Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Juggling, strawberries and forget-me-nots

A few years ago I was inundated with sets of juggling balls. I don’t know why there were so many, perhaps they were fashionable at the time, or possibly I looked like a person in need of another juggling kit. Obviously I couldn’t juggle all the sets at once, but I fared adequately with three juggling balls - a skill I have now lost, along with the ability to do handstands or sit on a swing without feeling queasy.  

(I would have liked to have taken and inserted a photo of me struggling to juggle at this point, but that would have been multi-tasking gone mad, so instead here is an altogether less frenzied photo of a friend sunbathing outside my kitchen window).


Perhaps I was given juggling sets to prepare me for the day when I would find myself juggling a family, work, a barn conversion and a blog. In an uncanny twist, life has been mimicking my limited juggling skills and the fourth ball - the blog - has been dropped in the bedlam created when sickness bugs, work and a building project collide. I have missed the blogging community far too much, so I shall try very hard not to drop this particularly rewarding part of my life ever again.


Many beautiful plants have come into flower since my last post. One plant that I do not like to be without is Nepeta racemosa 'Walker’s Low'. It is hugely popular with bees; the colour shines in the evening light, so it is lovely to come home to after a long day at work; and ‘Walker’s Low’ behaves itself with me and doesn't get too leggy. 


Here in the farmhouse garden, the rabbit fencing has been installed and the landscapers are now laying paths. The gate to the field is sturdy and double-latched to keep out the cows who should soon be hanging their heads over the fence in search of a spot of nutritional variety in the form of interesting garden plants which have been carefully selected not to poison passing cattle.


This little corner of the garden might not look too promising at the moment, but in my mind I see borders brimming with beautiful plants which blend with the countryside beyond and attract and nurture an abundance of wonderful wildlife. Of course, while there is mud, rubble and a dream, there are no pests or disappointments, but I am an optimist, so I am planning for a positive outcome on the pest front and everything in the garden will be rosy and the cows will stick to grazing on their side of the fence.



Since we moved to Norfolk I have been missing my old strawberry patch, so yesterday I planted three varieties - 'Mara des Bois', 'Darlisette' and 'Chelsea Pensioner' (guess which flower show I was at when I ordered them). These three varieties, a perpetual, an early and a late, have been kept in cold storage so they will fruit within 60 days. I have tried this before and it was a great success. The photo of forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) is here because I love to see forget-me-nots nestling among strawberry flowers. I have never noticed a worrying reduction in the size or quality of the crop, so it is a frippery I plan to enjoy in my new strawberry patch next spring.


 

40 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about trying to keep all your balls in the air at the same time - sometimes it is difficult to fit it all in - especially when all I want to do is be outdoors (when the weather is fine, that is. Your garden is coming along nicely - it will look totally different next year and I look forward to seeing its progress.

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    1. Oh Elaine, I hope it does look different next year! I know what you mean about wanting to be outside, especially when you get a sunny day after weeks of rain. I have taken to telling myself that sneaking into the garden is good for my health... my concentration... it inspires me... makes me work harder when I'm back at my desk...

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  2. Glad you're back. I'm really looking forward to following the development of a completely new garden. How exciting!

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    1. Thank you Cathy - I'm delighted to be back, although the Brotzeit photos on your latest post have done nothing for my waistline... just looking at delicious food is enough to send into the pantry in search of a snack... perhaps I should set up my office in there...

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  3. Finding balance in life is often difficult.....but at least it is not boring :)

    How lovely to see the little owl.....you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful visitor.

    Oh, how I envy you just beginning your garden. I started mine ten years ago and realise now the mistakes I made.....still love it but would enjoy the chance to start again :)

    Love the way your space is looking, how exciting.....wish I had that rabbit fencing.

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    1. You're right, Cheryl - it's never boring!

      I love the anticipation of a garden - that point when the landscaping begins and the plan starts to become reality, yet there is still a long way to go.

      Your garden must be quite mature now - is it possible to make the changes you wish without starting entirely from scratch?

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  4. Love the photo of the owl. I remember seeing quite a few of them on holidays in Norfolk. Must be really exciting starting a garden from scratch. Enjoy.

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    1. We do appear to be blessed with owls - I was driving the other evening and saw four!

      It is exciting! We have kept some mature plants to add structure and they seem to be coping well with the landscaping so far.

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  5. It's always nice to get a peek into someone else's garden and I look forward to following your gardening/life adventures :)

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary - welcome. Thank you for visiting my blog. I, too, enjoy seeing other peoples' gardens - I think it is one of the benefits of blogging!

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  6. It's always nice to get a peek into someone else's garden and I look forward to following your gardening/life adventures :)

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  7. I enjoyed the beautiful images. Love your little friend. Oh, how nice to have a blank canvas; have fun designing and planting your new garden. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Beth. I am having far too much fun designing this garden and I am really looking forward to planting it!

