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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Bit of a mixture

Am I showing too many garden pictures, or flowers in particular, in my posts here?  Maybe I should pass on those.  Tell me what you think – please!  There just haven’t been any comments lately and I wondered if that may be the reason!  It would be great to have some feedback - comments, observations and the like, about what I put in these blog posts! 

Anyway, today’s post is a bit of a hotchpotch of things I have been doing in the last couple of weeks.  One evening I went over to Biggar to have supper with Sam and Paddy, the friends who are going to make over my garden!  They have two boys, Lewis and Fergus, lively lads if ever there were some!  Great kids though!    Copy of Fergus and LewisAges ago I made scrapbook pages for their parents and realised I didn’t have one for the boys so I took a photo or three this visit and decided to work with this one.  Here’s what I came up with.  Fergus is the wee blond one, Lewis his big brother.    love affair

These are Sam and Paddy’s layouts!  Copy of precious vinyl Named Love Affair, because of their passions, Sam for her double base and Paddy for his vast collection of vinyl!

We had a lovely supper and afterwards sat down with my garden plan, and talked costs!  I was pretty accurate with my guesstimate as it turned out, but there may be a few things that will be changed, added or abandoned as we go along, and with luck it should all happen at the beginning of August.  Quite exciting!  The basic layout will stay much the same, though the shed will be moved across the garden and a pond and bog garden constructed in the space it leaves – and I’ll have my waterfall! (See my last entry!)  The flowerbeds will be raised to different heights around the edge and a patio laid.

boules There was an open day recently, at the Gardens where we play Petanque , so during play we were watched by a few interested folk.  coaching This youngster had a go, coached by Tommy and all agreed he would have to be signed up as a member!  Various activities were taking place around the gardens and this European Eagle Owl was on display!  european eagle owl He fairly fixed me with a stare!



Another day I went up to the Records Office – Scotland’s People Centre – to do a bit more family history research, and meet my sister for lunch.  I didn’t get too much information at the SPC on the family I was looking up, but a few wee snippets will be useful to find out more later.

tibbie's The U3A lunch group had a visit to the Tibbie Shiels Inn at St Mary’s Loch  where the stibbie's u3a lunchmall

group of us ate in the conservatory with beautiful views of the hills and the loch round about us. tibbie shiels Tibbie (short for Isabella) was the widow of an 18th century local molecatcher, who opened her small cottage as a hostelry to enable her to keep a roof over her family’s heads – a very early B&B, you might say.  It became a popular gathering place of the literati of the time, James Hogg, a local man, also known as the Ettrick Shepherd, being one. He is said to have been sweet on Tibbie but she would have none of him!  His statue stands near the inn on the hillside by the road. Tibbie is reported to have said that her name would be remembered long after he was gone!  True, but his name remains in memory too!tibbie's 013  (Photo of a photo of Tibbie so reflections on the glass!)

This photo was taken on the way back to Peebles, a view back towards Innerleithen from the Paddy Slack – a road built by French prisoners of the Napoleonic war . They called it “Pas du lac” or the “way to the lake”.

So, just a few things from the past couple of weeks.  A few more next time. 

Talk again soon.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


When I was at the Gardening Scotland exhibition earlier this year, I saw a garden layout by the people at Woodside Walled Garden, near Ancrum.    Thinking I had never been there I suggested to Linda that we might pay it a visit sometime.  I showed her the leaflet I had picked up at G.S. and immediately she recognised it as a place we had been to  - several times.  I don’t remember that pond, I said, and that building isn’t the same…. but when I got my glasses on and looked at the wee map of “How to find us”, I realised she was right.  I still didn’t remember the pond, but never mind.  We decided to pay another visit last week and  have lunch in the cafe before taking a look around again.  ws walled garden

The cafe is small - situated in a large wooden building, top left in the photo here -  but very homely-looking inside with its wooden tables and chairs and bookcase of gardening books and magazines., and the windows on one side looking out on to an array of bird feeders where a mixture of birds came periodically to feed.  We have seen it busier at the feeders though!   Our lunch – soup and a cup of tea with a scone - was lovely, and then we went to investigate the pond I had definitely not seen before.  ws waterfall and hutIt was constructed with the help of the RSPB – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – and the planting arranged so as to provide food and shelter for the birds that frequent our gardens – the blackbirds, finches, sparrows, tits, robin………


ws wildlife pondThere were nesting boxes on the high wall, two with cameras in them so the nesting birds could be seen on a couple of TV screens in the pretty verandah-ed hut  where the RSPB had set up a small exhibition. 

