free violas

Finally got around to planting up the violas I got free at Homebase. I guess they figured it was better to give them away than put them in the bin. Some of them are now in the old chimney pots and some in bowls and tubs. There were only four of the forty eight that I could not use and some of them are so pretty. I also have two new flowers on the Hachonochloa macra that I bought for the seed. The slugs or snails had the one flower I was keeping but the tiny plant has put up two more. I dragged back into the greenhouse a wooden bench which had been doing duty outside. The plants I need to protect are on the table and all of its four legs are liberally rubbed with petroleum jelly. This morning there were no snail trails on the bench or on the compost and the flowering grass is still intact. Fingers crossed it continues. I bought two tiny plants from a man in Northern Ireland in the spring and they have grown. Hosta Gold Standard is going to be a great plant and Hosta So Sweet got an infestation of greenfly but is now coming along nicely.

Back to the writing I am doing for someone on the other side of the world- heigh ho- it makes my mind work and gives my legs a rest.

blue pink yellowhachon

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Proud of out Parson Harris who has become a dad and thought people might like to see an excerpt from Janetta’s Garden that featured the Parson as well as Dannyboy- the Pointer with the sixth sense. Picture of puppies included

Later that day coming into the kitchen and expecting Tweed, the terrier, and Dannyboy to be still fooling around with a left over chew, Chess realised they were nowhere to be seen. Shannon was jumping up and down beside the draining board. Out of the window and away across the field she could see Tweed and yes, Dannyboy as well, haring into the distance. Pointers are agile but she knew he couldn’t jump onto the worktop and then she spotted the small pair of steps she used for changing light bulbs and such. The Parson Russell would manage the jump so easily and probably more by good luck than good management Danny had made it up there as well.

There was no time to ponder though. All the thoughts passed through her head even as she was reaching for leads, treats and whistle even as she exclaimed “Oh my goodness”

“Corrie” she shouted for the older Gordon as he would be useful at bringing the other two back. “You as well then Shannon” as the dog pushed against her legs at the door. “Let’s go and get the silly beggars back in again “.

Chess usually wraps  Dannyboy in cotton wool  as if any noise or fright would make him into a shivering wreck but that only applies in normal circumstances. This time he would be in real trouble. Some of the dogs that had been stolen were simply taken when the dog was running free and out of sight of the owner. Chess could feel her heart pound and the panic rise as she thought about losing any of the dogs.” Even though this spot is remote ” she panicked “It could still happen”

Out of the garden gate and into the field gate they raced urgently as both Corrie and Shannon could sense Chess was in panic mode.

Dannyboy would keep out of trouble but Tweed could maybe chase sheep or get stuck down a rabbit hole and there was still that background worry of the dog thieves.

Normally it would be a leisurely stroll down through the reeds but today the dogs  ran on ahead and Chess came on as fast as she could- heart pounding and legs complaining “I am certainly no spring chicken any more.” she thought.

They found them at the ghost gate. Not chasing rabbits or deer or even each other but sitting side by side staring at the empty gateway and listening. Tweed even had his head on one side like the terrier in the old gramophone records.

Then she heard it as well. The bagpipes were playing a sad and heart string pulling lament. It was very beautiful if you put aside the fact that there was no one there and the music came from empty air.

They stopped beside the two dogs although Chess did have the sense to put slip leads around their necks and they all listened.

After awhile she said out loud “I will put him back when I find out who he is. I just don’t know how to do it yet.”

The bagpipes paused and started again with a more lilting tune and then faded away into nothing. Dannyboy stood up and wagged his tail and moved forward on the lead. He sniffed another dog but again there was no dog there.

The quintet walked back up the field together with Chess deep in thought and she saw Lena’s car coming up the single track lane home.

Of course the whole story had to be related and surprisingly enough Danny and Tweed managed to escape any retribution. Chess reminded herself that something must be done about that window and the excitement was over.’



