Wednesday 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

Taken at Roundhay Park on Boxing Day before the snow started falling.

Wishing you all a happy new year and all the very best for 2015, hope it's a good year for us all.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Garden Visiting In 2014

We've had some lovely days out this year, visiting a garden each month. Some were better than others, but on the whole, there was something to take away from each of the gardens.

I thought it would be helpful to list each of the gardens we visited with a link to the post about them.

January - Wentworth Garden Centre Gardens
February - Roundhay Park Gardens
March - Manor Heath Park, Halifax Part One
              Manor Heath Park, Halifax Part Two
April - Lister Park, Bradford Part One
            Lister Park, Bradford Part Two
May - Cannon Hall Part One
           Cannon Hall Part Two
June - Golden Acre Park Gardens Part One
           Golden Acre Park Gardens Part Two
July - Temple Newsam Walled Garden Part One
          Temple Newsam Walled Garden Part Two
August - Yorkshire Lavender
September - Thornes Park, Wakefield
October - Oakwell Hall Part One
                Oakwell Hall Part Two
November - York Museum Gardens
December - Temple Newsam Gardens

I think my favourite garden of the ones visited this year was Cannon Hall. The walled garden was beautifully kept and had some wonderful, well labelled, plants and trees. We visited this garden in May but I'd like to go back a bit later in 2015 to see the apple and pear trees dripping in fruit and the vegetables ready to harvest.

Other gardens I would recommend visiting are Wentworth Garden Centre Gardens, Roundhay Park Gardens, Golden Acre Park Gardens and Temple Newsam Gardens, though all the ones I visited this year have something to offer.

I think it would be a nice idea to visit the gardens again in a different month as they can look so different at various times of the year when other plants are blooming.

I hope you've enjoyed my garden visits as much as I have.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Wishing... all a very merry Christmas.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Garden Visiting In December

There was a bit of a false start to my garden visit for December. Knowing there wouldn't be many plants around at this time of year, I'd decided that I'd cheat and visit Tropical World where the greenhouses hold the UK's largest collection of tropical plants outside of Kew Gardens. What I didn't bargain for was that Tropical World was going to close in December for refurbishment.

With that idea shelved, I had a scout about on the internet and came up with The Red House Museum. The house itself is an 1830's cloth merchant's home with Bronte connections but it was the gardens I was interested in. Apparently, they're restored to the 1830's period with scented old roses, borders of old fashioned flowers, an ornamental rose pillar, flower basket beds and a serpentine walk. It sounds lovely, doesn't it? In reality, there's one smallish area with not very much to see at this time of year.

I had to come up with something else, so it was to my trusted old friend, Temple Newsam, that I turned. I showed you around the walled garden in my Garden Visiting In July - Part One and Garden Visiting In July - Part Two posts, so this time, I'd like to show you around the gardens in the grounds.

It's not the best time of year to visit gardens if you're expecting to see an abundance of plants at their best, but there's still plenty of interest of other sorts. Take trees, for example, some are still clothed in their vibrant green leaves, whereas the shape which is usually hidden can now be seen from the ones which have shed their leaves. I think this particular one would look lovely at this time of year with a few lights twinkling amongst the leaves.

This one too.

This tree reminds me of a huge bonsai, a contradiction in terms.

Look how twisted this tree has grown, it has such a dramatic effect as it overhangs the lake.

The grass is still looking very green but it has a backdrop of bare plants and trees.

The borders are looking very bare.

There are lots of signs of life waiting to burst forth though. Temple Newsam has a beautiful rhododendron walk, it's a riot of colour in May and June. The buds are formed already and are sure to give an outstanding display next year.

There's a small grass garden by the side of the lake.

Most of the grasses have now been cut down.

There's different types of bamboo planted here, I stood and listened to the wind swishing through it.

Not all the grasses have been cut down, some are very tall indeed.

I love how the sun catches the plumes of this pampas grass.

We paused for a while by the side of the lake to watch a couple of Jays. You might just be able to make one out in the centre of this photo, I could have done with my longer lens with me.

The lake looks beautiful summer or winter. The gardens in Temple Newsam were landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and I think the lakes and the planting around them are striking.

The willow has just about dropped all of its leaves now. The few it has held on to will, no doubt, have been shed in the wind we've experienced over the last few days.

I'm sure you'll agree that there's plenty of enjoyment to get from visiting a garden, even this late in the year. There may not be lots of flowering plants around but there's still so much interest.

I thought it was going to be challenging finding a garden with enough interest in it to visit in December but I was wrong. An added bonus was that Archie got a walk in his favourite place.

Friday 19 December 2014


It didn't take long for the hyacinths which I bought at the end of November to burst in to bloom. I was hoping that they were either lilac or blue so I had a pleasant surprise.

They're now filling the house with their beautiful scent.

I think I'll buy some more to see me through the festive period, they're so cheap and cheerful that you really can't go wrong.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Allotted Time Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my little giveaway for Allotted Time. I enjoy reading about other people's experiences on their allotment so this was a pleasure to read.

