Friday, 13 May 2022
Friday, 6 May 2022
Eldest son has a doctorate in Geology but deep within his heart he is a poet. Youngest son is a Special Needs teacher. He has a reputation for having a great affinity and understanding of his pupils, and is particularly succesful at getting the very best out of each of them. However, like his brother, deep within his heart he is an artist. Over the last few weeks eldest son has written 40 poems concerning the daily ongoing situation in Ukraine. He has also helped to raise money at a special Poets for Ukraine event held recently in London. Jonathan and Nick have now compiled a book together of Jonathan's poems complimented by Nick's linocut illustrations. They form a diary text of events covering the first weeks of the invasion.
The linocuts done by Nick show scenes that we are all now familiar with having witnessed them on a daily basis. As I write, the book is already with the publisher. Costing £10 each, it is being limited to just 100 copies. However, I am delighted to report that every book has already been sold prior to publication. All of the money from the sale of the books will be donated in full to Ukrainian refugee charities.
Saturday, 30 April 2022
Over the years we have visited dozens of bluebell woods around the country, but none have come close to the breath taking beauty seen on Badbury Hill.
This beautiful ancient woodland is filled solely with our own exquisite native Hyacinthoides non-scripta - bluebells. They appeared to be far taller and more robust than usual, and their delicate perfume, reminiscent of hyacinths, filled the air. It is unusual to see just one species holding domination throughout an entire woodland, but here, the bluebells were in charge, this was their domain.
Sunday, 24 April 2022
And stands about the woodland ride
Now, of my threescore years & ten
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
Sunday, 17 April 2022
During Spring 2021 we were alerted to a special 12 month garden deal - 2 for 1 entrance to gardens up and down the whole of the British Isles which sadly finished at the beginning of April. The following pictures are from our last two trips in March as we made the most of the end of the deal.. The voucher has taken us to many gardens, some on our doorstep but others much further away. These last two visits at the end of March included a local Victorian walled garden, and a sculpture park hidden away down narrow country lanes in the Cotswolds.
It wasn't the most fruitful period to visit a walled garden, but even so, we were surprised at what was already growing in a March garden.
As soon as we stepped inside the walls, the chill in the air was left behind, and a cloak of warmth enveloped us.I knew that we would find some Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperials - I could smell their distinctive aroma as soon we walked amongst the tulips.This dramatic fritillary is native to the mountainous regions of Turkey, western Iran and eastwards to Kashmir. We saw tulips galore when we visited Kashmir during Spring a few years ago, but never spotted these beautiful flowers growing in the wild. I planted some in our garden, but although they flowered the first year, the following year they came up barren. This, apparently, is a normal occurrence, unless their growing situation is absolutely perfect they decline to flower.
Time to head off, sat nav on, and see if we can locate the illusive Sculpture Park.After travelling along a network of very narrow country lanes we finally found the entrance situated in a woodland setting. There were over 200 sculptures being exhibited which were for sale at some very high prices. Others that were not for sale were pieces, such as the one below, made out of upcycled metal and revealing some of the dreadful detritus of our modern world.
This pair of ducks are not exactly what they seem. They are actually as tall as a 6ft man. Imagine coming across them unexpectedly in the dark, would they frighten you?
Friday, 8 April 2022
The Snake’s-head fritillary has been in full flower since the beginning of April. Like so many of our flowers this year, they are early. This fritillary is one of our most beautiful wild flowers, with its square-sided, nodding bells, chequered in pink and white, resembling a snakes’ scales. Some flowers are pure white, but you can still see their chequered pattern, especially when the sun is low in the sky - kneel down, let the light of the sun shine through their beautiful translucent petals and see their delicate green chequered veins. Fritillaries are mainly inhabitants of damp meadows in the south of England, particularly along the flood plains of the R. Thames, but they can now also be seen in many of our gardens too. The first time that I ever saw an image of a snakeshead fritillary was during a visit to the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery at Glasgow University. I saw this painting by Rennie Mackintosh, done in his latter years, and knew that I wanted to find out where I could actually see and find it growing in the wild.
William Morris also captured it on one of his wallpaper designs, but it would have been very familiar to him. His country house, Kelmscott, sits alongside meadows in the Thames valley where they are found in abundance in just two or three floodplain meadows close to where he lived,These in our garden multiply each year and thrive well. Their Conservation Status is classified as Vulnerable on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain.
Monday, 28 March 2022
....were gentle in this corner of the world with many pleasant blue sky days, and happily, as far as I am concerned, neither ice nor snow was seen.
Prunus spinosa - black thorn blossom is almost finished, and in the blink of an eye the daffodils will soon be nodding their farewells too.
"All at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;