Thursday, 30 July 2015

A July morning walk in the woods

 Our house is a way over there in the distance.  In the gently hilly background is Harting Down set in the middle of the 100 or so miles long track known as The South Downs Way. A basic tarmacadam track lined with hazel trees and wild garlic takes you to our front door and the big house as we call it further down the hill along what is known as The Borders Path and then it's just forest and wonderful walks. We used to get deer poachers sometimes at night but not for a long time now. Instead we are plagued once or perhaps twice a year by Raves kicking off in the woods..the thump thump of the music they generate keeps us awake all night ..but it doesn't happen often...
Fields of golden barley waiting to be cut.

We took the dogs out this morning for a walk in the was sheer magic. The only sound, the wind in the tree tops and birdsong. It's still July but we had a massive rain storm yesterday so for the first time in ages we put our coats on.

 So tranquil and pretty. How lucky we are to have such treasure on our doorstep.
Moss growing on the tree trunks.

I should have turned the flash off as it makes it look rather disco.

Suddenly a Buddleia tree or Butterfly Bush in full flower. Not a normal woodland plant although our garden is full of them and they do tend to grown like weeds so maybe I'm mistaken. So many butterflies dipped and dived around us as we walked.

Clouds of red admiral butterflies flit from bloom to bloom although my camera 
doesn't seem to have caught any.

Wild flowers and dripping trees everywhere. The dogs have all scooted off into the long grass and up the steep hill to the right. More often than not we see deer galloping through here.

I stop and stand just marvelling at how beautiful it all is.

 How lovely...wild raspberries grow along the path.

Earlier in the year these Lords and Ladies berries..poisonous of course look very different! They look rather like slender pale green ladies dressed for a day at the races in huge elegant hats that could have been designed for My Fair Lady .The plant's fascinating shape and form has inspired a wide variety of names:
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Soldier-in-a-sentry-box
  • Bloody man's finger
  •  'Kitty-come-down-the-lane-jump-up-and-kiss-me' (an old Kentish name).
Perhaps not surprisingly, many have rather bawdy associations.

The Hemp Agrimony, Eupatorium Cannabinum, belongs to the great Composite order of plants. It is a very handsome, tall-growing perennial, common on the banks of rivers, sides of ditches, at the base of cliffs on the seashore, and in other damp places in most parts of Britain, and throughout Europe.Although oddly it's not really damp where this grows and seems to be own garden is full of it.
A sadly out of focus Large Cabbage White probably flown in from snacking on 
local brassica crops for the cows. 
Here enjoying a sip at a thistle flower.

Pretty Spotted St John's Wort with it's many medicinal uses grows in patches of sunlight.

Not sure what this pretty little one is called.

An architectural fern under the shade of the trees.

Seed pods getting ready to pop.

|Russian comfrey. This used to be used in ancient days to help mend broken bones.
.also called Knit Bone.

More comfrey.

I wonder if this is a kind of twirls and twists its tendrils all through the undergrowth.

Rose Bay Willow Herb and my dear old friend the Nettle.

Perennial sweet peas..wild and tangled and sadly without a scent.

Honesty seed pods before they turn silver..asking to be Christmas decorations.

I'm useless at taking daughters say to hold the camera so it's slightly looking down on you but I can never get it right...hey ho!!

Come along and see what happening at the 

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop #10

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Creating a Sculpture Garden

This is where I have long been thinking about making a sculpture garden..Rather pathetically I have never found the time or energy to give it any proper attention..I have dragged various bits that I've had my eye on to various [laces and they have quietly let the wild flowers and grasses obscure them..
Somewhere behind the wild flowers is a path...crying out to be redefined and celebrated with art

Lovely old steel globe left by a friendly assistant many years ago..a slate patio area for the table and chairs given to me for a birthday by my father now sadly passed away..weeds pushing up through the crevices and old bench that I had tried to move a couple of weeks ago and only succeeded in snapping the wrought iron support..lies dying...BUT Margarita arrived with her whirlwind energy and picked up the scythe..her technique is actually more hack than scythe..the blade might never recover..but she hit the long grasses and down they fell!!!
Margarita might be small but she's a force to be reckoned with!

So together we have dug and scraped, cut and pulled..lugged and heaved until the wilderness patch began to take shape....To have someone to work with has been revolutionising how I can think..reclaiming this meadow into garden has been back breaking on my own and to have her laughing and joking as we plant and pick has been such a joy!
I can feel the gardening process doing us both good..healing and delighting!

Luckily my children are all sculptors/artists and over the years we have amassed lots of their cast offs. The black bust is of my eldest daughter made by her brother and the steel sculpture is another piece by him.

Eli, Margarita and I spent a morning digging out these chalk chips from an exposed bank..and then we wheel barrowed them into place..I love the bright reflective surface they have created around he dark pieces...
My two Super Heroines Margarita and Eli!!

We used to have a glass making company and this is one of the remnants encircled by the old steel orb. We anchored it by digging a bowl shape out and then stamping the chalky soil back in around it.

We scalped the long grasses using the sharp side of a spade after the hacking/scything.....and Margarita was keen to liberate my hydrangeas from their pots so she kindly dug them in with lots of compost around their roots.

 Margarita and a freshly made bed!

Have a look at the friendly Blog Hop
Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Don't you just love June

 The dog roses are out in all their spectacular glory making arabesques across the skyline. Funny that so called common plants are known as dog this and dog that. They are full of simple elegance whatever they are called..a rose by any name would smell as sweet and all that!
Gentle, soft pinks so hard to capture with a paint brush.

Fading almost to white. I could see these being draped around the curls of country brides in days gone by. So pretty and delicate.

                           And here a few dog daisies mixing with fragrant chamomile.

A large droopy daisy with tiny speedwell growing at her feet.

I'm not a religious person but I can't help but think of how as a little girl we sang our hearts out to

Daisies are our silver, 
Buttercups our gold: 
This is all the treasure 
We can have or hold. 

Raindrops are our diamonds 
And the morning dew; 
While for shining sapphires 
We've the speedwell blue. 

These shall be our emeralds 
Leaves so new and green; 
Roses make the reddest 
Rubies ever seen. 

Such beautiful evocative words by

by "Jan Struther",
pseudonym of Joyce Maxtone Graham, 1901-1953,
author of Mrs Miniver.


And at last young Jack turned up just before the thistles went to seed..yippee Last year he came just after..that wasn't so good.

The grass and various shall we say weeds..were chest high and even the Jack Russells no longer wanted to walk through for fear of the newly grown thistles making too many holes in their feet.

So happy to see it looking time he comes in July I'll have cleared away the remains of the brambles to give him a better run at the long grass over to the left. The black thorn are still there along the right flank..I only managed to cut down about a third of them..hey ho..