Friday, 20 May 2016

A Walk in Nut Wood

An opportunity to escape the current frenetic pace of my life for a brief few hours brought me to Nut Wood 

and a chance to reconnect with Nature,

including some tree hugging.

Typically on my first real free day for what seems like eternity, the weather had turned and the skies were littered with a smattering of grey clouds;

 but in the wood with the leaf clad branches tightly interwoven above us, the uninspiring sky was hidden from sight and a verdant light lit up the dappled shade of the undergrowth.

Beneath the lush green leafy canopy

 the air was full of a cacaphony of birdsong. 

At first there was a sense of peace and stillness until the realisation that all around in the foliage and high up amongst the tree tops, tiny song birds darted hither and thither, miraculously avoiding colliding in mid-flight. 

(I wondered if perhaps there is an avian form of air traffic control?)

I tried in vain to photograph them, but they were too quick and their movements so swift. 

I had all but given up when at the edge of the wood my attention was drawn to a brightly coloured chaffinch loudly singing in the tree top,

 who continued to sing as he perched, 

whilst posing quite unabashed for me.

A second chaffinch stared curiously down at me, 

his beak full of food.

We walked further into Nut Wood. 

A solitary headstone, its legend undecipherable - perhaps marking the grave of a much loved pet, peered through the grass at the foot a tree.

Frothy Cow Parsley brushed against our legs,

 the creamy white flowers like a deep lace trimming at the base of the trees.

A heady scent of hawthorn blossoms sweetly pervaded the tranquil air and

cherry blossom lay scattered on the ground like white confetti.

Bluebells carpeted the woodland floor

and velvety moss-covered logs lay half hidden 

beneath the curling fronds of ferns.


that appeared to twinkle like little stars 

were delicately sprinkled amongst the long grass,

invoking visions of flower fairies with gauzy wings 

dancing in this magical glade.

(Mr Long Suffering was visibly revolted at this observation - his manliness affronted by such fey talk!)

I refrained from pointing out to him the white feather that floated down in front of me into a patch of clover.........

The path led us out of the wood

where out of the shade of the trees 

bright yellow buttercups spattered the emerald green of the grass.

Emerging from the wood -

 a view over the lough 

to the yachts anchored at the nearby yacht club.

Swallows swooped low as they flew down 

from the roofs of ramshackle old stone buildings 

located on the periphery of the wood,

over the walled garden 

and surrounding fields. 

Walking in Nut Wood was as though being in an enchanted land; but reality prevails and although I had temporarily escaped my stresses, I could not escape forever and so it was with reluctance that I had to leave the Wood and return once more to the real world.


Friday, 6 May 2016

Where Are You?

Where are you?

Evie peers through the French windows looking for me, wondering where I am and where I have been. March and April have passed by in a flurry; a blur of nothingness and I wonder why I am so exhausted when I feel that there is nothing to show for my efforts. 

However today, the sun has come out, the garden is alive - poised and on the verge of bursting forth with blooms and blossoms. Evie miaows to me, urging me to shut down the computer; put down my book; leave the mundane and never ending chores and join her in the garden to relish the changes that have taken place over the past few months.

I only have a few moments Evie, (I am so stretched for time these days) but let's see a little of what is happening in the garden.....

Blossoms smother the Crab Apple tree that only a few weeks ago was a bare stick protruding from the ground.

French Lavender "Regal Splendour" trails a rich purple flower down the chimney pots at the top of the garden;

while the pale blue delicate flowers of the prostrate Rosemary hang over the sides of a different set of chimney pots, located beside the shed.

An upright Rosemary is also in flower alongside a climbing Gertrude Jekyll Rose, beneath the bathroom window.

Dotted around the garden, flopping over steps and the granite cobbled lined gravel path are the little daisy (the parent plant brought carefully home from a trip to Cornwall) - the first flowers like tiny yellow/green suns with white sunbeams.

To the left of the pergola a dove cote perches on a tree trunk around which a white clematis has begun to scramble. 

A few weeks ago, I watched from the French windows as a sweet pair of Blue Tits spent a morning exploring the dovecote trying to work out whether it would make a good home for them to nest. Eventually they came to the realisation that it was too big for their needs and they relocated a short distance away to the hedge at the back of the garden. 

Rose buds are prolific on the rose bushes; the welcome warm rays of the sun teasing and coaxing the buds to burst into full bloom.

A serious infestation of caterpillars is a continuous challenge for me, wreaking devastation upon the rose outside of the bedroom French windows. I am at my wits end with these pesky wrigglers and have tried both pedantically prising them from their cocoons of wrapped up rose leaves and upon acknowledging that this was a lost cause, I resorted to chemicals. Neither has worked and the caterpillars seem to hatch and breed like rabbits; destroying the new leaf growth of the poor rose with a vengeance. If only those Blue Tits would notice this abundant food source, but so far they have not shown any interest - or else the caterpillars are hatching quicker than they can eat!

I am desperate now, so if anyone has any solutions to this problem I would love to hear from you. (Answers particularly welcome from the lovely Monty Don and the great expert on roses - David Austin!)

 The small Rowan tree in the corner of the garden is covered in a soon to emerge froth of flowers, that in a few months time will become gorgeous pink berries among the autumnal leaves.

Foxgloves are already blooming; this one with multiple stems tucked beneath the shrub rose "Darcey Bussell".

In front of La Petite Maison is Erysimum "Bowles Mauve"; a splash of colour between the silvery greys and greens of the Sage and the Artemesia.

Lastly, at the end of the driveway, 

an ivy-leaved Toadflax has taken hold and happily rooted between the granite cobble wall. 

Well Evie - my time to enjoy the garden has run out for the moment, I must return to those mundane and time consuming tasks that life is throwing ever more increasingly at me.

I will join you again though very soon as I allow myself some more time to enjoy the garden!