Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chelsea and Cakes...

I have been baking most of the afternoon with my little helper Chelsea. We made ginger biscuits, jam tarts, treacle toffee, and bread. The house is full of a gorgeous aroma, of home baking. It fills every room, and the smell makes your mouth water.
I looked through the window at the garden. I will spend my time in the garden tomorrow. The grass needs cutting again, the borders tidied up.I have been paid, so tomorrow i will buy some bulbs and more plants, yippeeeeeeeeeee!!
I dont mind mind being broke a lot of the time, just not all the time so i can buy plants..hee hee i love the garden.I would rather spend money on it than going out or buying CD's or books..
I will post pics tomorrow.I am chilling now after all that baking...

A garden torch through Autumn and Winter

I have finished my three nights. Now i have nine days off to garden to my hearts content.

To revamp the borders, cut the grass, and plant some bulbs. I have several idea's for posts of a garden theme..

The joy of blogging about gardens is that it touches so many other area's..

From botany, to biology, to environmental studies, to ecosystems, to traditional uses of plants, folk myths, cooking natural ingredients, to growing food, to wine making, to photography, to wildlife attracting,.....

It has grown exponentially as i have continued to blog. I notice the updated blogs list is growing smaller as summer fades. However snappys garden blog will continue to bloom through the fall, and into winter..

Stories from my garden, and whatever else i think will be interesting for posting.. It will all be related to gardening though...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Back garden view

Here is yesterdays panoramic view of the back garden, two days after the cut.The fuschias on the bottom left are awaiting to be trimmed for overwintering.The sun was shining.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Rose

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.Shakespeare was a gardener I think.With lots of flowers mentioned in his plays..
The sun was shining today.I took some long range garden pics but they will be tomorrows post.
The rose sunshine is at its heighest perfection with honey/vanilla scent, perfectly formed petals.It almost glows in the sunshine.
The grass is recovering from the cut, but looks so green now.The edges look trim, and set off the height of the border plants.
There are patches of flowers but it looks calming still..
As im back on night shifts I will need it too, more calming posts tomorrow!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Work and Busy lizzies

Ah, me too much work is exhausting the snappy gardener. I am having problems still with uploading pictures. Need a new laptop ASAP. Im getting symptoms from not having one!!
The picture is a busy lizzie, grown from seed, now sat in the spare bedroom.This one is amazing as it has two different colour blooms on one plant.One white, and one peach.How bizarre (to go into old roses wierdness chronicles!!).
Im dreaming about the garden going to and from work.New plans, new plants, wish lists.
I guess Autumn gardening is tidying up from the party that was summer, and winter gardening is dreaming of springtime that signals a new cycle of life..
I need to weed the borders, and make some compost ready for adding to the soil.The roses are blooming still in two borders.The long border can do with some rose magic to lighten it up..
I have Alaskan Iris seed pods to break open.I will designate a section Alaskan Iris and see if they grow.They are hardy so they should love the yorkshire weather.
I have 8 tomato's on two plants.One is as big as the beefsteak tomato I got the seeds from originally.Next year I will grow a half dozen plants for salad and sandwiches I think..
Three night shifts to go now before days off.I will plan the garden in my head on the way to and from the hospital, i need a healing garden for all the winter pressures about to come.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday in the Garden

It finally stayed dry long enough for me to cut the grass.It needed it, thick, wet, and slippery under my shoes. I am back to work tomorrow so it was today or not for another week. I think its psychological cutting the grass. Once I trimmed the border edges it was looking nice again.
I will have to post one pic a day. However I take so many that i have a few days left yet..
My spider came back to hang around the spade/wall area.
I have spotted a self seeded forget me not plant behind the roses. I have the tomato plant in a pot that was growing out of the front window border.
The grass however looked so green and lush. All that rain has made it beautiful. I thought of an old American poet today as i sweated with the hover mower, Walt Whitman..
I read leaves of grass when i was at school. It is full of lines relating to the natural world. Its funny what you think about when you are working outside.
But the sun was shining and the wind was gentle. The coffee breaks were frequent. I spent about four hours outside, untill the light started to fade.
Next jobs for my days off will include revamping the borders, some plant moving, and sorting out the compost. I checked it today the bottom third is full of lovely dark compost, totally rotted!!
I was able to visualise more garden changes today working close to the grass when i was trimming.
My hole by the back fence has collapsed again with the rain running through it. Im considering a raised bed above it so it wont be so noticeable.
What do you all use to trim the edges of grass? my mower is hover so it only cuts the large area's.Im using big scissors to trim the edges neater. I have a half moon edger but that is not good on hard edges. I thought about a garden knife? What do you all think?
I mention that because i have blisters on my fingers again. The last ones have only just healed up, and i go and do same job.
The roses are still blooming in the square border, and the arched border. Just when I think they are finished more buds appear..
I want more roses next year. Beautiful, sumptuous David Austin roses with nice colours, and scents. I would love a rose garden with a circular pathway, with fragrant roses to smell on both sides. Maybe a bench or seat in the middle. Watch the flowers blowing in the wind!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The elements have been cruel to the Sun man.He has some chipped paint from his nose and cheeks.The wind kept blowing it against the concrete post.Windswept and interesting? Posted by Picasa

