Admin and stuff…

The first child returns to school tomorrow and in a way it feels like something is starting to go back to normal. But it is still weird wondering whether sending the children back to school is correct? We have a testing system (I believe) but we really don’t understand (and some aren’t following) the rules. What am I going to do with no children at home? I’ve applied for jobs and heard nothing. Some random people have approached me but I don’t think it’s about work for me, more they want to part me with what little money I have.

I’ve also been doing some online networking and trying to get my blog onto other platforms. I believe this should be straightforward but platforms have different systems and languages (and I’ve never professed a multi-linguistic bent) which need more time than I want to spend. A little of that and I’ve lost interest to be honest. Any suggestions: send me a Messenger/WhatsApp/text you know how!

And then there was a bunch of Scottish rhubarb to be stewed and baked before it went rubbery in the fridge. And I’ve made a better job than last time we tried to use up garden produce. It had one largish apple from the garden and the quantity was doubled in one dish (not two) so hopefully it will still do a couple of meals but the sponge wont be rubbery. Good ole Glasgow Cookery Book, and the recipe is Eve’s Pudding, who knew?

And I have bought some bulbs, passing through Hitchin market I bought some blue tulips. And the guy said these are targeted by squirrels- who knew? – as none appeared last year he’s possibly right! Morrison’s saw me getting more purples. And Alan Titchmarsh was showing how to layer bulbs in pots the other night. Diarmuid OGavin was also showcasing garden arrangements on Channel Four and I loved his sketches. Must do some for our new plans…

Back in the Garden! On a Bank Holiday no less…

I have picked up six bucketloads of fallen apples. I have composted three and brown binned the rest. We have received the bill for our next year, to start in October. This includes our three months extra and we are gonna need to continue paying. Lots of talk about the Government sneaking through changes to council responsibilities but hey we are getting used to this by now.

The garden isn’t paying any attention as a week’s neglect has just seen the same old, same old – weed growth and more weed growth alongside a heavy scattering of fully plump apples. I was meant to cut the grass but apple buckets were filled instead.

And discussing the shed has meant a new site has been chosen. Still need to clear the fallen sycamore which was stored for burning. Think it is seasoned after three years? But the garden is being planned! And it is going to mean a lot of work…

Neglected marrow!
Mushrooms behind the book shed!
Apples! For compost!
Clearing this area by the greenhouse still needs to happen…

A Woodland Walk

The Hermitage is a walk I’ve done since I was small. Unfortunately my vertigo or MS symptoms made it a lot more scary than it should have been. There is a flatter route we took to come down but I felt like an idiot not coping with the walk up. Life is not staying still…

For the record this is Dunkeld in Scotland.

Here are some views.

The dark spaces I avoided…

A Japanese Garden in Scotland! – Gardening within LiMitS

This was the delight of our week in Scotland to be sure. We drove to Cowden in Clackmannanshire at the end of our week in Scotland, and it was worth our early start. A smallish garden which we spent over an hour exploring and if we’d not been en route for home, we would definitely…
— Read on gardeningwithinlimits.com/2020/08/30/a-japanese-garden-in-scotland/

A Japanese Garden in Scotland!

This was the delight of our week in Scotland to be sure. We drove to Cowden nr Stirling at the end of our week in Scotland, and it was worth our early start. A smallish garden which we spent over an hour exploring and if we’d not been en route for home, we would definitely have lingered…

We came home with a lot of thoughts for the garden. There is a lot in progress for sure, but it will be a while happening. I’ll add more pics when I get the camera loaded. But maybe our impending shed can have some Japanese influences like scorching the timber dark? Gravel circles however are not practical for spaces we will walk over…

It is a really amazing garden. It was built in the 1900s and was said to be The best garden in the Western World by Professor Suzuki who worked there between 1908 and 1925. It had a major restoration in 2014.

The Broons’ Book o’ Gairdenin’ Wisdoms

On a wet day in Dundee we visited the Macalpine Galleries which had reopened only a few days before after lockdown. The home of DC Thomson which produced Oor Willie and the Broons, the Dundee-based cartoon characters.

Calendar of flowers in bloom

I didn’t expect to find this gardening book at all, and it has an actual wealth of advice for the garden. A calendar of what flowers when is useful indeed. If you can read Scots, even better!

