I’ve been uploading photos of my garden on my Sunday Posts, which have been getting a lot of positive comments, so I decided to make them a regular feature, but this time at full size so you can better appreciate the plants. It was my birthday on Friday and though it’s hard to imagine on this blustery, rain-soaked Tuesday morning, it was hot with bright sunshine and ideal for the planned picnic at Borde Hill Garden with my daughter and three grandchildren. We had to book in advance, which meant it was easy to observe social distancing and the gardens were fabulous. So here are some of the pics I took…
I’ve been uploading photos of my garden on my Sunday Posts, which have been getting a lot of positive comments. However, I’m also aware that the small scale of the pics hasn’t really done justice to them. So I’ve decided to choose a selection for every Tuesday and feature them full size.
Lockdown has been a uniquely peculiar time – one which has brought great uncertainty and fear, but also forced us to look at what is directly around us and value its worth so much more. I’ve felt like that about my garden this year – helped by the wonderful weather in Spring, and wanted to share some of the beauty and pleasure with you, too.
It was one of those horrible, avoidable accidents that happen when you’re not paying sufficient attention to the little things in your life… This week-end, I’ve been messing around in my garden shed, getting it cleared out and ready to sow this year’s crop of flowers and veg. And because it’s also where the children’s outdoor toys are stored and they were staying for the week-end, the door was secured open. Despite having scooped out a stray bee who’d wandered into the shed and kept battering herself against the window the day before – I still hadn’t got around to cleaning out the spider webs silting up the corners.
I was getting the washing in when I heard it – manic buzzing coming from the shed. I dropped the basket and ran towards the sound. There she was, a large bumble bee thrashing around, unable to escape. Feeling sick, I grabbed one of the pots and tried to lever her away from the tangling trap of old webs. But in the end I needed to use my hands and even then it was a struggle to extricate her without pulling her apart. And she was covered in a thick matt of spider silk – wickedly sticky… Still emitting a screaming buzz as she fought, spinning in my hand.
If she’d been smaller honeybee, or a fly, I’d have immediately dropped her to the ground and stepped on her to put her out of her misery. But she was so big I thought there’d be a chance – and I am very fond of bumble bees. I try to ensure I have flowers blooming in my garden all through the year for the likes of these remarkable insects. Watching them always leaves me awestruck and happy… and here was one in a horrible mess because a particular chore got missed off the list. By me.
I carried her over to my workbench in the garden and tried to free her from the white mess mummifying her. It was blowy and she was still panicking, but I managed to free her two front feet. I took her indoors. Rebecca suggested I put her in a bowl, but it was too smooth and she couldn’t keep her footing, causing her to flip onto her back which she hated. So I scooped her up in my hand.
I’d been babbling all sorts of nonsense to her… more as a comfort for me, really. And as I picked her up once more, she stopped buzzing in circles and instead kept crawling and crawling across my hand, while trying to free herself. I kept picking away at the threads encasing her wings and her lower body, but it was slow work. There was a miserable moment when I’d nearly freed one wing and she slipped over onto her back and the stray webbing wrapped itself around her two back legs I’d only recently managed to release.
I nearly gave up then. But she didn’t. She was still battling to free herself, so I took a deep breath and kept going, working at the kitchen table. I used a tiny screwdriver to tease the strands away from her wings. It was very ticklish work… she never stayed still and with one slip I’d have shredded her wings and possibly killed her. It took nearly an hour and in the end Himself managed to cut away the last ball of webbing hanging off her back left leg with a modeller’s blade. She was still crawling across my hand, although her wings were now free. So I gently guided her onto the cutting board surface and we carried her outside. John gave it a flick, while I got ready to catch her, not convinced after her ordeal that she’d be able to fly. She launched herself into the air and we watched her fly once around the garden, before soaring over the fence.
And tomorrow morning first thing, I’m clearing out those bloody spiders’ webs.
We have been having some stunning sunsets this winter – the sky has been splashed with amazing pinks, purples, oranges and every shade in between. So I tried to capture the sun setting over the sea… I have an elderly camera and am a snapper rather than a proper photographer, but even I managed to capture a slice of the jaw-dropping beauty of the winter sky…
Now that the autumn is well and truly upon us – I thought I’d just recall one of a series of wonderful sunsets we experienced during this summer, which was the best we’ve had since 2006. I wandered along the shingle, snapping the lovely pink-tinged seascape and clouds and was delighted that a number of them came out reasonably well…
We’ve had a baby hedgehog rootling around in the garden, though we haven’t seen him this last week. However when he first turned up in full daylight, he was so busy doing hedgehog business, he was completely oblivious to me and my camera… He started out on the front doorstep, wandered down the side of the house and spent a lot of time and effort trying to climb onto the back step. I had no idea they were so quick and active. The photo of the dustbin at the end is to give you some idea of just how small he is…
We visited Highdown Gardens a couple of weeks ago with the camera – and I got a shedload of nature pics – starting with the grandlets running around the garden; budlia, a very cheeky robin; damson fly on a gunnera leaf; day lily; hollyhocks; a butterfly and a bee on a stand of rudbeckia... not a bad haul!