Category Archives: Manchester

Six on Saturday – out and about around my garden – 11 August 2018

I’d been thinking for a while that I haven’t taken many photos or described what’s happening in our garden – so I looked around for a linkup to prompt me to join in, and found Six on Saturday – hosted by thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com  (participant guide) who lives in Reading, Berkshire. That’s where I went to school, though I’ve lived in Manchester for over 20 years – so it’s a small world sometimes.   I’ve been following various contributors and, as usual, been inspired by the plants they grow and what they write about – but hadn’t got my act together to take photos on a Saturday.

So I’ll be covering what’s been happening around our garden, the locality in Monton, Eccles, Greater Manchester, the North.  Mostly gardens and places we visit with an emphasis on plants.  Knowing me, I doubt I’ll be contributing every week as time runs away from me, but I’ll try my best 🙂 I hope this post covers the Six on Saturday brief. 

Background

Our garden in Manchester has had a tough time this summer, the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months with very little rain. Even in our north facing, shady garden, we lost plants which had too much frost in the Spring and now drought conditions. I’ve been doing daily watering from the water butts and have sedums/succulents in a couple of hanging baskets, instead of more traditional bedding plants.
We didn’t do very much in the garden last year, apart from grow lots of lavender, as we were busy with wedding planning, and my health wasn’t great.  It was a case of keeping up with watering the pots, but we didn’t buy any new shrubs, didn’t got to any flower shows or make any changes to the layout.

1. Corner decking – what to do? 

For the first couple of years we lived here, this corner of the garden was shingle and an old bench (2009-2014).  In fact, this bench is why the blog has its name – as we used to sit here and discuss what to do in life, and in the garden.

Bench

Before – nackered bench 2010

 

Deck

Deck – veg plot on the left and flowers on the right – 2014

My Chap built the decking in 2014 – it was a pre cut kit from B&Q – as it worked out much cheaper.  We’ve had new fences at the back now, as they fell apart when some of our neighbour’s conifers were cut down.  This is was our favourite place to eat in the garden until the chairs broke.  Now we have a green metal bistro set in the middle of our nackered grass this summer.

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a lovely place for eating out during the summer

Current situation – July 2018

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I’m hoping the photos will push me into painting the fences, the table and buying some new bistro chairs.   I’m looking out for metal wall art or a mirror for the fences.  The camellias live on the left, there’s an Abutilon, a dwarf lilac, some lavender and  a Philadelphus.  This area gets the morning sun and some of the last of the evening sun (when the conifers in my neighbours garden are pruned).   Yoda is just out of shot.

Any ideas what else I should put in this area? Apart from more plants 😉 I’ve got some nemesia (see below) and some more lavender for scent. 

2. Tigridia pavonia ‘Auria’ – tiger flower

These stunning flowers last only a day in our garden – you can see it’s in a pot in the photo above.  The bulbs came from Wilko a few years ago. Obviously, I had to look up the proper name as my memory is a sieve for flower names.  This reminded me that the bulbs need lifting over the winter and placing in trays of sand as they aren’t hardy here.

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3. Nemesia ‘Sunshine’

These are outside the front door in a blue china pot – it’s called ‘Sunshine’, which seems appropriate given the hot and sunny weather we’ve had since May. The scent is lovely.  This is the first time I’ve had this plant and I’ve bought more for where we sit outside.  I think they’ll need to be put in the porch to overwinter though.

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4. Hydrangea from Tatton Park Flower Show

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Hydrangea

It seems very happy in a pot, in the shady side of the garden – what a stunning colour.  It’s hurling down with rain here so I’m not going to go out to see what it’s called.

5. Petunia ‘Night Sky’ and Petunia ‘Cascadia Rim Magenta’

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Petunias ‘Night Sky’ and Cascadia Rim Magenta

I’ve got a couple of troughs of petunias on the porch walls by the front door which cheer me up every time I see them. The Night Sky (purple spotty) and Cascadia rim magenta (maroon with yellow edges) are looking particularly fine.  You can see the Nemesia in the background too.