October has arrived and the weather is unbelievable although we know it cannot last. A most beautiful morning had me outside with the phone and the three shots here are to one side of out house to the sea, the second is the other side where the local contractor is removing shale for someone’s hardcore driveway and behind we can just see the tops of the windfarms arms turning. It’s probably not visible in the photo but is one tiny arm just disappearing at the very top right hand corner. Closer to hand I have enjoyed the entire season, Erysimum Bowles Mauve which I have always adored. This plant is in a huge container and has been fantastic. I will take it inside the greenhouse when the weather deteriorates along with Salvia patens and Viola Irish Molly. In the meantime long may this gorgeous weather last.



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forest walk

Took two of the Gordons for a run in Rumster Forest and they had a lovely run and a good swim in the ponds but I thought what a funny season it has been flowerwise. The heather is still coming out in some places and this is mid September. The Devil’s Bit Scabious were pretty and when I got back to the garden I have a double flowered green hellebore in full bloom and primroses showing pretty faces. All seems a bit odd. However on the good side of things the grass that the slugs ate the flower I was saving for seed has produced another flower. Have bought a huge tub of petroleum jelly in Poundland and am going to anoint every pot in the place.


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the good, the bad and the downright evil midges

Well I thought as we were into September, the midges had gone but I’m wearing my funny hat again and cursing as I go. Shouldn’t moan though because I went to Homebase for a can of white emulsion and got 40 free violas. The shop had a sign-‘FREE’ I said to the man-‘are these really free?’ and he said you can take up to 4 trays- so I did- 10 in  a try and very pretty. They’re straggly but if I cut them back, they’ll regrow and make some pretty winter bedding.

I have almost everything in tubs now and last year I bought a little bistort -Polygnatum ‘Inverleith’. It is very sweet and quite short but I forgot about it and bless its little heart it struggled through a whole lot of chives and plantago to show me the pretty flower. Will have to give it some space.That was good and then the bad.

I had bought a plant of Hakonecloa macra and it had a flower. Being keen on stuff for nothing, I thought I could save the seed and grow some more. Ha ha ha the slugs have been in and eatene the flower off. The best laid plans—-. and the downright evil midges are still lurking out there!!!!

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Welcome September

For those of you who do not live in a place beset by midges, you have no idea how awful it is. In July and August we are beset by clouds of the little horrors- and that is not what I call them when they are around me. Below is a picture of my kitchen window plastered with the pests. I can only go outside wearing a netted hat. I look like a beekeeper who dresses in black. I should take a selfie but might get taken for a terrorist. There are not words to describe how much I hate midges BUT September is here and within a week they will be gone. We have a nice light wind today which also helps and in a few days I will be able to take some fuschia cuttings, complete the weeding and tidying, repot some plants and enjoy being in the garden again. My garden is tiny but has a large flowering currant and the midges linger there. As soon as a human appears they dive out for a meal. I know it hasn’t been a great summer but I must admit autumn always seems welcome. Heigh Ho onwards and upwards.midges

moans and smiles

It is the end of August and I am bemoaning the fact that the Laurentia has just now opened a few flowers in the chimney pot that used to be on my friend’s house in Ashingtom. The wind has decimated Viola Irish Molly and Bishop of Llandaff dahlia is not actually in flower yet- aagghh. Enough of th moans- when I decided to extend my Hosta collection at the start of the year I bought Gold Standard, So Sweet, Blue Mouse Ears and First mate. I always pot up hostas to get them established and so far Gold Standard is going to be what it says- gold. It is a fine, strong plant and looking good. First Mate is decidedly weedy and might take some time. So Sweet was attacked by aphids and is now recovering and Blue Mouse Ears had an accident with the English Setters and is having to replenish its leaves. I love Gold Standard. The Bishop dahlia I put into a pot bought at Poundstretcher for £2.99 and love the pot. I have now bought 2 more as they are good value and nice and deep. I have two hostas to pot up and will use them for that. Also at Poundstretcher I bought some solar garden lights. They are brilliant- poke into the soil and look like fairy lights when the darkness comes. They were 89 pence each and I plan to buy some more. It’s a really cheap way to enjoy looking out in the dark and seeing little sweet blue lights.goldstandardGold Standard

First Mate


Laurnetia in chimney


solar lights and blue pot

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