Of Hawks and Hobbits; Borderline Gardens and Bedroom Firetails.

Gallery

This gallery contains 46 photos.

The day began with a flash. A brown flash. Or should that be a streak? (Word selection has suddenly become much more important…). I’d nipped back to pick up the metal watering can outside the back door, when a fair … Continue reading

Bye, Bye, Bees. Cuckoos and Camassias. Squashing and Pumpkins.

Gallery

This gallery contains 52 photos.

How big is a bee’s brain? Clearly much smaller than my ‘pea-brained’ derogatory insult sometimes hurled at siblings in the battles of teenage youth. Although it seems from quite recent archaeological discoveries that one of our ancestor primates (Aegyptopithecus zeuxis) from … Continue reading

Bottle Bank Recycled; Why Do I Do it? Spring Song Symphony – with Warbler.

Gallery

This gallery contains 50 photos.

Sublime songs have serenaded us over the last 10 days, whenever we’ve ventured into the lower parts of the garden. Initially I’d thought it was a swallow, without paying it too much attention, and then realised that the mellifluous, clear … Continue reading

Luminosity; Boiling Horn and Lifelong Learning.

Gallery

This gallery contains 52 photos.

The extraordinary sunny, dry and chilly, start to April deserves a burst of photos. Only 14 mm of rain has fallen by the 24th. The Rhododendrons are late (Bruce Brechtbill)…… the Amelanchiers have the least flower for years…… the Camellias … Continue reading

Candles in the Wind – The delights of Snow Crocuses; and Spiral Conundrum Reprise

Gallery

This gallery contains 49 photos.

How do flowers open? And close? Almost in the twinkling of an eye, and in this chilliest season of the year. The rose can’t manage it, even in the warmest of summer days – the bud unfurls gradually on one … Continue reading

Dine With Bee; Snow and Colour Drops; Moon and Starls; Cutting back on Honesty, and Gardening as Therapy.

Gallery

This gallery contains 33 photos.

Contemporary science, pollinator decline, the theory of evolution and crowd funding are all linked with this plea. Please consider supporting the team behind the Urban Pollinators research at Bristol university with their upcoming “Come Dine with Bee” project. Click here … Continue reading

Christmas Cheer, Boxing Day Blooms and Golden Hares

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Few words here. Just a record of this Christmas’ unseasonal flowers which seem to match the sentiments of the first verse read, snuggled up on Christmas morning, once the paperback was retrieved from the stockinged toe and fell open at … Continue reading

Red Robbo and the Waning Stain, and Christmas Cookery.

Gallery

This gallery contains 27 photos.

First sharpen your knife. The Kerfuffle. The Catch. The Short Walk. And afterwards, the time to reflect. And this year, with greater numbers of birds brought on from their yellow igloooed kitchen incubation and coaxed from tough dry shells, through … Continue reading

Red Star Days; Tears, Clowns and Bees; Splitting Witches and First Frosts.

Gallery

This gallery contains 52 photos.

Here we go again. It’s the time of year for seeing red… Is it a coincidence, or is the frenetic pre Christmas activity for many, seen as the ideal cover? Whether it’s a conscious decision or not, the developers (another … Continue reading

Starry, Starry Days; Spindle, Stewartia, Sycamore and Samarai; and A Historic Trio.

Gallery

This gallery contains 51 photos.

Gonzalo got me gazing skywards. Frankly, not much excuse was needed as I repeatedly rammed the digging bar into the shrubbery shale, in patterns as close as possible to the 5 dots on a dice side. I’ve slowly learned that … Continue reading

Pomona Pleasures, Harvests and Culls; Multicultural Bulb Harmony; and Firing Up the Greenhouse (Part 12 of Heating a Greenhouse With Leaf Mould Compost).

Gallery

This gallery contains 57 photos.

As autumnal tints continue to briefly colour parts of the garden, it’s time to record one of the successes of this year’s exceptionally dry summer…Growing apples successfully at 800 feet, with annual rainfall of up to 83 inches (2012), was … Continue reading

Painting with Putty and Tupping Time; Dragonfly Dipping and Smashing; Picton Perfection.

Gallery

The yard at dawn is quiet. The inveterate chatterers have left, reminding me that the swallows’ leaving and arrival are very fixed annual seasonal events which hardly change from year to year. In 2014 a switch to winds from a Northerly direction … Continue reading

Bee Respectful; A Teatime Swarm; and Moths, Iron and Funnels.

Gallery

This gallery contains 60 photos.

