Monday, 27 May 2013

Sunshine and Showers

For two gloriously sunny days I spent every possible minute outside. Gardener’s ribs settled down and so did my heart, fingers crossed! Many of you must have done just that, so thank you, it worked.  For most of you away from the UK summer is when there is this golden ball high in the sky which distributes warmth and light to all, sinners and saints alike, for months on end. Not here. You all know how Brits like to whinge about the weather, well, there is plenty to whinge about.

An annual spring task is trying to eradicate Welsh poppies. They’re very pretty, popping up all over the place. Unfortunately, they tend to seed themselves everywhere, even into the centre of other plants, which then have to be dug up, divided and freed from the invader.

Gardener is a sensible chap, he stopped after three hours on Saturday and went home. He still managed to make me large quantities of potting compost for tubs and pots, clean out a gutter and repair it, dig up and move a small Japanese acer which was in the wrong place and dig over a couple of small vegetable plots. (The zucchini I planted have already shrivelled a bit. Perhaps the night time temperatures are still too low).

Beloved and I had bought a few plants; I potted some up and planted the rest in the borders. This morning I got going on tender geraniums and fuchsias; as it’s raining again today, and the forecast remains gloomy - naturally - I’m hoping that the temperature will stay above frost from now on.

As I said, it’s raining again, the day has turned miserably grey and Millie and I got wet; our walk was short, no further than down to the river and round the castle. She’s a good dog, she takes herself for little outings in the garden, there’s plenty for her to explore. She’ll get fat though; every time she comes back in she wants - and often gets - a coming-home-biscuits.

The difference between today and yesterday is huge. We sat over our breakfast in the conservatory, doors and windows open, listening to the church bells being rung. First there was the usual test drive of two bells; perhaps the bellringers arrive in an uneven procession and everybody who turns up grabs hold of their rope and starts pulling. Eventually they sort themselves out and the noise begins to make sense; sometimes they even manage a proper peal. Or could that be a recording?

As soon as they stopped, somebody rang a coloured dove. At least, that’s what it sounded like, two notes, one repeated. I was woken by bird song at 4am. On first becoming aware of the noise I thought it was some high pitched electrical hum in the house, but when I’d roused myself sufficiently, the hum turned into a thousand battle cries being flung into the glorious dawn. Why are birds so belligerent?  If they don’t have enough room to live why do they have so many babies? You should see the huge sparrow families fighting over the seed tray. Benefit Scroungers! 


  1. interesting on the test drive of the bells...sounds like a good couple days...was cold here all weekend but just about perfect outside today...benefit scroungers....ha.

  2. Bird song of any kind would be very welcome ... all we've heard so far is the sound of litle beaks , chattering with cold .
    Glad you were able to get so much done in the garden . You always make it sound so easy ... and look so beautiful !

  3. I think all gardeners were born with a different set of instructions - dream all winter of a garden where all things are perfectly possible and come Spring - work ourselves to the point of collapse. Wishing you time to enjoy your efforts and a warm sunny day to just dream......
    Amid all our preparations this week for our family's wedding, taking a few minutes to catch up on your recent postings helps to ground me abit. Your yellow broom is spectacular! Pace yourself and take care.

  4. So glad both you and Gardener are feeling better. Wouldn't you have guessed, the sunshine was short lived. I gave up on the garden today and read blogs instead.

  5. The castle with the leafing tree in the foreground is wonderful - hard and soft scape. All the moisture must be great for your garden, Friko. Rejoice that unlike my gardens, there is no snow still covering the landscape.

  6. Glad you are both healing. I find gardening very exhausting but very therapeutic. Lift with the legs and I try not to bend over too much. We got SPRING this year. Lots of weeks of SPRING. So rare as we usually get about two week sand then hot humid summer comes for months. But our spring started in April went through May and as we enter June it is just starting to get hot!

  7. Glad your ticker has settled down! I like your Welsh poppies. They look an awful lot like our California poppies (and we call them that here in Washington State :)). Your weather sounds an awful lot like ours, too!

  8. Wonderful to hear you are feeling better. It's raining here, too, two days in a row of rain. I sure didn't need to water my garden, and I'm hoping it will stop soon and I'll see that golden globe in the sky again. Sending you healing thoughts just in case you need a few more. :-)

  9. Friko, it's grand to learn that you, Gardener and the compost are doing so well. Isn't this Spring a mischievous imp? Tempting us with glorious days, or half-days, and then bringing in the stormy, wet and windy stuff. Perhaps it was always so?''

    Millie seems to be getting a true feel for the neighborhood's possibilities...and where the refreshments lie, too.

    I do wish that I lived closer and could be an apprentice gardener. I would learn so much, and might even contribute some energetic will power, too.


  10. Wish I could send you some sunshine. We've had just enough rain to green up our lawns, but I'm going to have to start watering soon and my back is protesting at the thought of it.
    I really have no energy, and was to have seen the doctor today, but he was sick! Am scheduled to see him Wednesday and hope he doesn't have anything contagious, because I don't need anything in addition to my already long list of pesky ailments. Being exhausted is self-perpetuating, and makes exercise impossible, and 'round and 'round we go. What a nuisance.
    The house is in disarray because we plan to have a yard sale next month. I've ordered tent-style storage so I can stop tripping over boxes and piles of sellables.
    Sorry to be such a grump. I'm really very happy that both you and Gardener are well at the same time and able to get out to put your outdoors in order. I wish the weather would cooperate with you.
    Millie sounds delightful. Lindy also imagines she should be rewarded for coming inside. Dogs are so funny.
    Luv, K

  11. It's so tempting to overdo when the weather is good -- I have to be careful of my back which develops muscle spasms if I push myself. You would laugh to see me hoeing the corn/maize while sitting down.

    I wish I could see your garden in person...

