Sunday, 28 February 2016

Through the garden gate in February


Welcome to through the garden gate for February. The keen eyed among you will realise as this is Brixham it isn't my garden gate and the sailor isn't my husband! It does look however a good gate for a coastal garden!


So what has been happening in the garden this month?.......


Well the first minature daffodils have appeared and also our first tulip. With drier weather this weekend the grass has been cut for the first time and that makes everything look so different. Has anyone else cut theirs? There was mention on the radio the other day that grass cutting had begun!



I bought some snow drops from the market to replace the crocus bulbs I previously mentioned had disappeared.  It always good to buy from the market, as not only are they cheaper but it comes with free advice, I was told that when the snow drops heads go yellow -tread on them and rub them into the ground and it will help increase the clumps. After I had bought them I also learnt that mice like snowdrops too!  The bulbs dry in the ground over the summer and are full of starch, which the mice love. Apparently the way to avoid this is to plant them 4 inches deep.


This time of year my thoughts always turn to what to grow in the summer. One of my birthday presents was a voucher for Sarah Raven catalogue. It has taken me a week to decide what to buy as I couldn't make my mind up - there was so much choice! I eventually decided on a clematis and cosmos and zinnia seeds.


 I also bought a pot of red pelargoniums plantlets to pot on from the garden centre. It contained 18 tiny plants, we shall see if they all survive!! We have moved them out of the greenhouse and into the conservatory, as we have had a few frosty nights.



The kale and mixed salad leaves planted in the greenhouse are giving us a good crop. Unlike the kale crop in the vegetable garden, which the pigeons have also discovered. They were even trying to pull the fleece off it the other morning after we had taken steps to hide it!


 Finally, as I started with the coastal theme, I will end with it too!

West Bay looking towards Lyme Regis

Another sunrise at West Bay, I so nearly didn't get up early to capture it, but I'm so glad I did!

West Bay looking along Chesil Beach to Weymouth & Portland at sunrise.

 What is the best thing in your garden right now? If you wish to join in with "Through the garden gate", please mention this in your comments below.
 Sarah x

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Spring is in the air

 It's so good to welcome the lighter mornings and hear the dawn chorus again....


Looking towards Bridport

Some mornings the frost and mist covers the landscape, but it quickly disappears and one or two fields are already missing out on a white coating. Have you noticed changes in the season too?


This week I celebrated my birthday, and as it was a beautiful day we headed off to Forde Abbey to search for signs of spring. It was such a contrast to the February I was born, when England experienced the coldest winter for 200 years and the country was covered in snow for 2 months!




There was an abundance of snow drops, but we were slightly too early for the magnificent display of crocus, which covered the edges of so many paths.





The witch hazel, hellebores and early daffodils were, however, a wonderful sight to behold!





A Cistercian abbey was built here between 1141 and 1148.  The monastery flourished for 400 hundred years, until the dissolution of the monasteries.  It was eventually converted into a home and the beautiful landscaped gardens were designed in the 18th century. Recently I have been researching the history of treating the sick. Monasteries played an important part in healing the sick by providing bed rest, cleanliness,warmth, food, music and prayers. Many also contained a herb garden and were also areas of medical learning.



The beautiful roof of the circular temple looked fantastic, reflected in the pool below it. I noticed that Forde Abbey are having a Tulip and Sweet pea festivals later in the year, so we will be returning to enjoy these special weeks.


Returning home I could only dream of crocus flowers, as I looked out into the garden. Last week in the market I saw some crocuses just coming into bloom. They looked so lovely that I couldn't resist buying them. Unfortunately I wasn't the only one who admired them, the day after I had planted the two pots only one remained! You can see the broken flowers and stems to the right of the picture and a trail of broken flowers leading towards the fence. I obviously supplied a good dinner to some neighbouring mice or rats! They were so tasty that the following night the other plant followed the same demise. At least I managed to save some of the flowers to enjoy inside!