6. Bee Spotting in Manchester – #beeinthecity

We were out in the city centre running errands – but managed to do a bit of #beeinthecity spotting while we were there.  This public art trail has certainly caught the imagination of the public, especially children.

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Bee No. 2003 – ‘My Heart Belongs in this Place’ Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester

‘My heart belongs in this Place’ sums up what I feel about this wonderful city. There are nearly 200 bees around the city. I’ve found about 35 so far, I’m off to find some more…#beeinthecity

And look what I found in the hanging baskets at Hatch – Petunia ‘Night Sky’.  There were lots of flowers, in planters and baskets, around Hatch – all in very good condition.  It’s lovely to see flowers in such an urban, industrial-style place. I’m always looking for nature in urban areas.

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Petunia ‘Night Sky’ in Hatch with ‘My Heart belongs in this place’ in the distance

 

Had a lovely lunch in Hatch on Oxford Road – it’s collection of containers housing a catering space for food startups; although the microbrewery and coffee emporium are permanent (and there’s free wifi too).

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my first link up to ‘Six on Saturday’ hosted by thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.  Do have a look at the contributions from others to the meme at the end of his post.

He’s been on a family holiday to Slovenia which looks stunning.

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Have you noticed any unusual flowers? or in unexpected places?  If you’re local to Manchester – Have you been bee spotting too,? Have you got a favourite?

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday – Halle St Bee-ter A chorus of industry – #beeinthecity

Halle St Bee-ter's A Chorus of Industry - No 3401

Halle St Bee-ter’s A Chorus of Industry – No 3401 – #beeinthecity

Location: Cutting Room Square, Ancoats – with Halle St Peter’s in the Background.

#beeinthecity

Wordless Wednesday – Bee Inspired #beeinthecity

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4286 – Bee Inspired #beeinthecity Aquatics Centre, Oxford Road, Manchester until 23 September 2018

Location: Aquatics Centre Oxford Road

There are nearly 200 bees around the city. I’m off to find some more…

beeinthecitymcr.co.uk

Wordless Wednesday – ‘the love bee’ Manchester #beeinthecity

25 July 2018 – 4262 ‘the love bee’ part of Bee in the City Manchester – 23 July to 23 Sept 2018

Location: St Peter’s House Chaplaincy, University of Manchester, Oxford Road

There are nearly 200 bees around the city. I’m off to find some more…#beeinthecity

beeinthecitymcr.co.uk

On an adventure to BlogOn X

I’m planning on writing more this year, getting a shorter URL and I’ve got plenty of ideas for blog topics. More photos of flowers too. This weekend I’m off to a blogging conference run by the team at BlogOn (https//BlogOnuk.com) – it’s only down the road at Hotel Football, in Old Trafford, in Manchester – about three miles from my house. I’d seen bloggers taking about how well run, and useful, the conferences are, so I signed up. I wanted to learn some new skills, update my knowledge, especially about Pinterest, and maybe talk about collaborations. I’m very much looking forward to meeting some other bloggers face to face, that I know via Twitter and other social media. It’s always good to spend time with people who do a similar role to you, and have some fun.

If you’re coming to the conference come and say hello 🙂 I’m hoping I’m not a fish out of water.

We’ve been asked to write a bit about ourselves and link up… So here goes…

  • Share a recent photo of yourself

I’m Bec, I live in Monton in Eccles, which is in Salford in Lancashire. Monton is on the West of Greater Manchester, about six miles from the city centre; it’s leafy round here, with Worsley Woods, a couple of golf courses and the Bridgewater Canal is at the end of our street – we’ve got a good cafes, bars and restaurants around here and a growing number of street art bees.

I blog about flowers, gardening, wellbeing and our adventures out and about, usually in the Great Outdoors . I’m a Southerner originally, born in Berkshire. I’ve lived here for 20 years, visiting since 1989, so I’ve seen lots of changes around Manchester.

I’m definitely in my spiritual home among the friendly Northerners. Also, I know the correct words to use to order a bread role in any part of Greater Manchester. In Eccles its a barm 😉 I eat my chips with gravy, but never mushy peas (Devil’s work).