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  8. Thank you for sharing! I know what you mean by the corner doesn't look like much, but you can see it in your mind... It's a phrase I often use. The best part is once you start to fill it in the way your mind has painted the picture and then someone finally says, "OH! I totally see it now! It's gorgeous!" And of course the biggest payoff is when you hear it. I hope you hear it soon!

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    1. Welcome - and thank you for visiting my blog.

      I am really looking forward to the day when people don't stop by and stare open-mouthed at all the work we have going on here and instead stare open-mouthed because they find themselves in a tranquil, beautiful place... we'll get there, we hope... eventually!

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  9. I know what you mean about juggling so many different things at once. And every time I think my blog should be dropped, I get a nice comment from another garden blogger. They are truly some of the nicest people on earth, and I understand why you would miss this community so much. As for your new garden area, I can see your dream, and it already looks beautiful to me.

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  10. Oh thank you - I truly hope the garden will support the wonderful views out to the countryside.

    I agree with you about the blogging community - everyone I have come across has been so welcoming, helpful and encouraging. Please don't drop your blog - it's great and I am planning to join in your next book review day!

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  11. Never really rated Nepeta until this year. I have fallen in love with Six Hills Giant. It reaches up and into and around roses and looks gorgeous and..... rabbits hate it! So an excellent addition to any garden with a rabbit problem.

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  12. Never really rated Nepeta until this year. I have fallen in love with Six Hills Giant. It reaches up and into and around roses and looks gorgeous and..... rabbits hate it! So an excellent addition to any garden with a rabbit problem.

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  13. Hello Hampshire, it's not called Six Hills Giant for nothing! I bet it looks great mixed in with roses and if rabbits turn their noses up at it, even better.

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  14. I love the converging brick paths, and I can see the flowers oh they will be lovely.

    Had the nepeta, and gave it away? What was with me, but I found another one for this garden, and it's coming along slowly.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Hi Jen - I'm pleased you've replaced the Nepeta - I am sure the bees will be too!

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  15. You have vision! Good for you, for your garden will turn out just like you want it to. I'm not putting any money on the cows, however. I grew up on a farm. :-)

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    1. I agree about the cows - I've seen them backing into fences so that the fence leans in the right direction so the cows can reach the vegetation they want to graze! They're far too clever!

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  16. You have wonderful vision, to see a fabulous home in an old barn and a beautiful garden in the countryside. I love your paths, and surely your dreams will come true. I just know those sweet cows will prefer the grass on their side of the fence! And I am also sure that as the years pass you will be continue to juggle all sorts of balls!

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. I wish I shared your optimism about the cows!

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  17. HI there, what a lovely space, I'll bet it will look just as beautiful as you imagine it once it's finished, if not more so. Personally I love that tree and that view of openness. The flowers will make a great contrast to the open fields of green.

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    1. I love the open view too. I don't want to clutter it - I hope to support it with the planting. The tree is a Walnut. I was in two minds about removing it as they do get large, but it is so handsome, I decided to take a risk.

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  18. Hello! Thanks for joining up to my blog. I look forward to watching the progress of your farmhouse garden and your barn conversion - what fabulous projects!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and comment. It's lovely to hear from you. Welcome!

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  19. I would love to have an owl come near the house. I hear them in the surrounding area, but not near the house. I'm looking forward to seeing the complete farmhouse garden, as I am sure you are too. - http://mary-goingnative.blogspot.com/

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    1. We are very fortunate to be able to enjoy this visitor. We replaced the posts in front of the kitchen a few days ago and I was concerned that this might discourage the owl. Happily it has not!

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  20. I was attracted to your blog because of your profile picture. I had a similiar image of my dog with the bone. Your postings are interesting reads.

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    1. Thank you Stiletto - and welcome! The photo is of our dog, Sprout. He is nearly two, so we're hoping that he might calm down very soon!

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  21. Though there is nothing but grass, I can imagine the flower beds as you describe them on either side of your pathways. The deep flowerbeds will be beautiful I am sure. I like the Nepeta racemosa 'Walker’s Low' and am glad that you made mention of the fact that it stays nicely upright.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. I just hope that reality lives up to our imaginations!

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  22. What a great image that is - forget-me-nots frolicking in a strawberry patch! Your new garden holds lots of potential and promise. I'm sure it's going to be fabulous!

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    1. Thank you Indie - and welcome! It's going to be a lot of work, but hopefully a lot of fun too.

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  23. Your garden is looking so lovely already - dream big as it's going to be amazing!
    I haven't been over for a while as you kept being put in my spam box... maybe all the rain here has short circuited something!

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  24. Thank you Pyjama Gardener! I will do my utmost to keep away from spam boxes in the future, rain or no rain.

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