End of Month View: September 2012

I know we English are famous for talking about the weather, and our blogs are proof of that. Most of us have made mention of the peculiar summer we have had. This September we had a short Indian Summer which ended in the highest rainfall for 30 years followed by overflowing rivers and subsquent floods.

Despite the odd weather, I love September, the light is clearer than any other month, the mornings are sharp and cold, with a teaser of frost if we are unlucky, and by the middle of the day it is really quite warm.

The soil in the garden, a heavy clay, is rock solid in the heat and plasticine when wet so very difficult to manage. In the last few days, after heavy rain, I have planted some spring bulbs and wallflowers, which I bought in bundles for £1.95 a bundle, from a local shop. I mixed some grit into the soil to prevent it getting too claggy and now I am watching them carefully, hoping that they are going to pick up as they are not looking happy at the moment.

Whilst on my hands and knees planting, I noticed some tiny seedlings under the Cerinthe and am not sure if to leave them or carefully re-pot them and remove them to the greenhouse over the winter.

The raspberries are nearly over so my next job will be to cut out the old canes to make room for new ones next year. They have done exceptionally well this year.

The vegetables in the raised bed are nearly over. All the carrots have gone, and the broad beans were over sometime ago. The Swiss Chard is just adding colour, I have hardly used any of the chard and doubt if I will grow it again next year.

As for the Courgettes, from bemoaning that they were doing nothing all of a sudden they burst into life and I have had more than I can eat so have been giving them away to neighbours and work colleagues.

This is the first year I have grown leeks and they are doing fine. I am tempted to pull a few up and use them as baby leeks, or perhaps I should wait it out until they become a decent size, but then I could do both.

I have started the onslaught on the ivy, with the help of my friend and neighbour and her partner, who wielded the electric hedge cutter, we made inroads into the ivy on the right side of the garden. The rest of it around the other two sides of the garden still needs to be attacked. It is beginning to bear fruit now and the faint whiff of the ivy is noticeable and shortly will become much stronger.

Removing most of the ivy has a lot of pros and cons. The birds love the berries and with the cold weather just around the corner it will provide them with food, also they like to nest in it. However, it is leaching the goodness out of the soil, which is one of the reasons I think the garden has not done so well this year, and it stops the sun in the winter making it very shady.

I have one very shady corner which doesn’t need any sun and the damp weather has sent the ferns into overdrive.

Also in this corner is the holly tree, which is normally covered in berries, but last year they dropped off almost overnight and the leaves developed brown blisters, so I cut out most of the damaged branches. This year, it looks healthy but there are only a couple of branches with some very sad looking berries.

Looking around, whilst preparing this review, I saw a few jobs that must be tackled soon. One is the honeysuckle that has wound itself high up into the branches of the Elderflower (Sambucus Nigra).

The Montbretia (Crocosmia) is flattened and becoming a wonderful, snug, dark, home for the slugs and snails to hide under. I need to pull a lot of it up now and replant the bulbs around the garden. Nothing seems to deter Montbretia from growing, I even threw some on a rubbish heap one year and they took root and I found them happily growing as though it was the best place in the world.

The front garden always seems to look after itself, although the magnificent Lilac bush was not so magnificent this year, with only blooms on the top branches. These branches then started to die and it was looking very sorry for itself, also the leaves have developed mildew. Whether it is the right time of the year or not, I tackled it with a pair of loppers a few days ago, taking out all of the dead and old branches and reducing the height by about 3 ft. There are lots of new bud nodules on the healthier looking branches so with a bit of luck it will flower next year. All of the rubbish I then cut up and placed in my NEW garden waste wheelie bin. Our Council rent them out at £57 a year, which is not cheap but the other alternative is buying brown paper garden sacks at 60p a sack or countless trips queuing at the refuse tip at weekends. The trouble with this bin, though, is that it is enormous and takes up a lot of room down the side of the house.

There is an old wall between me and my neighbours out of which grows a very vigorous Cotoneaster, goodness knows where it gets its strength from. The Skimmia, as always, is looking good and the Hydrangea is turning a marvellous antique colour, so all in all there is a definate red theme running through the front.

The sunflowers, despite being ravaged by snails, are still producing flowers but much smaller this time and really quite pretty. I noticed too that the Dahlia which I had given up on has several buds on it, so that will be something to photograph for a post in the next few weeks perhaps.

