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.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Is it me are are we suffering from unseasonal wind? (Well not me suffering from wind obviously, because of course I'm a lady and one simply just doesn't!) But LOOK what it's been and gone and done to me Euphorbia...

Spiflicated Euphorbia

Spiflicated! And it was looking soooo lovely. This is Euphorbia Martinii and one of our favourites, its grows quite quickly and puts out a fabulous, long lasting, display of chartreuse green flowers with bright red centres. Now it's been squished flat by this horrible cold wind we're getting here in Stafford at the moment - are you suffering from it too?

I'm dreading doing the nightly tour just now as this wind is wreaking havoc on all the plants which are top heavy with new growth - I'm hoping my lovely alliums, just on the brink of bursting forth like lovely lavender fireworks, can take the strain.

On a brighter note though, my May favourites, the Aquilegias, are looking lovely. Here are some fab pics Moonshine Minor took a couple of evenings ago.

Gorgeous Granny's Bonnets

When the tete-a-tete are over, and the roses yet to bloom. You'll see the Granny's Bonnets dispel the winter's gloom. Their nodding heads so finely made in shades of pink or blue. Their rainbow colours dancing, a mix of ev'ry hue. My favourite garden flower, so pretty and so sweet. The lovely Aquilegia, my early summer treat.

More from the grounds at Moonshine Manor anon, must go and Blog @ Maisie Moonshine's - ah me - my virtual life is soooo hectic.

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
Chinese proverb

Saturday, 9 May 2009



So here I am again clicking away at the keyboard. Does he not realise I have other VERY IMPORTANT things to do?


  • THE WEEKLY SHOP - Aaaaargh
  • THE LAUNDRY - Double aaaaargh
  • MENDING - yuck!
  • Trying out my SUPER DUPER new camera - Yippee
  • Scrapbooking - Mmmmm
  • Card making - MUSTN'T forget!
  • Maintaining my other two Blogs - I must be mad

and that's without opening the back door and stepping out into that other wonderful world of mine for some touchy-feely-freshy-greeny-dirt-under-the-fingernails-honest-to-goodness-no-body-bothers-me, ME TIME communing with MY GARDEN where there are many, many jobs to be done.

So why am I doing it?

Mr M is becoming what we call Chez Moonshine A NAG FEST (Imagine bolts of lighting, crashes of thunder - dum, dum dummmmm) about me keeping a photo record of our garden so we know what's where, when we have gaps in the planting, colours that work together etc, etc, etc. Of course I always have a million and one other things to do so I'm really bad at going out there and taking the necessary pics. Soooo - he, with the cunning of Mr Fox, having noticed how much I'm enjoying playing on my other Blogs (see side bar for details), suggested that I should "Do a Blog about the garden" and I, like the gullible fool that I am, took the bait and the rest, as they don't quite say, will be history.

So, please come in to the garden, look around and enjoy...

Look, I mowed the lawn

The long border top down

The long border bottom up

Path to lower seating area

Tea drinking spot

Corner bed

Top bed

These are just some of the views in our really quite small garden, I'll show you more as we go along - and now I've got my SUPER DUPER new camera be prepared for some SUPER DUPER close-ups and other fancy photowork!

I really should go and do some of those VERY IMPORTANT things, although the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I can hear that Mr M has put the kettle on... Aaah - just time for a nice cup of tea in the garden ...

A garden isn’t meant to be useful. It’s for joy.

Rumer Godden