The Changing Seasons ~ May Has Been Very Yellow

Spring has been all of a gallop this month, as if plant life is set on making up for lost time. Within the space of two weeks the rapeseed field behind the house went from muddy, over-wintered, pigeon-scoffed plants, scarcely a foot high – to a billowing yellow sea taller than me. (Oh, the unbridled power of agri-chemicals!)  It has anyway been great fun walking down the tractor trails within the crop, completely surrounded by sweet-smelling eye-high yellowness, and coming home covered in petals.

Now though, the flowers have almost gone, helped on their way by the last two days of storm and cloud burst. This morning it is foggy over the Edge. Fog in May? And I can’t see the wood at the top of the field.

In the garden there have been changes too. Behind the house, on our top level, the last scrap of lawn had been dug up, and the shed of He Who Builds Sheds And Binds Books now has a smart gravel forecourt, complete with red geranium in pot, which really isn’t what a chap wants outside his lathe and screw-collection domain, but I think looks jolly. Btw: the shed doesn’t actually have a chimney. Not too keen on the plastic water butt, but it’s there for now – water-gathering over aesthetics.

Our neighbour Roger also gave us some wooden sleeper pieces, left over from his own garden make-over, and these have now been used to contain the main herbaceous border beside said shed. The border has been blooming with aquilegias which are now giving way to alliums, foxgloves, euphorbia and oriental poppies. I have also  put in the plants bought at the Arley Plant Collector’s Fair last week (previous post), and am looking forward to china blue scabious and sweet scented phlox in a few weeks’ time. The bed is now officially FULL.

The narrow border on the left hand side of the gravel, and above our kitchen door, has also been given a containing wooden edge by re-purposing timber thrown on the bonfire heap at the allotment and duly carried home across the field. Yesterday I noticed that the small Coxes apple tree that is growing there is now busy making apples. So soon. It was all blossom only last week.

Now shed-building man is wondering what he can do to the old privies to stop them being head-banging, dysfunctional garden sheds, this while still retaining rustic quirkiness. At the moment a very fine, self-planted foxglove is growing beside them so operations are presently on hold.

Out at the front of the house, half of our boundary is open to the kerb-side. I have replanted the border with assorted verbascum, alliums, centaurea, hesperis, foxgloves, hellenium hoopesii (very yellow), Whistling Jack (a magenta, Byzantine gladiolus) and a few other things, including a small weeping crab apple called Red Jade. This border is my cultivated response to motorists who insist on breaking the 30mph speed limit (and the law) by speeding along Sheinton Street at 40mph and above.

And now here are more scenes from the Farrells’ May garden, beginning at the front. It’s all rather rampant:

And in the back garden:

 

 

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The Changing Seasons

Please visit Su to see scenes from her recent trip round NZ’s South Island

The Changing Seasons ~ November

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.

 

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Changing Seasons ~ January To And From The Allotment

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The field path behind the house is littered with skeleton apples – windfalls thrown out from a neighbour’s garden. The apples were whole, if a little bruised, back in October when they were tossed there, but it is only this month that the birds have been truly feasting on them. Blackbirds mainly. Little by little the flesh is being pecked away until all that is left is the thinnest skin, and perhaps some fibrous filaments around the core.  I was thinking of fellow blogger, Sue Judd at Words Visual as I shot and edited this ‘still life’. She captures beauty in decay with great flair. Anyway this painterly edit sums up January for me.

But then today I decided to go the long way round to the allotment. There was misty sunshine, and so the chance to get enough shots to make a gallery in line with Cardinal Guzman’s  alternative version for his monthly challenge. Pay him a visit to find out more.

The long way round involves going up Sytche Lane that skirts the field behind our house. In the top corner Shropshire Council is busy digging us an attenuation pond to slow down the flash flooding when a storm hits our catchment. The town has a long history of flooding, and the Sytche Brook, a generally nondescript trickle of a watercourse, can become treacherous, and has been known to add considerably  to the deluge that hits the town centre from neighbouring hillsides. Another pond is being built at the other end of the town. Neither are seen as total solutions, and some would argue that these measures are not suitable in a steep catchment such as ours. Only time will tell. In the meantime, the big digger driver posed to have his photo taken before I trudged onward through the mud.

The path behind the excavations then wends on along the field boundary and into a wood. You are right above the town here, so in the gaps between the trees are some good viewpoints for photos. From the wood I can then drop down to the allotment.

The following gallery shows all the things that caught my eye today. These include – apart from the ‘views’, Jenny’s watering can hung in a cherry tree, Simon’s wheel barrow, Phoebe’s budding rhubarb, my leaning shed with globe artichoke, and Ron’s much smarter blue shed. On the way home the sun was setting in the wood.

 

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copyright Tish Farrell 2017