Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners.

Here's the gardening book that I would love for Christmas if anyone I know is reading this. Jekka is the Queen of Herbs. I love herbs. This is a great book. A very welcome gift....

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Holehird Gardens in the English Lake District - one of my favourite gardens in the world.

Holehird Gardens, Troutbeck, Cumbria, Lake District, June 2013 ( please credit me and link to this page if you wish to use this photo)
Holehird Gardens are in the grounds of Holehird, the Cheshire Home, just outside of Windermere. The gardens are run by the Lakes Horticultural Society, all volunteers. When I visited last week, they were clearing the tulips, most of which had just gone over their best. Along with everything else in the garden this year, they were two to three weeks late.

Entry is free. There are usually plants for sale at very reasonable prices. I bought 2 fuchsia and 3 scented geraniums. This place is an absolute gem. Here's the link to Holehird Gardens website.

For years it seemed as if no one knew about Holehird. Often I visited and found very few people there. However, word is spreading, and last week there were ate least 30 other visitors there! In theory, if it grows at Holehird, it will grow in my garden. Conditions are very similar.

If you visit the Lakes and love gardens, put this at the top of your list.

Border at Holehird, early June 2013. Please credit and link if you use this photo.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tulips finally out and looking good

Tulips at White Moss House, Grasmere

At last! These tulips were worth the wait.

More tulips, White Moss garden,. Grasmere
And this is one I planted yesterday- following Monty Don's instructions- grit and John Innes 2.

Planted sink, White Moss garden, Grasmere
It doesn't look great  yet- only day 1. At least nothing (snails, slugs, sheep, deer , mice) ate any of the plants on their first night.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The lavender has been chopped- bring in the alpines.

The garden area under our lounge bay window was a mess. We asked the decorator to paint the windows, but he decided that after over 150 years, the windows themselves needed replacing. That's now been done, but the lavenders have been trampled, and in any case they had got very leggy and woody. This border needed serious attention.

We chopped the lavenders right down, leaving a bare area right where guests come in- not a good first impression. Bring on the alpines! John Innes number 2, a bag of grit, a selection of plants and off we went.

White Moss House, Grasmere, Bay window, lavenders cut down, ready for alpines
You can just see a few stalks of lavender- otherwise it's bare. Not a good look.
Here are the alpines ready for planting.
I've got 1 aubrieta, 2 saxifraga, 1 scabiosa, 2 phlox,2 dianthus and 1 sedum . I usually give pinks ( dianthus) a miss, as they get eaten by mice, or something ( who knows which of my garden enemies gets them?) Watch this space to see how they grow on in the next few weeks.

If you would like alpines delivered to your door, you can buy them here from Amazon. I actually like to pick out the plants myself, but I find that transporting compost, and especially grit, which is very heavy, is something I can do without. You can buy compost and grit online- an easy option. Grit and compost are so heavy that you might like to order online here from Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Things are starting to grow at last- tips of lovage, little sorrel leaves

The ice cold weather has finally relented, and we're up in the dizzy heights of 11C . Not great, but better. It's also raining, which is something I'm not normally a big fan of, but we need the rain now to help the buds open.

Here is a picture I took in March last year of the lovage just coming up. You can click through this link to find out how to grow and use lovage. This year the lovage still isn't as big as this. We must be  3 weeks or 4 weeks behind last year. The sorrel is still tiny too.
Lovage at White Moss House, Grasmere , 20 March 2012

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Just seen a red squirrel- good news!

I was sitting at my desk, checking for any early morning messages, when out of the corner of my eye I saw movement in the garden.

It was a Red Squirrel hopping about. They're not easy to see right now against the brown bracken, but it hopped onto the trunk of a silver birch and ran up into the branches. The Grasmere  Red Squirrel Watch people put a Squirrel cam in our garden the other day . They move it round between the various local squirrel sites. Hope they got a sighting- it makes all the hard work fighting off the greys very worthwhile.

Yesterday we had two big deer and the normal bunch of sheep, one of which is very bad tempered- practically stamps it's feet when I try to "shooo- go on, get out..." them away. If they only ate the grass I wouldn't mind - just leave the daffodils please.

