29 December 2022

The Return Of Ratty.

Today has been another lazy day, mostly on account of still being mostly one handed. Also this morning we had a friend called Pat come to visit so I was being sociable. I noticed during one of my trips to the garage for logs that it appears that the rat is back.  I caught it pilfering the apples a few weeks back so I moved them out and the rat has not been seen since but as I say I've noticed that there is evidence of a return so the trap has been baited and set so we will see what happens next.

I took this picture of the sunrise whilst on this morning's dog walk. This is as it came and not enhanced with any kind of filters.

I sowed some herb seeds a couple of weeks ago so I was pleased to see the Parsley has germinated. It's actually for work but as there is no gardener there at the moment I brought them home to look after.

27 December 2022


 Today Vicki and Fallon went down to Coventry to pick up Vicki's mum who is coming to stay for a few days. On the way down they called in to see my mum so I gave them a pottery Robin planted with Hyacinth to take for her. They also dropped off a wreath for my dad's grave. It was meant to go before Christmas but plans changed so we never got a chance.

A wreath for dads grave which Vicki made.

25 December 2022

Merry Christmas.

 Timothy - Michael says Merry Christmas! He is very happy with lots of presents to open and a nice log fire to lie by. We hope your Christmas have been this joyful.

24 December 2022

Merry Christmas From Door Face.

 Today has been a better day with regard to the weather. Mostly clear skies and no wind. The first picture was taken this morning from outside our house.

Part of today has been spent wrapping Christmas presents, I haven't felt able to do it until today on account of my hand that I hurt last weekend after a slip on the ice.
This next picture is a fun thing. I was looking to take a picture of Vicki's decorations around the front door when I noticed how much it looked like a face. I added the pink tongue just to finish the job off.
Below is a picture of my hand as it was at the beginning of the week. Although still a little swelled it is now much improved.

23 December 2022

J and L Seeds, Sub Arctic Plenty.

 I suspect that Christmas is a time of year, perhaps more than any other, when people carry out certain traditions, very often unique to only themselves. I am no different in this respect one of which I carried out today. Every year for many years now, before packing up the gardening until after the new year, I've made a small sowing of Tomato seed. It's way too early really as it is still a long time before the conditions are right for growing Tomatoes properly. However provided the seed germinates it is possible with a little care and trouble to bring on the plants to eventually fruit. Usually I just sow a standard variety from seed left over from the year before but this year I have brought a variety called Sub Arctic Plenty which as the name might suggest is especially suited to cooler conditions. Below is the name of the seed merchant for anyone interested.

J & L Seeds

I only require two or three plants which hopefully this amount of seed will provide. I will germinate them on a window sill in the house before moving them to the greenhouse.

22 December 2022

No One Is Moving.

 It's a miserable day outside - grey and wet. So much so no one is moving from their beds and any suggestion to do so is greeted by very dirty looks.

20 December 2022

We Three Trees.

 Now that we have a house with more room we have gone for three traditional Christmas trees this year.

This first one is in the dinning room.

This one we have in the sitting room.
Finally the third one is in the hall. This is the one we have the presents under.

16 December 2022

Preparing and Storing Geraniums.

 It's been bitter outside today so I took the opportunity working in the greenhouse to clean down and box up some bedding Geraniums that I lifted from our garden a couple of weeks ago. I don't suppose it's cost effective to save them except they are of a colour combination that we like and I may not get then again this year so in that respect they are worth keeping.

In this first picture you can see the untreated plant, lots of dead and decaying matter which must be removed.

In this next picture is the finished article ready to be boxed and stored. Apart from removing the rubbish from the plant I trimmed back to some young shoots.
Here you can see them boxed and ready to be stored on a shelf in the greenhouse. They are packed a little closer than I would have liked but I don't have a lot of room to spare so I'm hoping they will be okay. I placed a little compost around the roots, this will be kept pretty dry through the winter.
Of course the head gardener was on hand to supervise proceedings. 
This work was carried out at our own house and not work.

15 December 2022

Out With The New, In With The Old.

 I got to work today and was told that the new head gardener has quit his job after only eight weeks. I don't really understand why as he was planning new projects right up to the last time I saw him which was only five days ago. From what I've been told it sounds like he couldn't cope and has had some kind of a break down.

So today I am back in charge of the gardens so I decided to tidy up this Ivy growing on the wall by the garden house.

It was just a matter of giving it a bit of a trim to keep it under control.

10 December 2022

A Different View Of Christmas.

 Below are a couple of pictures of our Christmas trees taken from outside the house. I thought it was a different way of looking at them.

3 December 2022

Dogs Are Christmas.

 A couple of pictures of the dogs and a reminder that dogs aren't just for Christmas, in fact our dogs make Christmas.

Tess relaxing under one of the Christmas trees.

