About Me

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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Not deeply meaningful

As it is that time of the year I thought I would wish everyone all that they wish for, within reason of course, over next 12 months.


I don’t make resolutions but despite that I will of course end next year thinner, better off, less lazy with a garden that looks glorious all year, an allotment heaving with the most perfect produce, I could go on but those flying pigs are a little off-putting.


Happy New Year!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

What a difference a day makes…….

I was accused yesterday of not blogging for ages & being a lazy trollop…………………yes, ‘and the point is’ as that very annoying little phrase goes!
I could have blogged about being a domestic goddess & making jams & chutneys or steeping magical ingredients in vodka for delectable Christmas pressies but I couldn’t possibly reveal all that hard work, where would my lazy trollop street cred be?

I have also been extremely busy thinking about biscuits, & that is very taxing work I can assure you, particularly the extensive road tests I have to carry out at great personal expense & risk.
So, instead of all that I will show you the before & after pictures of the effect of all that exciting snow yesterday on my garden.
Snow 16 Dec 2009 003
Snow 16 Dec 2009 004 004
Snow 16 Dec 2009 009
Dramatic or what!  Well it is for suburban SW London in December! The sad thing is that once the snow had started to fall I found myself singing Christmas songs. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

What’s occurring?

At last the weather has brightened a little so yesterday I was able to get out into the garden & do a bit of overdue tidying.

The Patient Gardener has been bemoaning the fact that things have just been too miserable to get out & do much constructive & even I was beginning to feel a bit frustrated at not being able to do anything much! At last I got round to sweeping the front path of leaves so I didn’t get sued by the milkman when he slips with his semi-skimmed. I had actually given him a teeny little walkway through the middle of the leaves but there is no point sweeping until they have all come off the tree now is there. I did a few more bits of sweeping & trimming & then this morning I had a little wander round to see what had been happening in my absence on the other side of the glass.

Garden 9 December 2009 002 Garden 9 December 2009 006 Garden 9 December 2009 017

The camellias have got huge buds on them, a hellebore is flowering its socks off, primulas are starting to flower but all blooms are being nibbled by slugs & snails which must be on cloud nine with this wet & relatively mild weather, the viburnum tinus is starting to flower as is the Fargesia nitida.

Garden 9 December 2009 016 Mine began flowering last year so I kept cutting out the flowering shoots & fed it up & we survived one more season so I will try the same this time & just hope we can pull through the crisis. The sparrows & starlings have virtually eaten all the seeds from the cordyline. I was glad to add something new to the menu here: I mean the birds only have sunflower hearts, niger seeds, fat balls, peanuts & mealworms.

Garden 9 December 2009 010 Garden 9 December 2009 012

It is cheering to see the seed heads of the Iris foetidissima glowing in my woodland (1 silver birch!). Should I scrub its bark for the best winter show – probably not! Bulbs are beginning to peak through in various parts of the garden: the iris reticulata are poking through the gravel in my (fairly) newly planted sink which I did after seeing some lovely examples at the Wisley Flower Show. The obvious gap is a hosta just in case you were wondering.

Garden 9 December 2009 008

As for Christmas which is apparently looming, well the tree has been bought & will sit in a bucket outside until the weekend before the big day. The cake has been made. Victoria made me feel quite inadequate.

Garden 9 December 2009 022   Garden 9 December 2009 024







I have bought a few presents, including a few for myself, but that is it! It is only Christmas after all……….

Thursday, 3 December 2009

What does Santa like to do in his garden?

Hoe Hoe Hoe!

Well, I thought I would try to get a bit festive. I'm sure things will change rapidly once our very own christmas nazi is home from University next week: "Ooooh, I'm so excited mum. Have you got the tree yet? Have you ordered the turkey?" And that was about 2 weeks ago!

Another joke.........Precipitation was falling from the sky one winters day in a Communist state far far away. A couple were arguing fiercely about whether it was rain or snow. "Ah" said the wife "there's comrade Rudolph, we should ask him if this is rain or snow.  Comrade Rudolph, please tell us, is this rain or snow falling from the sky?" After Comrade Rudolph had carefully considered the situation he settled the argument. "There you are" said the husband" Rudolph the red knows rain dear!"

Oh well, it made me smirk!

Monday, 30 November 2009



That is the title of this installation by Anish Kapoor, part of his exhibition at the Royal Academy which I visited on Saturday evening. ‘That’s a giant vulva’ was how Mr B described it. Perhaps slugs would be tolerated a little more if they looked as exotic!

