Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year

It's New Years Eve and I've just got round to sorting out the Christmas photos. The weather is now very mild and amazingly, some of my roses are still flowering. Above is 'Mary Rose' an 'old english rose'. We have all had a nasty sick/tummy bug which is going around so haven't been anywhere over the holiday, not even to Church, so as not to spread the germs - a quiet time, very little cooking but lots of book reading. As everyone knows, we love chocolate, and I can't believe how many chocolate goodies are lying unopened !! piles of it - I don't think the diet will be starting as planned on 1st January.

Winter Jasmine looking great on the fence

Spring is not far away - the bulbs are just peeping through

Christmas dinner table and below Santas been!!!!

Happy New Year !!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Christmas pie .....

I was so inspired by Gordon Ramsays recipe (Gordons Christmas Pie - BBC Good Food Magazine) that I just had to try it out. Then I read another recipe for a chocolate desert which contains not one, but two Terrys Dark Chocolate Oranges, Grand Marnier and loads of double cream - I've bought the two choc oranges, but will try to wait until Christmas to make it!!As well as eight hard boiled eggs, it contained a fillet of pork, a pound of pork sausages, a tin of lean ham. a chicken breast and a small onion, all wrapped in a hot-water-crust pastry. I served it for tea on Sunday and it had almost disappeared by bed time!! I will be making this again between Christmas and New Year.

We really enjoyed the Rat Pack concert on Saturday night - here I am with my little sister Jackie during the interval. Dean, Frank and Sammy D. Jr almost sounded better than the real thing, and yes, they did sing loads of Christmas songs - excellent.

ps The missing Santa tree ornament has still not turned up ..... oh dear, I think he's run off with Jaki's (Australia) bird ornaments - she's can't find her box of six!!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The first snow of winter ........

Saturday 8th December and we've got the first snow of winter! The weather men have promised snow in the past few weeks, but it keeps missing us out. It's very wet snow, but is just starting to show on the grass in the garden. The red geraniums up on the deck are STILL flowering, even though we've had a number of frosty nights - amazing. It's very chilly, but the house is decorated for Christmas, the fire is cosy and warm, the bread is rising in the kitchen for tea and tonight we're going to the 'Rat Pack' show at the Sage in Gateshead with Jackie and Joanne - sure to have a great night and I hope whoever is singing Dean Martin songs includes 'Let it Snow'
The fireplace is decorated for Christmas

Christmas Tree 2007 - will try for a better photograph later in the week. We've been searching for a missing decoration this week. Andrea's Nana gave her 6 glass Santa Claus ornaments when she was a baby and five of them have been broken over the last 31 years. The remaining Santa lives in the china cabinet, inside the sugar basin of the Japanese tea set, to keep him safe and we all saw him there just a few weeks ago - however, he's completely disappeared!!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Mid November

Well, it's mid-November and the house is full of the smell of Christmas Cake baking in the oven - lovely! Too wet underfoot to garden so I popped out to take some picturesI love winter pansies - such cheerful little plants and no trouble at all. I've got them in pots and borders. The flowers will die off as the weather gets worse, but they'll bounce back in the Spring.

The brightest flower in the garden to-day is this purple primrose

. The leaves have all dropped from the trees, most of them on to my lawn!
This is the nicotiana that lived through last winter - it's still flowering!! I'm keeping an eye on it to see if it manages to last another year
The geraniums on the deck are still flowering outside. The cuttings I took a while ago have all taken and are safely indoors
The pink patio rose is still going strongMy wallflowers can't wait until Spring !!
Poor, sad, collapsed hydrangea - this is the hydrangea that collapsed under the weight of it's huge flowers back in the Summer when we had all that terrible rain. I'll have to be brave and give it a good old prune!!

The litle viburnam is covered with white/pink flowers and clusters of buds

I tried to take a photo of the yellow winter jasmine, but I didn't want to walk over the wet soil. Anyway, you can just about see it on the fence

Sunday, 4 November 2007

The garden in November .....

The big cherry tree in the front garden is looking stunning in autumn colours, but one more gust of wind and I'll be picking up piles of leaves again. My compost bin is full to the top already. We've had a fairly busy week in the garden, pruning the smaller cherry tree in the middle of the front lawn as it was getting too leggy. We also tidied the tall Leylandi hedge in the back garden. No time to garden today, but I did buy some more pansies which I will plant later in the week. I'll also try to do some more tidying up which will probably be the last chance before winter sets in. The clocks went back a week ago and I just can't get used to the fact that it's dark at 5.00pm !! Here are the trees over my left hand hedge - very pretty, but not many leaves left.

