Sparrowhawk attack

The magnificent sparrowhawk (Accipiter nissus)

Earlier today my usually quiet front garden resembled a scene from Hitchcock’s horror film, The Birds, as dozens upon dozens of rooks and jackdaws circled above my house. The noise was astounding and the sight quite phenomenal, if not a little surreal. I was baffled as to what was going on, until I honed in on a panicked squawking emanating from the ivy…

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On your marks …

Tete-a-tete narcissus

… get set, grow! This month is when I start to get back out in the garden and scare myself silly at how much there is to do. Yes, it’s that time of year when everything starts to get going again – the spring bulbs, the perennials, the weeds! It’s all crying out for a tidy up. Now is the time…

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Happy (soggy) new year!

Views of the North Cornish Coast from Rocky Valley headland

Happy new year everyone, and what a strange start to 2016 it is; certainly a lot wetter, windier and milder than we’re used to. Who thought we’d still be in double figures degrees centigrade in January, with daffodils and irises already in flower?! Today I travelled back from my Christmas break in North Cornwall on flooded but passable debris-strewn roads…

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“Will flower until frost”

With the wind and rain and noticeable drop in temperature, the garden has started to take on a rather dishevelled, limp-around-the-edges persona. The last of the summer-flowering perennials have all but shrivelled and the dampness of heavy dews lingers late into seemingly endless grey, overcast mornings. So thank goodness for those autumnal gems that “will flower until frost”. Yes, there are still plenty of perennials…

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Blue Moon Microadventure

More microadventures please!

Coming up with inspired birthday presents for my husband is a challenge. I started with books, music and toiletries, moved on to sports kit and gadgets, and graduated to ‘experiences’. You name it, he’s done it – truck driving, zorbing, sand-yachting, hovercraft racing, indoor sky diving, segway rallying, flyboarding. I had drained the ideas well of actiongiftsformen.com dry. I needed a hefty dose of inspiration…

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Marigold mania

Blooming marigolds, ready to plant out

This year I opted for the work-intensive option of growing my own annuals: marigolds, salvia, nasturtiums and cosmos. On the up side, I ended up with plenty of bedding plants, which is good news for the bees and butterflies … and the slugs have enjoyed them too! On the other hand, it involved a lot of extra effort. For the…

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Hanging tomatoes

Tumbling Tom tomato planted in hanging basket

I’m still cramming the vegetables and annuals into the garden. As I haven’t got a greenhouse, and I’m rapidly running out of space – and pots – on the patio, some of the tomatoes have gone into hanging baskets. There are plenty of bush-type varieties with shallow root systems that do well in hanging baskets. I’m trying Tumbling Tom (yellow)…

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Huffing hedgehogs

Hedgehog in garden

I was walking around the garden last night. It’s amazing how much unseen activity there is after dark: plenty of rustling in the borders, small rodents no doubt, or perhaps a few larger ones! Then I heard the ‘huffing’, a loud persistent raspy panting or puffing. Which could only mean one thing … we have hedgehogs back in residence. It has been…

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Magna Carta celebrations

Odiham embroidery, depicting King John setting off from Odiham to Runnymede where Magna Carta was sealed

On 10th June 1215, King John of England and his entourage rode out from his castle in Odiham, Hampshire, to meet a group of rebel barons in the water meadows at Runnymede, near Windsor. On 15th June, they sealed ‘Magna Carta’. Well, actually, they sealed the ‘Charter of Runnymede’, a forerunner of what later became known as Magna Carta in 1217. But…

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Memories of May

Centaurea montana

As Rodgers and Hammerstein so succinctly put it, “June is bustin’ out all over”. Indeed, much of the garden is now a dazzling display of glorious technicolour. But this month has a lot to live up to. Let’s not forget the slightly more subtle splendours of May. Here are my highlights, re-lived in pictures. Delicate tree blossom … The last of the Spring bulbs ……

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Spud update

Potato sacks in leaf

Last time I mentioned the potatoes, they were merrily chitting on a bedroom window sill. A lot has happened since then. First, I had to decide where to put them. If, like me, you are pretty limited on space, the perfect solution is to plant in sacks or containers. I’ve just about managed to squeeze mine in behind the raised…

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The Great Garden Sowing Marathon

Germination success

Move over the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge (as seen on TV), it’s time to make room for the great garden sowing marathon (as seen in my garden recently). Having gone a bit nuts on the seed buying earlier this year, I now realize that I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew. My post on ‘Seedy decisions’ earlier this year…

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