Friday, 21 November 2014

Painted pots. Tractor and Actea. Rain dear?

I have resolved my problem over my lack of  resolve and  made a resolute resolution to get more blogging done from now on so here are some pictures and notes.

My big news of the last couple of months is that I have taken on the garden at Whichford Pottery   in the very southern tip of Warwickshire. I am doing two days a week usually Monday and Thursday  so if you fancy coming in and saying hello those are the days. Even if you don't fancy saying hello come in  and have a coffee and a cake  or even a luscious lunch at the  recently opened Straw Kitchen Cafe. It's fab. But beware, it is closed on Monday and Tuesday for the cheeriest staff in the world to have a well earned break.
 Here are some pottery pictures 

I had a bit of fun painting some pots. Take a leaf or flower to B& Q -   match  the colours with the  chart and get a sample pot of emulsion - it will be enough to do several large pots  -  apply it to a clean dry pot  -  sponge on a  pattern if you want  - let it dry then  plant it up.  Hey presto, a bit of  cheer against the drear.  

Grassed up!
I did the same with the leaf of this  Phormium  but I broke the pot that matched the grey green  so perfectly  so I used the green  that I had spare
 and while I admit it's not quite there  
I'm not too sure that I really care.
P.S. None of them are grasses, so there!

No need for paint here, this pot comes off the pottery shelf already this colour. Blue skies and white clouds. The  variegation is white and there is just enough  grey/ blue in the leaf of the Euonymus  to make this  work 

You can't see the Violas around the edge  but they work nicely with  the Ajuga  and Festuca when seen in the flesh. Natural colour,low pan style terracotta pot. 

Large flowered pansies, one  of the  several million varieties of  Heucheras and an elegant grey pot - no painting, it is part of the range.

If you were wondering where all your snails went  -I've got 'em.

Mother nature is a great  chum  because she always  has something just round the corner  to make you smile.
This Echium seedling  was growing between some  upright slabs  and the roots were as flat as a pancake. Tenacious li'l critter.


Earlier in the summer I did a garden Q and A   
  at the  Kent Show . and then had a wander about.

 ''Do you think its going  to snow , honey?''
''Well, its too cold to rain dear.''

I was surprised how small  reindeer are but absolutely amazed at
how big their antlers can be.

Unusual attraction. 
Three wheel tractor. 

Very old school but no punctures on this one........

 ..or this one....

 ..or this one!


Very hard to sneak up on this little alien - too many eyes watching you.
One of the Acteas, might be A. pachypoda, not sure.


Beware the leaf cutter bee. Oval pieces to line the  bee's tubular 'nest' and  round pieces to plug the  end. 


Sometimes pastels just don't mut the custard and you need a bit more  of an in  your face kinda colour. The pots were painted to  match the lighter green  veins of the deep purple red, almost black  foliage  which was  very prominent  before the  lipstick pink  begonia flowers showed themselves. 'Get in there' as they say. It is easy not to like this combination  but I cant resist it. Many of  my clients fight shy of  bright colours insisting pastels are 'cool'  but they miss out on a lot of excitement. These begonias, some bright double flowered Echinaceas, Yucca Golden Sword and some warm orange Ostepermums which survived outdoors from last year  give me a warm welcome  when I get home from work each day.    A close look will show a need for dead heading and some frazzled  petals where  I haven't got round to watering  for a day or two during the hot weather. The  red bike , filing cabinet, and set of ladders in the picture all  show up my lack of professionalism when it comes to taking pictures. Photographer friends would cringe  at my lack  of preparation and  no doubt my use of colour.


 Took this picture before the first frosts when  I was 'taking in'. A barrow load of  succulent jewels.


My son on his mobile foam.  Ha , ha ,aha, ha, ha, aha, ha, ah.  Ya gotta 'av a larf aintcha?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bryans Ground,Earth Tongue and Dead Man's Fingers.

