious flowers we have taken much pleasure this year in the wildlife that’s come back to the garden. We came across our first slow worm for many a year, although he nearly got chopped up by the lawnmower!


Dragonflies have been in abundance, as have the butterflies (read more about the butterflies in Over the Backyard Fence), moths including the fascinating humming bird hawk moth, crickets and bees – I never realised there were so many different sizes and varieties of bumble bees, from tiny “baby” ones to huge fat, long haired ginger ones. Certainly no shortage in my garden.

What we haven’t had this year is the plague of flying ants we normally get in July, nor wasps.

Soon it will be time to put it all to bed and dream of next summer. I’ve great plans for the garden. Much has to come out as it has become crowded, many larger plants need dividing, ie the astilbe and hosta, most of the irises and crocosmia will be thinned out so I can put in a wider variety of perennials and shrubs, and several larger shrubs must come out altogether as they are taking up too much room and creating far too much shade, apart from which they are not the colour they were supposed to be when purchased, but they have served their purpose and given the birds handy perches whilst waiting to feed.

Ooops, spoke too soon. A wasp has just landed in my glass of wine. Oh well, at least he’s died happy and merry. Best go and get rid of him and refill my glass.

So cheers, here’s to a wonderful summer. Thank you, garden, for giving me such a good one this year.



Everyone Cries at a Wedding

Everyone loves a wedding but why do we cry at them? Me, I’m usually blubbering the moment the bride walks in and my niece’s recent wedding proved no exception. At least not for me. In fact, her wedding ceremony, all very relaxed in a Berkshire country hotel a few weeks ago, had everyone reaching for hankies and tissues before the register was signed.

As a bride, Jenny looked stunning, but then again, she looks lovely no matter what she wears. The groom’s face as she came in was a picture by itself, as was seeing my other niece in a dress for the first time in goodness knows how many years, as one of the bridesmaid. The second bridesmaid was Jenny’s 7-year-old daughter, Keira. Mothers-in-law, both dressed in turquoise, grinned happily, fathers beamed proudly and orange tulips in posies and buttonholes sparkled in the late March sun.

The registrar announced the groom’s father wished to give a reading. I think everyone was surprised when told it was to be the poem Us Two from A.A. Milne’s Now We Are Six. We were even more surprised when he called Keira up help him. It transpired in the months leading up to the wedding Keira and her new grandfather had been secretly rehearsing the piece. How she managed to keep it secret all that time amazed everyone. With actions and expressions, inflections and with feeling, it was word perfect and a pure joy to watch.

Now even my husband, a rufty-tufty ex rugby player, is not moved to tears easily but even he was reaching into his top pocket for a handkerchief. As was the groom, all the ladies and all the other men in the room. The registrar also had a tear or two in her eyes.

Bangers and mash and onion gravy, no starter, followed with profiteroles went down a treat as the wedding feast with copious wine. Cupcakes formed the wedding cake. Speeches were before dining. Kept short. Brilliant move.  All in all, a lovely, memorable weekend. The hotel staff were courteous and helpful, the deluxe bedroom we had couldn’t be faulted, the breakfast the next morning the best ever. There was just one little dampener the spoil the day. Those who know me know I am not a mean person, far from it, but I positively blanched at the bar prices being charged. “You’re having a laugh?” my husband said, reaching for his wallet.  Sadly the barman wasn’t. “That’ll be £8 per glass, sir!”

Enough to make me cry all over again.

Tip of the Day

Love cut tulips but find they always droop after a day or so. Add a copper coin to the glass. For some reason I know not what, it keeps them upright. Simples.