Knot garden revisit and quick fix

Can’t think how I missed this event in the knot garden’s early life. Knot garden toysIn order to enjoy planning a new vision for this area, but still have it presentable in November when the Border Line launch party takes place, I have gone for the quick fix. I found much satisfaction in getting to grips with soil, bricks and plants for a few hours after so much desk time. There is nothing like labour for the spirits. DSCN6609

DSCN6612DSCN6616DSCN6601A late summer flourish.DSCN6599DSCN6596 And the lovely Wollerton Old Hall is giving its all.DSCN6620


I have started a ten-afternoon writing course attached to an art exhibition. More anon.

Autumn – so soon?

The last few days have been strange and sad, as we try to accept the death of a dear friend. It is difficult to settle to tasks, but I find hard labour is as good a way to consume time as anything else. So I have been clearing the path, closely supervised by a young robin (who refuses to stay in shot). Though you can just about spot him/her taking time out for a bath (in the second photo).

IMG_0516DSCN6298 - Version 2The yellow (Japanese) quinces are all over the path and with my nose to the ground, they smell delicious. This scent, along with that of the lemon balm (a welcome weed in our garden) is very comforting.

In the nearby playing field, it looks as though autumn base already arrived. IMG_0514 While this Rhododendron Yakushimanum is convinced it is spring.DSCN6299 And the roses (Octavia Hill, Papa Meilland and Wollerton Old Hall) are making the most of the end of summer.DSCN6306 DSCN6308 DSCN6305 Meanwhile this fairy-like fuchsia (magellanica molinae)  has taken over the path.DSCN6304 - Version 3And two of the three martin’s nests are on their third brood – I don’t remember seeing quite such big piles of droppings in past years – with the house painters due in a week’s time. I expect nature will sort things out without any help from us.

(Apologies to photographers (you know who you are) for the rough and ready snaps)

Dead bumblebees update and some buds

In the last week we have not seen any dead bumble bees, but a couple of days ago I noticed some that were distressed, but alive, on our drive fence.









Yesterday my husband came in asked why one part of our drive was covered in dead bees.












We recovered 12 in all.
Feeling really concerned we found the Bumblebee Conservation Trust online There we found an explanation for our dead bees. There is a lime tree overhanging our drive and for reasons not well understood (go to the link) bumblebees keep feeding on the lime tree nectar even when it is low. They run out of energy and die. Apparently honey bees aren’t quite so foolish.

It seems, also, that finding dead bumblebees generally is not necessarily a bad a sign (so long as the numbers are not too great). Perhaps, taking the hopeful view, we have seen more because we are growing more bee-friendly plants. This hope doesn’t, sadly, apply to the plight of honey bees, whose numbers are still in free-fall.

I am incurably excited by buds – especially on plants that are new in the garden. This is (our new) peony lactiflora Solange which will be cream flushed amber/salmon pink.DSCN5849

This is Rhododendron Crassum – supposedly scented. We have had it for seven years. It has been cut back by frosts, failed to produce buds, or the buds have failed, but I think we are going to see something at last.DSCN5837


And here’s a peony that has finally opened after sulking for several years. Name?

And finally a newcomer that has thrilled me, Rosa Wollerton Old Hall, with a light scent of myrrh. I could almost eat it for breakfast.

Rosa Wollerton Old Hall

Rosa Wollerton Old Hall