This is the first picture of me I’ve ever put on the blog. I feel like I should tell you I’m wearing a White Stuff dress, with Razzle Dazzle Irregular Choice shoes – Outfit of the Day and all that 😉 The photo was taken just before I headed out to my Hen Do afternoon tea last September.

  • What’s your favourite pizza topping?

Olives, anchovies, prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella on a super thin crust.

  • You can have dinner with any three guests dead or alive- who do you choose and why?

I could easily pick three gardeners, three historians, three chefs, three novelists, three adventures, three musicians, three scientists, the list could go on. But, I’ll confine myself to a group who’d have so much to discuss and share – Nigel Slater, Mary Beard and Charles Darwin.

  • Up to now what would you consider being your biggest life achievement?

I’ve raised alot of money for charities to research Motor Neurone Disease (because My Chap’s brother died aged 49 in 2017 from MND) and cancer (because lung cancer took my Dad 18 years ago when he was 70). In my day job, I’ve helped academics win millions in funding for research with patients in the NHS – just about any topic or disease you can think of. I’m proud I help people make a difference – and make the world a better place.

  • If you woke up tomorrow as a character from any Disney film or book who would you be and why?

I watched most of the classic Disney Films as a kid in the 1970s, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, etc. My favourite is Jungle Book – I love the songs. I’ve never seen Bambi though.

However, since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, I’m taking Leia at any age, as my character…

I was 11 in 1977 when Star Wars came out and I’d never seen a woman as the lead, a hero, in charge – it affected me deeply. The film was massive in the playground; I think I saw it three or four times that year. I was, and still am, a massive Star Wars and sci-fi geek. Wish I’d kept the light sabre though. In the recent films Leia, as a General, is only a decade or so older than me, so I hope I have her compassion, determination and wit.

Yoda and Pansies in the Spring Sunshine

    I have a special love for Yoda; he has appeared so many times in the blog he has his own Tag.

    • What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

    Stretch! Wiggle my toes and fingers. I have osteoarthritis in my fingers, toes and in my back, so I often wake up very stiff.

    • If you won the lottery what would be the very first thing you would buy and why?

    A round the world airline ticket for My Chap and I, to visit friends and family, watch some tennis, go to some gigs and walk on beaches. Then we’d come back to Manchester, pay off and do up our house and garden. We’d stay here, as we love Manchester, but we’d also love a house by the sea.

    • What is your favourite quote from a movie?

    ‘Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future’. Yoda

    • If you were a superhero what would your super power be?

    Time travel – not only because I love history – but it would mean I could visit people in a instant.

    • What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

    When I was a teenager, My Dad used to talk about ‘Things a Girl Should Know’, most were practical like how to open champagne, how to shake hands firmly, tie bow ties properly, change a tyre etc. He taught me to cook too, but that’s a whole other story.
    He told me to be true to myself, be kind, help people, when you can and say No to things you really don’t want to do.

    And to trust your gut.

    • Which emoji do you use the most?

    I’m absolutely bobbins at doing emojis, so I can only use three (typing the characters too) – 🙂 😉 😦

    • If you could go back in time and tell yourself anything what would it be?

    My Granny Dolly who was a country woman, a working class suffragette, dog breader, judge at Cruft and a terrible cook, said to use moisturiser every day. Her skin was amazing, even in her 80s, and I’m afraid I didnt take this advice. I realised the error when I turned 40 and have mostly remembered the moisturiser since then.

    • What do you currently have set as the wallpaper on your phone?

    This is the bay at Flinders, on the Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne. My Australian family live here some of the time. Flinders is a village, with a General Store, one pub and a few coffee shops – it’s a peaceful, sleepy and relaxed place. I love it there.

    • If you could do anything in the world as a legitimate job what would you do?

    Be a guide around one of the great gardens, photographing people, places and plants – sharing and tweeting too.

    • Where is your favourite place in the world?

    I don’t have one favourite place – I guess mine is more about what places make me feel – a state of mind. Contentment, peace, relaxed but it would definitely have beautiful flowers.

