Spring is well and truly turning into summer – with the rainy season of course!  In fact we’ve had such a dry winter and spring that is a relief to see some rain.

Malcolm has been working on a skywell – see photo above.  An art work that is beautiful to sit inside and stare up at the sky.

I wonder when we’ll have time to do that!

Lots of work to do to get ready for our Open Garden weekend – a day for the local St Michael’s Hospice and a day for the NGS (weekend of 24/25 June).


Check out our recent photos here:



DSC_0144This photo of Malcolm is slightly misleading – although there is no CGI here.  It’s just a few weeks ago.

It’s raining here today.  We’ve had a lot of rain this summer, lots of wind, too, and lots of dull days.  We have had a few summery days with hot sunshine, now and again.

We had a busy spring and early summer getting ready for our open day for the NGS on 26th  June.  It rained that day, too.  But we still had a good turnout with nearly 70 people visiting, raising money for charities that the NGS supports and also raising £100 for the local Air Ambulance though our sales of cream teas.  We’ll soon be deciding on next year’s date.

Malcolm has been building walls, cutting back docks and bracken, and getting on with transforming some of our inside space.  I have spent a lot of time weeding and fighting against the rose beetles, aphids, slugs, caterpillars . . .  And they say gardening is therapeutic!

We had a female duck and her 8 ducklings swimming on the pond at the end of July.  After the heron visited a couple of days later, we were down to 7.  At the last count I’m afraid there was only 1 . . .  And now she has moved on to pastures (or ponds) new.

We’ve not yet started on the famed cloister – possibly this winter’s job?  But we have begun to grow a bit of fruit and veg with tomatoes in the greenhouse, some salads outside the kitchen window and a couple of guerrilla plantings of cabbages and chicory.  And the blackcurrant bushes gave us more than we could eat (which was fortunate for the blackbirds).

A sort of day off today as I watch the rain fall.  In fact, it’s now crashing down!

Here’s a link to a few more photos:




for another kind of blog – incorporating a slightly different style of photography, plus haiku poetry (when I’m not gardening or out at work, this is what I do) see:


click on the dates to access the page.


These small shrubs (see photo below) currently in our garage are awaiting planting.  They are 32 Hydrangeas and will be planted out over the next month once we have prepared their holes.  I say ‘we’ but at the moment I am rather out of action with a sore arm – yanked my shoulder being a bit too enthusiastic in a kickboxing session before Xmas.  I am typing this one-handed. . .

Apologies for the fact it is almost 12 months since we added to this blog.  Our loyal followers must have been wondering what’s happened to us.  A mixture of being really busy – both in the garden and in my job – changing jobs and up-dating my computer operating system which meant it has taken me a while to be able to access flickr (even now I’m not sure I’ve managed it – we’ll see shortly).

It has been a busy year.  Malcolm has been building steps and bridges as well as planting. We have an orchard on our terraces, a bridge across the stream, numerous beech hedges, our woodland is growing, our building is nearing completion (it needs to be painted with fireproof paint internally), our new pond is attracting herons and it has been very wet and windy (where hasn’t?).  We had a great day back in June when we opened for the NGS and our neighbour helped out with teas and cakes, raising money for the local air ambulance.  We are open again this year on Sunday 26th June.

One of the photos on the photo stream shows a van load of plants that we were very kindly given by a couple who are rethinking their garden.  Fantastic – especially the yew trees!  And there is a photo of Malcolm setting out the area which will be the cloister.  We’re hoping to make a start on that this year.

Over the next few months we’ll be concentrating on getting the garden ready for spring.  The weeds are already coming up and I daresay the slugs will be readying themselves for their annual onslaught.

I’ll leave it there for now – I’m sure you don’t want to read reams and reams.  I’ll try and upload some photos so you can see some of the work we’ve been up to . . .




This photo – taken mid January – would imply that we are well into winter.  IMG_5019

But there have been days that are positively spring like.  There are lambs in the fields and hazel catkins blowing in the breeze, so, I’m confused!  Today, after snowing all morning, is now very wet and chilly.

The new barn building is nearly complete.  I haven’t added any photos here, because it really doesn’t look that different from how it did last time.  But, the electrics and plumbing are in, and we now have a builder / workman free zone!

Malcolm is breathing a huge sigh of relief and is getting on with the interior.

