Bump in the Night….

Cedric was bought a couple of years ago with the intention of having him in the Kitchen Garden to scare off unwelcome visitors. I thought that he’d look good against the brick walls  and  he also suited my Victorian tastes – I love anything Gothic! The Kitchen Garden was no where near completion so I sat him in the Garden Room at the rear of the house to oversee the work. He looked good and got lots of compliments but I noticed that our luck immediately changed and life just became more difficult than it should be…. maybe he was scaring off the good luck elements in our home? I moved him into the shed and our luck noticeably  improved. My husband says it’s my over active imagination but I feel that Cedric’s definitely an outdoor fellow! Last week I finally put him into the Kitchen Garden and he looks very much at home… but I will be listening carefully for the sound of stoney wings flapping against the night sky tonight….

I’ve had my share of spooky experiences and things that go bump in the night…. so I’ll curl up in front of the fire, look at my smiling pumpkin and keep safely inside.

A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises.  Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night.  ~J.M. Barrie

The Gift of Time

There never seems to be enough hours in the day and I’m constantly thinking  of all the things I could do “… if only I had more time”.  Well, last night saw the end of British Summer Time and the clocks were turned back an hour. There is the opportunity today to use this extra hour to do something that I usually don’t get time to do. My preferred options are:
1. Read the first chapter of a good book in daylight!
2. Bake a cake to take to work
3. Start a new hobby
4. Do absolutely nothing!

Let me have a cup of tea and think about it. What about you?

Catching Mist…

There is something comforting about misty mornings. I have a lots of fond childhood memories that involve me trying to catch the mist and take it indoors…. unsurprisingly, I never managed to do this but I always admired the spiders who could catch mist and frost  in their webs.
You may have noticed Cedric in the photo (above right). I’ve put him to work in the Kitchen Garden after he’s now spent a good period of time in the shed. I’ll be letting you know a little more about him soon….

Misty Cobwebs

I love to see the garden when it’s all wrapped up with silvery threads and a sense of inevitability, in fact, Miss Haversham would feel very much at home. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have tea with a famous literary character? I’d have to get the best china out for Miss Haversham, and although she would probably not be polite company, I would have to try and stop myself discussing our mutual  aversion to dusting!

When the mist clears

All of this is soon forgotten, as the mist clears, the cobwebs seemingly vanish and I turn my thoughts to the glamorous task of cleaning out the chicken house!

Pumpkin Display

 ….well, “pumpkin display” may be a little far fetched  as I  just plonked them on a table! I hang my head in shame in front of all the fabulous bloggers out there who have actually created displays. I will simply call this Phase One….

Autumn display in Garden Room

 I’ve always wanted to have a go at growing pumpkins but, unfortunately, this year there wasn’t enough room, time or knowledge! There hasn’t been very much sunshine either so I’ll put these on my gardening wishlist for next year and ask for more sunbeams.
I have an oak cabinet in the Garden Room that is used for storing gift bags, wrapping paper and ribbons – obviously everything that is needed in the event of an emergency:-)


 I’m not sure how these will be carved yet but just having them around has made me happier. The honour of  carving goes to my long suffering husband who thinks that pumpkin innards are the design of the devil. I usually draw the spooky face and he spends an hour patirntly carving (and retching)… true love comes in many forms! And if it all goes horribly wrong it will be soup again for tea 🙂
For some proper pumpkin inspiration head over to Gardening Nirvana  where Alys has some fun ideas and is on official countdown to Halloween x

Delayed Autumn Chores

It’s hard to believe that it’s the middle of October already! The Summer seemed to last for ages, probably due to the constant rain, and now we’re having some sunny days it’s difficult to find time to squash all the chores in. I’m resisting the urge to tidy the garden up too much as there are still quite a few butterflies and bees relying on the nectar. The bumble bees are looking a little tired now and it’s taking them longer to warm up – maybe I should suggest that they do some extra star jumps before starting work for the day?


The Agastache is still performing really well and has even started to send up new shoots with the recent sunshine.

Even the Lavender is looking happier – it’s hated the wet soil beneath it’s feet this year…

Beds To Clear

… although, judging by how much the herbs have grown you wouldn’t know this. If you look at the photo above you will notice that I have cleared one bed already. This had the sad remains of the sweet peas and courgette plant. There are also some asparagus crowns that did spectacularly poorly so I’m hoping that next year they will show a little more appreciation in the spears department! I gave them a good stern talking to whilst tucking them up in a duvet of mulch. There’s a ground frost in the mornings now so it won’t be long before all these flowers are gone.

Still going strong

The Real Pemberley

It is widely believed that Pemberley from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was based on Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The architecture, landscaping and vistas are simply breathtaking and as the House is approached it’s easy to see why this could be Pemberley:

“They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” Jane Austen (1813)

The original house dates to the 16th Century and the gardens the landscaping designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. On this occasion we didn’t tour the house but concentrated on the gardens and landscapes. Chatsworth manages to blend both grand and informal design beautifully and throughout the gardens there are various sculptures which I believe only enhance the space. I’m not sure what Capability Brown would have made of the sculptured hares… but I loved them!

Chatsworth has a lovely gift shop partly set in the old stables which is filled with unusual gifts and books. We bought a Christmas reindeer (nicer than it sounds) a rustic heart (because a girl can never have too many hearts in the home) and lots of pretty ribbon. It’s always nice to bring home ideas so this trip was no different!

1. Plant some box hedging and keep it clipped.

2. Buy a sculpture for the garden (it doesn’t have to be a hare!).

3. Continue with the house renovations (Chatsworth was probably built in less time than it will take us to renovate!!).

4. Read Pride & Prejudice again (and again, and again…).

5. Get my own Mr Darcy to help me with some digging this weekend to put the garden to bed!

October Bouquets

Once the mists cleared the sun actually shined through and the flowers looked so bright. There are quite a few seed heads now, which have a beauty only suited to Autumn, and the bees are making the most of these rare sunny days.

When I first planted the kitchen Garden in Spring I never imagined that I would still be picking flowers in October… Dahlias, Scabious, Lavender, Cosmos, Rudbekia and Burpleum. I confess that I have probably had more enjoyment from the flowers than the vegetables so I’ll have to rethink the way I use the space next year.