Season’s Greetings

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2013 Christmas Card

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Otters In The Centre Of Town

My wife and I were on our way back from shopping in Andover town centre yesterday when I spotted this otter.  It looked like it had found a shoal of fish.  I had seen two much younger ones in the same place a year or two ago.  On that occasion I never got any photos at all and this time all I had was my Blackberry smart phone so the photographs are not very clear – unfortunately when you zoom in the picture quality deteriorates markedly and when you zoom out the animal is reduced to a tiny spot!

The Various Places I Can Put The New Greenhouse

I have finally settled on placing the new greenhouse towards the end of the mixed border quite near the large wooden greenhouse (putting it here means I can align it north south which is preferable to east west).  However before reaching this decision I weighed up a large number of possible sites, all of which are illustrated below – apologies in advance for the weeds!

On the bottom patio

On the bottom patio

On the upper patio

On the upper patio

In the top "Temporary Plants" border which abuts, none too happily, the wild garden

In the top “Temporary Plants” border which abuts, none too happily, the wild garden

Between the box hedges where the frames are

Between the box hedges where the frames are

Where the small pond is

Where the small pond is

Where the plastic lean-to now stands

Where the plastic lean-to now stands

And finally the far end of the mixed border

And finally the far end of the mixed border

The Garden Circa late 2004

Further to yesterday’s post here are a couple of photographs of the garden around 2004/2005 -they are very similar but I thought I might as well include both.  As you see I had dug up the lawn (although my wife eventually got tired of the gravel and I had to replace it!).

I changed this design about a year after this photo was taken and got rid of the centre path and then planted a large mixed border sweeping right round from the bottom greenhouse (by then I had erected four) effectively cutting the garden in half – however I soon found that the dog went straight through this border, breaking all and sundry in the process – in the end I had to put in a path just for her which completely ruined the design!

The Garden Circa Autumn 2004 The Garden Circa Autumn 2004 Again

The Garden Circa 1999

I fear I will have to redesign the garden yet again as I want to fit in the new greenhouse – I have lost count how many times I have changed it.  My real love is greenhouse plants and greenhouse management so the inevitable upheaval may be worth it.  If and when I get the greenhouse erected I may not heat it initially but rather use it for tomatoes et al in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn followed by lettuce through the winter and bulbs in the spring – this was the regime I adopted in my first greenhouse over forty years ago.

By coincidence my wife has just found out some old photographs of the garden at the end of the Century when we had the first avatar of the lawn and there was only one, admittedly large, greenhouse and a tiny lean-to.  All the shrubs had either not been planted or had not grown very big and there was actually flowers in the borders!!!!!

Two Surreal Images

As usual I am desperately late with my gardening jobs (partly blamed on the very hot summer but mainly because my default state is sat in front of an easel, painting!).  To illustrate here are two, I think rather surreal,  photographs: one taken from the kitchen window and one taken from the dining room. Both show a complete mess which I should really be ashamed about but probably aren’t!

The tubs are for mature Dioscorea caudiciforms which ideally should be potted every three of four years but I am not sure if I have actually potted them this century!  If I had they would have armchair sized caudexes by now, which admittedly would take up a lot of room.  I am potting the ones that grow in the winter and will now have to, reluctantly, leave the summer growing ones to the spring (or will I – I may chance it).  Interestingly whether they grow in winter or summer is almost dictated by chance, or more likely watering regimes when they are still seedlings.  They come from South Africa so would normally grow during our winter months.

Someone has given me an eight by six foot greenhouse but I am not sure where to put it; hence the bits propped up against the outhouse!  I already have four plus three ponds, not to mention a relatively newly planted lawn so flexibility is somewhat lacking.  Logically the best option would be to remove the six by four plastic lean-to and put it there but I am reluctant to throw away an old friend.  I will continue to muse!

Incidentally something I am ashamed about is not realising the lemon was not getting the rain during a wet spell last month.  It subsequently dried out and lost its leaves -very embarrassing that!

Test Valley-20130828-07520

Test Valley-20130828-07522

A Photo From The Eighties Or Nineties

Continuing with the theme of old photos initiated yesterday; this is the now top succulent house as it was in the past (some when and somewhere!).  Unfortunately the photo is out of focus and probably taken at least twenty years after the one posted yesterday.

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