A Bits and Pieces Garden (Part2)

Date: 5 September 2016

This long term garden in the making has had some successes as well as some less successful ideas. We planted some vegetables including lettuces and spinach. In the pink and purple squares we also planted some peppers and some kale. Unfortunately we didn’t take into account the neighbours cats plus the fact that having a wildlife garden means that all the plant eating insects think the lettuce etc was provided especially for them! To complete their gourmet meal they also ate the peppers and the spinach and kale! We do have 2 sweet potato plants but again the leaves are a bit like string vests.  
On the other hand we planted some hanging cherry tomato plants, which although seemed to have forgotten about the hanging part did produce a large amount of very flavoursome and tender tomatoes. These were put attached to the fence plus strawberries were planted and put on a shelf! This cured the problem of the insects plus the cats but the strawberry plants provided only a minimal supply.
Flowers were much more successful and encouraged ladybirds, butterflies and even a few bees. Four frogs now live in the garden under half a large pipe full of sticks and earth, fronted by some feathery grasses. Two were very small when they arrived but probably enjoy the fact they can have all the insects they want! They lived in some compost for a while but seem more content living under the pipe. I thought they would leave to find a pond but they seem happy with the stone dish of water with a stone in the middle! 

So, as a consequence of such mixed success we are not growing to grow veg but concentrate on flowers and the bits and pieces! Over the months I have visited charity shops plus market stalls and we are slowly gaining some different pieces! 

We picked up this dragon from a stall in the local shopping centre! He sits at his post keeping watch over what goes on! I believe he would have some stories to tell if only he could talk.; maybe of the fairies who live behind the fairy doors, or what the frogs get up to when they visit their favourite places in the garden. My bits and pieces garden is a growing changing place; a place to create and let your imagination run wild and a peaceful place where frogs and other little creatures can live relatively safe from harm! 

The Park and Ride

The thing about Park and Rides is that it is meant to be for people going somewhere, often in a hurry! Well, here I am at a Park and Ride waiting for my sister to arrive, so I decide to go and pay for the parking ticket.  The P&R is being done up so it takes a little bit of working out what to do.

First you, need to find somewhere to park “within the lines ” which is  is very clearly written in the instructions. The first problem is that most of the lines are missing so a drive round is necessary to find some lines baring in mind there will be a fine of £100 if there are any misdemeanours found.  

Secondly on finding a space you have 10 minutes to get your ticket and it is not at all clear whether those 10 mins start from entering the car park, to from actually parking!  Bearing in mind the £100 fine, I rush to grab my purse, check I’m in the lines, lock the car and tear along to the ticket machines.

Thirdly I now have to  decide to use a machine for my card or use the one for coins!  Well, baring in mind that my 10 mins will soon be up and remembering of course the £100 fine I decide on the card machine, rather than scrabbling around in my purse for coins.

Fourthly the next step is to remember the number on your number plate as this has to be entered in to the machine.  The problem with this is that yes I remembered it when I left the car but somewhere it got confused in my memory when reading all the instructions and in my worry to avoid the £100 fine. Fortunately the number is on my mobile and so I waste a precious minute or two finding it and entering it.  So far so good!

Fifth comes entering my credit card and number and choosing how much to pay. I’m only leaving it for the day…… But can you imagine the stress of a £100 fine over my head if I were to leave it here for 7 days? But can you believe it the machine can’t recognise my card – it surely shouldn’t be hard it is a common credit card, but to avoid running over my 10 mins I use my debit card and guess what it can’t recognise that one either! By now the £100 fine is ringing alarm bells in my ears! I snatch the card out and cancel the transaction and start fumbling in my purse for coins.  A woman in front of me who ran down to the machine from her car (obviously suffering from the 10 mins and £100 stress procedure) proceeds to tell everyone in a very loud voice exactly what she is doing very painfully and in a very long winded way!

On to number six and things are looking up, I have found the coins which have been accepted; the car reg number is still open on my mobile and best of all it is 50 pence cheaper than if I had used my card ( I hadn’t noticed that on the prolific instructions).  It may have seemed to take hours but on looking at my watch as I sped back to the car I noticed it had only taken about 10 mins and so it seems as though I have hopefully avoided the £100 fine.

Finally Park and Rides are meant to make life easier, but on the basis of what I’ve written I’ll leave that up to you to decide. For me I’m always up for a challenge!

A Bits and Pieces Garden

I don’t know if you have ever visited gardens on an “Open Gardens Day” well I have done so with the family on at least a couple of occasions. If you are nosy like me then it’s a good way of getting to see what  people have done in different sized spaces and also gives me an insight into how they think.  I love studying people and this is a good way of doing so.

Some gardens are very formal with plants laid out in neat rows and with the colours carefully co-ordinated. If gardens are an extension of people’s homes then one can easily work out the type of home that is attached to the formal garden! You know the house I mean where the carpets are cream and the paintings are all in matching frames and with a similar theme.  Even their dogs can seem to be matching with their cream hair/fur and co-ordinating collar! The people who live like this are usually warm and friendly just like many of the others, but personally I can never relax totally probably due to the fact I prefer a more relaxed lifestyle.

The type of garden I like is the one where you never know what you will find and there are secrets to be discovered in every nook and cranny. Secrets like a beautiful little flower; perhaps a sun dial; a fairy door hidden amidst some trees or bushes; a little pool; with dragonflies and perhaps some tadpoles moving around desperately struggling in their battle to survive; a path curving backwards and forwards revealing yet more delights and sometimes a seat that invites you to sit and observe the small world around you.

