Sunday, 24 April 2011

ancient woodland walk

Carpets of wildflowers are a joyful sight at this time of year in the ancient woodland at Wyken Vineyards, sparkling clear sunlight creating a beautifully dappled canvas beneath the low canopy of trees.

The scale of the woodland feels intimate and calm as we meander away from the main trail, stepping amongst thick leafy undergrowth to reach swathes of bluebells and Greater Stitchwort.

A slight aroma of garlic permeates the still warm air as we come across a mass of Ransomes wild garlic.

Not a single soul is encountered on our walk.  It feels as if this place is just for us - so peaceful and special.   Our voices are in harmony with the accompanying birdsong and the occasional gentle rustling of undergrowth a reminder of the myriad unseen creatures who live in this idylic environment.  

And then in the distance we hear the faint low hum of a glider. Slowly growing in intensity as it approaches directly above us on its journey through the pure blue sky.

Above the canopy enclosing us in this timeless place.  

We can only imagine the stunning view from that glider on this perfect day.


This lovely cottage, along with three others on the estate are rented on long term leases.  It's perfectly placed, with woodland to the rear and facing southwards over the 7acre slope of vineyards.

Imagine having this view from your window!

We make our way back through the woods out into the paddock and head to the Leaping Hare Restaurant for an early lunch of Eggs Benedict and a cooling glass of Elderflower cordial.  We sit on the sun-baked terrace, under the shade of a huge umbrella - by this time the termperature is around 27 degrees!  Unbelievably warm for April and I don't know about you, but I find myself yearning for some gentle Spring rain ....!

We then have just enough time for a wander around the small Farmer's Market to pick up some provisions before the traders pack up at 1pm.   A pretty perfect Saturday morning.

Happy Easter!  Enjoy the lovely sunshine.

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

spring clean

Sitting Room

I've never noticed the nearly identical swirly pattern on the carpet and cushion cover! 


The cottage had a little bit of a spring-clean today, and its looking all nice and sparkly.  Just look at the shine on my beloved SMEG fridge!
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Monday, 18 April 2011

the first lilacs

"In the dooryard fronting an old farmhouse near the white-washed palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle - and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-coloured blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break."

~ by Walt Whitman ~


On my walk through the woods I found the lilac shrubs in full beautiful bloom.  There are a bank of them along the perimeter of the wood, they look out on to open fields; south-west facing onto a very sunny aspect.  I just couldn't resist picking a bunch for the cottage.  Unusually for me, I didn't have my camera with me so sorry but no photos in situ.  Next time.

The lilac in the garden continues to tease me with its tiny dark buds ....however one morning, and very soon I think, I will step out of the door to find it flowering and wafting its evocative and heady scent around the garden .... its beauty short, and very sweet.

Lilacs and my copy of Persephone Biannually - perfect partners for a coffee break before I start work.

It promises to be a warm and sunny April morning.

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Thursday, 7 April 2011

garden notes

Newly planted Honeysuckle Lonicera x tellmanniana
Vernacular name : Woodbine

I have just planted a Honeysuckle in the garden.  I love their fragrance, quite heady and wild, and attractive to bees and butterflies of course and moths too, attracted by the evening warmth and the Honeysuckle's fruity fragrance which is particularly strong as the sun sets.

I've always loved walking alongside the hedgerows and breathing in their intoxicating scent! I'm looking forward to summer and its only the beginning of April!

Being woodland edge plants Honeysuckles prefer to have their roots in cool, moist shade but with their heads in the sunlight, so I'm hoping that I've chosen a suitable place in which to plant it.  Any woodland climber is instinctively climbing through the shade to reach for the light making hedgerows the perfect location, their new growth sprouting out in purple-stemmed tendrils above the rest of the hedge with the main stems tucked away in the cool shade.

An hour or two of sunshine in late afternoon, to heat up the oils in the flowers, will capture the evening fragrance and attract those moths!

Elsewhere in the garden, its really greening up with shots of colour here and there like these lovely little beauties.  The tulips are getting ready to bloom also.

In the potager I have sowed Pea Misty, the remaining Winter Salad leaves, Red Sun shallots, Onion Karma, Swiss Chard Galaxy, Lollo Rossa lettuce and Spicey Salad leaves (looked interesting on the packet!), all interspersed with lines of nasurtium.   Runner Beans and sweet peas are planted at the base of the central arbour and will hopefully be scrambling up and away by June; hard to be believe right now with the raised beds covered in netting to deter the wood pigeons as well as you know who!

I lost a Rosemary during the very cold winter but this one survived and is thriving. I plan to add more thymes throughout the summer, they seem more than happy planted in the gravel.    This part of the garden is very hot and dry, the perfect place for even more lavender as well.  As far as I'm concerned a garden can never have enough lavender!

Here are just a few views from around the garden today.  It was very bright so apologies for the bleached out look of some of the photos. 

Have a great weekend everyone!




Climbing rose

Rose and lavender
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Monday, 4 April 2011

Welcome April

I have seen the Lady April bringing
the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the
soft warm April rain.

  ~John Masefield ~

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