We’ve had frost. Yippee! Some more please, dear weather gods. We gardeners need to have this year’s slug population explosion well and truly blasted, or nipped in the bud, or whatever you need to do to stop the critters chomping and reproducing. And yes, I know they are useful in the compost heap, and I’m sure other slugs love them, but enough is enough. They are roosting everywhere, including in the polytunnel. No vegetable is safe.
Of course more frost will mean an end to the late flowering flowers – the campanula and geranium Rozanne still on the go, the hesperanthus (above) which simply refused to give in to the frost; the Russian rudbeckia that, astonishingly, is currently contemplating the making of fresh, fat russet buds. (It must have been bred in deepest Siberia). The annual pot marigolds are still busy too.
But heavens to Murgatroyd, much as we like to keep seeing them, surely it is time all good plants were asleep in their beds, gathering themselves for next summer’s flowering. In the meantime, though, here are scenes of the garden’s last hurrah – taken today and over the last week.
The Changing Seasons Please visit Max to see his wonderfully atmospheric shots of night-time Oslo.
In the 18th century Britain’s landed rich expended their often questionably-gotten gains in the creation of pleasure parks around their grand houses. These were places for promenading, a little sporting activity (fishing, sailing, archery), for re-enactments of famous naval battles (if you had your own lake); there were ‘eye-catcher’ summer houses, grottos, fake ruins, and classical temples. It was also the era of wholesale removal of villages from the sight-lines of the gentry in the ‘big house’. Garden tunnels were also dug so the horticultural workforce could go about their labours largely unseen. Above all, these gardens were ‘show off’ places, and if you wanted the best, you employed the likes of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to design it.
Another show-off item was exotic fruit, especially the pineapple whose possession, in the flesh or as architectural motifs about the house, demonstrated your wealth and prestige. Here at Berrington Hall in Herefordshire there are both pineapples and the surviving landscape contrivances of Capability Brown. The park is magnificent, and Brown’s last stand as a garden designer. The National Trust owners encourage visitors to explore all of it, the Brown vistas currently being celebrated in 21st century style by a series of sculptural works by environmental artists Red Earth.
The Trust is also busy restoring the hall’s extensive walled gardens, and this is where you will find the extraordinary Giant Pink Pineapple Pavilion. It is the work of installation artists Heather and Ivan Morison; their own interpretation of the Georgian garden pleasure principle which included all manner of temporary structures for dining, conducting assignations, or communing with the great outdoors. I think the Georgians would have been suitably impressed, don’t you?
copyright 2017 Tish Farrell
Six Word Saturday – with apologies, Debbie, for lots of extra words.
I’m very fond of hardware shops, though I’m old enough to say they mostly aren’t what they used to be – those ill-lit aisles of childhood with their mysterious bins containing every size of nut, screw, hinge and widget. The cocktail whiffs of twine, Jeyes Fluid, paraffin and polish, and a little man in a brown cotton coat behind a high, gloss painted counter, he the unassuming master of this multi-component repository.
The shop in Harakopio looked promising on the authenticity front, and I was only sorry not to have the chance of a good mooch inside. But still, it was good to capture its jolly exterior, and nice of some local to park their blue motorcycle outside.
All was glittering in the garden this morning – the first real frost of November. There was bright sunshine too, so I went around the flower beds snapping these fragile Hesperanthus. They have been flowering so bravely, though perhaps not for much longer. Then I stood in the sun at the top of the garden by the field and did some qi gong. It always feels best done outside, and there’s nothing like a bit of cloud hands waving and dancing with rainbows to spark up the spirits. Happy Friday!
It’s hard to believe that I took this photo nearly a year ago – a late December day on the shore of Menai Strait on Anglesey. There’s a view of the Great Orme across the water. Everywhere so still. Not a cloud in the sky. And sunshine warm enough to sit in.
I don’t know who the man on the bench is. He was reading a book quite surrounded by this view. There’s something of an optical illusion about it – the dark cap above the seat back (echoing the nearby black rocks in the water), his foot below the seat, yet the corporeal lack of him in between head and toe, where the sunlight seems to pass unimpeded through the bench slats. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice…
copyright 2017 Tish Farrell
Six Word Saturday Pop over to Debbie’s for more six-word posts and an astonishing view of Alice. And just in case you wanted to know, this cricket was spotted in the garden of the Iconpainter’s Villas in Greece.
The Ottoman fort at Pylos is monumental, and comprised of an outer defensive wall and a citadel. It was built after the Turkish invasion of 1500, and apart from two brief interludes – one Venetian, one Russian, was held by the Ottoman regime until the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Even at the last lap, Ibrahim Pasha and his Turko-Egyptian army proved hard to oust, and after an initial surrender of the fort in 1821, it was reoccupied by them in 1825, and hung onto until 1828.
The first photo was taken from the citadel, which during occupation by the French in the 19th century was used as a prison. The church you can see below is the Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, and was originally built as a mosque around 1573. Under the brief Venetian rule of 1675 to 1715 and during the Orloff Revolt of 1770 it served as a Christian church, and it is in this capacity that it was restored by the Greek Government between 2011 – 2015.
Inside the citadel, and the nineteenth century prison cells.
Looking down on the outer defensive wall and the sea-arch beyond.
The outer walls on the seaward side. The hillside was heavy with the scent of pine trees, and cyclamen were growing everywhere among the cones and fallen castle debris.
Inside the Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour.
Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past Please visit Paula to see her fine view of Alnwick Castle.
We had been promised rain, and rain it did, pounding off the pantile roofs, turning the veranda steps into cascades. By lunchtime the shining Gulf that had been our view all morning was sunk in steely gloom while the Taygetos had dissolved completely. (How can mountain ranges disappear like that?)
It was not a good start to the holiday. But the six of us gathered together in one little house, and some of us prepared bruschetta using up the solid Greek bread together with the more delicious tomatoes and garlic from Maria’s garden, which we tucked into to the sound of tumbling rain.
But at last the storm bursts eased, and across the valley the cockerel began to crow, and among the garden olive trees the crickets sang, and the grasses steamed. A consensus of smart phone forecasts also suggested that the rain had passed – well, more or less, and that it might now be timely to set off to Harakopio and discover what its supermarket offered in the way of supper supplies.
We set off under cloudy skies, following directions on Maria’s hand-drawn map, which Bob had snapped with his cell phone. It was a one and half mile walk, we were told, mostly on level paths, and with our backs to the sea. Hopefully we would not lose ourselves on the network of byways between Harakopio and Kombi. We were also told that if we bought too much stuff to carry back to tell the girls at the supermarket and they would keep it until Michael was next passing in his car. Our hosts at the Iconpainter’s Villas left no stone unturned to ensure our every comfort and happiness.
And so here are some of the sights and vistas on our path as it wound through olive groves and vineyards, by ramshackle farmsteads and deluxe villas, our passing marked by proprietorial, but good-natured barking from farmyard dogs. Otherwise, all was quietness. No cars. No distant traffic drone. Only our soft chatter. There were wild cyclamen growing along the verges, fennel and rosemary, shrubby Kermes oaks with their spiny acorn cups and leaves like holly, prickly pears, morning glory. And as I went, I fell in love with olive trees, their stillness, their gnarly boles and contorted branches, the muted tones, the changes in light beneath and between the trees as the sun came out once more.
And on our return trip, well laden with good Greek produce, we again looked to the sea where the storm clouds were finally clearing, and beneath all was ethereal blue with the Taygetos doing their mirage impression. It would be a fine evening.
copyright 2017 Tish Farrell