Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

K-cat

I couldn't resist these images of our Killer Cat, even if they are out of focus. He's very over protective for a cat. Last weekend when I was trying to catch up on the back log (pruning the roses and the fruit) it was not a particularly auspicious day whether wise. Grey, damp and gusty. Killer doesn't like us being outside in the garden in this sort of weather (stupid humans), so he follows us around shouting at us to get back in the house. Literally. He won't shut up, but he won't go in. When it finally looks like we're giving up he runs inside. (The final picture is me flat out on the sofa: Dan took it while I was asleep because the K-cats position amused him so much. It's the one eye open that gets me...

K-cat K-cat K-cat

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Catalogue of Disasters: Part Two, Back Garden

January Garden disaster

S
hould probably crack on with the catalogue of disaster so I can move on and start sorting it out. Above is the back garden in its half rotten glory. The lawn is more moss than grass and the borders are barren. I know it's not the best time of year, but it could have been so much better. When I pulled out the teasles last year I planted up some brassica in their wake. I'd given up on the 'vegetable patch' as it gets very little sun and nothing ever thrived in it, so I put the empty borders to use instead. Take a look at my veg now:


January Garden disaster

T
hat's what you get for not protecting your lovely leafy greens from the slug and snail population. Money (not much admittedly, but still), time and effort wasted. Moving on from Exhibit B, we have Exhibit C - a closer inspection of the aforementioned vegetable plot. The strawberries are alive but that's about it. There were a lot more cabbages here too - but they've entirely disappeared. Note the fallen over bird table in the corner, sooooo this season daaaaarlinks, every garden should have one.


January Garden disaster
January Garden disaster

F
inally, Exhibits D (above) and E (below). We didn't pick the leaves from the surface of the net and then with the weight of snow and ice in December, the net collapsed. Stinky leaves, yum. More on that later. The last image is a Pieris. A grew this as a cutting taken from my Mother's garden. It had never thrived - barely grown in four years - until this summer, when I finally figured out it needed acid soil and started treating it accordingly. It put out a great rush of leaves at the end of the summer and was looking very happy. Now it's new arms have been broken under the weight of snow. I hope it recovers, there are still some intact branches, but I have not made its life easy.


January Garden disaster

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Catalogue of Disasters: Part One, Front Garden

A
s sworn by myself, the current situation of the `garden'. It is at this point necessary to say I'm not sure I can call myself a gardener anymore - more someone who happens to own a garden. First up, the rarely photographed and much maligned front garden. It's always been an issue, since before we even moved in. The builders/cowboys dumped all the rubble on it and compacted the earth, destroying any vestiges of plant life in the process. As with the back garden we inherited scrubland, but with two fatal flaws: firstly, there's a lot of clay in this patch that's almost impossible to dig; secondly and probably more importantly, as it's on the street it's not a nice place to work - one feels very exposed.

January Garden disaster

T
he hedge at the back is the hawthorn hedge we planted 4 years ago, and it grows well. Two summers ago we fought with the clay and grew potatoes to keep the weeds down and break up the soil. It was about 50% successful. This summer we sowed green manure to try and break up the soil more. I'm not convinced it worked at all, but the remains of this sowing is what you can see now because we never had time (or inclination) to dig it in. Dan's idea is to build raised beds and add compost/topsoil/grit over the top. A good suggestion, but I'm worried this will effectively created a clay-pot under whatever we plant and stop them becoming established. Beds would be separated by small paths so we can walk around the square easily, established using membrane dressed with slate, gravel, wood-chip or similar. Also a good idea, but I'm inherently mistrustful of membrane (as is Dan). It's an easy solution to keep the weeds down to be sure, but I dislike the artificial separation between earth and sky it creates. On the other hand, this is basically central London so my feelings on the matter are probably irrelevant; this patch of earth exists surrounded by brick and concrete, if it looked less abandoned it would know doubt be a win for all passersby and it's certainly not supporting much wildlife right now. Opinions?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Last of the melting snow

Christmas 2010

These images were taken in the deep snow before Christmas, just before midnight I think. London (or any big town or city I imagine) glows orange in the snow, every surface becomes luminescent. The exposure on the camera wasn't even that long to capture these images. This was the prettiest the garden had looked for a very long time, under it's forgiving iridescent blanket. I'd like to say it was the weight of snow which has led to our borders currently looking like abandoned strips of municipal earth, but sadly the neglect goes much further back to at least September. I am setting myself the challenge this weekend of cataloguing the dire straits of the garden, both front and back, and putting together a new year plan of action. This is the year of being organised - there's too much going on to be anything less than hyper-efficient.

Christmas 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Boxing day walk: extreme knitwear edition, with added tweed

Boxing Day
Last spring's hat, ancient noro scarf, buchanan tartan wool scarf, new wool coat, harris tweed boots, norwegian gloves.
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
the ice road up the hill (literally)
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Dan sporting his new red merino wool long-johns. He's mighty pleased with them.
Boxing Day
The view. Pretty spectacular as it turned out. England covered in snow when the haar rolls in.
Boxing Day

Monday, January 3, 2011

Other Christmas Craftiness

The Christmas cards were done while I was in the recovery phase from a bout of flu that knocked me clean off my feet in the middle of December. Not fun. Poor Dan had to take care of me knowing it was only a matter of time before he succumbed himself. Still, there was other Christmas mischief to be had once I was well. I treated myself to a wreath ring this year. My effort is fairly simplistic, but it does the job well enough.

Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010