No Rest For The Wicked

Stachyurus praecox


Stachyurus praecox

 A shrub purchased last Spring and already it has justified the investment. Planted temporarily in the veg garden awaiting its permanent (as yet to be decided) home. Such is life, chez duck. Nothing stays still for long.


The news of the week is that the bathroom is done. Pending any issues that have yet to surface of course. Not wishing to tempt fate I take nothing for granted these days. The U-bend duly arrived from Italy and an impressive thing it was too. All gleaming chrome, which seemed a little over the top for something that resides in the back of a vanity unit. Out of sight behind a drawer. And true to form, it didn’t fit. Our long suffering plumber has fashioned a modification with bits of white plastic pipe which happened to be knocking about in the back of his van. It isn’t pretty. But, as we’ve said, it won’t be seen. It works.

All that remains now is to complete the search for all the paraphernalia you suddenly find you need when you have a new bathroom, especially if you have an inbuilt resistance to drilling into recently tiled walls. A freestanding loo roll holder, shower gel dispensers, new towels and bathmats. It has taken me days, if not weeks, of searching. When you can no longer relax in front of the fire with your Facebook feed lest you be confronted by yet another advertisement for loo brushes you know things have become pretty desperate. Did you realise that you can spend £450 on a loo brush holder? Me neither. And nor did I.

Epimedium warleyense 'Ellen Willmott'

Epimedium warleyense ‘Ellen Willmott’


We did purchase a new set of bathroom scales. White, sleek, in keeping. Gone are the days when scales existed merely to measure your weight. No, nowadays they will also nag you daily about your fat ratio, water content, muscle and bone mass. Ours even provide a weather forecast for heaven’s sake! Unsurprisingly then the scales also come equipped with bluetooth, wi-fi and an app. Mike spent this afternoon in geeky paradise setting it all up. For some reason I can hardly dare contemplate, part way through this process I was asked for my current weight which was duly entered into his phone. (Am I the only one to wonder why the scales wouldn’t actually know that?) Perhaps a new surprise will await me on Facebook tonight. With a weight reduction target to boot?


Narcissus canaliculatus


Narcissus canaliculatus

I love miniature daffodils and surely they don’t come much smaller than this. The blooms are barely larger than an English penny and it stands just 5 inches off the ground. So small in fact that unlike many of the bulbs I’ve attempted to grow over the years it has remained under the nibblers’ radar.. so far. The disadvantage of hugging the ground so closely is the tendency to be mud splashed by the rain!


So, with the bathroom finished and the budget for world travel blown for the next few years at least, what are we going to do with ourselves now? Put our feet up and enjoy the sunshine? Ho Ho. As if. And probably just as well since there’s been precious little sunshine here lately. After those few fine days in February it was tempting to think I could be well ahead of the game this year and yet already I am woefully behind. The ground is now so wet it will be a day or two at least before I can venture out onto the soil, even if we get no more rain in the meantime.


Euphorbia characias 'Silver Swan'


Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’


But never fear, there should be no shortage of blog fodder over the next few months. Plans are afoot. This week we take delivery of a number of removal company cardboard boxes, into which will go the contents of the sitting and dining rooms. The following week the boxes, plus all the furniture, will be collected and put into store. For how long we do not know. How long’s a piece of string? Or more to the point, how long does any renovation project take around here? Especially if we decide to tackle two rooms at once?


Helleborus 'Harvington Apricot'


Helleborus ‘Harvington Apricot’

The hellebores are still at their peak. Now it’s the turn of the apricots..


Helleborus 'Harvington Double Apricot'


Helleborus ‘Harvington Double Apricot’

There’s an absolutely glorious double version too.


Two rooms at once? Are you now completely mad Jessica? Possibly. Because that’s not all..

Also this week we should get a visit from a man with a mini digger to talk about some landscaping. Assuming he can get his machine down here in the first place of course, by no means certain. And then if things do go to plan, and I’m really lucky, a replacement greenhouse. Hopefully before the current one finally falls down.

So there’s bound to be a story or two in that lot isn’t there?


Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'


Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’

Once established this magnolia just seems to get better every year. It is smothered in buds.


And then of course there will be plants. Regular readers might recall that the last couple of years there’s been an Itoh peony watch. This year’s watch could be even more exciting, for this temperate climate gardener at least..:

Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia reginae

The Bird of Paradise plant. The first flower spike, five years plus after growing it from a seed.


Watch this space..