Yesterday was a sunny 20+C, drinking banana milkshakes in a T-shirt on the patio.

Today is “Bank Holiday Weekend” weather, a bare 12C and drizzle with penetrating damp, which does my aching joints and dodgy back no favours at all. I’ve lit the stove, even, and have stuck the waffle plates in the machine. Orange-zest and vanilla waffles drizzled with maple syrup make the afternoon bearable.

garden bits

In the recently top-dressed “ericaceous tub” the Azalea Satschiko “Orange Geisha” is flowering. It’s not a plant I’d ever have bought, but it came as a “free gift” 3-inch high cutting a couple of years ago.

Brompton bits

Having trashed the nylon hook that holds the bike closed, and one of the stays for the front mudguard with a fall last November, I haven’t ridden it over the winter. But it’s now back in the cycling season, and I thought I’d ride to the station (I’m going over to Oxford to see my Mum, who is currently in the John Radcliffe again). The nylon front hook (£10) has arrived … fitting it “may be easier if you remove the front wheel”, though I managed to do it without. I’ve left it mudguardless for tomorrow. Other bits are ordered: front mudguard (£15) requires front mudguard stays (£19), doing the front wheel thing again, and removing and replacing the bolt that holds the front wheel brake calipers.

Bloody expensive and fiddly things, Bromptons!

rat and badger proofing – phase 1

I’m very happy to have a badger visiting the garden, though considerably less enamoured of the way it trashes the compost bin. And I’ve no time at all for rats in the compost, even though half-grown ones provide sport for Chelsea-cat in the summer. All of which calls for a massive re-think of the wild area by the shed … a pile of old prunings with weeds growing through.

The plan is for a small paved area, on which will sit the rotary composter my Mum gave me. As this is above ground level and completely enclosed, I hope it’s inaccessible to rats. And if the badger tries to claw its way in, hopefully it will just spin round.

So, phase one: remove the former raspberry bed, and most of the pile of prunings. My brown “garden waste” bin is now full, though it will be emptied on Friday. Heavy plastic down over the area to deter weed growth.  There will be another batch of clearing out and filling brown bin in due course, followed by raking, levelling, compacting, and laying slabs (small ones: I can’t carry anything heavy!).



slightly later than usual

I normally plant out tomatoes on or just before my birthday. We’ve had alarming forecasts of night frosts recently, so this year is slightly later. I put them out today, in a nice sun-warmer tomato house, so hopefully they’ll be OK- if not, I have “reserve” plants indoors in the (unheated, windows ajar) front room.

This year, it’s two of the nameless orange variety that I got from the Transitions Worcester community garden (originally from Monkton Wylde, I understand), and one Black Russian.


In a couple of weeks it will be nine years since I bought this house. It had been freshly painted (good), and carpeted. Sadly, with the cheapest “student let” type carpet, which is usually replaced every three or four years! Mine needs replaced, but at least an annual attack with the carpet shampooer shows willing …

garden bits

Fresh green shoots on last year’s Christmas tree. I’m really hoping that this one last a full three years. Sadly, the last couple, which were Nordman Firs, didn’t last the course. This is a “Picea Glauca Conica”, as an experiment, and so far looks promising.

garden bits, domestic drama

As always, the last of the fruit trees to blossom is Annie-Elizabeth. It’s late, hardy, and (I suppose) heritage, dating back to the 1850s. My grandfather inherited one when he moved into his last house in the early 1960s, and was fond of it because of my aunt Annie and my mum Elisabeth. I put this one in for much the same reasons, though it is indeed an excellent apple.

later …

I dropped a full glass bottle of olive oil on the kitchen floor, which is quarry tiles. It’s not so much the glass, which sweeps up, but olive oil has run everywhere … under the rubbish bin, under the gas cooker,, under the vinyl by the back door … most of a large kitchen roll required for moppage, and I’ve just done the first of what I suspect will be several moppings.

I now kinda know what Macbeth meant when he said “Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” sprang to mind – the ability of unwanted liquid to spread is considerable!

garden bits

Indoors, there’s a first. Six years ago, I hand-pollinated an amaryllis, and have sown and potted on the seedlings. This is the second one to flower, and is rather nice (the first one, last year, was rather nondescript).

Outdoors, the fern-leafed clematis has finished flowering, and it was time to take the shears to it.