Category Archives: Gardening

Our Shepherd’s hut, Old Brampton Derbyshire – In a Vase on Monday

Definition Glamping = a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.

“glamping is likely to satisfy any city slicker seeking a little refuge in nature—without foregoing any of life’s luxuries”

There aren’t many things My Chap and I disagree on but CAMPING is one of them.  He’d love to be out in a tent in the middle of nowhere, with a campfire and basic facilities – he’s camped since he was a small child.

I like the great outdoors –  I like walking, hiking and gardening, of course. Definitely, I like getting away from it all, with a beautiful view, preferably by the sea.  I like eating outside when it’s warm, BUT I like my creature comforts.

When I was a child I camped with the Guides, usually in fields or orchards rather than on organised campsites.  I loved the campfire and cooking outdoors (still do), but I hated sleeping on the floor even with blow up mattress. Also, I hate being cold or wet -so this is a hazard of camping.  Generally, I’m not a fan of noisy campsites, with a club/bar etc.  Since I developed osteoarthritis, I need to sleep in a proper bed.  My Chap roles his eyes about my fussiness but understands why I’m like I am. Continue reading

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In a Vase on Monday – fuchsias, 5 favourite NW gardens

So the hot, sunny weather is over for the moment.  It’s been raining on or off in Manchester all day, so I ran out into the garden to pick some flowers for the vase, you can still see the raindrops on the fuchsias. It’s a good thing it’s been raining, as the reservoirs, the farms and the gardens need it.  The drawback for me is that my arthritis starts aching again; it’s been glorious having three months pain-free. Continue reading

In a Vase on Monday – Raspberry (jam) and custard

‘Happiness is like jam, you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself’ Author: Unknown

The weather in Manchester has made a return to its usual Summer windy, soggy-ness but that’s a good thing as you almost hear the plants sucking up the water. Everything is looking a bit more chirpy than last week. I’m still pottering along gardening in the shade, sorting out the house and making changes – it’s been a good summer so far especially as my arthritis pain just about disappears when it’s very hot.

I’ve been pondering a few things this week – in the garden as out and about. We’ve got a few trips planned including a trip to Derbyshire at the weekend and a WI camping trip in September. It was jam making of all things, that inspired my In a Vase on Monday.

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In a vase on Monday: yarrow and marguerites

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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.  Continue reading

In a Vase on Monday: be present with yoga

“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda

This week, despite the heat in Manchester, I’ve done quite a bit of gardening in the evenings, when most of our North facing garden is in the shade.  I notice my mood is better if I’ve spent time outdoors, especially pottering around and watering the plants.  I’ve rationalised my plants into bigger pots, pushed together so that I can water everything I need to and bigger pots retain the moisture.  It’s also the first summer I’ve watered shrubs in the garden. It takes me about half an hour to water the pots (with a watering can and water from the water butts).  We have had so little rain here – and the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months.  Also, I’ve put succulents, sedums and drought tolerant plants in my hanging baskets.  Gardening helps me be mindful – as does yoga.

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7 August 2018 – posy of sweetpeas, lavender and dianthus – with The Book of You and a Be present yoga print

How yoga helps my mind, body and spirit

I’ve been practising yoga, on and off, for about 12 years, starting completely by accident.  A friend of mine had a pal who was learning to be an Iyengar yoga teacher so needed people to practise with.  It was right next to work, straight after work so it seemed a good thing to do. It changed my life.

When I was younger I had poor spacial awareness and was always tripping over, which lead to some hilarious incidents including my Steve (my former partner) pulling me out of a peat bog as I’d sunk up to my knees and was slowly falling face forward into the bog.  Another time I went flying, just as a busload of tourists came round the corner in very rural Ireland.  I was always collecting bruises from bumping into things.

It’s a long time ago, but the first things I noticed doing yoga was that it helped me stretch (especially my hamstrings), helped calm my brain as I was concentrating on breathing and the position of my limbs.  I learnt to do corpse pose (Shavasana) not ‘banana’ pose as my first Yoga teacher Jacky named it.  Yoga isn’t a quick fix – it took me about 6 weeks to see the real benefit. I carried on with Jacky’s classes and then John Aplin for years until my work pattern changed.

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In a Vase on Monday – Bee Cheerful & Enjoy Today

‘Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you miss the sense of where you are going and why’ Eddie Cantor, US Actor and Radio Broadcaster.

The very hot weather continues here in NW England, the ground is parched, we’ve had huge wildfires on the moors near Bolton and Oldham, we’ve got the threat of a hosepipe ban from early August (not that I’ve got a hosepipe) and everyone seems to be moaning about the heat.  I’m not complaining about the heat – I’m cheerful as it means my arthritis pain is minimal, which makes a massive difference to my wellbeing and energy levels.  So I’ve been doing more walking in the woods near us and getting out and about.

So I’ve been watering my plants with the watering can every evening; I find it a very relaxing, mindful activity.  I’ve had a very relaxing time in July as I’ve got time off work – time for Wimbledon and enjoying the sunshine (with factor 50, shades and a hat).