Well, that just about rounds up the garden for September. Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting this monthly meme. Please take time to visit her blog and read some of the other EOMVs for September, it is fascinating to see how different other gardens are coping in the same weather conditions.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Beach Huts and Fishing Boats

I’ve just had a “holiday-at-home” and come to the conclusion that it’s important (for me anyway) that a proper vacation away is infinitely more beneficial than a week at home.   It has not been at all restful, mainly because of the constant reminder of jobs that need to be done.  It’s been a busy week, whereas if I had actually packed a suitcase and taken off, I would have had meals cooked for me, visited places of interest and finished the evening sitting in a bar with a large gin and tonic (or two).    As it is, I have decorated my lounge, paid several trips to the recycling/rubbish tip, been out shopping and bought things I didn’t really need and managed one day in the garden.   The fact that it rained most days stopped me from spending all my time in the garden, which probably would have been more relaxing, albeit it hard work.

Many people may see living on the Sussex coast,  there is need to go on holiday with the sea just under a 10 minute walk away, a walk I don’t do often enough.   Yesterday, with a holiday perspective,  I  took my camera to the seafront with the idea that I would write a post with lots of photos,  introducing you all to the 5.5 miles of  Worthing coastline which runs  from Ferring and Lancing.

I took lots of photos, but there were dark clouds in the sky and the sun was coming in and out, making the lighting difficult.  I played with the exposure and what I thought were going to be good and exciting photos, were either over exposed or too dark.  Disappointing.

Today the weather is glorious, the sun is shining , without a cloud in the sky and this morning I went down to the sea again to give my idea another go.

All along the sea front there are white beach huts in rows set up on high ground, above the shingle beach to one side and an expanse of green sward, where families gather for picnics.    On a windy day, you will find windsurfers and kitesurfers with their paraphernalia laid out on the grass.

The photos of the huts below I took on Friday, you can see how stormy the sky looked.

What a difference a day makes.   The sun brings out the World and his wife so I had to wait a while for a break between people and their dogs walking along the path,  to take this photo.  I allowed the painter to remain where he was!

I would dearly love to own a beach hut.   These sell for between £8,000 and £12,000 which is astronomical for what is ostensibly a garden hut in a prime location.   The drive from Ferring towards the main part of Worthing, is one of my favourites, looking over the grassy area rising to the (mostly) pristine white huts evenly spaced with benches in between.   What we see in photographs is a very personal thing, but I love the one below and think I’ll have it made into a canvas.  Something about it reminds me of Stonehenge, although I can’t think why!

I can’t write a post about the seaside without including photos of the sea, so here is a selection of the many shots I took both yesterday and today.  The sun was really sparkling on the sea, and if you concentrate you may just be able to hear the swishing of the shingle as the sea washes over it and retreats ready to roll in again for another onslaught.

Worthing beach is very susceptible to seaweed and on days when the sea has been very rough, the ‘aroma’ of seaweed wafts around the town – not always very pleasant.  It lies thick on the shingle, making walking to the water’s edge difficult and in the summer if you feel the urge for a paddle, it wraps its slimy self around your ankles.   However, when you really look at it, the variety of shapes and colours is fascinating.

I can’t complete a post about our coastline without photos of the fishing boats.  These you will find dotted on the edge of the beach at the Ferring end and again at the East Worthing/Lancing end.  Fishing used to be the mainstay of the Worthing economy in the 19th century and even today you can buy freshly caught fish of the day from the fishermen in the car parks dotted along the way.

Whilst there is plenty of parking in the road from Ferring to Worthing,  there are double white lines on the road between Worthing and Lancing.  It meant I couldn’t complete my photo tour for you but this last photo is taken from what is called “Splash Point” and you can see how the bay runs around to Lancing, with Shoreham and Brighton in the background.   You can probably tell from the sky that this was another of the photos taken on Friday.

I hope you enjoyed this taster of the  Worthing coastline, it has certainly reignited for me the reasons why I live here.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Friday Flowers and a Special Visitor

It’s Friday and time for Friday Flowers.   There is  definite pink theme running through the garden.  The hydrangea and spirea I have not shown in this post because I wanted to concentrate on the most spectacular colour at the moment.

