Tag Archives: England

Gunwalloe and Rinsey

Some pics from two beaches in Cornwall – the first Gunwalloe. It wasn’t a sunny day but it was atmospheric with it’s moody blues, with a touch of pink on the horizon. Andy associates this as Gunwalloe-in-the-rain due to a trip in the 1970s when it poured with rain and his family sat in their Morris Minor. There was a lot of slate on the beach worn smooth.

The other beach is Rinsey Cove, somewhat changed it seems, due to the Valentine’s Day storm in 2014. The storm stripped the beach of a lot of sand, so it was much rockier than Andy remembered. The tide came in fast too, but it was such a gorgeous sunny day. The sea was freezing though, too cold for paddling (although I tried ;)). I guess it’s still early in the season. It’s a steep walk down in places but beautiful and made us feel like we were on a proper adventure.

Beth Chatto’s Garden

I went on the 5th May. On the 13th May, Beth Chatto died, at the ripe old age of 94, nourished for over 50 years by her marvellous garden I’m sure. As I’m writing this I’m watching Gardeners World, and Monty’s just said it was “a life supremely well lived”. What an epitaph.

It was my first visit. I was expecting it to be ordered, as these gardens often are, but it wasn’t – it was a riot! Everything was growing, everywhere – not a spare bit of earth could be seen. As I went with my aunt, not so many photos as we were chatting too much 😉 . It was a lovely sunny day, although as it was wet in the week before it was a squelchy underfoot in the boggy garden in places. I also liked the wooded areas, especially the enormous pink camellia that must have been 20ft high.

The nursery was also fab, as it has such a good range of plants, many unusual. I acquired (courtesy of my aunt’s Christmas vouchers) 2 stipa, 2 different types of clematis, an unusual Thift “In the Red”, and a purple spineless Arcaena. What a lovely day.

Allotment Restart

Somehow I just haven’t been going to the allotment. Weather, travelling for work, just not feeling in the mood etc etc….

I finally got there to discover my sprouting broccoli had gone to seed, and I’d grown an excellent crop of fat slugs and healthy weeds 😦 .

Also my netting had split, and the rhubarb has taken over (aka Day of the Triffids).

So I’m starting again. Loving my raised beds which are easy to weed and already warming up. The main clay soil is still wet and heavy so I’m thinking of investing in some more raised beds.

I’m also upgrading the paths with wood chips – it turns out there is a free pile so I’m putting the chips on top of last year’s weed suppressing fabric.

I’ve “sewn” my netting back together and harvested some of the (quite sharp) rhubarb for a compote. I’ve planted some more broad beans as not all my autumn batch have germinated.

Meanwhile the seeds are coming along at home. It’s nice to be moving again.


Sweet / Finally Started

I have finally started planting seeds – SO LATE!

The greenhouse is still not built as the weather has been very unfriendly. Easter was basically a wash out, although we have made some progress on the slab base – more on that soon… In the meantime I have taken to setting up a seed table in the house to get going.

So here’s my first seed list of 2018 🙂 Sweet Peas, Peas, and Mange Tout, as follows:

Sweet: Blue Velvet / Almost Black / Harlequin Mix (Lord Nelson/ Matucana/ Prince Edward of York)/ Opal Mix (Anniversary/ Mrs Collier/ Painted Lady/ Turquoise Lagoon/ Wiltshire Ripple / Hi-Scent

Pea: Tendrilla / Sugar Ann/ Douce Provence

Mange Tout: Carouby de Maussane (my favourite) / Shiraz / Golden Sweet / Oregon

So happy to have begun 🙂




Making way for my greenhouse – it was time for the leaning tower of shed to go….

It has been leaning for three reasons – firstly because it had basically been pushed over by the leylandii, resulting in the earth at the back being compressed, and finally because it had various rotten bits, but not all in the same places!

In turns out that taking down a semi rotten shed is quite hard work, as is was rotten enough to let water in, but not enough to actually fall down easily.

I had already had the electrics disconnected, taken the door off and the shelves down. Next step the roof – although we only had access from one side so in fact it was a bit piece-meal in the end.

It also turns out that breaking up a semi rotten shed takes time too. I have now made two trips to the recycling tip, and reckon one more session of breaking up the sides and loading the car will do it. All we need now is spring ;).


Scotney Old & New

At the end of January, I followed the small amount of sunlight to Scotney. It’s really old – c. 1378. Even the “new” castle is old around 1843. Lots of people were out walking; a bit of fresh air goes a long way at this time of year. A robin came and hung out with me for a while, and a few flowers starting to bring a bit of colour into the garden.

It was muddy. I always forget this until my walking shoes are coated and it’s too late (or I am too lazy) to go back for my wellies.

This time I found the icehouse – where they used to refrigerate things before refrigerators – it was surprisingly deep, although the exterior was small. It was strangely atmospheric, and must have been quite an undertaking when it was excavated.

Also a little spring, almost forgotten at the very edge of the property. It must have been prized in it’s day, as it was surrounded by stones. A little addition to my walks here in the future.


So I had a little trip to Penshurst Place. It’s ages since I’ve been. I went on a whim, following the sunshine rather than heading to Knole as planned, which was under cloud. Still it was a bit of a strange walk, as the house and gardens are closed for the winter, so all I could do was skirt the perimeter.  I felt, as must have been the case for most people for centuries, shut out of this wealthy house, held a bay by walls and gates, the interior a mystery….

I also walked down to the upper reaches of the Medway. You can’t canoe here, but lower down you can. Still it was nice to see this bit, even though it looked murky with extra rain and mud washed in from the fields.

A breath of January air. What a relief!