AND he has spent the last few weeks planting a lengthy beech hedge – well three or four in fact!  About 650 trees in all! They are now lining the terraces and he has planted every one himself – with no help from me (maybe because I can’t plant in a straight – or even wavy – line!)

The terraces that these hedges line are about to be planted with fruit trees – we have room for 21 in all and they will be a mixture of apples (eaters, cookers and cider), pears, plums, gauges, damsons, crab apple and anything else I may have missed out.  We’re hopefully putting in our order tomorrow.

And we know that the garden is about to take over our lives once more.  I seem to spend all my time at the moment picking up leaves – still!  They are carpeting the beds and smothering the poor bulbs and other plants that are trying to come up.  Along with the weeds!  Why didn’t I get them all in the autumn?

We have decided on our open day for the NGS this year – it will be the afternoon of Sunday 28th June.  It seems ages away now, but I know it’ll creep up and suddenly be here!  Malcolm has written a long list of things that need to be done before then.  So, we’d best make a start (although not right at this minute, as it is very wet and cold out there!)

IMG_5014I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!  I’m sorry that we didn’t get around to posting many cards this year.  Malcolm’s mum died very peacefully the week before Christmas and our journeys up and down to Sussex over the previous fortnight or so took up most of our time and energies.

For Christmas itself we spent a quiet time at home – just the two of us – which was very relaxing after the hectic year that we’ve had.  We actually managed to spend a little time in the garden, clearing and composting – what a lot of cutting back there was (in fact, still is) to do!

The barn re-build is almost finished.  The outside is complete but there is a lot of ‘making good’ to do on the inside – Malcolm will do this and I’m sure it will look amazing once it’s finished.  For now, though, here are some more recent pictures:

Have a great New Year!  We are going to a local party in town with live music and dancing.  Then it’s back to work – gardening, decorating and part-time paid employment for me.  Look out for more up-dates in 2015.

Nearly finished?

DSC_0005The main shell of the building is up – the internal walls are done and the roof is on.  As you can see from this photo – the roof has also been clad already by super roofer, Simon.

There are some snagging issues on the inside – still to be sorted out, but we hope that they will be resolved soon.  We are expecting the plumber and electrician to come this week and Simon will begin to clad the outside with larch.

The sun is shining, so I must get out and collect up some more leaves (after a coffee).  Here are a few more photos of the build last week:

More up-dates soon (and news from the garden!)


For those of you keen on following our building progress, here we are one week in.  The weather has been atrocious at times, but the build is progressing, as you can see.  Not everything has gone smoothly, but I can tell you about that another time.

The roof is due to go on on Tuesday – when a large crane will appear.  More photos then!  But for now, here are a few more of the progress over the last three days.



The build is underway.  A large lorry arrived on Tuesday containing most of our new building, ready to be put up by the guys on site.  It’s all made of insulated panels, slotted together with beams, joists, etc.  Like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Today is Day 3, but here are a few photos of Days 1 and 2:

There have been the usual crises of things not turning up quite when expected and worrying about the fact that the next lot of guys are arriving next Monday to clad the roof, install electrics and plumbing, even though the roof probably won’t be on by then!  I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end, and we’ll have a lovely new building to show for it.

Malcolm seems to be just about holding it all together, but I know it’s a lot to be responsible for.  I am able to escape to my lovely new job two days a week (and my Welsh class later today), leaving him to deal with it all!

Hopefully the next up-date will show the building almost done!

Here we are at the beginning of November.


This week should see our building go up.  We have the foundations and floor in and the scaffolding is up.  Today and tomorrow will bring the ready-made panels and the guys to build it.  Hopefully this time next week it will be built, weatherproofed and ready to be clad and services installed.  Exciting!  We’ve spent the last few weeks with our hearts in our mouths, worrying about every possibility that could go wrong!

Meanwhile, autumn moves on.  The oak tree opposite continues to drop its leaves all over the garden.  How many leaves can one tree have?  It is a full time job raking the lawns and picking them out of the borders.  But the roses are still blooming and the weather is mild.  Not as spectacular an autumn as last year – everything seems to be fading gently.  But beautiful nonetheless.

Malcolm has been building yet more steps and has started work on a new bridge across the stream.  The stream has increased from a trickle to a torrent in the last couple of weeks.

I have started my new job – I’ve completed my first 2-day week and am looking forward to getting to know the charity better and start finding out what kinds of activities people want to get involved in.

Here are just a few photos.  I shall put more on as the building progresses.