Category Archives: home

Slow progress

486 We managed an hour at the allotment today before getting rained off – this (rubbish!) photo shows that we’ve finished what will be the first bed, and have marked out where the next one starts. We thought it would make life a bit easier to have some narrow paths at intervals throughout so that we can get through to water and (hopefully!) harvest without walking over everything.

We were away last weekend at a wedding down south so haven’t done anything here for a couple of weeks. Everyone else has been digging away so we are playing catch-up! We realised that, even just digging one spade’s length down, we were bringing up subsoil, so now we are probably only digging down half a spade’s length, which will hopefully mean that it gets done a bit quicker!

Tomorrow, if the weather isn’t too wet (forecast isn’t great, morning is a bit better though) we’ll do another couple of hours. I must remember this time to take a tub down so that we can confine the growing broken glass collection, and a bin bag for the random bits and bobs of crap we dig up. We haven’t found any treasure yet – so far it’s mainly broken glass (apparently last year a greenhouse had a bit of a rough time at the hands of the wind) and bits of old china mugs, plus odd nails, random unidentifiable metal objects, and quite a few plastic markers. At least the old carpet is all up now (I hope!).

We also dug up a few potatoes that hadn’t been harvested, so at least we know not to plant spuds in the bottom left hand corner (along with not planting onions on the right hand side a bit further towards the middle of the plot – I dug up a couple of those a few weeks ago!). The spuds we bought a couple of weeks ago are happily chitting away – well 3 out of the 4 varieties are anyway, and the other one (pink fir apple – a salad variety) apparently doesn’t chit that well but still works when in the ground, so I’m not worried about that and will plant it with all the others.

I also want to set a few seeds this weekend to start off indoors. The only ones that I need to do this early are quinoa (which I’m expecting not to work, but fancy having a try) and brussels. I forgot to include in the last update that a few weeks back someone from the allotments donated some rooted blackcurrant bush cuttings, so I nabbed one of those and it is now potted up by the back door till we’re ready to plant it on the plot.

I also managed a bit of planting in the front garden today (whilst getting wet). I bought another spade at the garden centre this morning (finally using the garden centre vouchers I got as a leaving present from my last job, in February last year!) and some seed compost, and had really good intentions about not getting distracted and buying anything else. However, knowing where good intentions lead (!) I also came out with a pyracanthus and a couple of alpines (a sedum and another one I can’t remember the name of). So they’re now all planted up, along with a stray bit of forget-me-not which was growing in the gap between a couple of paving slabs but I’ve now transplanted to next to the rose bush.

Oh Christmas tree

Featuring, amongst others, the alpaca on the top of the tree (the finger puppet came with a gift certificate after HD’s parents gifted an alpaca to a Peruvian family via Practical Action as one of our wedding presents), the Christmas kookaburra (a previous wibsite present exchange gift from Miss Lisa), a couple of decorations from birdie (where’s her blog gone?!) who sent them my first Christmas in Scotland after hearing I was going to be on my own and not actually have any presents to open on the day (long not particularly sad story!), and a little wooden snowman from Finland I bought when I went to Helsinki for a conference – I’d had great ideas about buying Christmas presents there till I saw the prices, all I managed in the end was the tiniest little tree decoration and a shot glass for HD which cost a flippin’ fortune! And the tree – we bought it just before we got married, our first Christmas tree. It’s only tiny, but is so full of memories!


…. with new life! A couple of pics from the garden this afternoon:

The clematis now has hundreds and hundreds of these buds, which are rounding out and hopefully won’t be too much longer before they flower:

IMG_7729 IMG_7730 IMG_7731

IMG_7732 This picture doesn’t look very exciting, but I was so excited when I saw it – there are shoots! When Rain came to the UK on her travels we met up in Edinburgh and she kindly gave me a few packets of seeds. I am pretty sure that these are some of those (although as I didn’t have anything to label them I will have to wait and see to be sure!) – I think these might be the columbines. Hooray!


The weather was lovely today so I spent a bit of time in the garden. It didn’t feel at the time like I was doing very much (weeding, pruning, planting seeds mainly, plus mixing up the compost a bit) but 3 hours later I appear to have pretty much lost the use of my legs! I can only move accompanied by loud groans and creaks!

The white crocus has finally deigned to flower (it waited till the yellow one was fully over before even thinking about flowering). The narcissi as well are finally starting to open up, some time after their cousins on the roadside banks.