I also had an accident when I was trying to take a picture of my Valentine bunch of tulips, I dropped the camera and the lens wouldn't shut! I have had numerous accidents with cameras over the years and so the last time I took out extra insurance to cover breakdowns and accidental damage. I was amazed when I took it to Argos to be repaired, to be given a brand new camera instead! They no longer had the original model, so we ended up with a better camera that had been reduced in price! The pictures seem so much sharper too.

Wishing you a happy week! Next week I will be doing another of my Through the garden gate series", so if anyone wants to join in maybe you can start thinking about your post.
Sarah x


Monday, 15 February 2016

The perfect way to start the day


I always try to have an idea of what I shall write about each week, but so often this plan is never actioned and the beauty of nature determines the post instead!


We awoke to a beautiful frosty morning and as I love sunrises and early morning dog walks I just had to be outside enjoying the sights. The smoke from a building in the valley was drifting towards the sea. (You should be able to click on the image above to see a larger image.)


The old lime kiln area was waterlogged and frosty and this morning it reminded me so much of where "Bilbo Baggins" from the Hobbitt could have livcd!



 I enjoyed too the view of the harbour from the top of the cliffs, and a fishing boat going out to sea....





I wasn't the only one out enjoying the views - can you see the person standing on the beach in the distance? The crash of the waves on the cold beach was causing a mist above the pebbles.


Along the harbour wall there was a seasoned fisherman hoping for a catch and also a photographer whose work I always admire.  As we stood there chatting and taking pictures layers of mist hovered just over the sea. It was just so magical and so difficult to capture this amazing moment on camera.



 It was just a perfect way to start the day!

(I shall leave mice and crocus bulbs until another time!) What puts you in a good mood at the start of the day?  Do your blog posts always go according to plan? I seem to have gained quite a few new followers this week, so thank you so much for popping by and also to everyone that visits me so regularly.

  Wishing you a good week, until next time.
Sarah x



Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Month of February

Welcome to the first February post, the Anglo Saxons used to call February Sōlmōnath  which translates as "Mud Month". It seems that February hasn't changed that much over the centuries . After another week of more wind and rain, the fields and paths are so muddy that we are starting to avoid them. Instead we head to the beaches instead, on this occasion passing this glorious gorse bush on the way.



 Could this be an example of a leaden sky? At least there was more light in the distance!


Mud, mud glorious mud, you can hear the squelch of paws, it's just as well this dog likes a wash!


This week was my first one on reduced hours. It was wonderful to be on the beach walking the dog and meeting neighbours doing the same thing, rather than driving to work. Then, after climbing the cliff, back home for breakfast and spending the morning making home-made bread and soup for lunch.


February is the best time to see the snowdrops and such a first welcome sign of spring. We went for a walk and snowdrop tea at the nearby village of Compton Valance. Back in the 1950's the farmer decided to plant snowdrops and daffodils along the side of the narrow road leading into the village, His family still live in the village and make sure that this wonderful sight is preserved for many others to enjoy. The tea and cakes on offer at the village hall were lovely too!




After a day of rain and very strong winds we awoke to blue skies, the waves were still crashing on the shore and as you walked along the beach your footprints were washed away by the next incoming wave....





Returning to ancient Britons I had to smile at this story in the press this week, that one of our local Dorset celebrities the Cerne Abbas Giant has been censored.The Houses of Parliament Strangers Bar had covered the offending article with a fig leaf  see here. This story went viral, and thanks to the Houses of Parliament this small local brewery has received lots of free publicity!

Image from Daily Telegraph

 There are 57 chalk hill carvings in Britain. The 180 ft (55 metre) carving of the  Cerne Abbas Giant was first mentioned in the 17th century, there have been some attempts over the centuries to censor him but all have failed.  It is well known locally as a symbol of fertility.

Thank you for all your welcome comments, what are the best and worse parts of February for you?
 Sarah x

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