Written by Granpaw Broon…
A truism…

A garden visit…

Visiting Scotland and staying with grandpa meant looking for things to do in the middle of the post pandemic shutdown. I read an online report that described the top things to visit and Cambo gardens on the Fife coast came highly recommended. It was a wet day so the kids got to spend the day in Broughty Ferry.

We bought tickets online and drove to Kinsbarns nr Craill and arrived just after opening but the last space in the car park was ours! It was very well set up and there was a really nice gift shop and cafe.

A heron kept watch on the stream.

The garden was mainly in a courtyard but all laid out differently with occasional signs explaining areas under renovations or under weed extermination. There were veg herb and fruit beds and vines and cordons. For the end of August there were lots of blooms (my fave agapanthus) and considering the reduced garden staff due to the pandemic it was in quite amazing luscious conditions with bright colour swatches with swathes of grasses.

We had a healthy plate of salad made fresh from the produce – some peas were definitely saved – and the walk from the garden through woodland led straight out to the sea (over the golf course tee and green).

Definitely a good garden to visit if you’re near St Andrews. And combine it with the botanical gardens and butterfly house (that we visited last year) makes for a real gardeners paradise.

Sea shore
Healthy lunch
In the conservatory
The woodland walk down to the sea: quite a gentle walk with one steep stepped stretch.

Baking bits!

We have a few too many brambles, and I left the biggest bunch too long! Soggy mouldy blackberries don’t make super crumbles… we made two sponges today and that wasn’t using too many berries so I’ve gone out to pick some more and with my Apple catcher pulled off some largish apples from the tree. The sponge mixture was a bit soft because I decided mid mix to double the quantities and went a little off recipe… And we are getting a chorus of sorts from the apples, and I get the feeling we may lose a few more smashing onto the Perspex of the greenhouse.

I love the little buds on verbena boniariensis.

Lots of sweet little flowers around and about in the garden at the moment and I had thought all the best things were past. I discovered a penstemon or two coming through. I’m not sure whether that is perennial or not. Will watch out for it next year!

Penstemon planted in the spring.
Oxalis? Peeking through in one of the raised beds…
Apple and bramble sponges. They do look a bit flat…

Some tidying before the end of summer?

I don’t like driving up to the house and being confronted by weeds and all things needing trimmed. Even worse when we have been away? So the garden bin was collected this morning and I’ve hacked at the golden rod and spiky buds and remains of valerian. And that’s before I can get out of the front garden.

Hosta flowers. Maybe it’s in a better place.

So the back was full of windfalls… makes the bin heavy and I am bushed. Thankfully I only get to the windfall apples every few days, as the waste of apples makes me sad. We have some brambles so I shall make a crumble or a sponge when I get some energy back.

Bud on my passionflower.

The house is looking tidyish but I am loathe to muck up the kitchen making sponge… but it’s the one I prefer. Sponge it is!

Still turning red.

So nice NO ONE saw the Rain!

I am beginning to wonder whether I live in Scotland? Flash rain falls keep happening when I put washing out to dry. And then there’s the happy tune our washing machine makes, is that to spur me on to hang out a fresh load to get rained on? Again my gardening has tailed off but the fallen apples have filled the garden waste bin again, and that gets collected on Thursday so can I fill it again before our holiday?

As usual we have an extra bag of garden waste…

Everyone seems to be copying us this year by holidaying in the UK. I hope this has helped the British economy as we all now knows it is defunct without tourists. I am tempted to put a Scottish Saltire on the car and take lots of plaid blankets so that no one knows we’ve driven up across the border, as I’ve also felt the ire of the Scottish First Minister in her prose against the likes of Bozo and Co, and I don’t want to feel I will antagonise any locals.

How many graveyards can a family visit?

Not sure whether I feel in holiday mood to be honest. I am applying for a few jobs at a time, but not getting a sniff. Possibly there are more employees out of furlough looking for something to get their teeth into and my gaps are too apparent. I’ve not stayed out of the workplace but the few jobs I’ve tried to take on haven’t really panned out. I could write a book but the logistics/creativity of that kind of task is still not bopping me over the head with a super fabulous idea. Always the editor I do find it easier to crit other people’s ideas…

Wonder whether we can use these in the next couple of days?