Rose sunshine, the flower looks like an ancient greek maze with the spiral petals.. Posted by Picasa

Baking Friday Posted by Picasa

Rain and Cakes

It rained, and rained, all day.I spent most of the day inside looking at the rain falling down.I nipped out for a few pics. The rose frosty morning splattered with rain drops.

I baked for a lot of hours. I made ginger biscuits, jam tarts, a victoria sponge which Sallyanne made up with butter icing and jam, two one pound loafs of bread. I made rock cakes yesterday, and fairy cakes the day before. We have a lot of cakes, and biscuits now. Im hoping tomorrow will be drier for garden tidying up. It must be near the end of summer.My borders are running out of flowers. The monarda are still flowering, the glads are sagging. The Erysimum and violas flower half heartedly. This is when i need shrubs for Autumnal colour. My garden sprinted from April to September, but has run out of steam.I need some marathon loving plants, or late starters..

Raindrops look like jewels dripping down my white birches leaves. The cunning design means the water is channelled down to the roots. They must be VERY fat roots with all the rain we have had from July onwards.

The snails are out in force now. I trod on some after walking to the garage to buy things.

Today though the whole house smelt of home baking. I found a link where you grow something from seed, and make a dish from the ingredients.

The original link was from Malaysia though, so they could grow something really different from me in wet yorkshire.

I have moved my tomato plants inside. They are sat on the upstairs landing on a black TV trolley. Sallyanne made me move them. I think of the kitchen as a base for my over wintering plants, a greenhouse for growing experimental seedlings that i want to observe. For me the warm well lit kitchen is ideal for gardening projects. Sallyanne thinks they clutter up the kitchen. I had to remove my Plum wine too (its upstairs now bubbling away happily in the bedroom).

Hope that its not too inclement wherever you are gardening in the world!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reflections on spiders

Castleford Spider with tiger stripe colours.
Sallyanne and my workmates think im mad taking insect close up shots.This one had a leaf in its web.He dropped down to inspect the leaf.Even though it was double his size.He proceeded to cut the web to remove the leaf.He climbed back up and started spinning more web to repair the damage.He was quite photogenic too and posed with is stripey body.There is great learning in watching nature at work...

The oriental martial arts have learnt a lot by copying animal movements, like in karate and Tai Chi.
He had persistance, and worked on cutting the leaf away, ready to make more web to catch some juicy flies.
Since blogging about the garden I have become aware of all the variety of life in the garden. the worms that till the soil for me. The ants that bite me. Butterflies that flit around my garden. Wasps and bee's. A grasshopper before. My suprise frog visitor. I still do not see many birds even though i have the bird bath table and feeder, and feeders from the posts.
The spider reminded me of the story of Robert the Bruce, the main other hero in Braveheart. He looked at a spider too as a source of inspiration when all hope had gone after many losing battles. He took heart and beat the English. Scottish Independence owes much to a cave dwelling Arachnid..