I've still got lots of colour in the back garden from roses, red geraniums, purple pansies, berries and the fading heads of my huge pink hydrangea bush. Even the spring wallflowers and some of the primroses have started to flower! It's been fairly mild and dry for the time of year, but weather forecast is for much, much cooler weather in the week ahead. Next weekend we're off to the NEC in Birmingham for the craft exhibition. We're also collecting a new cutting machine which Andrea pre-ordered - I believe it weighs in excess of 10kgs so we'll have fun carrying that back to the car, along with the huge pile of stuff she usually buys!!Andrea bought this adorable snowman - he's supposed to be a Christmas decoration, but he's so big, he's standing in the sitting room - I wonder how long he's going to be there ????

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Autumn walk

Andrea and I had a lovely walk in Thornley Woods this afternoon armed with a camera each and took some great pictures. We only saw one squirrel, but we made too much noise walking over the leaves and scared him off.

I love walking through crisp golden leaves, it's almost as good as snow

Andrea snapped me taking photos behind this tree

We were fine going down the various sets of rough steps, to the stream at the bottom, but when it came to climbing back up through the woods it was hard going. (Especially when a family at the top of the last flight of steps shouted for us to come up, so we felt we had to keep going even though my legs felt like jelly!!!


Holly Berries

The last of the Blackberries

The bark of this tree was amazing!

We both had rosy cheeks when we'd finished our walk

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Autumn in the garden

Early October was very damp with mist at nights but now we're into mid-October and it's bright, sunny days and very cold nights - we had to scrape the frost off the windscreen this morning! I've done a little bit of work in the garden. There is still plenty of colour and interest in the garden and plenty of jobs to be getting on with. I've done a bit of tidying up and pruning in the front garden and we dug up (with the aid of a circular saw !!) a root which had travelled at least six feet under the lawn from the big cherry tree - hopefully it won't decide to fall over in the next heavy winds!
Centre of one of the flowers on the baby Echinacea plant

Baby echinacea with purple hebe in the background

Slightly enlarged conifer bed at the left hand side of the garden

One of my little acers seems to have given up and died, there are a few leaves left alive but the rest have shrivelled, perhaps not enough water? so I've left it in its pot on the patio and will hope for the best. I decided to take the other one out of its' pot and plant it in the garden. We enlarged the small conifer bed slightly and managed to squeeze it in there. We also moved my little blue fir tree (which will probably grow to 30ft!! in a few years time), first up on to the back of the rockery, but it didn't look happy, then into the left hand border. (We had to use a pick axe to make the planting hole big enough due to stones and roots from the trees and the hedge) My new highly perfumed old fashioned 'Rosa Mary Rose' has got 5 buds, I didn't expect any this year and I'm waiting for the first flower to open up - if it doesn't open soon I will cut this bud and take it indoors to encourage it!
I've got a good crop of berries for the birds, they really brighten up the corner of the garden
I've taken out most of the bedding plants and put in lots of miniature daffodils and winter pansies. I dug up the carnations and have put them in the front garden with some of the lavender plants which were getting a bit leggy. I took cuttings of red and white geraniums and also repotted three of the best ones from the pots on the patio. They are all doing OK in the utility room, but the fuschia cuttings didn't take at all.

The right hand side of the garden. The patio roses are still producing nice flowers, but one of the dward conifers in the small bed has died.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

September in the garden...

Hello, September has arrived. The last few months has been declared as officially the wettest summer since records began in the UK, typical that now it is September the sun is shining!
This is Andrea again, recording the events in our garden. Mam has been in hospital for a small operation, she's back home and recovering now but obviously no gardening or computing for a while so I'll be in charge of the blog for a little while :)

Our free sunflowers thanks to the birds, they very kindly dropped seeds from the bird table directly into our patio pots!

This is our new clematis that we bought in the market in Hexham a few weeks ago, my Dad finally got around to putting up a new piece of trellis for it to grow up - poor thing has been struggling to stay upright in the horrible weather we've been having lately.

Before Mam went into hospital we had an adventure in my mini cooper to Harrogate to visit the RHS garden, Harlow Carr. We spent a lovely afternoon with the added luxury of sunshine and a cake from Betty's teashop.

Then, after we had walked around the gardens we popped into the plant nursery and bought an old fashioned rose called 'Mary Rose', it's pink with a beautiful old rose perfume. A blue geranium called Rozanne also jumped into our trolley as well as an Echinacea purpurea 'Maxima', we had admired all of these plants growing around the garden so the little mini car was packed to it's capacity on the journey home.

I'll pop back in soon to keep the garden blog updated, love from Andrea xx