IMG_7629 IMG_7630

Some of the other bulbs I planted out are starting to emerge now, and the clematis too is a riot of buds like this (they are leaf buds, I have so far only counted 3 flower buds, but hopefully there will be more on the way).

IMG_7631 IMG_7635

My Stirling garden flickr set is starting to get colourful!

More small garden adventures

IMG_7318Today I planted out the bulbs I bought earlier this week – I’d also bought lots of seeds, but they aren’t to be sown till March/April so I shall have that joy in a few weeks. Today I planted purple freesias and mixed harlequins in several pots out the back, I put them in pots as they need to be lifted and stored somewhere dry over the winter so it’s easier from pots than digging them up from the garden. IMG_7319 The pots which don’t have anything showing yet should start flowering from next month hopefully (I saw the first tulip shoot from the bulbs I planted in December so am optimistic, I should get at least one!). It was a bit drizzly today, as you can see from this skimmia.

In the front I planted out the bulbs which can be left to their own devices and don’t need lifting. You can’t see anything much from these pictures, but the areas of lighter brown soil mark where I’ve planted a couple of agapanthus IMG_7320 (I had one in my London garden that I’d bought from the Eden Project in Cornwall, which never flowered once, so we’ll see what happens with these ones), and along two sides of the border I planted 20 crocosmia (also a feature of the London garden as well as the Glasgow pots in the back court). I also finally planted the forget-me-nots I managed to retrieve from the Glasgow back court, hopefully they will thrive and spread as they are one of my favourite flowers.

The grass is a bit embarrassing, we’ve not done anything to it since moving here in November and it shows (in our IMG_7321 defence it’s never been dry enough to mow). I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, I am tempted to widen out the beds a bit and get rid of at least some of the grass; I’m also thinking maybe about gravelling it and putting a couple of biggish shrubs in, but remembering my gravelling of the London garden that was a bigger job than I anticipated and I’m not sure I can face that this year! Whatever I do, I’ll enjoy the garden though. It was SO nice getting all green-fingered again, I have missed it.

Although the pots and borders look like there’s nothing much going on, I love the thought of all that activity and new growth and life going on under the surface, getting ready to burst into view when the time is right. And as usual I just got such a kick out of the home-made compost in the back garden, the thought of all that stuff breaking down to make nutrients and beautiful new soil is just such a wonderful thing, it never ceases to amaze me. This is why I love getting out into the garden, even though it’s only a small one, it just reminds me of life and how good it is to be alive and that there’s so much more going on than what we can see on the surface.

Adventures in gardening

Yesterday on my way back from teaching in Glasgow I popped into a garden centre I’d spotted near home. I am really happy to have found it, hopefully I won’t go too mad with flashing the cash but I was excited to be able to buy some plants to fill the pots which I’d had to empty of their weeds when we left Glasgow. I’m hoping that the new garden will become a riot of colour; however I also have to be sensible – the front garden gets battered with wind, and the back court is quite dark and mossy, so much as I wanted to I didn’t buy a magnolia as it wouldn’t last 5 minutes.

IMG_7177 IMG_7179

What I did buy though, along with some gloves and a broom to try and sweep up the worst of the moss, was a selection of things to start off with. Two skimmias (one male, one female, so the female will hopefully get berries in the autumn as well as them both having spring flowers), a hebe, a lavender, and a special offer on some bulbs which meant that I now have crocuses and snowdrops in one pot and some narcissi in another. The other thing I did was retrieve some plants which seem to be thriving in the (uncovered) compost bin, I think they might be forget-me-nots which I love, but am not 100% sure. So I potted them up, and if it turns out I don’t like them I can always return them to the compost.

My next plan is to buy a compost bin with a lid, or have a go at making something (if I can find the blog post I once found which explained how to do it) so that I can compost food waste. I’m happy to just throw it onto the bin I have, but I guess the neighbours might not be so keen as it is open to the elements, plus with a lid it can hopefully heat up and rot down a bit quicker. I’m very excited about the compost side of things, it always gave me a buzz in London too 🙂

I have started a flickr set of my garden photos, so I can track the progress over the year/years. I’ll add to it as and when I do stuff – the photos (including a few from 365 last year) are here.