I loved the exhibition: probably my favourite was a room full of mounds of extruded concrete which looked like worms or turds or the remains of some ancient civilisation.

In-Kapoors-new-series-of-sculptures-concrete-shapes-that-look-like-slugsThere was also a certain sense of danger here as you had to negotiate your way through the different piles along with the many other visitors to the exhibition.

The room full of mirrors was sometimes a little like being at the fairground: they were all shaped in different ways so you could play at the “look at my big feet” or other parts of your anatomy game but it was amazing & fascinating looking at how the space changed as you moved around.

anish_20I could have sat & looked at this for ages!

I could describe it all in great detail but I won’t. It was a fantastic show sadly slightly spoiled at the end by the weather & public transport combined!

BTW I hope you have all heard this haunting music by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

What is the point……….

……..of growing chrysanths with such big flowers that they have to be                                                                                               Wisley 15 Nov 2009 035  supported by card


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wisley 15 Nov 2009 036

or wire?




I quite like chrysanths as they provde some lovely autumn flower colour & come in all sorts of shapes & sizes with some even looking like a fireworks display but the above seems to be a bit of a pointless exercise, even for showing.

They were in the glasshouse at Wisley when I went for a wander round on an incredibly beautiful Sunday morning where the air seemed to have been cleansed by the horrendous weather the previous day.

Wisley 15 Nov 2009 019

Wisley 15 Nov 2009 041

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Now I’ve got a new hattiewat too!

I was very envious of the Sock’s new hattiewat. I have been on a search for a suitable titfer for many years. The occasional purchase on the wave of a ‘that doesn’t look too bad so I had better buy it’ moment inevitably leads to disappointment in the cold light of the bedroom mirror. I just do not look good in hats. This can be confirmed by a number of witnesses including Ms Sock. Added to this is the fact that I do have a rather large head (please desist from making rude comments) & so many a hat testing moment leaves me with what appears to be a tiny hat perched on the top of my head.

At long last a (hopefully reasonable) hat has been purchased, admittedly courtesy of a men’s hat department. Sadly I don’t have an acolyte trailing after me taking beautiful photos of said headgear perched atop my gloriously glossy locks. Mr B thinks it looks good so we live in hope that I have made some progress on the hattiewat front!

Wisley 15 Nov 2009 050 Hattiewat modelled by trusty companion.

Friday, 13 November 2009


bewcastle 001[1] - Copy (2)Bewcastle
My recent  wittering on biscuits got me to thinking about my dad & how he loved to garden. So, I thought I would write about him because I miss him & know he would love to see what I have managed to achieve in gardening as well as the rest of my life.
I suspect that deep down my dad had a natural tendency to laziness which I have inherited, but he would never dream of letting such a trait surface. Indeed I think he constantly tried to prove otherwise.
From the age of 2 we lived in the wilds of Cumbria, right on the border with Scotland: indeed we had to cross the border to see our doctor. Climate & weather wise it was challenging to any gardener.
Dad was Head teacher at the tiny rural school. We lived in the school house which had a very respectable sized garden. Initially half of this was school garden where the older children were taught (up to the then school leaving age), but when they were transferred to Secondary School dad took it over for fruit & veg. It was still referred to as the school garden.  The aerial  photo above shows the school with the school house on the left & what was originally the District Nurse’s house to the right.
Dad loved his garden & spent the large proportion of his life there when not working. I don’t suppose we really appreciated it when we were young: it was just a place to play & which miraculously produced gargantuan amounts of fruit & veg. Much of this had to be given away & when we had the luxury of electricity much of the summer was spent freezing stuff. That really was a chore for us, particularly when we were old enough to be left when they went away during the summer with instructions to carry on freezing.
To be honest we didn’t help much in the garden although dad would have loved us to. I did spend some time helping him build a greenhouse. We had got about half the glass in when there was a dramatic storm: yes, you’ve guessed it, no glass or all glass would have been fine!
Dad was so keen on gardening that eventually he, along with some other keen horticulturalists, was a prime mover in setting up the annual Bewcastle Show so that locals could compete & show off what they had achieved in their gardening as well as baking & craft work.
Luckily I moved to a house with garden before dad died. He & my mum were about to move to Norfolk (from whence he originally came) so I drove up to Cumbria & filled my car with bits of plants from the garden. I think the only plant I have left from that trip is some Lysimachia punctata which has a slight thuggish tendency but I will not be parted from it as it is always a reminder of dad. He never really saw my interest in gardening blossom, but I often think of him when I am outside.
bewcastle 001[1] - Copy Mum & Dadbewcastle[1] - Copy The flower garden
Writing this has brought back many happy memories, all prompted by the words “Daaaaad, 10 o’clocks”.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Lazy Trollop Catch-up (day 2ish)

Garden 10 Nov 2009 006Actually I can’t be bothered to catch up any more at the moment so here are a few flower pictures instead.