I decided to go with a bright arrangement today.  For my Vase, I’ve picked:

  • Coreopsis – ‘Sunkiss’ and ‘Early Sunrise’.   The common name is Tickseed, but luckily I’ve not had any tick bites on my walks, though horse flies are rampant at the moment and most people I know have a nasty bite or two.
  • two patio/mini roses one red and one shocking pink – both gifts so I’ve no idea of their names.
  • Hypericum from my front garden – it’s appeared a couple of times in the blog
  • Pale yellow marguerite daisy – I’ve got three of these growing well after being in the ‘sick plant’ section at a well known DIY store.
  • An orange French Marigold, sadly the rest have been decimated by the slugs 😦 They’re the only plants that have been eaten, so that’s not so bad.

The print ‘Enjoy Today’ was designed by Becky Bettesworth.   I bought it when I visited Cornwall for the first time in over 30 years in 2015.  I sailed often when I was younger and it reminds me to be ‘in the moment’ and accept the direction of the wind (and/or life).

The jug and mug are made by charlottemacey.co.uk/
They have cute, stylised birds flying on the inner rim.   I bought these in Cornwall too.

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Red and Pink roses, Coreopsis, Marguerite, Hypericum berries

It was so hot, I photographed the vase in the early evening shade, so I am pleased the flower colours came out so well.

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In a Vase on Monday – in the pink with Pimms (and tennis)

This week I’ve been watching a lot of tennis.  It’s definitely part of my summer schedule to watch Wimbledon, I’ve watched it since I was a child.  My Mum loves watching tennis, so I caught the bug from her.  We went to Wimbledon in 1977 when I was 11 – Centre Court tickets. We saw Billy Jean King and Martina, Ile Nastase, a very young John McEnroe. we had a brilliant day. I’d love to go again, need to remember to apply for the ballot 🙂 A friend told me she won ballot tickets for the Ladies Final in 2009, when Serena beat Venus, so it’s worth a go.

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So for today’s vase, I thought I’d do a Wimbledon theme.  There’s always plenty of flowers and plants around the Wimbledon site – and it all looks lovely from what you can see in on the TV/  I picked some dianthus (commonly known as pinks), some  purple perennial wallflower (which is still flowering!), white pelargonium and a different lavender from last week. These colours sum up summer for me – pinks, reds, purples and whites.  My strawberries are over so I couldn’t include them 😦 The plants aren’t looking very happy in the heat even though they’re in the shade.

It is very dry in our garden, as we’ve only had significant rain one evening last week and once in June.  The temperature has been in mid-20s for a couple months now – with no cloud cover.  Our houses aren’t designed for this level of sustained heat.  I have the curtains at the front of the house and I am grateful for once for a north-facing back garden.  I’d been gardening in the shade when I can too. As well as a lot of watering using the watering can – the water butts are full again from last weeks rain so that helps.
The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill, by Bolton and Dovestones, by Oldham are only a few miles from me – the smell of smoke hung across the city centre for a few days two weeks ago.  The firefighters are still dampening down the peat, many footpaths and a few roads are closed.  Grim.

The flowers are displayed in a small jug with roses on, that I bought at Bodnant Garden, a National Trust property, where My Chap and I got engaged in June 2016.  We have picnics often so one of my small hampers is a prop too. I’ve written before about Bodnant, and the jug has appeared before, too:

I don’t have any dainty teacups to put in this shot, as I only have chunky big mugs for tea but I’m sure you get the idea with the mini jug, and the sign is a nod to the scoring in tennis and the small picnic hamper.

Do have a look at Cathy’s post in Rambling in the Garden – she has zinnias this week which I’ve never attempted to grow. Maybe next year.

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Pimms 
I love Pimms – I drink it all year round, usually in pint glasses without fruit just mint and Ice.  Drinking pints of Pimms is my Dad’s fault as he couldn’t be bothered to go back into the kitchen to pour more Pimms when we were sat out enjoying the sunshine in the back garden.  I like the Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms too – it tastes like alcoholic Ribena.  Yoda likes Pimms too 😉  For those that don’t know Pimms was invented in 1823 by James Pimm who owned oyster bars in the City of London.  It’s a gin-based drink and even now the herbs and spices used are a secret recipe.  He went on to invent a number of Cups based on different spirits including No. 6 Cup (vodka),  No 3 Cup (based on Brandy) now available as Winter Pimms.  I drink Winter Pimms too and that’s lovely as a hot drink on a cold, wintery evening.   All the other Cups are phased out at the moment 😦

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Here are some of my favourite Pimm’s recipes in addition to Pimms and lemonade.  My dad used to put borage in our Pimms but mint is fine too.

Pimms and ginger ale

  • 1 part Pimms and 3 parts ginger ale over ice

My Chap particularly likes this one with a quality ginger beer.

Cranberry Pimms 

  • 375ml  Pimm’s No.1 Cup
  • 1litre sparkling lemonade, chilled
  • 200ml cranberry juice
  • 1 sliced lemon as garnish
  • Mint leaves as garnish
  • Redcurrants or fresh berries, as the garnish

yoda collage with pimms

You can see that Yoda has aged a few years in these pictures too…

*****

Do you have any favourite summer drinks?  We love gin and tonic too. My Chap has a collection of gins.
What do you have planned for the week?

Carpe Diem

love Bec xxx xxx