Saturday, 26 April 2014

Dying shrub.

I have a shrub in the garden which was here when we moved here 18 years ago and it looks so lovely in the summer with cascades of white flowers. This picture was taken in June 2007.

Every year I have to convince the gardener it doesn't need pruning so harshly as he once did it and it ended up with just little pom-poms of flowers.

Late last year one side of it looked very dead with no leaves so I asked the gardener to cut out the dead wood and see if it would recover.  It has started to produce leaves again but still half of it was completely bare. Decided to have a go myself and gave it quite a butchering.  I am sure my arm will be aching tomorrow after the hard sawing.  Stuart came out to help and tried building a bivouac with the dead branches, with the help of Poppy of course. 

These were only about a third of the dead branches

This is what is left of the shrub now.  Think I might have to find something to replace it. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Busy Easter with family.

Easter is always busy with children and grandchildren visiting.  This year they didn't all visit together, which would be nice but we don't have enough beds!

As Sophia was going away to Istanbul for Easter she visited the weekend before.  We had a day out shopping in Cardiff on the Saturday.  All I bought was and summer waterproof jacket and some kitchen storage jars but we did have a good look round.  Also took some photos, a bit like a tourist!

Saw this in St David's shopping centre, not seen an ambulance like this before.

St Mary Street looking towards Cardiff Castle

There are lots of lovely shopping arcades in Cardiff which have little independent shops and cafes in them.

This is the open top tourist but standing outside the castle entrance

 Cardiff Castle clock tower which is well worth a visit if you are ever in Cardiff. 

On Sunday we visited Llanyravon Manor spring fayre and took along grandson Stuart.  The weather was lovely and it was very busy with lots of craft and food stalls and there was entertainment too.  Unfortunately I went without my camera which is practically unheard of :-(.   Sophia shared a few of her photos with me though.  
Stuart trying out a gnome seat for size. These are made at Blaen Bran Community Woodland by the woodland manager with wood from the woodland and are sold to raise money for woodland maintenance.

There were some animals there from Greenmeadow Community farm which also local to us. 

Little black lambs with their mother

and a smiling goat!

There were Morris dancers there to entertain and apparently Welsh dancers too but we didn't see them.

 We also missed the Maypole dancing. 

Don't know where Stuart found the hat but it looked good on him. I thought of Stan Laurel but Sophie said more like Odd Job from James Bond

I bought a carved fairy house for my garden and some signs for my new herb bed.  Sophie bought some earrings and a cushion and Stuart had a wood fired pizza which he took home for his lunch!

I will post the rest of Easter in installments as my posts do get rather long.  And there will be more about my herb garden soon. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cardiff flower show

On Friday my friend Edwina and I went to the Royal Horticultural Society flower show at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.  It was a lovely sunny day with just a few clouds.  There were lots of people there and lots of things to see.  

So many tempting stalls in the farmer's market, which I resisted but Edwina did by some puddings from the pudding shop. 

I did buy some plants though, some clematis and some herbs.  Some of the garden exhibits were representative of the type of garden that can be found in Cardiff's twin cities. 

This one celebrates the Chinese city of Xiamen with trees, rocks, water and a bridge.

Next is the city of Hordaland in Norway showing the type of architecture in the first picture and the lush vegetation and cobbled streets in the second.

The third city represented is Lugansk in Ukriane. This is a family orientated garden with a children's play area and a tree decorated with little dolls made by the children.

The building is a traditional banya (sauna) where the family relax after working in the garden. It is made entirely of recycled materials and the roof being made from car bonnets.

My favourite garden was this woodland garden.  I like the way they have used logs and slate

There were some birds of prey there too. Just love the owls.

I think the first one is the long-eared owl and second is a barn owl

And this one is a snowy owl

I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked because once I had bought my plants it was difficult to take pictures with my hands full.  There were 2 large marquees of flowers of all kinds. All so beautiful and colourful. The only flower photos I took were of the remarkable display of daffodil varieties.  I am sure this wasn't all the varieties there are. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Easter egg competition.

Thought I had finished having to help with this now my kids are grown but I had Stuart after school and his nan gave me some hard boiled eggs and asked if I could help him with his eggs.  He decided on his theme and I provided the materials and some advice. I think he did a great job with the materials available.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Spring flowers and other signs of Spring

Time to think about real flowers and bees after yesterdays post.  Lots of spring flowers in the garden now. Looks so lovely after the dull brown winter garden.  The primroses always put on a good show and provide nectar for the early bees.  The bees found their first food on my plum tree which I wrote about in an earlier post. That has lost its blossom now but looking forward to lots of plum, I hope.

The primroses spread everywhere, these are on my rock garden but they also grow in my lawn and are so many different colours.  At the top of the photo are blue muscari which are also very proliferative. 

 Lots of different daffodils but don't know the names of the varieties.  This one is a favourite and has several flowers on each stem. 

This double one is lovely but sadly the flower is so heavy it soon falls over and gets eaten by the slugs

Another favourite is the snake head fritillary, no prize for guessing the origin of its name.

This little violet is growing in the gravel path but also have them growing in the front lawn.

 Moving on from the flowers there are other signs of Spring in the garden. Below two different ladybirds out of hibernation, spotted by Stuart.  Seven spot red and two spot black. 

 These buds on this conifer look like masses of ladybirds.

Broken egg shell must mean we have newly hatched birds somewhere nearby. These look like pigeon eggs. Found two shells very close together. 

On the right of this photo is a mass of frog tadpoles just about ready to venture further into the pond to look after themselves now they have finished feeding on the spawn jelly. Not many of them will survive so that is why they produce so many every year. 

Seen several newts in the pond again but they are difficult to photograph.If you look carefully centre bottom you might see it. 

And finally after living in this house for 18 years I saw my first hedgehog.  I was specially watching out for him as I spotted what I suspected were hedgehog dropping on the patio and that night he came along sniffing around under the bird feeders.  Must have recently emerged from hibernation.  Hedgehogs like cat food but the problem is if I put it out for them I will be inviting all the neighbourhood cats too.