I've published no blogs for a long time but hoping to get back to it soon. This is a post I prepared in late October so it definitely isn't current but it had one or two interesting pictures so rather than bin it I thought I would put it out. Imagine you are back in late Autumn.
Earth Tongue.
I was pulling out of  a garden   drive  recently when I saw these odd looking black  things  poking out of the ground. They were growing in thin grass on a
sloping patch of well drained ground.  I had no idea what they were  so I took a couple of snaps and put them on ispot  ( Run by the Open University and Opal, the Open Science Laboratory

They are a species of Geoglossum. Geo - earth, glossum - Greek  for tongue, therefore Earth Tongue. There  was something  a bit sinister about them.


This  sticky bun  is  a Brown Roll Rim ( Paxillus involutus). No one really knows why it only grows near dead hands.  

This most delicate of  fungi was growing in a large patch in thin grass.and if you could  adjust the scale  it had something of an  Ewok village about it. It is a species of Coprinus growing 


 A neat effect with a variegated Ivy on an avenue of Lombardy Polars in a north Oxfordshire garden.


We had a great day out  in mid October to the garden  at Bryan's
 Ground. This is the garden of the two people who run the quarterly  garden journal Hortus, David Wheeler  and Simon Dorrel. It is situated in the hills around Presteigne which is  north west of Leominster in Herefordshire. The garden is in England but  its lower  boundary  runs along the  border with Wales. It is very easy to fall in love with  the countryside of Herefordshie as you twist your way  along its roads. It is a rolling  country side made softer  by the lack of  stone walls so dominant  back at my north Cotswold home.
It was a gloomy day  with the drizzle just easing off  as we arrived at the garden.
It was very much the back end of the gardening season  but I knew  it was  a garden  with plenty  of interesting design elements  and  there was the hope of some good autumn colour in the  arboretum below the house.
First stop of course  was for a cup of tea and a piece of cake so past the display of found objects  and a display  of  halved watering cans  and a show  of  Sedums that looked remarkably good for the time of year,   to  get our tickets, pot of tea and sizable  slice of cake.  You can never have too much or too large a slice of cake and  despite what they say you can have your cake  and eat it too.

There is a  dolls house quality to this  collection  of pieces. Its like looking into cluttered rooms full of  things you wonder why you keep.
Simple is often best.

We had already had a glimpse of the garden as we made our way from the car park to the 'ticket office'. This wavy  edged canal  was exciting. It was spotted with  raindrop rings  as I got the camera out but was perfectly smooth by the time I was ready to snap  and the  sun had come out all in a matter of seconds. 
The same canal seen from the house.

This gorgeous  building overlooks the garden

  A set of candle flames. Hawthorn if I remember correctly.

There is a  growing collection of Hydrangeas  in the arboretum. No labels,  so you tell me which one this is.  

Yellow hearts of Cercidiphyllum japonicum. They  smell of burnt sugar when they have fallen to the ground. 
I imagined I was  looking out the window while  flying over  a  snow blown Siberian landscape  but it was just the bark of a Poplar.   How wonderful.

Down by the lake

An Eastern influenced  greenhouse interior.

Cheer up.

'Its no good looking like that you started all this bondage stuff''
 'Its not bondage it's jewellery,'
'Whatever it is, it is all very tedious.

The bigger picture.

So what have we got here? From the  left; a bit of chain, one old oil can,  the   bit of metal that the  mole has to dislodge if you are to catch him in  your trap, looks like a  metal  roman numeral  from a clock, a cast metal thingy with its  top broken off,  another old oil can of superior quality, one of those things that stops leaves going down  you drainpipe, a spanner , a gargoyles arm  and belly button.
So this  is where they go to die.
They don't make them like this  any more  if they ever did - maybe it was made by a  Boy Scout trying to get his Meccano badge.

A bit of atmosphere..........
The sun gets low toward the end of a great day out.


This is one of my favourite Hostas. 'Praying Hands'. It doesn't always put on such  brilliant autumn colour but this time it did.

Animal, vegetable  or mineral?

 A bit reptilian, a bit sluggish.

It is a seed pod  of Decaisnea fargesii. A hardy shrub  from Asia  bearing  clusters of  these blue seed pods and surprisingly  little seen. . I have never touched a dead mans fingers  but the size, colour  and the gentle give  to the skin  when touched, for me , gives  authenticity to the common name  for this shrub, Dead Mans Fingers.

Which reminds me, I must check up on my dental hygiene.