I’d swear that hut was the garden shop when I first went to Woodside. woodside baby chaffieAnyway,no birds left in the boxes now.  All had fledged,  and I was lucky enough to get a fabulous photo of a young chaffinch sitting quite close to me in a hedgerow.  She really was that close to me, and not at all bothered about me taking her picture , it seemed!  ws waterfall

The pond is quite large, with a little waterfall cascading down from an upper pond and bog garden, and water-loving mimulus growing around it. I want a waterfall in my garden, I’ve decided!  birds flowers 013

I could have a bird bath like this one in my garden too! Love those bronze leaves. birds flowers 079

There’s just so much to look at at Woodside, from the pond to the composting experimental corner, the polytunnel, the grass maze, and of course the flowers.ws 3 echinacheas ws blue clematis






ws blue corner

ws catmint

ws echinacheas group





ws fuchsia

ws geraniums with beetle

ws eryngia






ws hydrangea

ws rock rose

ws honeysuckle





ws pink roses

ws red roses



The roses were gorgeous – and scented!

ws rose

ws white rose





ws pink rose

ws michaelmas daisies

ws lavatera barnsley baby





Before we came home again, we stopped off at Milestone, another Garden Centre on the A68 near St.Boswells, ostensibly for a cup of tea, but of course for a wander round too!  milestone baby robin it was here that I saw the baby robin hopping around  So cute!  No red feathers yet!ms white iris

A white iris against the sky looked pretty stunning as did the fuchsias.ms fuchsia2


ms water feature

and how about this for a water feature!

 ms sunflower gnome


or this for a garden ornament?


birds flowers 094

Loved the hydrangea flowers.  We can’t seem to grow these in Peebles!

Anyway, got ideas for my garden that day!  Just have to incorporate them into Samantha’s design for it! 

Talk again soon.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Birds on the balcony

balcony I feed the birds on my balcony!  I have a bird table and loads of hanging feeders.  Throughout the winter I had chaffinches, a robin, sparrows, bluetits , great tits and blackbirds all enjoying the seeds, suet pellets, dried mealworms, fruit and stuff I put out for them, but now I just have the occasional bluetit, no chaffinches, no robin, not even a blackbird, but there are several pairs of sparrows, a couple of starlings - pigeons and crows!  The crows, big as they are, have managed to master hanging on the feeders, and the pigeons do their best to get onto the table, under the little slated roof, though mostly they just forage around below the table picking up what’s been dropped by the other birds!  birds flowers 003 It’s great sitting in the living room  which is behind the French windows.   This is a view from the sofa, on the left, and  of course I can watch the birds, and try to take the occasional photo!  sparrowsNot so bad when the doors are open but I really do need to wash the glass soon!  You can hardly see the sparrows on the feeders through it! 

The bluetits like the coconut full of solid fat and seeds, but unfortunately, so do the greedy starlings who mange to hold on at the top and lean out over the overhang  to get their beaks into the shell.  It’s quite an acrobatic feat!

pigeon The balcony rail is a good perch and I often have a couple of pigeons, a starling and some sparrows resting there.  The pigeons often settle as if on a roost, looking like they are sitting down rather than standing as this one’s doing here, peering through the open door.starling

The starling got camera shy and turned it back on me.  I’d never really looked at one close up before but the “stars” for which it is named look like little white spots, on its sides.  parish tower Hundreds of them roost at night in the “crown” on top of the church tower.

I’m hoping that the other birds come back later in the year.  It is so lovely to watch them.  The chaffinches are aggressive little so-and-so’s, but the sparrows, although they have the occasional little spat, are generally quite placid.  The male chaffies always amused me when they came to feed as they always announced their arrival with a tweet!  I can’t say I’ve noticed the other birds doing that, though there are the odd chirps, tweets and occasional squawks going on most of the time as they appear to be talking to each other!

full moon All is quiet out there at the moment, as it’s dark  - only the full moon looking in right now – but as soon as it gets light the activity will start again.  I’ll probably have to top up a feeder or two tomorrow!

Talk again soon.