10 days ago, honeybees returned to Gelli Uchaf full time. They’ve been visiting regularly, but a surprise phone call on Monday heralded our neighbour Andy, dropping off a hive he’d collected from higher up the mountain, just after teatime. When … Continue reading

As Dull as Ditch Water.

Gallery

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Our recently revealed, wet meadow’s old ditches… Leached out, decades old, decayed detritus. Memories of previous existence. Dusts rainbowed over muddy sludge. Reincarnated by recent rain. Colours bleed. Animation returns. Dull? As Ditch Water? Death, or Life?

All of a Flutter, Flap, and Buzz – Vanessa, Cynthia, Poly and David; Lining Up and Tripping Out.

Gallery

This gallery contains 45 photos.

August 5th saw us pass the annual ‘Welsh fifteen moment’, when more than 15 butterflies simultaneously appear around our multiple Buddleja davidii bushes (B. davidii is named after the Basque missionary and explorer in China, Father Armand David). As happened … Continue reading

Restoration Rain; Many Blooms Still Linger There; Hunting Hydrangeas; Manual Hay Baler – a Design

Gallery

This gallery contains 55 photos.

The novelty of it all. Standing under an umbrella. Listening to, and smelling, the rain… I’d made a second trip down to the stream to photograph the novelty of that. Revived by barely 10 mm of overnight rain, it was … Continue reading

Time to Fly; Plus Couleur et Plus Pluie; Rattling Up the Numbers.

Gallery

This gallery contains 46 photos.

Writing this up under oppressive heat and humidity with not a breath of wind as we wait for much needed rain. On June 27th I finally got round to taking some photos of this year’s swallow brood. Unusually, one of … Continue reading

Rainbow Flowers; On the Make; Heating a Greenhouse with Compost Update (Part 11)

Gallery

This gallery contains 28 photos.

Blog Catch Up Time. 13 days with no rain. 15 days, but for a brief shower which, moving East, arced the landscape with a fantastic full rainbow, exceeding my wide angle lens’ ability to frame it, and provided the image … Continue reading

Plant Tapestries and Meadow Management; Vespine Delights – Garlic and Honey; A Crock’s Tool.

Gallery

This gallery contains 88 photos.

With so much to look at in the garden over the last fortnight, why devote most of an overdue post to meadow management thoughts? Simply because it’s difficult to rival the beauty and diversity of a traditional hay meadow, and … Continue reading

Losing Control; Honesty is a Virtue; Heat and Light or Society’s Trash?

Gallery

This gallery contains 49 photos.

The curse of strategic gear failure, in the form of knee and back issues have struck. So typing or camera contortions are limited. Let alone serious gardening. But this does focus the mind on the illusion of a false sense … Continue reading

The Missing Senses; Easter Hunts and Bleeding Hearts; and A (For Now?) Shared Secret.

Gallery

This gallery contains 53 photos.

What a fabulous but exhausting fortnight we’ve enjoyed in the garden. Just compensation for the poor wet winter and disappointing freeze drying of last spring’s Easterlies. But how to record this in a blog? My brother Mark has told me … Continue reading

Historic Choices, Succession, and Digging up Gold

Gallery

This gallery contains 49 photos.

As usual, my post title was dreamed up over a week ago, but to my great delight some internet searching last night has given it a ‘double edged’ or even ‘Halberdian’ meaning. To encourage you to follow through to the … Continue reading

Coloured Cues; Mossy Mulch; and Easter Eggs

Gallery

This gallery contains 53 photos.

For now the turkey pollinating brush can take a rest in the kitchen, job done on the nectarines and apricots for this year. But as the blossom faded and there was that expectant wait to see whether any fruit had … Continue reading

Belly Down and Buzzing; Hellebores’ Hurrah. NGS Snowdrop and Spring Bulbs Garden ‘Fourth Week’

Gallery

This gallery contains 53 photos.

After weeks with no dry weather (1089mm rain for the 3 ‘winter’ months here!), West Wales weather finally reverted to normal (?) and has given us a sun drenched and completely dry 10 days. And the very first sunny day … Continue reading

Toms; Toms; Toms; TOMS. Colour In the Kitchen; and NGS Snowdrop Garden and Spring Bulbs 2014 ‘Third Week’ at Gelli Uchaf

Gallery

This gallery contains 66 photos.

I must spend a bit more time featuring the fabulous Crocus tommasinianus, which is a mainstay of our spring garden. Named in honour of a Hungarian botanist Muzio de Tommasini, it’s native to parts of Hungary, Bulgaria and the old … Continue reading

NGS Snowdrop Garden and Spring Bulbs 2014 – ‘Second Week’ at Gelli Uchaf

Gallery

This gallery contains 23 photos.

