On my knees

Reading that title you might be forgiven for thinking that Shirley Anne has been praying. Well I do pray every day but I am hardly ever on my knees doing it, no, I have been doing more work in and on the greenhouse flowerbed whilst the weather is remaining dry. It was a cooler day on Monday but all I wore beneath my overalls was a thin cap-sleeved top and although the early morning  temperature was only 10 deg C. I wasn’t cold because there was hardly any wind. Once I begin to work I soon warm-up anyway so much so that later in the morning I had my overalls tied-off at the waist and not covering my upper body. It didn’t get warmer than 14 deg C throughout the day but I wasn’t cold in  the least. I prefer cooler temperatures anyway. So I spent most of the day until three o’clock practically on my knees. I had begun work around eight-fifteen by putting the remaining seven stone slabs along that part of the rear of the bed where they could be placed, which was up to the large greenhouse.greenhouse-flowerbed-3   Once they were in place I began to remove all the weeds and those small flowering plants we wished to keep, though I didn’t replant them in the same part of the bed. I actually planted them all later in the afternoon at the far end of the bed under the holly tree among the large natural stones I had placed there. I also planted them closely packed because I wanted them to fill the area with colour. Here are the same plants in bloom when they were originally planted in the bed.Under the apple trees

Now I am hoping all that colour will be concentrated at the far end of the bed. Having them close together will deter weeds too. I also spread more topsoil over the whole bed using the soil I had removed from the ‘Plot’ and had stored in the white bag I spoke about in recent posts.The bare spaces now have to be filled with new plants and I plan to have evergreen plants there when I get around to buying them. On Tuesday I planned to mix concrete to fill in all the spaces between the stone slabs as before. A neighbour living two doors away, our new neighbours to be precise, had tree surgeons in their rear garden all day long. Some trees were being cut down and others were being pollarded.  That meant chain saws and chipping machines being used all day long. I got used to the noise eventually!

Shirley Anne


All wrapped up.

English: Even horses need coats Three small ho...
Even horses need coats Three small horses stay wrapped-up warm against the winter chill near Crask. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We cannot say that we have had it bad during the Summer, the weather has for the most part been warm and sunny. It has been unusually warm and sometimes sunny during the last couple of months too, exceptionally so for November. We have been experiencing overnight temperatures exceeding those we would normally expect during the day at this time of year but slowly all that is changing. Most noticeably the wind has been getting stronger making it feel colder than it actually is but it is getting colder in any case. I suppose we can expect it to really feel like it is mid to late Autumn in the days to come. It is time to think about pruning the deciduous trees and shrubs that need pruning back and to prepare those plants more susceptible to the cold for protection if needs be. With that in mind E and I spent a few minutes wrapping three of the Phoenix Canariensis trees with sheets of bubble-wrap plastic and tieing them up so that only their tops are exposed. It isn’t for the low temperatures that we will get during the next few months but for the cold winds. These particular plants can withstand temperatures as low as minus seven degree celsius but the cold winds burn their leaves. It is the wind that we are protecting against. I have noticed I am having to wrap up more whenever I am out of the house or going to work. I am beginning to see the need to have the heating on in my van. The house heating has been switched on for a few weeks. It is Autumn and although it is my favourite time of year, it sure can get cold, wet and windy! Soon it will be Winter and Christmas time and before we know it the next year will be upon us. It is a time for preparation and readiness whilst we are still able and to wrap up those plants which need a winter overcoat so we can enjoy them during the warmer months. Despite it being so cool and windy we still have flowering plants in the garden, in fact some of them only burst into flower in Autumn. Others actually prefer it being wet and cool. Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and not before time as I have spent quite some time sweeping them up. Each day there have been fresh heaps of them to move but finally there are now almost none. Some apples remain on the branches but I have fitted a net beneath those branches which are above the concrete path to catch them when they fall. There is still plenty to do out in the garden but I will be well wrapped up for it.

Shirley Anne

More rain

English: rain clouds Looking out to sea at the...
Rain clouds Looking out to sea at the rain cloud that had just soaked me on a winter sunday walk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we are to have much more sunshine and warm days it doesn’t look like it is on the menu for the next three or four days as I write this on Saturday afternoon. The sun has been shining this afternoon but there has been lots of cloud cover too. It rained mostly during the morning but the rain is supposed to be returning by nightfall. Sunday looks a little better but thereafter more rain is forecast right up to and including Wednesday. Soon I will need a dry day so that the lawn can be mowed, it doesn’t need it just yet fortunately but it is a case of doing it when I can. I might do it tomorrow, Sunday if it is to be as dry as they say it will be. I made the short trip into the village in the morning in order to deposit some money in the bank but I didn’t linger and walked back home as soon as I left the bank. Although I had an umbrella with me and although it was raining very lightly I didn’t bother opening it but by the time I had reached a hundred metres from home the rain became much heavier. Part of the last few metres I had tree cover so wasn’t bothered too much until I got to the gate when I had to make a dash for the front door. Another few seconds later and I’d have been soaked through! After a late lunch I spent an hour or so out on the patio. It was warm, a little humid and sunny and I sat there watching the numerous bees making their daily trips to a large flowering plant we have in the border close-by. I don’t know the name of the plant but there are several tall pale green stems which I would describe as being lime green, green mixed with white but toward the tops the minute leaves fade into a deep purple colour which are the flowering part of the plant. There isn’t much strength in the plant’s stems and it tends to bend over unless there is some sort of support provided. We have some bamboo canes to help in that support. For quite a number of weeks now the bees have been visiting the plant to collect nectar. There are other flowering plants nearby and some are even growing intermingled with it, Mombrecia being one of them but the bees seem to prefer the purple flowers. The ants are still busy and as soon as the sun comes out so do they. Soon it will be Autumn, four weeks away isn’t a long time is it?

Shirley Anne

Hurry up!

Daydreams in Cold Weather
Daydreams in Cold Weather

It hasn’t been a really bad winter where I live considering some of the appalling weather many have had so suffer elsewhere. I cannot complain really having only suffered a couple of days of negotiable snow and ice before it disappeared completely. Even now more snow is forecast for tomorrow (Wednesday) but I think we may avoid it here on the coast and I don’t think it will last very long where it does fall. We have reached that time of the year when things are beginning to improve, temperatures rising albeit slowly and with spells of cold still persisting but I see the snowdrops in my garden and the green stems of daffodils growing quite tall ready to open next month. There are already flowering plants hugging the ground which don’t seem to mind the cold weather but these are winter flowering plants that blossom for most of the year giving the borders a lot of colour. They are yellow, red and purple with large green foliage and really do brighten up the dull soil. Most other plants are still dormant apart from the evergreen shrubs we have. The sun is desperately trying to shine through the clouds and it lights up the house giving it that extra shot of heat too but then it disappears for the day and everywhere seems cold again. I wish the warmer weather would hurry. Even though I don’t mind the cold weather too much it isn’t the same. I long for Spring and it is only round the corner. The front of our house bears the full sunshine as it more or less faces SSW and if I am sitting in one of the two front lounges it is very much noticeable. At the moment I am being teased for the sun comes and goes during the day giving me a glimpse and promise of better days ahead.

Shirley Anne