White Moss, Grasmere, crocus, 10 March 2010

I've found this photo on my files from 10 march 2010. This year has been so cold lately that I don't think my crocuses are out yet. I'll look for them today.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

I wonder if HRH Prince Charles has to sweep deer droppings from his terrace?

I enjoyed Countryfile this week with HRH Price Charles risking his fingers as Julia Bradbury hammered in fence posts. I know he was wearing very, very thick gloves, but even so....it's nice to know the heir to the throne knows how important a good fence post is.

Our garden is quite well fenced, but it's a huge Lake District woodland hillside that backs onto farmers' fields full of sheep, and there's no way we can keep all the fences and walls sheep proof , especially at this time of year when they are desperate for anything fresh and green. Our daffodils obviously look very tasty.

Then there is our number 1 enemy.
Deer in White Moss hillside Lake District garden.
You looking at me?

Big deer, baby deer, 7 at a time, on their own, you name it, we've got it. I have just spent an hour sweeping up deer droppings from our side terrace, and I've been pulling my hair out- literally. The theory goes that if you spread human hair around the deer will stay away. Pure nonsense- they aren't scared at all. Still, we have to keep trying, as they've attacked the laurels, the gaultherea, the daffs and who knows what else whilst we've been away on holiday. Our return doesn't seem to have worried them.

We do still have some daffodils left though, and it's another amazingly beautiful sunny day here. The guests at Brockstone, our holiday cottage with amazing views are loving it.

We open our Grasmere B & B at White Moss House this weekend, and we are offering great reductions on our usual rates for last minute bookings ( must be made direct to sue@whitemoss.com, or by phone 015394 35295)

The views at the moment are superb- non of those leaf type things on the trees blocking out the lake and hills.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Rydal Hall Gardens

We are very lucky to be just a short walk along a beautiful Lake District path , from Rydal Hall, where the gardens, which were restored about 5 years ago, are now looking very good. We walked there yesterday, along The wonderful walk known as the Rydal round, which you can see here The herbaceous borders are obviously bare at the moment, though there are some signs of life.

A border at Rydal Hall, 5 March 2013

 However, there are lots of wonderful little spring flowers coming out. I've featured them on my White Moss House Blog- please take a look.

Here's a taster. This isn't from Rydal Hall, but from Dora's Field. Dora's field is the field in Rydal where William Wordsworth hoped to build a house for his daughter, Dora. The house was never built, but it is now owned by the National Trust, and every spring it is a riot of daffodils- the small wild daffodils that Wordsworth wrote about in his famous poem. Click here if you want to know more about the poem,Daffodils, and to see lots more daffodil photos

Daffodils in Dora's Field, Rydal, 5 March 2013

 In a few days time this field will be amazing.

Monday, 4 March 2013

News- spring cleaning, special offers and snowdrops

I've put a lovely picture of snowdrops on our White Moss House, 4 Star bed and breakfast blog. We've been given an "Outstanding breakfast" award by the AA. Our herb garden plays and important role at breakfast for beautiful garnishes- fennel fronds on the kippers.....lemon balm on the fruit plate......come and see for yourself!

Snowdrops revealed, but deer let in.

We've just had the beech hedge around the side garden cut back. It had become very overgrown, and hung out way past its roots. The good thing is that we can now see snowdrops that have been hiding there unseen. The down side is that the deer and sheep can now walk much more easily into the garden, as huge gaps have opened up where previously there were small branches.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The deer have been busy whilst we've been away.

We've been away for three weeks and the deer have got bolder. Nothing much keeps them out at this time of year when nothing much is growing, but our absence and lack of human scent does seem to encourage them. Even though it is just the beginning of March, we had hoped to see the early herbs peeping out. The Lake District has had a lovely sunny two weeks, and though cold at night, the days have been glorious. Herbs such as Lovage should be ready to start growing very soon, but any shoots that pop up are immediately eaten. Ho hum- the problems of wildlife in the garden never go away. This is what that lovage will look like in a few weeks time- hopefully. Click here for lots more photos and information about lovage. For more information about herbs there are lots of articles and links about how to grow herbs right here. Get planning your herb garden now for a tasty 2013.