Days off are here

At last after a six day stretch, coming after an eight day stretch. The garden is calling me. Have taken a few random pics to put on here taken over past few days. I still need to solve the getting photo's to the blog problem. I am sending them by text to a site, then copying them to the computer, to post on here!
It means i can take the well focused photo's on my phone. Tomorrow will be long range shots on Sallyanne's. I am lost without my laptop.It has been a companion for years. Hopefully will get one sometime. Got Sallyanne's untill then..
Tia was chilling today waiting for some gardening tomorrow and Saturday.She likes planting bulbs and sleeping..
It was 28 degrees C today and Sunny.Like a proper summer day weeks after the heatwave had petered out, and became grey wet and drab.
I am tired out though from 14 shifts...need to join Tia on the chair.No work untill Sunday, im very happy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I worked early today, and fell asleep this afternoon. I had some tea, and tried to take photo's in the falling light which was not good.
I answered the comments. I am not a drinker really, so the wine making is experimental like the tomato plants.I just want to see if i can do it.
The weather is getting colder, more rainy, windy. The summer drawing to a damp squibby end.Its getting dark earlier, and not getting light untill later.
Two more shifts to work before days off...need a rest from the hospital.I want to finish sorting the garden out, cut the grass will be therapeutic i think.
Bulbs to plant, weeds to remove, compost to turn in the big green bin.So much to do when i am not working...some pics soon.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday night

Its sunday evening now. I worked my early shift too, then came home and fell asleep. Ooops.I answered the comment and am drinking coffee now.
My plum wine is fermenting nicely. The first night it exploded out of the demijohn. A mass of seething, moving foam ran up and out. I had to divide it untill it settled down. It is a cloudy liquid now, but needs straining in a few days.
The dandelion wine is in a cupboard, finishing off now. It is cloudy, but has five months to clear. The wine making from flowers or fruit is a slow process...need patience much like gardening and growing flowers from seeds.
I got a lot of comments about the chocolate scented candle, thanks!! I love the sweet smell of it.Makes me want a bar of chocolate..
The garden needs a lot of work still. I have four days of work before i can get to it. A whole day in the garden sounds like bliss.
The tomato plants are growing madly now. They have a half dozen large green tomato's on them and more forming. As an experiment with a store bought tomato they have grown into two foot high plants. I just wanted to see if i could get the seeds to germinate.
I read a very complicated way of getting seeds to dry, involving soaking, fermenting, washing, and drying. Very labour intensive.. I grew mine in a simpler way than that.
I'm slowly putting my links to blogs back together. Will be posting loads again soon,Good night world!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16th

Maria wanted people to post a candle picture with some link to Autumn. The one i will use is my new chocolate scented candle next to the exploding plum wine. Autumn after this year, reminds me of the harvesting of fruits for eating, and turning into wine. The Laymens alchemy, and the magic of the leaves slowly changing colours.
There is a picture for you Maria!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Home made day

Apart from not cutting the grass I spent most of the day making home made bread. Started the plum wine off fermenting, and baked an apple pie. That took a good few hours. A second loaf is in the breadmaker.
I had a close encounter with a frog. Learnt how to message my photos so i can blog them from a new internet site. This will help untill the laptop problem is sorted out. I'm back to work tomorrow for six shifts in a row...
Just need to cut the grass on one day. Go daffodil, bluebell, and snowdrop shopping. The seeds need planting in new compost.
I have started my own version of the retreat from Moscow, with plants moving inside for the winter to avoid jack frost. He starts stalking from October sometime here.
How addictive is blogging? writing posts, uploading photo's. I must say here I lost all my links which was my daily garden magasine. Sixty or so various blogs. It will take me time to relocate them all and leave comments..
Off to read my David Bellamy book. He is a famous british botanist, and enviromental campaigner. I saw him speak at the Cheltenham literary festival, then queued up to get him to sign it. I was speechless when i had got to the front.I watched him on TV and he was a great hero. Standing in front of him i could not speak...
He signed it, and now i am finally making progress reading it. I thought of a post which would be which person/persons have influenced you the most in regard to gardening?
He loves plants and insects, and use to infuse over them. I am the snappy gardener now because of his TV show.

Dandelion flowers, picking them caused a third bloom.Like dead heading I guess to encourage more flowers. Posted by Picasa

Monarda flowers Posted by Picasa

Three mushrooms dried out on the playhouse roof Posted by Picasa

Anemone again... Posted by Picasa

hosta busy lizzie and anemone Posted by Picasa

Hosta's in the sunlight Posted by Picasa

Rose hit by buckshot Posted by Picasa

View through side window in kitchen Posted by Picasa

Suprise visitor

I was walking around the garden trying to remember where i put the aqualegia seeds.I suddenly noticed something small and green jumping.I dont know who was more suprised me or the frog!
There is no pond in our garden or even next doors.Where did you come from froggy?Did it rain frogs??
Maybe he wanted a snack of some delicious snails or slugs.He hid between the log post and grass watching me.His little heart was beating fast (as was mine).
We sat eye to eye, me with the camera.I took photo's on my good camera.I thought there must be a way to send them online from a mobile.I can do it but not as good as just uploading to the laptop.