2011 Project365 (day361)

27th December 2011

Readers of a certain vintage will remember I spent many happy hours in London pottering around my garden and making it beautiful, it is one of the things I miss most since leaving (over 6 years ago – how did that happen?!). Now in our new house the garden is a lot smaller (we have a small front garden, and a back court which at some point we will fence our bit off so that we can build some raised beds and create a nice outdoor space for the summer), but it is ours all ours. My friend the media darling, whose cuttings and spare bulbs played such a big part in my London garden, sent me some bulbs for Christmas, so today I planted them out in the first bit of proper gardening I have done since getting here. I am so excited! A bonus was that the vendors, as well as all the silly and bizarre and inconvenient stuff they left, also left behind a compost bin with some beautiful homemade compost which has added to the pleasure – it was crumbly, moist and beautifully rotted down, I’m really chuffed with it! Unfortunately it doesn’t have a lid so I can’t put my food waste there (will have to sort a new bin out for that) but it is great to keep me going till I can start making my own.

They may look a bit dull at the moment, but come March/April time they will hopefully be a riot of red. I am bound to forget by then what they all are, so here’s my note to self: the round pot has 4 Triumph Tulip Lucky Strike, and the long one has 12 Anemone Coronaria Hollandia. 🙂

2011 Project365 (days318-322)

18th November:

18th November 2011

I had a haircut this morning – it’s quite a bit shorter than before!

I nearly didn’t make it, I am still using my Glasgow hairdresser as I like and trust him (I find having a haircut quite traumatic which is why I don’t do it very often, but when I find a hairdresser I like I stick with them) so came over to Glasgow as usual this morning to the flat. HD went off to work, and it was only then I discovered I had left my purse in Stirling (at least I hope I did!). So I had to call him at work and get him to come back here and bail me out – I didn’t even have enough money to get the train to the city centre. However as the hairdresser said it was a good way of getting HD to pay for my haircut, perhaps I should try this again next time.

17th November:

17th November 2011

I had no idea HD has a little mini-collection of these beautiful old typewriters, as they have been living in storage the last few years. I have found more than one in the unpacking!

16th November:

16th November 2011

Bathroom ornamentation.

15th November:

15th November 2011

One of my least favourite aspects of the new house is that all the ceilings are artexed. Oh well, there are plenty of worse things. At least the carpets aren’t swirly, even if the ceilings are.

14th November:

14th November 2011

This collection has built up over a number of years, in a big glass thing. I have contributed to it in the past, but last touched a drop on 16th March (viva day). Next year I shall probably contribute a bit more 🙂

2011 Project365 (days307-317)

Bit of an epic post here, I remembered my card reader and needed to come back to the flat to send an essay back before going home. I’m here longer than expected as HD was called back into work so I have got pizza, internet and am slobbing out 🙂 No photo for today yet as the camera is back in Stirling, but here’s moving day till yesterday:

13th November:

13th November 2011

I spent much of the day trying to sort out my study. Having already taken a study photo (see below, I think 4th Nov) I thought I’d go a bit more abstract, this is the edge of the lightshade.

12th November:

12th November 2011

Where I posted the last blog entry from – the living room of the Glasgow flat, with no furniture so it was a bit echoey!

11th November:

11th November

Hanging on – this is by our front door in Stirling, refusing to give up.

10th November:

10th November 2011

This was also left by the previous owners: giant yucca.

9th November:

9th November 2011

A most welcome housemoving gift from a friend in Glasgow.

8th November:

8th November 2011

A most welcome housemoving gift from colleagues in Glasgow (emerging theme? What emerging theme?).

7th November:

7th November 2011

Another housemoving gift from my lovely colleagues.

6th November:

6th November 2011

Early morning mist from the front garden.

5th November:

5th November 2011

Dusk at the end of the road.

4th November:

4th November 2011

One corner of the study, getting there slowly.

3rd November:

3rd November 2011

At the end of a very exhausting moving day. Every last nook and cranny was full of Stuff.

Still here!

Hello 🙂

I am still here, and actually still taking pictures, but internet is still an issue (I’m hoping to get that sorted out later today; in the meantime I am back in Glasgow making the most out of the fact that I didn’t cancel the Glasgow internet direct debit in time). I could have uploaded my pictures from the last week, but forgot to bring my card reader, so that delight will have to wait a bit longer (no crying at the back please).

In short: we have moved, the house is lovely but it feels like the boxes and unpacking is neverending, neighbours seem nice, area seems nice, we had a takeaway the first night we were in which was a bit disappointing (especially after having Anarkali so close in Glasgow!), the commute isn’t great but is bearable, I’ve some job interviews coming up and also some applications to do (another task for today while I have the internet, along with downloading and marking more essays), and we still haven’t found our Christmas tree (which disappeared a couple of days ago, we assumed in storage but possibly not. Very curious).

I could sleep for a week.