Sunday, 8 June 2008

Orchids, swans, terns and buttercups

Northern Marsh Orchid See how the orchids are thriving!!

A swan too close - boy, can they hiss!! It wasn't us - a dog (not ours) got too close to the cygnets
The weather has been warm and sunny so a couple of days ago we had a short stroll around Watergate Park which was built on a former colliery spoil heap. You may remember that last year around this time I spotted a beautiful flower which turned out to be a Northern Marsh Orchid! Well, I am pleased to report that the orchids have multiplied and we spotted them in various locations on the side of the lake. Also, we discovered that the swans had 4 cygnets and two Terns were nesting on the lake - very difficult to photograph and after looking through 350 pictures tonight, I have selected the one below. Taken with Andreas Cannon 400D Digital SLR Camera

One of a pair of Terns (not sure which type of Tern) which swooped back and forth over the lake - very graceful, but very very quick and not easy to photograph.

Yellow iris around the pond and below a group of Buttercups

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Wedding Cakes and flowers ......

Isn't this bluebell a gorgeous colour?

As far as the title is concerned, I am including some pictures my sister took of me decorating a wedding cake in her kitchen for a friend of hers. I made the pink sugar roses a while ago (see previous posts) and my sister made the cala lillies. She wired them into the sprays which were attached to the cake. By the way, the cake will be travelling from Newcastle to Gretna Green for the wedding next week so we both hope it arrives in one piece!! Above is the finished cake, with sugar flower spray on the side of the bottom cakes, a small spray within the clear plastic stand, a final spray on the top cake. The bride requested very pale pink tiny sugar hearts sprinkled about the cakes. The bottom two cakes were 'stacked' with dowels in between to support the weight (my sister makes very deep, heavy rich fruit cakes and we used 5kgs of almond paste and 5kgs of sugarpaste). The top of the middle tier was dowelled to take the weight of the top tier which was placed on a clear plastic divider.
Affixing the trim around the base of each cake - not very clear as Jackie (my Sister) wasn't used to this camera
Pale pink ribbon around each cake board
A flower spray affixed within a plastic flower 'pick' to gently swirl to the bottom board
Affixing the tiny pale pink hearts which were sprinkled over all cakes
1st June to-day and it has rained for 12 hours non-stop - at least it's good for the garden!! I've been very busy hence no blogging for ages, but here are a few pics of flowers - needless to say everything is coming on a treat. I have planted out what seems like hundreds of busy lizzies in pale pink and lavender petunias - I'm going for a green, pink and lavender theme this year - however, I'm sure to have patches of yellow from perennials !! If the rain every stops I will take some photos of the bedding plants and post them next weekend
I spotted this lilly of the valley growing behind a hosta, underneath the big pink hydrangea bush - I didn't plant it, so think a bird may have dropped a seed or a tiny bulb - wherever it came from, I am certainly very pleased to have this in my garden!

The ferns which grow at the bottom of my rockery corner are now unfurling themselves for the summer. The large clumps of purple heather are now going over so I will have to clip over the plants to keep them from getting too leggy

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Summertime at last .......

We've had some glorious sunshine, really warm (we could actually eat our evening meal on the patio!!) and everything in the garden is bursting with fresh colour. Remember my first attempt at making compost in a huge plastic bin? - well, it works a treat. To-day I have shovelled 4 wheelbarrows of dark, crumbly compost - I am so pleased! I will continue to add my veg and garden waste and will look forward to more free compost at the end of the year!! I have taken some photos and here they are
A cute little Ladybird - hope she eats all the greenflyBluebells
The Alpine clematis is now in full bloom - very pretty
The cherry tree near the deck - a bumper crop of blossom
My beautiful, brown compost
The little Acer I rescued from the pot at the end of last Summer obviously enjoys living in this little bed!
Up by the deck, all the trees are in full leaf
Isn't this azelea beautiful? I got a white one at the same time, a birthday gift a couple of years ago, but it never flowers. I moved it to another part of the garden last year, but still I have only leaves - no flowers
My 'free' foreget-me-nots - they come up every year without any help from me
The rockery - isn't this Acer stunning next to the new bright green growth on the conifer?

