Garden blogging

The Day I Glimpsed the Olympic Torch

It would be hard to miss that London is hosting the Olympic  Games this year.   It is mentioned daily in the papers and the news, whether it’s TV or radio.   The build-up has been going on for what feels like months and I, for one, will be quite pleased when it is over.  I am suffering from Olympic overload before it has begun.

I am not a sports person, although I do watch the Men’s Final at Wimbledon, and I will not turn down an invitation to a 20:20 Cricket match – that’s exciting cricket because it is short.   I have even been to football games.   However, I doubt very much that I will spend from 27 July to 12 August watching the Olympics.   I am not one of the excited many who have tickets to watch in person, actually I can’t think of anything I would like least.

As for the Olympic Torch Relay, the excitement and media hype has left me cold – until today.

The Torch reached Crawley West Sussex this morning, which is where I work.  As I left the railway station just before 9:00 I was swept up by a group of people from work who, along with the crowd, were heading towards the town centre to “watch the Torch pass by”.   It was not my intention to stand on the roadside but I felt too embarrassed, and churlish I suppose, to turn them down and head speedily towards the office.

We walked en masse towards the route and stood expectantly for about 10 minutes, before a cheer rose in the crowd and faster than I could blink, let alone position my mobile (cell) phone, the Torch passed in a flash.     I was waiting for some sort of introductory fanfare, or the herald of its arrival, but because  where we chose to stand was part of the precinct no vehicles were with the runner.

It must be something to do with mass hysteria, but I did feel a sense of excitement and yes, I will admit to even a lump in my throat and I felt as though I was going to cry.  How mad is that?!

When I got to work convinced that I had failed to capture the Flame on camera, I was pleased to find that I did have a photo, albeit it a tiny dot just to the right of a head of hair.

The idea of transporting the Olympic Flame via a relay system from Greece to the Olympic venue began in 1936.  Since the 18 May, when it arrived on our shores, it has travelled through over 1,000 villages and cities.  Historically the route symbolises human achievement and the 8,000 torch bearers chosen are inspirational people nominated by someone they know.

There were many photographs of the Torch Relay this morning published on our work Intranet.  One summed up the pride of the chosen runners.

I don’t know the torch bearer’s name, or the reason for her nomination but the look on her face says it all.

I still won’t be glued to the television during the Games, but when I am an old lady I am glad I will be able to say “I saw the 2012 Olympic Torch”.

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day, Garden blogging, Garden Meme

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – 15 July 2012

Here we are, the middle of July, and it is still raining! Occasionally the sun has broken through and when that happens it is really quite warm and actually feels like summer. My garden is like a bog, the lawn squelches when I walk on it and there is lying water on the flower beds.

As previous posts will have shown, the snails and slugs are making a feast of anything and everything in their path. Due to the lack of sunshine all the flowers are very slow to appear. I had hoped to fill this post with wonderful and colourful blooms but sadly have failed.

The roses are looking very sorry for themselves and the majority of them have decided not to flower again which is disappointing and I hope they change their minds soon.

The poppies are in tight bud as though they are afraid to take their jackets off, that is the poppies that are left standing of course, because several of them have been turned into sticks courtesy of the resident gastropods.

However, let’s be cheerful about this. There are plants that are loving this weather, one of which is the Hydrangea in the front garden, which has blooms on it bigger than your head.

I bought a Clematis Jouiania Praecox several years ago which grows on the side wall through the Compassion rose, it has tiny blue flowers and always looks impressive. This year it is rampant, so clearly another plant loving the rain.

The Daylily has also decided to flower, having been in bud for several weeks. I can’t remember what it is called but it is a pretty apricot colour and I wish I had a few more.

There are a number of other plants on the verge of blooming and had we had more sun recently would be adding lots of colour to the garden. As you will see looking at these photos, it is rare to capture blooms at the moment without raindrops on them.

Finally, below is a photograph of the bottom flower bed, with the Agapanthus, which is looking splendid this year, and the Ballerina Rose behind it.   The Astrantia is still blooming happily and the Spirea is adding much needed colour to the border.   The Cleome have tiny little buds on them so with a bit of luck, come the August GBBD I will be able to fill the post with glorious blooms.

The weather is different all around the world at the moment and there are places in the USA that have had temperatures way above the norm and very little rain. I will be interested to read all the other Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts to see how everyone is fairing in this peculiar year for weather.

Thank you Carol of May Dream Gardens for hosting this meme, which is a great way to keep a photographic diary throughout the years. Happy GBBD everyone.

© 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

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Garden blogging

Sunshine and Showers at Parham’s Garden Weekend

This year was the 19th annual garden weekend at Parham House and Garden near Pulborough in West Sussex.  I went along this morning, Sunday, on the second day with my two pals, Kate and Shan.   We arrived with boots and waterproofs, ready for whatever the weather was going to throw at us.    When the sun broke through the clouds, on occasions, it was really quite warm so our coats were on and off like yoyos.

We arrived at 10:30, when it opened, and were marshalled to the car park in a field at the top of the hill presumably with the hope cars would be less likely to get bogged down, although it was very muddy and slippery.

There were over 50 specialist nurseries and horticultural business, with a great choice of plants to buy.

I think because of the unpredictable weather and the fact that today was also the British Grand Prix and the Men’s final at Wimbledon, there were not the crowds of people that Kate and Shan had seen in previous years.    It did mean that we had plenty of room to wander around the stalls, earmark plants we would like to buy and discover new and interesting plants.   We particularly liked the Thalictrum Delavayi, a pretty tall herbaceous perennial and very ornamental.