    And now to see if I can add the link button without a laptop. It broke on Monday so I’m using the tablet at the moment (TMI probably). Oops I chopped my head of on the link box.

    Do have a look at the BlogOn X – linky for more blog and bloggers 🙂 I’ve found some new ones to follow.

    Any thing I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

    But, in the meantime, remember Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

    Carpe Diem

    Love Bec xx

    In a Vase on Monday: Create your own sunshine

    ‘Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine’ Anthony D’Angelo – American Educator

    The weather has been a bit chilly and windy here in Salford, so for today’s vase I picked the brightest colours I could find in the garden – lots of different kinds of dwarf daffodils, including a solitary frilly one. Most of the Daffodils came from a mixed bag of bulbs from my local garden centre Bents. I added some bright yellow primrose, which opens as orange, and a frond of blue scilla. I matched them with an aqua glass vase, which I bought at the Eden Centre a few years ago – it’s made from reclaimed glass, has a metal hanger, handy for wedging stems against. The vase is really a tealight holder – it’s appeared before In a Vase on Monday, with daffodils but I didn’t realise that until I looked it up on the blog. There’s rain drops on the Primula and one of the Daffodils has been munched – oh well that’s Nature for you.

    I probably sound like a broken record, but the weather has been very backwards and forwards in April in Salford. It’s been even more changeable than usual for April, – and not many April showers either. There was the brief hot, sunny 70degrees for a few days mid week, which ‘might’ have been our Summer/Spring. It was rather wasted as I was at work, but it did give me a chance to take some photos around Oxford Road. Doesn’t it look awesome and I love the living wall on the side of the Physics building. I wish there were more of these, and more Cherry trees around campus.

    Manchester and Salford look stunning at the moment with the many ornamental blossoms – I counted over 50 trees on the way home in so many shades of pink and white, on my 6 mile commute (and two miles in motorway in deep concrete cuttings). I must take some photos of the local ones around Monton – there’s four mature cherry trees on our Green, which definitely isn’t big enough for a cricket match.

    As usual I’m linking up with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden; she has a beautiful collection of many shades of white, with streaks of green when you look closely. Like many things, if you look closely you see more. A good reminder for life generally – and doing this helps me be mindful too. I’m expecting to have Tulips in my Vase on Bank Holiday Monday, there are many coming though.

    Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon April

    This finished today -Monday 30 April 2018. It’s been a reflective day for me.

    I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding photos to represent the topics – sometimes it was very thought provoking, other times the photo and description were straightforward – some photos I had already and some I took especially for the prompt. I made a couple of collages too.

    I’d definitely do another of these prompts again. Have you seen anything suitable? Would you have a go? Let me know in the comments.

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    Instagram: @becinmonton
    Twitter: @becinmonton

    Follow the Instagram hashtag – #blurtselfcareathon

    *****

    Thank you to The Blurt Foundation for all they do to help people like me – I’d have been a mess if I hadn’t found them. I’ve written about them a few times on the blog.

    Follow Blurt Foundation on Instagram @theblurtfoundation
    Follow the Instagram hashtag – #blurtselfcareathon

    Follow Blurt Foundation on Twitter @BlurtAlerts

    More resources and help for depression and anxiety at: www.blurtitout.org

    The Blurt Foundation’s CEO Jayne Hardy knows so much about self care, she wrote a book about it :-). It’s available from bookshops Self Care Project

    Follow Jayne on Instagram @jaynehardy_ and twitter @JayneHardy_

    *****

    I can see my neighbour’s stunning cherry blossom from my front door. Isn’t it gorgeous? It lifts my mood.

    In the meantime enjoy National Gardening Week – hope you can get outside to enjoy some gardens, flowers and plants… or just a walk in the sunshine or doing something you love. It’s due to be a sunny Bank Holiday weekend so we’ll be making the most of it.

    I’ll be taking notice of the small things too – #mindfulness. I’ve tapped into more of my inner sunshine despite being ridiculously busy.

    We go to Australia in less than two weeks to see our awesome relatives so we will definitely see some genuine sunshine (inner sunshine too).

    Carpe Diem,

    Love Bec xx xx xx