What a difference a few days makes at this time of the year. Particularly if you get a little sunshine. As the second in a series of mainly image based posts to record the progress of the spring bulb emergence … Continue reading

NGS Snowdrop Garden and Spring Bulbs 2014 – ‘First Week’ at Gelli Uchaf

Gallery

This gallery contains 25 photos.

Forget the wettest ever Welsh winter… February’s Fantastic Flowers are loving it and blooming at Gelli Uchaf… This by chance is my 100th post, so I’m relaxing and making it very short on words or ideas… It’s designed to capture … Continue reading

New Year, New Word; Crescents; Fat Buds and Excitement; and the Top 25 Snowdrops.

Gallery

This gallery contains 33 photos.

SUPERHYDROPHOBICITY. Even the WordPress spell check flags it up as a new or unrecognised word. It’s nothing to do with our extreme dislike of the current run of wet and windy weather that gave us record rainfall in December 2013 … Continue reading

AAA – Avoid All Acronyms; The Dragon Sleeps and The Sky People are Coming.

Gallery

This gallery contains 37 photos.

A much heralded Geminid meteorite shower round the middle of the month had me waking at 3.00am to a bedroom far too light in spite of drawn curtains and blinds. The moon was still high in the sky. (Click here … Continue reading

Seeing Red; Gandalf the Grey; The End of The Seasons; and Peace Music

Gallery

This gallery contains 58 photos.

The skies have frequently been amazing of late, mainly in brief interludes at dawn and dusk, between grey, mild, and increasingly wet days…The sun is surely the same (?), but the cloud effects and the colours have been dramatic. Like … Continue reading

Hail, Queen Olga; Fighting Ferns; Cold Shoulders and Dark Heralds.

Gallery

This gallery contains 50 photos.

It seemed quite appropriate to have a heavy hail shower 10 days ago, to greet the first open snowdrops of the year, which perhaps otherwise could have seemed out of place in a still largely autumnal landscape … I’d planted these … Continue reading

Elegance and Perspectives; The Greater Perfection; Desire and Sensuality; and The Fall.

Gallery

This gallery contains 57 photos.

First frost last night. First flock of starlings at dusk this evening, hundreds whooshing west over the yard at dusk as I gave up on outside work for the day. And at last the leaves left on many trees and … Continue reading

Links and Visits; Hums, Drifts, Rattles, Hangings and Seasons

Gallery

This gallery contains 36 photos.

After recent comments following a previous post, how do I rattle through the multitude of topics I intend to cover without seeming even more incoherent than usual? The link HAS to be synchronicity. Click here for a brief resume. John, … Continue reading

Entomological Explosion; Growing Tomatoes Organically in a Garden Greenhouse (Heating a Greenhouse with an External Compost Bed- Part 8); and Egg on Your Face

Gallery

This gallery contains 51 photos.

Almost exactly a year ago the same issue seems to have preoccupied my gardening notes. Midges. After several days when midge numbers increased daily to the point that I had to use a deterrent spray, I’d wandered outside first thing. … Continue reading

Hay in the Rain and Sun; Flowers and Coherent Gardens; and The Right White.

Gallery

This gallery contains 45 photos.

Possibly my longest gap between posts since I’ve started this blog. Why? Well perhaps the teeniest disappointment at not winning at the Hay Festival, (clearly I have a small residue of competitive spirit which I thought had long since left … Continue reading

Calon Aur; Power and Glory; Soil and Egg Shifting.

Gallery

This gallery contains 39 photos.

I’ve just come in and peeled off the water proofs after the morning stock round on a bitter, miserable morning. Lashing rain and gale force cold South Easterlies. No sign of ‘March going out like a lamb’ as I catch … Continue reading

New Life, New Tricks; Freeze Dried Mushrooms; A Symphony of Snowdrops.

Gallery

This gallery contains 56 photos.

Winter will return next week, but for now we bask in the after glow of 3 dry WEEKS, and much new life bursting onto the scene. The frogs have dodged or diced with death via the heron, otters, and last … Continue reading

Shared Pleasures and Treasures, Startling Starlings and Busy Bees

Gallery

This gallery contains 44 photos.

Over a week without rain, so the blogging takes back seat to the logging. A long winter has taken its’ toll of our wood stocks. But a huge amount has happened in the last 2 weeks.  … (Can anyone tell … Continue reading

Caucasian Bed Fellows and Leaving Your Mark; Bees and Belts; and Red, Blue or Black (Part 6 of Autumn Leaf Mould Energy Potential – Heating a Greenhouse with an External Compost Bed).