Timmy in one of his favourite places which is half way up the stairs.

23 October 2022

Dahlia Flower.

Vicki has made this little pot which is just right for a single flower such as this Dahlia.

12 September 2022

Some Paving Work.

 We have my 94 year old mum staying with us for a few weeks so to keep an eye on her and at the same time get some work done I decided to take down the Tomatoes from the greenhouse as it's opposite the conservatory so she could sit in and watch me. After this job was completed I set to and laid a few of the paving slabs that I have collected for the floor. This sort of work is not something I'm good at and I'm sure I should probably be using cement or something but I don't have any so I'm just laying them straight on to the gravel. I've got them level and they don't wobble around or anything so that's good. When I get a chance I will buy some sand and brush into the cracks and then keep my fingers crossed they stay where they are. Another problem has been that the slabs are not all the same size so the gaps between the paving are bigger in some places.

9 September 2022

Fruit and flower.

I noticed this the other day on one our apple trees. It has fruit and blossom on at the same time which I don't ever recall seeing before. I will keep a close eye on the flowers to see how they progress. I can't imagine they will come to much but it will be interesting none the less.

12 July 2022

Lots Of Dead And Dying Plants.

 Today has been slightly cooler with the odd spot of rain that did no good at all.

For the past two weeks I've been banned from entering 75% of the gardens on account of Lady Gaga staying. I wasn't allowed to mention it at the time but I think it's okay to do so now. So first thing this morning I took a walk round the bits I'd been excluded from to check out how things were doing and it wasn't good, in fact it was heartbreaking. The geraniums in the wall always get watered twice a week if there is no rain and so with the heatwave we've been enjoying and no water for over two weeks they have suffered a lot, I think they are smaller now than when I planted them. There looks to be a colourful show from a distance but when you look close the plants are stunted and shriveled, the flowers being their last attempt to make offsprings before they die and not those of a healthy display.

Below you can see what I mean, four big flowers on a tiny shrivelled up plant. If this plant is to survive it needs all these flowers removing before a good watering. The dead plants are pansies.
Below is one of the two new trees that we spent several hundred pounds on this past spring and that too is showing signs of drought stress simply because I wasn't allowed to do my job. I will be able to bring that back okay.
This next plant was actually in a corner by the backdoor to the hall which I hadn't got round to visiting when I got a phone call saying it needed some attention. I got great pleasure telling the caller that this is what happens when you stop the gardener from doing their job. I think they got the impression that it wasn't a good day to hang around talking to me on the phone. I'm not sure this plant can be revived.
So today I've had another busy day watering but at the moment it's like fighting a fire with a water pistol. Of course another thing that comes to mind is that after the last drought a few years ago I bust a gut day after day is sweltering heat only to be told by several people afterwards that I must have had it easy with having no lawns to cut all summer! So this time I'm thinking that maybe I should just take it easy and not bother trying to keep things alive, at least if I get accused of taking it easy this time I will actually have had the pleasure if you know what I mean. Trouble is though I'm a proper gardener therefore I don't like to see the plants suffering.

Also this morning I found out that John, one of the guys I work with, came off his motorbike on his way home last Friday and is laid up at home with a punctured lung. I sent a message to wish him a speedy recovery.

11 July 2022

Access Is Fully Restored.

 Today has been super warm so much so it's been hard to achieve much in the gardens.

First of all I would like to apologise for my lack of response to your comments, all of which I like to try and at least acknowledge. A while back I was getting some spam comments so I made it so that I needed to verify them before being published but I went and forgot I'd done it so I was just thinking that no one was commenting. Then today I realised what was happening. Anyway I've now published all your comments so thank you, I really do appreciate your interaction.

I'm back at work now for the next four days and after the heat of the past few days I was keen to take a walk around the gardens to see how things were coping. There are plenty of sweet peas on offer, none of which will be picked I'm sorry to say. Sadly the days of the big house enjoying produce from its gardens are long gone and I fear never to return.

I also noticed that the crop of peaches is coming on well and I think soon there will be some worthy of picking.

I got a message this afternoon informing me that Lady Gaga has left the building and that my access to the gardens has been fully restored.

10 July 2022

A Bit Of Hay Making.

 Today the weather has been very warm right from early on in the morning.

First thing after breakfast I usually take Timothy - Michael for a walk. This morning on passing the farm just up the road from us we came upon Norman unloading some hay from a trailer to the barn. So as he was alone I took the opportunity to offer to help which he accepted. So for the first time in years I climbed up onto the trailer and threw off the bales of hay into the barn for Norman to stack. Once completed Timmy and I continued our walk.

The rest of the day was not so active and we spent a lot of time sitting around, mostly in the shade. Days like this are a good time to admire the garden and maybe plan some things for the future. Below we are both enjoying the shade while I admire the garden.