Whilst there is an abundance  of white Japanese Anemones all around the garden, the few dusky pink anemones are holding their own and becoming more prolific year on year.

The Sedum is turning from their pale rosy pink to a magnificent dark, almost burgundy colour and the Penstemons are flowering again.

The last week, we have been deluged with rain, it’s apparently been the highest rainfall in September for 30 years.  This does mean some of the plants have taken a real battering, as the rain has fallen heavily on them.    The Asters, also known as Michelmas Daisies, are some that have suffered so, sadly they don’t look as good as they usually do at this time of the year.   However, this doesn’t detract from the shocking pink which lights up the bottom flower bed.

There are a few more flowers on the Scabiosa ‘Crown’ which means there will be more chance of selecting some seeds than I originally thought with the single flower I found last week.

Then, as I was about to go inside, I turned around and found a beautiful Red Admiral butterfly sitting quietly on the Asters.   Until now I have not been successful in capturing the very few butterflies in the garden this year and this one seemed quite happy for me to photograph it.

I am still saving for a proper Macro lens (take note Father Christmas) and the above butterfly photos were taken using a combination of +1 and +2 close up filters.   The camera was set at ISO 400 F8 with exposure times of 1/80 and 1/100.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

100WCGU Week #59: Random Thoughts of a Man Lost.

It’s been some time now since I have entered into the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups. Frustratingly any creative inspiration seemed to have disappeared, that is until now. Julia’s photo prompt triggered my imagination, so here I am again my entry into this week’s 100WCGU.

Random Thoughts of a Man Lost

Great, that will teach me to ignore my instincts.

It’s cold and windy, but that view is fabulous and it is tranquil up here, every cloud does have a silver lining.

If I look down I can see where I am supposed to be.

I didn’t want to go into the crater anyway even if the volcano is extinct.

If I had a parachute I could float down, that would give them a shock.

I wonder if they have noticed I am missing.

I knew taking the left turn was wrong. That’s the last time I buy a cheap Sat Nav.

The literary talents of those who enter the 100WCGU are always very impressive so please pay Julia’s blog a visit and read them.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

The WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge this week has been set by Cheri Lucas and this is how she set the challenge.

Solitary. I love capturing a person in a quiet and often unexpected moment. These kinds of images can be reflective, mysterious, or even sad, conjuring strong emotions and stirring up stories in my head. ….I experienced a few moments of silence as I watched a woman walk to the end of the room.  We were strangersyet alone, together.  A solitary moment, frozen with my lens.

Share a picture that means SOLITARY to you!

First, as usual, I looked up the definition of SOLITARY:                                    [sol-i-ter-ee]  .

adjective
1. alone; without companions; unattended: a solitary passer-by.
2. living alone; avoiding the society of others: a solitary existence.
3. by itself; alone: one solitary house.
4. characterized by the absence of companions: a solitary journey.
5.   done without assistance or accompaniment; done in solitude: solitary chores.

* * * * *

Then, as usual, I took my camera out into the garden to seek something that would fit with the definition.  I told myself there must be something I can use to incorporate the gardening theme I like to run through the weekly challenges.   Sure enough, if you look hard enough for something you will find it.
Last week, in my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post I wrote that I wanted to include a photo of the beautiful Passion Flower growing outside my kitchen door, but sadly all the flowers were over.   The first thing I saw this morning as I walking out of the kitchen, tucked away under a lot of leaves, I found one SOLITARY Passion Flower bud.
Earlier this year I bought a selection of seeds from Higgledy Garden.  All, bar the Scabious, were a great success, that is until a few days ago when I noticed that it had one SOLITARY flower.  Fingers crossed it will be enough for some seeds, to enable more flowers next year.
My fourth photo is also in the SOLITARY theme.

I should never be surprised at how tough roses are.  For a few years I have had a lovely, fragrant, red rose in a large pot (I can’t remember what it’s called) which I thought had died.  Last week, I cut out all the obviously dead branches, pruned it hard and put the pot to one side.  On my wanderings around this morning, I suddenly noticed it had produced new leaves on a SOLITARY branch.  It does look a little strange but at least it is alive.
Why not hop over to the Weekly Photo Challenge and take a look at how others have interpreted SOLITARY.