Gallery

This gallery contains 28 photos.

Few tasks a gardener undertakes are likely to leave a mark in a century or more. Unless you happen to be a part of one of those all too rare gardening dynasties (Think perhaps of the Banks family of Hergest … Continue reading

Snow Sheep; Colour Perception In a Monochrome World; Otter Show – Snow Tunnel.

Gallery

This gallery contains 46 photos.

As I write the text, all the snow which features in the images below has finally melted, and been washed away in further deluges, preluded by a brief power outage inducing storm on Saturday, with savage thunder and lightning which … Continue reading

Ice Vases and Snow; Golden Slumbers; Heavenly Hamamelis; New Year, New Look.

Gallery

This gallery contains 67 photos.

After taking the hair dryer to the ice encrusted satellite dish this morning, and getting connected again, I can write this post and feature an Ice Vase. Until last weekend, I didn’t know that such structures existed. But I’d been … Continue reading

The Heat Goes On (Autumn Leaf Mould Energy Potential and Heating a Greenhouse With a Compost Bed – Part 5); Unintended Consequences; Looking Back, and Forward.

Gallery

This gallery contains 24 photos.

It’s now over 7 weeks since I set up ‘The Reactor’, an external compost bed designed to heat the ‘inner zone’ in our 14 X 8 foot cedar framed greenhouse. Thanks again to Fiona’s patience and wizardry with Excel, I’m … Continue reading

Food and Frost; Trust and Goodbyes; Autumn Leaf Mould Energy Potential (Part 4 : Heating a Greenhouse with an External Compost Bed – First Month’s Experience).

Gallery

This gallery contains 34 photos.

Having been caught out by the severity of the last 2 winters, we were a bit better prepared this year, when the cold weather arrived early. The last week has been very cold, but the carrots we lifted at the … Continue reading

Patterns and Perceptions; Autumn Leaf Mould Energy Potential (Part 3 – Heating a Greenhouse with an External Compost Bed:- Design Tweaks, Internal Set Up and Initial Temperature Findings); Growth Limiting Factors.

Gallery

This gallery contains 60 photos.

To put everyone out of the suspense left after my last post, I’m going to show the starting point of the mystery image. Thanks to Carolyn for having a go at the identification. As you can see it’s an image … Continue reading

Hello November; Autumn Leaf Mould Energy Potential (Part 2 – Construction – Heating A Greenhouse with An External Compost Bed); Bat and Butterfly

Gallery

This gallery contains 32 photos.

Most of this post will be devoted to the detail of constructing ‘The Reactor’ – a compost bed designed to help to heat the greenhouse and keep it frost free over the winter. (Addendum: – There are a lot of posts … Continue reading

Autumn Leaf Colour Physiology; The Big Bulb Plant Ends, Nearly.

Gallery

This gallery contains 27 photos.

I always loved my university courses in physiology and biochemistry. I didn’t find them easy, but even all those years ago there was the realisation that life wasn’t just amazing at the whole organism or species level, but almost more … Continue reading

Insect Friendly Flowers; More Mushrooms; Lighting The Fire.

Gallery

This gallery contains 30 photos.

The last swallows have finally fled, the sun hasn’t showed for the last 3 days, the forecast shows more of the same and the nights have really drawn in, so I thought it might be appropriate to explore a topic … Continue reading

Master of None; Weed Steaming; Pink in Red; and Being in The Right Place at the Right Time

Gallery

This gallery contains 29 photos.

Butt, Tip, Slype, Wale, Scallum, Back, Belly, Rod, Dark Dicks, Light Dicks, Bodkin……. The lexicon of a new activity had to be assimilated quickly, along with practical skills when Fiona and I headed off last weekend for an intensive course … Continue reading

Lagging; Logging; Serendipitous Swarming; Blogging in Perpetuity; and Solar Chimney and Greenhouse Heat Stores

Gallery

This gallery contains 28 photos.

“Gosh, I LOVE your fabulous hips“……. “Would those be mine or Fiona’s, you’re referring to, Rosemary?” Not the conversation I was anticipating with our lagging glamorous garden guest on Friday, as we enjoyed the sunshine on a post prandial garden … Continue reading

Great Expectations; The Warmest Place; And the Value of Caged Silence

Gallery

This gallery contains 33 photos.

I had great expectations for Monday morning. A new day, week, month (just) and season. And the fact that summer had ended with an appropriate Blue Moon on the penultimate day of August seemed a good omen. (For those unfamiliar … Continue reading