Apple tree

In my friends garden

This is a thirty eight year old apple tree that he planted in his garden. It’s huge!

The limbs are massive

It has been a very fruitful year for some fruit trees.

I was amazed, the tree is covered in huge cooking apples. My friend said he weighed one of the large ones and it was over 900 grams. It was a fantastic visit. Seeing someone else’s produce. He also has a small pear tree that is covered in conference pears.

He also has tomatoes which I’m jealous of because I didn’t get any this year!

Birds in the garden

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We had a lovely chart in the ‘i’ paper with ots of bird a you can expect to see in your garden.  Of the thirty or so species illustrated, I think we get about half visiting our garden. They are Blackbirds, Blue tits, Robins, Song Thrushes, Great tits, Coal tits, a Jay, House sparrows, Woodpigeon, Collared doves, Feral pigeons, Wrens and Magpies. We probably have other species but sometimes it’s hard to identify them. Hubby told me he saw a Nightjar a couple of weeks ago but there has been no sign of it since. The best thing is seeing chick’s being raised. Baby Wrens and Robins, we also have nesting Blue tits and Blackbirds. It means we don’t cut the hedge till late in the year. But I’d rather have a scruffy hedge and happy birds.

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I want to be out!

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By a waterfall, in the countryside, with friends. A little picnic, some cheese sandwiches, a flask of tea? An apple or a banana. Sunshine, a scent of flowers on the breeze. Driving a few miles further than I have for the last few months. Out of the city. Where my feet can touch grass. Where my eyes can be dazzled with colour and the clouds are as white washed cotton. I want time to go back. Before pandemics and Covid, before corruption and death..

Is it too much to ask?

Wave, after Hokusai

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Hard to copy, this is a small acrylic on canvas, based on the Japanese artist Hokusai’s picture of a massive wave seemingly threatening mount Fuji and boats fighting the turmoil of the water.

How does he draw that wave? Finger like  curves protrude from the water, white wavelets curve all in one direction. The water becomes a threatening mountain about to collapse. The height of the wave threatens not only the people in the boats, but it even dwarfs Mount Fuji itself.

When did he draw and paint it? He was a famous artist I think for a long time. We’re there other pictures and sea in his career? I think there were.

The image is so well recognised. Type in 🌊 wave on your phone and you get an icon which seems to symbolise Hokusai’s wave and mimics it.

How do you analyse such amazing work. How can you understand it. He makes me wish I could copy his style.

Friends garden colours

Six years ago.

I took these in a friends garden because they were so colourful and interesting. I think some of the plants are Swiss chard, nasturtium, marigold, sweet peas and poppies. Most of the day the sun shone in it except later on when the sun webt behind the hill. Some lovely colour combinations.

Finding a calm view

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Waterfall at the Dorothy Clive Garden.

This was taken about this time last year. We had driven out to visit the beautiful garden on the border of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire.

The garden is in a steep slope with colourful flower borders filling the air with scents of summer. But before the summer show I am drawn to the quarry garden at the top of the site. This is filled with flowering rhododendrons, under planted with spring flowers such as bluebells. At its centre is a little dell where a waterfall cascades down into a tranquil pool. You can follow paths up to the top of the waterfall where you will find a full sized bronze stag sculpture looking out magestically over the quarry garden.

Other pleasures include a magnolia walk at the back of the garden, this is behind the quarry at the top of the slope. Here you can see the surrounding countryside.

There is another dry garden, with a laburnum walk arching over the path.

When lockdown ends I think this will be one of the first places I visit.

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Canada Geese

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On the water, small lake at Westport.

I’m glad I went for this walk a couple of weeks ago. Blue sky reflected in the water, one goose partly hidden behind a post. The water was gently rippled by a cold breeze. The geese were preening themselves.

It’s a random image, but it feels calm.

I will try and find some more images of the world, just to remind me……

Why kill wild animals?

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One of the worst things I see on social media like Facebook is photos of proud people posing with dead animals they have shot. I always feel sick when I see them. Their big grins as they stick their boot on the fallen prey or hold up their trophy. I’ve seen dead lions, tigers, Elephants, giraffes, zebras…. But other animals too

Mainly in Africa, but animals hunted in other arts of the world including America. What gets me is that this is in addition to poachers that kill for tusks and hides and horns. These people, men and women seem to need to prove how macho they are, how clever and Great. When in fact they are just proving themselves to be cruel and stupid, and the thing is the more they kill, the less animals there are left in the wild. So I share the pictures, show their evil faces to the world. But if these rich, privileged people would stop to think, take cameras instead of guns. Well we wouldn’t be in this mess would we?

Orchids or Triffids?

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My biggest orchid is getting a bit rampant, it’s ariel roots are slowly growing across the cupboard. The smallest one is gradually dying. I think I need to give its roots a bit more air and fresh orchid medium. The middle one seems OK although it’s flowers only lasted a couple of weeks. The house isn’t very warm (usually between 18 and 20°C, sometimes as low as 16°C) but I’ve made sure they are not in a draft. I found out they like to grow in clear plastic pots, they like the light getting to them. I’m planning to repot after the flowers die off… Any advice about ariel roots. Can I cut them back…. I don’t want to damage the plant.

Amaryllis

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My Amaryllis plants are coming into leaf  again. They die back after flowering and being in leaf over the summer and autumn. I generally leave them to dry off for a couple of months, then start watering them again about now. The leaves emerge and then the flower spike from the large amaryllis bulb. They prefer to be tightly fitting in their pots. One of mine is about ten years old and has grown another bulb next to it. I love the large flowers, they are always brightly coloured. As you water the plants and the leaves and watch the flower spikes grow, you can almost see them expanding by the minute. If you got one at Christmas don’t throw it away when it dies back, keep it and water it next December or January, you should be lucky and get new flowers x