The less beautiful garden and a hedgehog for M-R

In true British fashion I am sometimes uncomfortable about undeserved praise. I love my garden and I agree that parts of it are beautiful, but… like any other garden it has a whole lot of corners the camera never sees. So here is the reality check. DSCN9822This bamboo outside the back door (note the weedy path) is my weather vane – I never water it. Below is what happens when it rains – though this is more rain than I have seen in all the 38 years we have lived here.DSCN9562And here are the sweet peas I so proudly grew from seed, chewed to pieces and covered in mildew. DSCN9802 - Version 2

And some ‘interesting’ though not very beautiful fungus on a hazel stump. DSCN9727DSCN9803This part of the veg plot has remained empty all summer. I missed sowing, or buying, any purple sprouting broccoli and failed to sow anything else. And here are a few dead plants.DSCN9801 DSCN9817 And scorched patches. DSCN9797And here is the promised hedgehog, M-R – well at least you can sort of see his paw.DSCN9848 2 DSCN9850We’ll finish with a roller that hasn’t budged for… twenty years?DSCN9810There, I am shriven of false pride. Pretty pictures next time, I promise!

The hedgehog gets it

I was going to write a serious post about getting my manuscript to the publishers and reinstating my vanished website, but I have spent this evening rushing to the glass back door to shine a torch on the hedgehogs just outside.

So, I have some very bad photos of the Big un and the Little un trying to eat out of the same flower pot. When I first heard the thumping noise and went to look the Big un was hunched and immobile over the front edge of the pot, while the Little un bumped the back end, moving the pot in every direction. Then the Little un came round and tried to push the Big un out of the way, but he just went further into the pot and sat on the food. DSCN8225


Eventually the Little un gave up and went round the back to feed on the scraps that fell through the holes, while the Big un munched his way through the nibbles. DSCN8235

When I next looked there was no one in sight, and some food still in the pot, but a while later the Little un returned. He polished everything off, had a little wander and disappeared into the night. I have seen variations of the battle on several occasions now. DSCN8236I’d love to know their relationship, but can’t work out.

A couple of photos from the amazing and unique Hauser and Wirth garden and gallery at Bruton in Somerset. The galleries are full of beautiful, moving and astonishing sculptures, but you may not photograph them. DSCN8175 DSCN8183

Help, the garden is waking up…

… and I am nowhere near ready. Last week… and this week                     DSCN6993DSCN7026

I planned to do some radical mulching of my poor thin soil before the spring sprang. It should have been done in the autumn, but there was the small matter of publishing Border Line. The giant bag of mulch I have just ordered arrived at dawn, so I was directing operations in a dressing gown and wellington boots – not for the first time.                            DSCN6998DSCN7002                     All I need now is the time, the energy and some bearable weather conditions in order to spread joy among my flower and veg beds. I also need to dig out matted roots in the big Rhododendron pots and replace the soil, move a couple of roses, prune all the others, cut back cornus, raspberries, wisteria… etc etc

Unfortunately, I still haven’t finished the internal DIY. This should also have been done before Christmas (when I was publishing a book). So the dining room is full of tools and fleece liner, the spare bedroom is full of everything that has come out of our bedroom the box room and another room. I can’t progress here, because, although the plasterer came  IMG_0919  DSCN7016  a week ago the plaster is still drying in all three rooms. DSCN7014 DSCN7008Then there’s the greenhouse, new last spring, and not exactly justifying its presence. I managed to overwinter geraniums and sow some cut-and-come-again salad in November (which we ate on Boxing day) and is sort of still with us, but I need to get planting – now! And the vegetable plot which is… well embarrassing.


At least the garden is awash with fat buds, snowdrops and winter aconites.


Then there are exciting developments in my research on the letters to Far East POWs … I just need a ten-day week, and I’ll be fine.

Village excitement

Clearly drives are more universally exciting than I’d imagined. Now the main drive is finished, everyone stops as they walk past to comment. They can tell me how many layers of hardcore, grit and sand have gone down, how good the workmen were and how much they like the bricks we have chosen – very gratifying. The only drawback is that I am struggling to finish the path that joins up the drive with the front door and EG and I are also trying to rebuild the bank that is still a pit of rubble and we keep stopping to talk.


Of course, it may be that the old concrete slabs were such an eyesore that the village is heaving a vast sigh of relief.