Saturday, 8 June 2013

A few changes...

Wow I can't believe that it has been almost exactly two years since I blogged about our "new" garden. We are now approaching our third summer here and there have been a few changes since I last wrote.

Needless to say, although there has been some planting done - I couldn't have survived three years without getting dirt under my fingernails! we haven't got round to the landscaping part yet.

It is such a beautiful day here that I couldn't resist taking some pics, and where better to share them than here?

So here we are - fast forward two years from my last post aaaand...

We are so lucky to have this view from our kitchen window! (the white sacks are full of paving setts ready for the next phase of the garden development)

We have only really planted up the outside edges of the garden ("centrifugal gardening" as I call it) because we knew we would be landscaping the inner area and didn't want to have to transplant too much during the building process.

Yes those are chickens you can see there - they are stunt chickens hired for the photo shoot! No, just kidding, actually they are very free range chickens from next door but one - but we really enjoy having them pay us a visit - no eggs yet though!

And finally our poppy Patty's Plum has just burst in to flower so I thought I'd share her lovely colour with you.

Don't know when I'll blog again - but hopefully with some landscaping progress shots...

Gardening is a matter of 
your enthusiasm holding up 
until your back gets used to it

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A very quick post

One of the most wonderful things about our new home in the country is the incredible variety of feathered neighbours we have. I can spend (waste??) hours every day sitting in the conservatory just watching the birds visiting the feeders and am probably going to become very boring telling you about them. I have to share this with you though. Yesterday after bringing the mini Moonshines home from school I thought I'd just have a cuppa and a sneaky read of my new book (thanks Mum) in the conservatory before making tea (fisherman's pie - delicious went down a treat with all the Moonshines (a miracle in itself!) (thanks Mum again!). Where was I - oh yes, just walked in to the conservatory with book and cuppa when a bird of prey landed on the paddock fence for a second and then flew off again. Wow I thought that came in close - about six metres away from where I was standing. So being a bit organised I grabbed the camera and waited...

Well, for the next three hours I played camera cat and mouse with a male kestrel who kept flying in to the paddock, landing for a nano second and then soaring off again. Needless to say he was just too quick for me to photograph on the ground but I did manage to get him perched in the trees. Thank goodness for ultra-zoom!

So here are a couple of my kestrel pics - hope you like them.

And here he is enlarged in Photoshop so I apologise for the loss of definition.

I'm hoping he comes back again today so that I can try and get him on the ground.

Look at the trees, look at the birds,
look at the clouds, look at the stars...
and if you have eyes you will be able to see
that the whole existence is joyful.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

New Home, New Garden

OK, so if you've come here from my other blog (Maisie Moonshine's) you will know that the Moonshines have re-located. Which means of course that there is a whole new garden to play with - and not only a garden - we also have a small paddock beyond the garden gate.

Since the house is a new build we have virgin garden which in estate agent's speak is "laid to lawn", which gives us a blank canvas to work from - a daunting prospect again.


This time I remembered to take "before" shots - so for the first time ever we will have progress and reminder pics as well as keeping this ether-journal of the whole project.

Here are the back garden "before" photos taken in April 2011

As you can see the garden is a bit of a tricky shape - and we are having a devilish job deciding on a design - which is unusual, as Mr Moonshine is usually pretty good with the old graph paper and coloured pencils. We are still awaiting the EUREKA moment when inspiration dawns - so watch this space 'cos how it will all progress is as big a mystery to me as it is to you!

Just for the record here is a picture of the paddock in all its winter ugliness. This was taken before we bought a new mower and it hadn't been mowed for about 6 months (AMAZING the difference mowing has made - will post pics next time). The earthworks in the middle of the picture are the holes for the fruit trees we have planted - more on that next time too.

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil,
getting dirty without feeling guilty,
and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.
Lindley Karstens,

Sunday, 20 September 2009


Oh it seemed like a good idea alright, as these things always do. But now, three weeks and two wheelie bins (damn these fortnightly refuse collections) in, with another four or more wheelie bins to go, I'm not so sure...

We had, all but, finished the back garden you know. In as much as a garden can ever truly be finished. We had re-shaped, re-levelled, sieved, improved, hard landscaped and planted (over planted, in hindsight,) and even sat back and enjoyed (weather permitting) the fruits of our labours. So what the dickens are we doing now - un-doing our good works?

When we first moved in we (I say we, it was actually Mum - thanks!) peeled back the turf from around the fence line, put up vine eyes and wires (thanks Dad!) and planted climbers; rambling roses, clematis, honeysuckle, hydrangea, jasmine, solanum and ivy to cover the very naked fences. And it worked, like a dream. We are now almost completely surrounded with a beautiful green screen.

So what better thing to do than remove one whole side of it and start again!!!?