Gardens are not just places to see treasures of all kinds,  but to smell the intense or delicate scents from roses and other flowers; blossom; newly cut grass; the smell of freshness after rain; the unique smell of heat when the sun is or has been intense for a while and so many more to savour.

The sounds of the garden are many to those who spend the time listening carefully to its secret life. The obvious sounds of numerous birds singing; the wind rustling through the leaves and the whooshing noise it can make; the buzzing of bees and other insects, and the noises we ourselves make, as we become aware of our own breathing and almost become part of the harmony and music of the garden.

There are different textures to touch and experience; the softness of petals; the roughness of bark; the coldness of the pool; the smoothness of pebbles; the gentle sting of the rain on your upturned cheeks or the warmth of the sun on a face and hands; the brief pain at the sharpness of a thorn and the unique feel of different kinds of soil running through your fingers.

Yes a garden has so much to offer and perhaps so many needs to meet. We all have creativity within us, and for some our outside home is the release for that part of us. My son Ben and I have visited gardens and from it has sprung our idea to create our Bits and Pieces Garden. It is something that is developing and changing as we go along.  There is no rush and we are trying to combine encouraging wildlife as well as growing vegetables and some fruit so we certainly don’t want to encourage slugs and snails! It already has its secrets – try and spot a little dragon sleeping while it guards a fairy door, and another door has an elf outside and a fairy to spot.  An owl or two to find as well as a little black spider and a couple of lizards.  Don’t forget to look for 2 little frogs which are very much alive and have found shelter underneath a half piece of pipe which was a half hearted attempt at a bug hotel. A slow worm took up residence during the early part of this year but has moved on as I am sure the frogs will,  and take up residence in a neighbours pond.  We also have ladybirds finding shelter in a bug house on the fence.  We have some small solar powered lights that at night spread a warm glow when you look out from the house inviting you to go and see if the fairies are out and about!  For the vegetables Ben has built 2 wooden frames to grow some in, and has painted them pink and blue so as to attract butterflies and other insects.  The space is small  and the soil poor; we have to make our garden with pots and pebbles but the fun, satisfaction and the spending time with Ben make it very worthwhile.

More updates will follow in the coming months.









Blog or not to Blog; to Write today or not today

Sometimes I don’t write my blog for any of a number of reasons!  It could be that I don’t have the time on a particular day but more often than not it is that I can’t decide on a particular subject as too many thoughts are running through my head at one time.

Sometimes it is because I don’t feel like being witty or funny or very intelligent (though of course some of you might be thinking that is an impossibility anyway). That aside if I am going to take blogging or blog scribbling seriously then I need to do it in a disciplined way and write/ blog more regularly.  I believe it will get easier or at least I have been told so, (I must ask them if they have actually ever written a blog!) but we will wait and see……. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating….or in this case …. The result of writing will be in the readers ability not to fall asleep until at least the end of the blog.

Is a blog a diary or is it an analysis of our actions, thoughts and feelings? Is it a made up story in which we set out to impress our reader if we are lucky to have one – I believe I can say a “no” to that one unless we have told our reader we are writing a story, or we are writing about aliens or Giants or something unbelievable like that!  Even then I guess someone might believe it….

Anyway I could continue to analyse and 10 days later still be writing the same blog and my readers could have died of boredom or gone off to do something far more interesting, so, my blog put simply will be ME!!!!  My thoughts, ideas, feelings, hang ups, views, loves, hates, reflecting my life, my knowledge …. It will simply be ME!!!  It may be about other things but it will be my perspective on the subject.

So now since I’ve decided that I can stop blogging till tomorrow and go to bed.



A meaningful week – a more serious than usual look at life!

This week has been a week to remember for many reasons!
First I went to say thank you for the short life of a little girl called Siena! I actually never met her but by the end of the service it was almost as though I had met her, and I was touched by the enthusiasm, energy, joy, love, fun and strength of character that she showed for life as she lived it to the full! She was a beautiful little girl; a part of a family that I have grown to respect, love and admire over the years!

On a totally different note but with a similar theme, I went to puppy class this week and saw many puppies full of fun, enthusiasm; brimming full of energy, and living life for that moment!

It really made me think as to when does it happen that so often we lose that enthusiastic simple joy of life? So often as adults we get bogged down with cares and concerns about tomorrow and what’s going to be happening or has happened; what has to be done and so on! It is so true when we are told we should not worry about tomorrow! (Bible)

Anyway looking out at the beautiful scenery at Siena’s service and walking Davey on his first walks on the ground; the fun he had playing with leaves; made me see again how much we need to feel and live in today!

With this new/ or perhaps not so new philosophy in mind I went to a firework display with the family last night! It was brilliant and I lived in that moment enjoying every bang, flash, whizz, colour, blend of colours; the bonfire; the fact it wasn’t too cold and the fact I was with my family who I love.

I hope I can try from now on to live more in the now and to enjoy “being” in the present.

A Beautiful Morning with Dream

A beautiful sunny morning. Time is 7:10 and the venue a park in MK. A puppy walker mum and her puppy Dream walk along the bridle paths enjoying the beautiful bluebells and cowslips. The dew is wet on the ground and a couple of ducks can be seen hunting for their breakfast. Away from the main paths with the people rushing around their daily business it is easy to imagine you are all alone!
Dream runs around sniffing at all the interesting scents, and running into the bushes appearing with her beautiful eyebrows with big eyes peering round to catch a sight of her pw mum! Content that she is safe Dream returns to her meanderings sniffing out what has been happening in her world around her.
Both agree it is a beautiful morning, and with a tinge of reluctance return to their car ready to face their day.