If I have some special pics I can now get it onto my gardens blog. Just untill I get a new laptop when i get paid..
I left him a washing up bowl with some water in it. I think he was parched, and looking for some water.
Do frogs migrate from water to water? Was my garden frog a traveller migrating to ponds new?
I have solar light frogs, ceramic ones, but never expected to find one hopping in my grass.
I guess people who have ponds with resident frogs (like Dalty, he is cool) get used to them.I think they are magic, spirits of the garden. Devourer of slugs and snails...
I am still happy i found him (or he found me), now i want a small pond in the garden, for my froggy and all his brethren.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Night time reflections

I finally got out into the garden today.I tidied some of the long borders, removing the snapdragons which were tatty and the viola's that were mildewy. The weeds had gone mad in my abscence. Sticky weeds, chick weed with white flowers, creeping buttercups, bindweed, and nettles.
The grass still needs cutting. It rained overnight, and then today it poured again. Thunder storm too. I took a few pics on Sallyanne's phone. Im using her laptop now..
I was sad when i realised my pics could not be uploaded. The disc would not run on the main computer, and this laptop.
The photo's are the best i could manage untill i can get a new laptop to connect the sony erricsson phone.
Maria sent me a reminder to post a photo on the 16th September with a candle and autumn theme. Im still thinking. Expect me to post one photo, but take about twenty to get it right.
The beautiful flowers are the roses under the arched border, beneath masses of pink morning glory blooms. The busy lizzies in the square border look bright compared to the hostas. I have some Anemones bursting from the soil, months after they should have. The Hollandia is photographed with its peacock red eye.
The Monarda is a metre tall now and bursting out of the long border. I love the flower heads which were worth waiting for. Pink and purple crab claws on a wedding cake arrangement. It has been this years biggest suprise for me.
Busy lizzies in small pots and cajun balls of fire have moved indoors. The tomato plants will soon follow to sit in the downstairs toilet window.
The lavender and the white Dahlia are still attracting bee's to their pollen. The Erysimum are flowering still with the delicate yellow flowers.
I got an email from better homes and gardens saying have blue flowers in the garden.Earlier in the year (seems ages ago now) I had forget me nots.
I saw some attractive blue monkshood flowers.Those are now on my wishlist...along with purple coneflower, rudibeckia, some more roses but from David Austin, some honeysuckle, a climbing rose, blackberry bushes...
Sigruns Hollyhock is indoors now after the mouse ate the starter leaves.It has two nice crinkly leaves now.The Amaryllis has moved inside after a slug or snail devoured one of the leaves.
Buggers, but its late in the season.They never have eaten my hostas so i will let them devour the late summer plants.
There is still a lot of flowering even in September.Its not as gloomy as i thought.The compost bin today was hot when i lifted the lid.Its three quarters full.I used a lot of soil for pots so in the winter it will go back to bring my borders up.
I am musing over changes for next year.Bright idea's.Massed planting schemes.More tall plants in the long border.A herb garden, a raised bed for veggies, a half dozen tomato plants, A more cottage garden approach to some of the borders.
Weeding and bending down to the soil was therapeutic after work. I watched extreme makeover home edition about Biloxi, mississippi after hurricane Katrina.Preston built a memorial with a curved garden, granite wall, and glass display case with momentoes that meant something to people. He apprecriated the healing power of a garden.
Sometimes we need a place to retreat into. I have been reading a biography by David Bellamy.
He reflected on some woodland retreat with a pond and flowers. He says he returns
there mentally all the time.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden you have that place to retreat, to recharge the batterys, to ponder the mysteries of life and the beauty and variety of nature.

Viola faces Posted by Picasa

Roses Posted by Picasa

Anemone De Caen flowering months late Posted by Picasa

Arched border Posted by Picasa

Square border Posted by Picasa

Grass keeps growing, rain delay though.. Posted by Picasa

Kitchen window border sans snapdragons Posted by Picasa