Saturday 6 July 2024

How Many Plants Is Enough?


Yep. Amanda can be a little addicted to getting new plants, but fair enough, me too!
We have spent various parts of the last few days going to different nurseries, usually accompanied by a full breakfast and plenty of tea, in search of inspiration to add to our garden.
The framework is in place as ever, but cutting back, re-stocking, and highlighting is the order of the day now that things have settled down for the time being.

We picked stuff up at four nurseries, and each time filled the back of our trusty camper van. Plants, watering features for the birds, a babbling stone pool for the patio, and the extras need to create an illuminated stained glass window to place at the end of the garden in our 'cool and peaceful place'.

So many plants purchased, all very exciting. Do you have a favourite plant?

Thursday 20 June 2024


The vans are getting sorted. Campervan cost £2200 to get it through it's MOT. The second work van should be completed tomorrow, Friday. It had a head gasket blow, resulting in £2400 worth of repairs.

We needed a break, and so have headed to the area around Lynton in north Devon. The last two nights have been spent in the campervan at The Valley of Rock (the picture above). A stunningly beautiful place, with amazing sunsets. 

After a sumptuous breakfast in Lynton, we headed to Watersmeet, and walked forever along the river banks and rocky rapids. 

Tonight we spend the night in Hunters Inn to eat well, bathe, and no doubt read a little more before head out once again in our trusty campervan. 

Saturday 8 June 2024

Time to Tidy

It's been a week of complicated logistics.

Firstly, our second of the works vans had a head gasket blow, resulting in it being off the road for the last week and most of next.

Normally, in a situation such as this, the remaining work van, a modern and up to date Ford Transit is still used by Bex and Matt, while I hitch the large trailer to the camper van. Something that neither myself nor Amanda like to do. However, the camper van went in for it's MOT, and failed miserably. Front suspension faults, complicated electrical issues to resolve warning lights, glow plug replacement, and on and on. So, that is now off the road as well for next week. Luckily the garage dealing with the head gasket has lent us a courtesy van, a tiny Peugeot Biffo.

We are all knackered. May and June are exhausting months, and as a result our own garden has been neglected badly. Last weekend the ladders came out, and I tackled the Parthenocissus trifoliata and Hydrangea petiolaris, both of which had grown over the roof up to the apex. I was fortunate enough to spy a nesting pigeon to the front right of the house, and so have left it happily sitting on her eggs. All is still looking good with her a week later.

Apart from planting a few tomatoes and jet washing the patio, the back garden has been left entirely, and is now overgrown and full of weeds. It's normally our 'go to' meditative space, and will be again once we've dealt with the bulk of the work. 

It's important to only do as much as one wants to in this regard, as mindful peace is very important when gardening on any level. I've done a little weeding this afternoon, and put back together our copper leaved leaf fountain sculpture at the end.

A long way to go, but slowly does it.

Tuesday 21 May 2024



May is the busiest month of the year for us. Lawn feed went down earlier, and so the grass is growing like the clappers. Hedges are putting on their first growth of the year. Pests are springing up on the plants, and customers suddenly spring to life requesting planting schemes, changes and advise.

The trailer gets full twice a week, and more often than not the vans are also crammed with grab bags full of steaming grass and hedge cuttings.

We have five petrol trimmers. Three long and two short. Already one needs to go in for repair. They are used every day, for most of the day, and so regular break downs become the norm for a while.

Matt trimming the Buxus at one of the gardens.

Below is Bex showing the normal, contented zeal one finds doing this work

There are dozens of Laurel hedges to trim, giving off that sweet almond smell of the cyanide contained within.

Over the last few years Box Blight, and more commonly Box Moth Caterpillar have destroyed vast numbers of the plants across the country

We use a commercial chemical called Dipel, mixed with water and applied twice a year. It works well, but sadly has to be used repeatedly each year as a lot of people don't treat, or new and infected plants are imported and distributed

An alternative treatment is the use of pheromone traps, which are quite effective, but on a large scale rather unsightly.

These below had Box Moth a month ago, but saved again.

Last year we took on this property. Box hedging used around the entire property, hundreds of them, and all very dead. Past saving, they were removed and a safe replacement plant used for a similar effect.

In this case it was Euonymous japonicus 'Green Spire', a shrub that is becoming quite popular. Another, but less popular alternative is Ilex crenata. We got the grass together as well, and the place is starting to take shape.

However, our own home 'Hairy House' is well overdue a trim. The ivy has once again grown across the roof. The ladder beckons.

Enjoy your week.

Sunday 24 March 2024

A Holi Weekend


A strange thing happened on Saturday at Corfe Castle. This ancient site became host to the Indian festival of Holi. It was wonderful. Amazing street food of all sorts, music, dancing, laughter, friendship........ and colour, quite literally by the handful.

What better way to celebrate Spring, love and joy?

Today, Sunday, is much more sedate. A slow wake up with endless cups of tea in bed, then off to enjoy the sunshine at Branksome Dean Chine. Another cup of tea brewed in the back of the camper, then we were off.

Lots of shells along this stretch of beach, Always plenty of scallops of different colours.
We have what must amount to tens of thousands of shells that we've accumulated over the years, but apart from making things from some of them, the pleasure is in the collecting.

Long walks, good conversation, sometimes serious, sometimes not, but always necessary. Personal connection with one another always.

Just a few from today

We had plans to do some gardening in our own garden on our return, but all the sunshine, cold air and exercise saw us briefly napping on the sofa instead. Then it was Amanda starting another jigsaw, and me installing a new toilet and fridge in the camper ready for next weekend.

A roast chicken dinner shortly!