Another job I have been doing on a Sunday is to feed all the pot plants. of which there are many. I feed the flowering and fruiting plants with a potash feed and the green plants such and the banana trees with Miracle gro. It takes over an hour as we have a lot of plants in pots but it seems to be paying off.

Also yesterday afternoon I watched the Grand Prix from Austria.

9 July 2022

A New Purpose In Life.

 Today has been warm and sunny once again.

I made this little creation below. The people who had the house before us left it behind and as we won't be using it for its intended purpose I have given it a new job in life. The silver Cinneraria is meant to symbolise smoke and the red Geranium is the fire.

I didn't do much of anything today other than a bit of potting on. I did clean down the white bench and moved it round to the front garden and then in the afternoon I watched the sprint race at the Austrian GP.

Vicki found out today that the caretaker has decided not to leave after all which doesn't surprise me. I just hope that everyone who donated to her leaving event get a refund. My retirement date is set for the 26th August 2022 so not long to go now.

The picture below is of the evening sky over Rusholme after a glorious summers day.

8 July 2022

Black Currant Picking

Today has been warm and sunny once again.

I spent the morning pottering around and catching up on things around my own garden. I picked up the windfall apples which has been a daily task over the past few weeks, there is a heavy crop this year. I also put canes to the Chrysanths that I have growing in pots as they are starting to get quite tall and in danger of falling over and perhaps breaking off. I want the option to cut them for the house so they need to be grown straight for that.

After lunch I had a little nap before starting on picking the fruit from the one and only black currant bush we have this year. As we don't have an area of garden for fruit and veg the bush has been grown in a large container and for saying that it was roughly dug out of the ground and put in a pot just this past spring I am very pleased with the crop we got from it. Some of the berries are a bit on the small side but there were plenty of them and I was able to fill three quite large bowls as you can see in the pictures below. The fruit will be frozen and used over the coming year on my daily bowl of porridge which I have to start the day.

I finished the day with some pot watering followed by a bike ride to just past the dog training corner on the way to Carlton. 

17 May 2022

Little Gems

I don't have a vegetable garden as such here at our new home so I'm having to make do with containers. The one in the picture is twenty four inches across and I've grown seven Little Gem lettuce in it, we already had one. If I was growing a bigger variety I would reduce that amount to five or maybe four. As you can see they are doing very well. 

4 May 2022

Elite Titan K800 Greenhouse Assembly.

 At the weekend Fallon and I were busy erecting the new Elite Titan K800 leanto greenhouse from Gardensite. It arrived a few weeks ago but has been in storage while we waited to have a base laid professionally, also the garage wall where the leanto is to be sited needed some work doing to it to square it up. So as it's important to have everything square and true I thought it best to get it done properly.

Everything went pretty much as expected, it was a bit like doing a jigsaw without much of a picture so the hard part was to identify the parts, once this was done it was quite easy to figure out where they went. I have had some experience of erecting greenhouses in the past so some of the bits and terms used were familiar to me. Daughter Fallon was in charge of instructions and she did a good job, especially as they weren't all that clear sometimes.

Below is a picture of the front with the opening for the double doors.

Here we have the front and ends assembled and joined together ready to be fastened to the wall and the base after the roof parts have been added. Timothy - Michael is taking a break after sorting out the roof spars.
This is how far we got to on the first day of assembly, this picture being taken the next morning before starting on finishing the glazing. The glazing was easy enough to do, there was a good glazing plan to work from and even though some of the sheets of glass on the roof were something like eight feet long we managed it with ease and so got on well until the third pane from the end which is when disaster struck. We picked up the five foot sheet of glass the same as we had done with all the others before it, took two steps and the whole thing just fell to pieces on the garage floor.
You can see from the picture below how far we got. The sheets of glass had been leaning up against the bags of compost and had been put there by the delivery guy. It was toughened glass which is why it broke the way it did. As to why it broke is a mystery to us.

18 March 2022

Today I made a start on the new flower border by the garden house seating area. I need to get cracking on this as we have plants from the old house that we need to get planted. On the other hand I don't plan on breaking my back over it so I will doing the digging a bit at a time working it  in with other jobs.

This is looking up the garden towards the river, the little garden house and seating area is to the left,

This is the bit of garden that I want to work over, from the hedge down the lawn some ways.


24 January 2022

A Place To Rest Awhile.

I've been looking for a chair for my room at the new place for a while now and whilst there is no shortage of chairs to be had I had something particular in mind along the lines of vintage, antique type if not genuine then at least in appearance. Anyway I recently spotted something that I liked and was lucky enough to win it. So I was really excited when delivery day finally arrived and I was able to see in the flesh my new acquisition and I wasn't disappointed, it's solid and very comfortable and I think looks well in the room. 

My new rocking chair.