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!
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!!!!!
I walked to and from town last week and on the return journey I was very surprised to see a Goldcrest in the bushes by the side of the road. It was probably a female as males have a more orange crest. This is the UK’s smallest bird and although not actually rare, in fact the native population is boosted in the winter months by birds from the continent, it is more often found in coniferous woodland than beside the busiest road in town. She was busy searching for small spiders and insects among the bare branches. This sighting really made my day and I wish I had managed to take better photos with my phone.
Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) is usually the first cherry to come into bloom in Southern England. It starts flowering at the beginning of March and in a normal year indicates the imminent arrival of nicer weather. Not this year however! It is still desperately cold at the beginning of April with light snow again today and a bitter wind which would feel almost too chilly in January. For two weeks running the UK met office has forecast milder weather for the approaching weekend and both times they have subsequently amended the information. They are now saying it may get slightly milder during next week – the phrase believe it when you see it comes to mind!
Anyway the cherries remain in bloom. this one is just down the road.
Almost thirty years ago my father brought back home a small ornamental apple that he had picked up while travelling for his job. I extracted the seeds and sowed them. I kept four seedlings, eventually planting three in my parents front garden. When the resulting trees finally flowered and set fruit one had fruit like an ordinary crab apple (similar in appearance to an ordinary dessert apple but much smaller), another had very small bright yellow fruit and the final one had very small bright red fruit. This was the biggest variability (considering it was such a small sample!) I have ever come across.
Since then my mother has passed away and my father has moved. However at least one of the trees was still there a few years ago – sadly probably not now though.
Below is an old photo of the red variety.
I took this photo moments before the image of cornfield poppies in my previous post. It is called Windmill Hill. I have always assumed that the ring of trees on the mound at the top indicate the place where the actual windmill stood but I have never delved into the history of the place. It is patently long gone.
One of the botanical groups I used to belong to when living in Wiltshire organised several field trips to the site but sadly I never attended. The flora is apparently quite interesting.
For those familiar with my landscape paintings I have portrayed Windmill Hill a number of times (albeit in a modern art idiom) but always from the Collingbourne Road on the other side. I have also painted the hill on the opposite side of the valley (Sidbury Hill) which has an iron age hill fort on top. I have managed to attend field trips on this latter site (including a none too successful one listening to nightingales – or not listening to nightingales as it turned out!) plus worked there on many occasions clearing scrub. It is extremely evocative as you stand on the crest waiting for the bonfires to burn down and watching the dusk descend across the plain below.
Anyway that is enough of that; hopefully there will be a horticultural post next time!