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.
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