Happy Snappers

June 6, 2008

I have had two or three in my time, and they hate doing it in the middle of the day. 

Garden photographers always prefer to hot-foot it to my door before dawn – or when sun, slanting over a sea of catmint and alliums, is definitely over the yard arm. 

The most dedicated was perhaps Jonathan Buckley.  When he lived in Dulwich, for one whole summer and beyond he would swoop down to my Sussex garden in a battered old white Citroen. 

At one point we agreed that I would phone him at some ungodly hour to let him know if there was hoar frost on my agapanthus. I had to trek down the garden en chemise de nuit , a muddy fleece and gardening clogs in pitch dark to find out, of course.  There was, and he was there like a shot, well before the crisply seed-heads thawed just after dawn. 

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Libertia – finally…

June 4, 2008

I don’t have a very elegant camera, so I am finding it really hard to get a picture (as promised) that does this wonderful plant justice.

However, you can see the dark buds and stems here – quite unlike L. grandiflora:

Libertia 'Helen Dillon'

(Click on it for a bigger picture…)

Wadhurst Open Gardens

June 2, 2008

My village, Wadhurst in East Sussex, has just had its charity Open Gardens weekend and – probably to quote a hundred local newspaper reports on similar events this month, ‘the rain held off’ – just. 

The lack of precipitation was indeed a mercy afer last year’s wash out – but for those of us who bravely opened our gates it was a bit sad that the flat, grey afternoon sky and only-just-shirt-sleeve temperatures hardly did our beloved gardens justice – so heavenly as they are, empty of all but us and the birds, particularly in the soft light and summer warmth at dusk and dawn.

Of course an event like this just doesn’t happen without considerable effort. 

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May 22, 2008

A starling taking a bath in the pond at EldenhurstIt is 7 a.m. and I was woken about two hours ago by a raucous cacophony – umpteen parent starlings sitting in the oak tree outside my bedroom, calling out to their fledgelings. We have quite a sizeable colony around here – presumably they like the accommodating construction of the eves of Edwardian houses or something.

Some youngsters came out yesterday, many more today. As I write there is a gang of clumsy little birds, gazing myopically, legs bent so that the seem to be crouching, massed around my pond.

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As long as it’s green…

May 10, 2008

A picture of a dandelion, nabbed from wikipediaI have been having a go at my dandelions. My lawn is dreadful – basically a bit of weedy, mossy (mostly) green stuff that was in a terrible state when I took it over two years ago because of neglect, shade, too many tree roots, compacted clay soil… all the usual problems.

Just by mowing it regularly and keeping the edges tidy I have managed to make it look reasonable, and I occasionally swish it over with a soluble lawn feed which temporarily intensifies the green – but I simply can’t find it in myself to become lawn-obsessive.

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Solomon’s Seal sawfly

April 22, 2008

Solomon's SealConfined to my desk by wet weather, I realise that the planting around my pond is the most important in my whole garden because I sit and look at it all the time I am ‘working’. Every leaf matters.

Currently the Polygonatum (Solomon’s Seal) is powering upwards with almost visible speed in its allotted space (where in a matter of a few weeks its bent-over stems and little hanging white flowers will be reflected artily in the pond’s glassy surface).

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Of kamikaze chaffinches and robins in kilts

April 18, 2008

It’s April and I can’t believe how cold it is out there. I am still feeding the garden birds. The finches and tits get sunflower kernels, and the container is invariably raided by the local squirrels who are doing their best to gnaw through the plastic.

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