Even in a well loved garden - Dandelions flourish!!!!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

colour on a grey, damp Sunday afternoon

The alpine clematis on the fence is dripping with fat blue flower buds - gorgeous. It's a bit chilly to 'garden' even though hubby has gone off this afternoon to Durham for the first cricket match of the season - warmly wrapped! I snipped off the dead daffodils and admired all the new growth - even the hostas are peeping out. Due to rain, rain and more rain since the last time I blogged, the grass is looking a bit sorry for itself, but amazingly, the little Acer which I thought was dead at the end of last Summer is covered in buds/leaves, good job I didn't bin it!! On a different subject, we're looking forward to Tuesday evenings for the next ten weeks, because J John is coming to a huge tent which has been erected at the Flower Festival site behind Emmanual College, Lobley Hill (it holds 8,000 people) for a series of talks on the Ten Commandments. If you're interested please take a look at Hillside Church web site by clicking on their link further down the right hand side. If you want to go but don't want to go in on your own, let me know and we'll meet you at the Hillside church 'meeting point' at Lobley Hill

I wonder how long the Hosta shoots will last until the slugs gobble them up?

Small flowered clematis dripping with blooms

Good old pansies - still flowering, better than ever!
The Aubretia really brightens up underneath the tall conifer. I grew these from seeds three years ago and they've been excellent value for money
Last year's wallflowers are blooming well, but they're a bit straggly so they'll have to come out and go to the compost bin when they're finished. Talking of compost, I lifted the lid on my compost bin to put the daffodil prunings in, and inside was crawling with ants - oh dear! One day soon, I have to be brave, get a spade and take out the bottom layer!! As you know, creepy crawlies and me don't get on very well. I'll have to wear gloves, tuck my trousers in my socks and use a very long handled spade in case something yukky crawls out. This is my first time composting in one of these bins with a trap door in the bottom, but I am hoping for something resembling compost when I eventually get around to emptying the bin.

Yesterday I made twenty small pink sugar roses which will become part of flower sprays for a three tier wedding cake. Andrea was taking photographs of them, sadly this is the only photograph she managed to take because just after this she knocked the whole lot over and I thought it was best to rescue a whole mornings work before she smashed them all!!!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

April (snow) showers

Was it only a few days ago that I was cutting the grass because the weather was so warm and dry and the leaves were budding on the trees? Well, that all changed today, it has snowed all afternoon and forecast for minus 1 tonight! Here are a few pictures of the snow

Monday, 10 March 2008

Spring flowers during March

These photographs were put in a draft on 10th March, and here we are on 3rd April and I'm just getting around to publishing them on my blog! British Summer Time began last Sunday and the clocks went forward one hour - my body hasn't adjusted yet and when I get up at 6am it still feels like 5 am! March has flown past and I haven't done any blogging - sorry! Here are some photos of the spring flowers in the back garden - I like the miniature types and once the flowers have gone over, I can't wait to chop off the leaves - even though I know I should leave them till they die back themselves! This week we've cut the grass back and front, I've weeded the borders and trimmed the edges in the back garden and made a start on the front garden. It took ages to rake up all the leaves and general debris of winter, but it's great to see the shrubs and the trees starting to bud. I'm sad to say that a few perennial plants don't look as if they have survived the winter, maybe the odd severe frost has killed them off. The back garden gets more sunshine, so everything is much more advanced, for example, there are flower buds on all of the clematis - let's wait and see if they survive the snow showers that the Met Office have predicted for the coming weekend.A beautiful Spring day - wall to wall sunshine and blue, blue sky

Beautiful deep pink tulips in my tubs - they look red in the photo, but honestly, they are very dark pink. Andrea's favourite flowers.

We've had some very nice sunny, mild days and also some very stormy, windy, wet and freezing cold days - from one extreme to another. Flowers blooming are winter pansies, various colours of primroses, wallflowers, daffodils, tulips, aubretia and even the odd flower on the patio roses.

Friday, 22 February 2008

......... on a cold and frosty morning!

We've enjoyed some beautifully sunny days with clear blue skies, but the overnight frosts have been very thick - but very pretty. These are photographs taken during the past week are of plants in my garden, early morning before the sun melted the frost.

Frost so thick, it almost looks like snow

Isn't he cute? This little squirrel was photographed in the rose garden in Saltwell Park, Gateshead - it helped that other visitors were encouraging their grandchildren to scatter peanuts to attract the family of squirrels.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Is it Spring?

Blue sky, sunshine, hardly a breeze - and 14 Deg C - it feels like Spring today! I spent an hour yesterday and a couple of hours today tidying up the garden and checking to see what was beginning to grow. In fact, it felt so warm, a bee was having a feast on a pink hyacinth!

Leaves appearing on the clematis by the back door

White Primroses

It's amazing where all of the rubbish comes from!

Pansies still giving plenty of flowers

Small leaves and buds on the pink hydrangea

This little patch seems to be doing OK

The back of the garden