There were a lot of Heucheras on all the stalls.   Some of the names of the Heuchera were delightful, such as Marmalade,  Berry Smoothie, Gypsy Dancer and Ginger Ale.   I didn’t buy any Heuchera, but wish now I had done.   Perhaps I will take a review of the garden at the end of the summer and plan a special bed for a display of various coloured Heuchera.

Kate and Shan each bought a small Albizia Julibrissen, known as a Silk Tree.  I had never seen one before and not only does it have a pretty, unusual flower, the leaves close up at night time.

One of the many interesting stalls was that of Plant Heritage formerly known as the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG).  There was a display of Ginger Plants Hedychium.  Although they smell like ginger and the rhizomes look like root ginger they are not used for culinary purposes.

Mindful of the time, and that we wanted to be back by 2:00 p.m. for the Wimbledon Men’s Final, we couldn’t leave Parham without a quick look at the garden.   It is a garden that needs time to wander and I will certainly re-visit it again very soon.   What struck us was how very lush the borders looked, usually at this time of the year they are beginning to look a little dry and in need of watering.

Just as we were heading back to the car the skies just opened and it hammered down, bouncing off the pavements and lying in puddles on the grass.

What did I buy?   There was only one stall that was selling a plant on my ‘Must Have’ list  and that is Cerinthe.   I also bought a Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and Penstemon ‘Garnet’.

Now all I need is for a break in the showers and time to chose the ideal location as a new home for my purchases.

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Garden blogging

Utter Destruction!

The garden is looking like a war zone at the moment.  It has come under attack from the weather and garden pests.

How can something no bigger than your thumb, and frequently only the size of your nail, cause so much destruction?   Easy, they have avaricious appetites, come out to play when it’s wet and strip anything in sight with gay abandon.    SNAILS!

I run a regular snail watch but within 24 hours my garden has been over run by these wretched gastropods.

In the front garden, they have done this to the sunflowers.

And this to the pansies.

In the back garden, one of the poppies is now a stick and I removed at least half a dozen snails from the others this morning.   Yes you can see slug pellets in the background, I have put some down in sheer desperation.   I use organic pellets, but they are only showerproof not deluge proof so clearly are not doing their job.

Despite, gravel scattered around the base of the Dahlia they have absailed their way on to the leaves.

The Centaurea doesn’t look as though it stands a chance at the moment:-

As for the broad beans, I may not be sure if I am going to like  home grown broad beans, (it’s the first time I have grown them, following a childhood abhorrence) the snails sure do:-

Needless to say the  hostas have fallen victim big time this year.  I have half a mind to pull them up and replace them with slug resistant  varieties and see if they ward off snails also.

Other pests in the garden, brought out by the damp weather are WOODLICE.   Some of you may have seen my Wordless Wednesday photo showing how my strawberries are being eaten by woodlice.   This is another photo, taken this morning, the whole plant is infested and I don’t know how to get rid of them, any suggestions are welcome:-

The third element to the garden destruction at the moment is the weather.   We are still being hit with wind and rain, with sunny days being very few and far between.  Are we ever going to have any Summer in 2012?

The poor roses are really suffering and some of my bushes have given up the ghost and refusing to flower at all.

Maybe we will have some Summer weather soon, everything will dry out and flourish again, and the snails and slugs will disappear.  In the meantime I saw this the other day which made me smile, and you have got to smile, haven’t you?


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Garden blogging, Train Journey Observations

Tuesday Train Travel Thoughts

Here we are another Tuesday.  There were very few people on the platform this morning, seems there is no rhyme or reason to passenger numbers.  Is there a holiday about?   First thing that hit me this morning,  was the tinny music emanating from a headset and echoing throughout the carriage.  I’ve had a look around and can’t see where it’s coming from so must be several rows back.  Are we a tolerant people or just adverse to confrontation?

This carriage has what I call ‘skinny’ seats, 3 seats and 2 seats, separated by a very narrow aisle.  Looking across at the 2 seats, which are facing backwards, the people sitting there look as though they are waiting for a fair ground ride to start.  Any minute now they will take off with their feet dangling in the air, screaming as they go.  Well, that will drown out the music.

There’s a lot of movement in this carriage, maybe people are decamping rather than complain about the music, which, by the way, is getting louder, I can almost hear the words now.

That’s where everyone is today, Hove – the coffee brigade, standing 3 deep on the platform.  They pile on in a massive onslaught accompanied by a chorus of squeaky seat tables as they are pulled down to take the coffees, Blackberries, iPhones and iPads.  Why do these tables squeak so?  Southern Rail please note a spot of 3 in 1 is required.

Oh no! Prawn cocktail man is sitting right opposite me, he is shovelling crisps in as though he hasn’t eaten for weeks.  At least he has finished them quickly. Whoops, spoke too soon, another pack has come out of his bag.  I must find another carriage in future.  This pack of crisps is going down as fast as the other which I suppose is a blessing.  At least the music has stopped, either they’ve got off or have been asked to turn it down.

The middle seat opposite and next to me are empty, it will be interesting to see if anyone embarking at Burgess Hill will try to squeeze in between Prawn Cocktail man and the chap on the end.  Both have encroached on to the middle seat.  The lady next to me has her coat and bag on the middle seat too.   No, people are standing now despite empty seats, funny that.

Someone has a message tone on their phone that sounds like a bicycle bell – different!

The countryside really is very pretty, this is a view from Balcombe Viaduct.

That bicycle bell is beginning to be annoying now!  Glad I am about to get off.

Another day, another dollar.

Written this morning on my iPad on the train to Three Bridges.