When Even The Camera Needs Booties..

Apparently the tripod legs have been coming in muddy. Complaints have been received. Well not anymore.

It’s not just the booties. The picture above says it all: invading moss, slug nibbled leaves, wet claggy soil. September, so far, has been a wash out. We’re not talking hurricanes I know and my heart continues to go out to those who have endured such devastating weather events and the flooding which so often follows in their wake. But it’s been quite wet enough in Devon, on the back of a pretty disappointing summer overall. And this is usually such a pleasant month down here. Oh well.



Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’. No doubting now that autumn is in the air.

I haven’t written much about the garden lately so perhaps a quick trip round it to see where we’re at..?



The Precipitous Bank, holding on to a bit of colour in spite of everything the weather has thrown at it.



Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

Could there ever be a bloom which fades more elegantly than that of a hydrangea? Perhaps only on another hydrangea..



Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’



..home to two spiders and a baby snail



Between the showers some progress has been made.

Only last week a high lonicera hedge blocked this view, its remains now piled up at the foot of the slope awaiting their acquaintance with Mike’s bonfire. Lonicera nitida, as anyone who has tried growing it will know, makes an excellent hedge. But only if you have the time and dedication to keep it under control. Turn your back for a moment and it will add another foot to both height and girth. In places this one had swallowed up real estate amounting to a strip over six feet wide. The lady winch operator now sports arm muscles to rival anything Arne can offer up. Well, nearly. There’s a rhythm to winching I discovered, a bit like rowing, and once you get into it miracles can be achieved.


The depressing bit is standing in that lovely clear patch and looking at what’s left to do..



Oh well.



The Assistant Winchman has also been busy splitting logs. We shouldn’t need any more for a while.



Digitalis ‘Camelot Cream’, grown from seed just this Spring.


I’m also discovering just how much I like working in the woodland. The soft dappled light, the sounds of the birds constantly chirping above. But is there more to it than that? I didn’t think so until I read an article this week (here). With that significant birthday looming ever closer by the day I’ve been thinking a lot recently about ageing healthily and Kale & Cocoa is one of my go-to sites. Sensible advice, based on proper medical research and with delicious recipes to help you on your way. What’s not to love?

It seems that spending time among trees really does contribute to the feel good factor. Boosts your immunity too. The only problem for me is the constant presence of the midges but I’ve got some stuff now that really works as a deterrent. I offered some to Mike but he declined. I should have remembered, he has his own. Aussie strength. Choc a bloc full of chemicals but guaranteed to repel anything. Wives included.



In a sort of pincer movement I’ve started work on the other side of the 84 steps too, tackling an area that we’ve probably never even set foot in before. Can brambles really grow to over nine feet long? Oh yes they can. And did you spot my old nemesis lower centre of shot, snaking across the top of the newly cleared soil? Yep, the oil pipe. It’s staying exposed for now. Where I and the garden fork can see it. So far so good.

Echinacea ‘White Swan’ and Persicaria ‘Black Field’



The terraces, in urgent need of a gardener with a pair of secateurs.

Next year, I’ve decided, will be a consolidation year. No new garden projects. Instead, more focus on improving what I already have. Editing, more editing, planting, propagating and shifting stuff around. Weeding, mulching, pruning. And deadheading. Creating a sound foundation from which to move on. There’s only so much you can do.



Hedychium gardnerianum


What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and sniff.

(With apologies to W.H. Davies.)