The winner, drawn at random, is Cheryl from Take Time To Smell The Flowers...... . Can you please let me have your address details so that I can get the book posted to you. It will be a good read for over winter, I hope you enjoy it.

It's a while since I've read a gardning book of this sort but I enjoy them very much so I shall have to look out for some more.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Allotted Time

I was sorting through some cupboards the other day when I came across a book I'd read a number of years ago, Allotted Time by Robin Shelton.

"Robin Shelton was at a crisis point in his life - divorced, broke and suffering from depression - when he and his trusty mate Steve decided to take on a project, a chance to achieve something solid. They decided to rent an allotment.

What seemed like a good idea over a couple of beers became a daunting task in the cold light of day when faced with a patch of ground covered in grasses and weeds so wild Ray Mears might have found it intimidating. But through perseverance (and despite the baffling advice of their fellow allotment keepers) they managed to grow an impressive array of crops, and find a sense of purpose they had both been missing. Working the soil brought back happy memories of Robin's father who had died when he was sixteen, and drew him closer to his two sons. After months of hard work, both Robin and Steve ended the year wiser and much saner."

It's at this time of year, when unable to do much on the plot because of the weather, that I enjoy reading about other people's exploits. I thought that one of my readers might enjoy this book whilst taking a break from gardening, so if you fancy reading about Robin and Steve's allotment adventures, just leave a comment on this post by noon on Sunday the 14th of December 2014. A name will be drawn at random soon afterwards.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

A Foray Into Fungi

I couldn't resist picking up one of these mushroom kits when I visited the pound shop.

I've always fancied having a go at growing my own and at just a pound, these kits are affordable and it won't matter if it's not successful.

The kit comes with spawned mushroom compost, instructions and growing medium. It all looks simple enough, only time will tell whether it really is easy to grow mushrooms or not. I'll let you know.

Sunday 30 November 2014

Heaven Scent

I often buy hyacinths at this time of the year, they're a perfect alternative to air freshners as their scent is heavenly. I know there are many people who aren't very keen on their fragrance, but I love it.

I was in Leeds for a little while yesterday afternoon after dropping Eleanor off for her matinee performance of Scrooge at the Carriageworks Theatre, so I popped in to the market with the sole purpose of picking up these beauties. You can't go wrong for £2.50.

I'm just waiting for them to bloom now, I wonder how long it will take them.

Friday 28 November 2014

New Life

My spring bulbs have burst in to action already, their snouts are showing above the soil.

These are crocus, my other bulbs seem much more sensible and are keeping covered up for now.

I remember some bulbs getting an early start last year, but they soon stopped growing once the weather turned a bit colder before starting back in to growth in spring. I think I'd take advantage of their cosy bed for now if I were them.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Time For Bed

My pelargoniums, or geraniums as most people call these type of pelargoniums, have done so well this year but you can see that they're now past their best and looking very tired.

They're actually plants which I grew last year. I'd popped the pots in the greenhouse over winter without clearing them out first and in spring, discovered that the plants were coming in to bloom again. I didn't have the heart to discard them in favour of buying new ones so I gave them a good trim and they were happy to do their thing again this year.

I thought I'd try doing the same thing with them again this year so before popping them in the greenhouse, I gave them a severe haircut. It looks a bit drastic but it got rid of all the decaying leaves. I shall fleece them to give them a little protection as my greenhouse isn't heated, but I suppose it will depend on how severe the winter is whether they come through it or not. Supposing they do, they'll get some new compost in spring to set them up again for another year.

They're fabulous plants putting out vivid red blooms continuously throughout summer. If I can keep them going another year then why not?

Monday 24 November 2014

A Windfall

This is the second lot of apples our lovely next door neighbours have given us this year. They've got a few apple trees in their garden and they say they had a bumper crop this year.

I found these waiting for me on the doorstep before they went away on holiday a fortnight ago, it's time I did something with them. Apple Crumble sounds good.

I'm hoping that my own little apple trees will give me a better harvest next year.

Friday 21 November 2014

Mosses And Berries And Ferns! Oh My!

Following on from my last post, I thought I'd show you a few more of the photos I took in Golden Acre Park last Sunday. Autumn treasures are plentiful, there's so many subjects to photograph at this time of year.

I know it's not in the post title but I thought I'd throw in a few lichen photos for good measure.

I'm not a lover of autumn, purely because of the cold weather it brings and also the fact that the descent into winter begins. It does bring some wonderful photo opportunities though, and I can't get enough of the blazing colour and wonderful textures. I'm hoping that the weather is good enough this weekend to get out and about with my camera again.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Fabulous Fungi

I'm fascinated by fungi. I don't know the first thing about it, but it seems magical somehow. Take this toadstool, I expect to find a fairy living underneath it.

We visited Golden Acre Park on Sunday and came across lots of different types of fungi, I thought I'd share some of my photos.

Autumn is a great time to go fungi spotting, there's even some in my garden.

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