Garden 10 Nov 2009 001All taken in my garden within the last few days.

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Garden 10 Nov 2009 002Garden 10 Nov 2009 010

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Lazy Trollop Catch-up (day 1)

Claremont 31 Oct 2009

I am supposed to be writing myself a long list of things I must do this week. I have taken a few days off from my non-gardening work & so feel obliged to try & get on & do those things which inevitably get put off in the hustle & bustle of daily life. (Well, maybe not quite the latter.) However, being a person of the lazy trollop persuasion, my mind got to wandering.

Claremont 31 Oct 2009

Now in gardening this is the season of winding down, although if I  wind down much further I run the risk of being comatose, looking back at the year & beginning to make plans for the next year as you have more time & you are faced with the bare bones of your gardening efforts. As I was thinking about the garden I also got to thinking about this blog & thought perhaps I needed to put it through the same rigorous scrutiny. So, I have made myself a steaming cup of tea (sadly not accompanied by a biscuit of any variety) & here we go.

Claremont 31 Oct 2009

I started this blog in June, so luckily not much to look back on. I’m still not sure why I did it other than a curiosity to see if I could. In the past I have started garden diaries & never got very far so it is partly a way of keeping some very rough record of what I have been up to, both in the garden & out, & it is also good to have somewhere to post a few photos. It is no good trying to share these with Mr B as so often we are taking almost exactly the same pictures ( his are generally better than mine) & I have been weaning myself off message boards where I used to post pictures so people could “oooh & aaaaah”.

Claremont 31 Oct 2009

It might seem odd for someone writing a blog which can be read by all & sundry but I never really expected & indeed was not particularly bothered about it being read. It is however rather nice to know that there are  few rather odd people out there who do read it ( even though the large majority seem to have been doing a google search for ‘alien ears & antennae’).

Claremont 31 Oct 2009 So, enough of general clap-trap for today. I will continue this scintillating round up tomorrow.

The pictures were taken at Claremont Landscape Garden, a lovely little NT property near Esher in Surrey, taken last weekend.

Monday, 26 October 2009

What a load of c**p!

Kew with JD 23 Oct 2009 040

I am referring here to the real thing, not just my humble opinion. I really am sorry but I have to unburden myself….

Now one of the problems of working in other people’s gardens is having to deal with whatever other people’s pets have deposited there! Now I am not squeamish: I have always had cats myself. People do try to ‘de-poo’ & most of the time I just kick/flick these deposits out of the way, wearing appropriate protective clothing of course, & carry on with whatever I am doing. Part of gardening life.

Recently however I was working in a garden of a very good neighbour which I have been doing for a number of years. They have always had 2 cats (usual problems) but have recently acquired a Jack Russell. The last visit was OK but this time I had to give up after a couple of hours as I felt quite nauseous. Things were not helped by the fact it had been raining heavily. I won’t go on.

Needless to say I have not yet plucked up the courage to tell friend/neighbour that I gave up & why: he will be so mortified (& so he should be you may think) but as a good catholic he seems to carry about a huge burden of guilt about so many things in life that I don’t like to add to it. No related pictures thankfully: I will just add a couple of something much more pleasant taken during a recent socktastic visit to Kew gardens.

Kew with JD 23 Oct 2009 036

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Do you want to see my bare bits?

The bed is bare 17Oct 2009 007

The bed is bare 17Oct 2009 006

The bed is bare 17Oct 2009 005

Boring I know but I thought I would let you see that I have been making progress on my wannabe Hampton Court Flower Show planting scheme! At last it is as empty as it is going to get!

Now it is struggling round my garden, tripping over pots & bags of plants, both new & from the garden, so I can corral those that are to be planted.


Above is an ‘only just started’ picture.

067 A not very good before I began picture out of the bedroom window. Actually, I now see most of the bed in question is hidden. Still it places it in the context of the larger picture or some such drivel!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

What a pile of poo

At least that was what I thought when I came upon this at Kew the other day

Kew 11Oct 2009 065

Kew 11Oct 2009 060Kew 11Oct 2009 062

I’ve never seen a pile like it before!