  12. I love viewing the pictures of your beautiful garden.

    Must be wonderful living among it...with the one drawback that I suppose every single bird in the UK wants to live there as well.

  13. You painted a lovely word picture for me that makes me want to visit the homeland. I also spent two days in the sun in the garden...and then two days flat on my back waiting for my back to recover. We've had rain the past two days...almost English weather!

  14. You do paint a lovely scene that we love to enjoy with you!

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° > <3
    > < } } ( ° >

  15. We've written two very different posts on working on the garden - yours is uplifting and full of action, while mine is complaining and plodding - the work, that is! We are having English weather here on the island - rain, mist, rain and a tease of sunshine at around 5 each day. The temperature stays between 10 and 20 but one never feels warm.

  16. No human bell ringers here, it's all computer-controlled, but I still like it very much (I even posted about that some time last year, I think).
    Gardener is so efficient! What you describe he did in a mere 3 hours would take other people 3 weeks.
    Quoting from your post: "If they don’t have enough room to live why do they have so many babies?" Well, if people aren't sensible enough for that, what can we expect of beings whose brains are the size of an average pea or smaller?
    Oh, and I want a coming-home biscuit, too!

  17. I love the belligerent sound of birds celebrating the light. The only problem is as it gets light before 4 am - soon to be 3 am - I get woken up earlier and earlier...

  18. Hi Friko .. love the Welsh poppies but hadn't realised their nuisance value. Glad both you and Gardener had recovered sufficiently to take advantage of the sunny days. Blackbirds sing very early as they were woodland birds and needed to make themselves heard through the trees for a mate .. I love the early bird song.

    It is still cold .. but we did have some sun .. good luck with the planting .. and Gardener is definitely a godsend in life .. enjoy the summer as it slowly decides it's going to put feelers out ..

    Cheers Hilary

  19. I too did not realize that poppies were a nuisance. Sigh! I just though they were so pretty. Your garden is coming along nicely!
    Mine is just getting started. Yes we have sun every day, just about, but no rain, so it is quite a challenge to garden here. We need irrigation every where!!! Sigh

  20. Your Welsh poppies are so pretty. Glad you are getting quite a bit accomplished in your gardens.

    I love that photo of the ruins. Just wonderful! Have a great week and both of you 'be well'.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  21. Poppies of every ilk seem to do that. They're beautiful, especially if they're the only flowers you want!
    The frustration with spring seems to be worldwide. Awful. We just had a long holiday weekend...the first of the good weather....that found us nearing our winter hibernation behavior. Awful.

  22. My, my, aren't we grouchy in the morning? Grousing at bird songs after all. "Whinge?" That's a new one on me. Is that Bloke for whine?

  23. WE have to make the best of the bouts of sunshine we have - and you certainly have. Perhaps we shall be blessed - or cursed - with a heatwave later in the year.

  24. ja de tuin in orde maken daar is het nu heerlijk de tijd voor.

  25. Whinge, yes an Irish word. "Stop you whinging or go to your room" tossed at us as children, choosing the room meant whinging alone.

    We all need a good old whinge, Friko.

    Your garden is womanning up I see, or should I say "manning" when Gardener is involved.


  26. After a wildfire here in California, the hillsides along the freeway were burned bare. Poppies were "power-seeded" for quick growth; rains after fires erode the hills so badly. Now the freeway corridor is bright yellow with poppies. Will they stay happy, or spread out?

  27. Why ARE birds so belligerant?! Rick complains about that all the time at my house -- I guess I'm used to it, but when he mentions it I hear that birdsong way too early on the weekend!

    I think we are sharing the same weather. Saturday and Sunday it was so lovely, we could be outside and enjoy. On Monday, a holiday for us, it started out gloomy (we did get the cemetery flowers planted in time and enjoyed a fast picnic before it began to rain); it ended wet and rainy and today it is pouring so hard they are issuing flood warnings. Well, tonight I'll cozy up with Lizzie Cosette and thank goodness I don't have to walk her!

    I love your yellow poppies. Wish I had them spreading about in my yard!

  28. I snorted at the fact that poppies are invasive in your world; I've spent years trying to get even a couple going in our yard, but they've proved fussy things.

    You're in the UK, and I'm in the northern US, yet I agree completely: what a difference a day makes during these tempestuous days of spring.

  29. Bringing out your inner-bird pessimism. ;0 People in the US whinge about the weather & atmosphere all the time, too hot, too cold, too cloudy, too sunny, too much rain, not enough rain.... I really do feel I know gardener.

  30. Love your sharing
    in many ways
    though miles apart
    we are similar.
    I have have found
    a gardner - young - I can train
    and need the help...

  31. I'm happy to read that you are doing better. Keep that heart under wraps. The Welsh poppies are really lovely. It is unfortunate that they are such pests. The photo of the castle was so special to see. I loved the contrast of the old stone wall with a foreground of young spring growth on the trees against a gray sky. You have such an eye for photography. I'm sorry you had to get wet to capture such a lovely scene. Thanks for taking a camera on your walk and sharing the sights with us.

  32. What a shame that those pretty poppies are a pest plant. You must have really enjoyed those two days of sunshine, and I guess you are owed many more. Hope the sun comes back your way soon.

  33. Frico, my zucchini are small as well. I've put them in my greenhouse but they still grow very slowly. I love to listen to bells sound, the melody is sometimes unusual.

  34. There's a church near me with an electric carillon - I love hearing the bells. But then again, I love hearing hte birds, no matter how raucous.

  35. That last picture is gorgeous. Wishing you more sunny weather. And yes, happy gardening!

  36. "a thousand battle cries being flung into the glorious dawn" Just a beautiful expression! I love your sweet gardener - he does wonders -- as well as your old castle. Just gorgeous.


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