As I said it seemed like a good idea at the time, when we hatched our plot to remove a very large rambling rose (Goldfinch) from the fence along the bottom of the garden. The poor rose suffers terribly from blackspot (as do all our roses, sadly) but this one, by the end of August has dropped most of its lower leaves and exposes much of the fence behind our favourite seating area, taking away some of the pleasure in sitting there.

Rosa Goldfinch
Rosa Goldfinch in all her glory

Operation Goldfinch - Before

Rosa Goldfinch looking the worse for wear

So we decided, in our new policy of "If we don't like it - change it" to take the rose out and replace it with something better.

As I said it seemed like a good idea, but oh boy - what a nightmare job, it's not the cutting out, it's the cutting everything up to fit in the wheelie bin afterwards. I did the first binful entirely on my own and still have the remains of the blisters to show for it, so this weekend, knowing what I was in for, I was dreading carrying on with the job. It was a real effort to go out and get on with it. Mr M had been dropping big hints about it being good weather for gardening and that it might be raining next weekend etc, etc. So I gritted my teeth and set to.

I had finished chopping out the next metre long section and was perhaps halfway through the clear-up process when Mr. M came out to see how I was getting on. I had just broken a pair of secateurs and was grumbling about blisters and Mr. M foolishly asked if I wanted some help. 99 times out of 100 I would have said no, but I'd had enough of the bloomin' rose so handed him the secateurs, thanks very much!

From his disgruntled "humph" I think he wasn't really expecting me to take him up on the offer! Anyway it meant that I could rip through the bigger woody stems with the loppers and between us we got through the job in a fraction of the time. Thanks Mr. M!

Progress is, however, slow, hampered by the capacity for getting rid of the rubbish at our current rate we might have finished the job by the beginning of December. We may have to take steps.

This is the progress from the first week of Operation Goldfinch.

After (Week 1)

Operation Goldfinch Week 1

I'll let you know how we get on...

Happy is the man who loves the woods and waters,
Brother to the grass and well beloved of Pan;
The earth shall be his, and all her laughing daughters.
Happy the man.

Richard le Galliene

Friday, 24 July 2009


Time flies - how true.

I can't believe it's been so long since I last blogged on Garden Crazy!

Needless to say our baby birds have left both the nest and the garden and I must admit I am enjoying the peace and quiet. The parents were very loving, concerned and "wings on", getting their feathery knickers in a twist at almost anything, including, I'm pretty certain, if the wind was blowing the wrong way. They insisted on making their very penetrating alarm call from about 5 in the morning until about 11 at night and I've got to say it was beginning to make me just a teeny bit GRUMPY!

The garden has changed considerably from the photos in the last post and if the current monsoon lets up for long enough I'll try and beat a path through the jungle and take some photos.

In the mean time here are a couple of shots of our latest piece of garden "art". We wanted something to go on a bare piece of fence which we couldn't grow anything over as we need to keep the way clear for access round the side of the house. We thought a piece of metal art would be in keeping with the whole contemporary feel of the garden but couldn't find anything with the right scale and impact and then we saw this...


Which we fell in love with and which looks just right in its new home on our patio.

Clock in-situ

Got to admit the hosta in the picture above now looks like a doily - the loss of our hedgehog at the end of last summer has had serious repercussions for the garden and the slugs and snails are getting out of control!

Though snails are exceeding slow,
There is one thing I'd like to know.
If I out run 'em round the yard,
How come they beat me to the chard?
Allen Klein

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Very exciting news today.

We have a family of blackbirds who are nesting in the black elder in our long border. Last night Mr M and I sat out having our evening cuppa watching as Mr & Mrs Blackbird took it in turns to bring food home for the chicks.

Today, I chanced to look out of the kitchen window just as one baby flew the nest (I say flew, slight exaggeration, baby blackbirds don't have developed tail feathers when they fledge, so baby kind of flollopped). Of course, I didn't have my trusty Olympus on hand to capture the moment but I hightailed it upstairs, grabbed the camera and a little while later managed to grab these long range shots from the patio.

Baby Blackbird in Lemon Balm

Baby Blackbird in Camomile

Of course the poor thing is very vulnerable at the moment as it can't fly and we are surrounded by particularly evil cats. I'm just hoping that this baby and those still in the nest make it. I'll keep you updated.

All that in this delightful garden grows should happy be and have immortal bliss.
Edmund Spencer

Monday, 25 May 2009


We spent a lovely day in the garden yesterday, doing some of those jobs that have been building up during the recent rainy spell. But what better way to start a day of pottering than having breakfast al fresco? It was such a beautiful morning, and so quiet and tranquil in the garden, that we could almost have been in a remote holiday hideaway.

Breakfast al fresco

More tea dear?

Pure Bliss - and just what gardens should be for.

If you have a mind at peace, and a heart that cannot harden,
Go find a door that opens wide upon a lovely garden.