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!

Friday, 15 June 2012

It was a dark & stormy night….

PicMonkey CollageOf course that was for dramatic effect; as you can see it was not dark & ‘only’ a very very blustery day when we took a trip to Brighton last week.

My daughter has been at Brighton University for the last 3 years working towards her Fine Art: Painting degree & last Friday was the culmination of those 3 years as we attended the private view of the degree show.

PicMonkey Collage 2It was a jam packed affair with lots of rather strangely attired visitors.

As a justifiably proud parent I thought I would show off her work

PicMonkey Collage 3 PicMonkey Collage 4   DSCN3181 I am sure you now want to browse her web site

Thursday, 14 June 2012

How bizarre

How bizarre, how bizarre

Ooh, baby 
It's making me crazy 
Every time I look around
Every time I look around 
Every time I look around
It's in my face

OMC   Dec 1995    

Last weekend was the Open Garden Squares Weekend organised by the London Parks & Gardens Trust (whose address is Duck Island Cottage – I kid you not). Over the 2 days many squares & gardens are open, just over a hundred of which are not usually open to the public.  

On Saturday we visited 7 different gardens about which I will  (possibly) write on another occasion, but on Sunday we visited only one.

DSCN3203 DSCN3191As we stepped out of the door it looked like any mature & pleasant garden, ducks on the lawn, a nice red brick wall round the outside….it is only when you look through one of the openings in the wall that you fully appreciate where you are.


This is the Roof Gardens which are above what was the Derry & Toms Department store in High Street Kensington. You can read about them here. Now I have wanted to visit this garden for ages: it is generally open to the public but it takes something like the weekend event to push you to do something about your ambition.

DSCN3197   The upper level has a grass meadow & cow!

DSCN3207 This is the Tudor area.DSCN3208 DSCN3209

And now the Spanish themed garden

DSCN3225 DSCN3222 DSCN3214

And what is this ‘tree’ about?


These gardens are very much worth a visit but all that kept going through my head during my visit was ‘How bizarre, how bizarre’.

Oops, nearly forgot the flamingosDSCN3205

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The euonymus is all aquiver.


Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Lennon & McCartney


The song of the blackbird is the most relaxing birdsong. I can believe that; they are among my most favourite of birds & I love them in the garden. They sit on the highest points & sing their socks off, particularly in the evening. I smile at the way they sit in the pyracantha in the front garden in the winter & burble; the best way I can think of to describe the sound of them seeming sing to themselves.(I believe this is called a sub-song!)

Over the last 3 years we have had a much closer relationship with our local blackbirds, a relationship which has caused me a great deal of stress & anxiety as the birds have nested & raised their young in & around our garden. You would think this would bring joy, which of course it does in some measure, but in an urban area with a high cat population, including our own, it is always a worry.27 May 2009 The first of these closer encounters was 3 years ago when I almost fell over a baby blackbird just sitting ‘under’ a lavender bush. I wondered why it didn’t move & later spotted 2 others in the garden, 1 of which we named ‘Runty’ because his tail feathers were poorly developed & he had feathers sticking up on the top of his head making him easy to spot.

31 May 2009 3  On reading up about blackbirds I found that in urban areas they will often have 3-4 broods but with a smaller number of eggs than in the country-side. If the nest is disturbed the chicks will fledge early but will not fly but sit still & (hopefully) hidden on the ground waiting to be fed. Sadly I found 1 chick dead soon after & after a couple of weeks when it seemed all was well with the others I saw poor Runty dead on the paving of a neighbours garden.

Siblings 05 June 2009 Last year our local pair initially successfully raised 2 young which we saw regularly in our garden after they had fledged. We were then thrilled on our return from holiday to find the parents building a new nest in our wisteria. Needless to say it was also a good reason to put off the mass pruning I was about to do on the wisteria & rose which were about to take over the back of the house.

DSCN2715 Two more young birds  were successfully raised & we more or less happily put up with the streaks of guano on the windows. The nest, when I eventually was able to restore some order to the greenery was a thing of delight.

DSCN2719 This year again 2 chicks have been successfully raised from a nest in a garden at the back of us but now, after some initial investigations by the birds a new nest is currently being built in the euonymus which climbs up the wall next to our kitchen. Joy & panic in equal measure! The fence between us & next door ends just at that point & makes cat access potentially so easy.  I have put some wire across the area in the hope that it may stop a cat getting to the nest. Blackbirds are extremely successful in keeping unwanted predators away from chicks on the ground ( I have seen them see off cats & magpies) but a nesting bird & chicks is rather more vulnerable. In the meantime I keep watch as the birds fly in & out with beaks full of material & the leaves quiver as all is adjusted to their satisfaction.