Tuesday, 29 January 2008

First Wasp This Year.

All readings are taken from a sheltered location in our garden and cover a 24 hour period starting at 6pm.
Low Temp: 5.5C
High Temp: 12.7C
Rainfall: 0.0mm
Strongest Gust of wind: 3.4 metres per second.
Weather Today: Dry and bright.

Hello everyone. Today I saw my first wasp of the year, I was pulling some Ivy from a wall at the time so it was probably hibernating in there but it was more wide awake than I ever am after waking from my asleep because as yet I’ve never been able to fly out of bed.

Today I’ve been mainly pruning the pear trees on the long border wall but there are some old fig trees that I am trying to rejuvenate and as I intend to put wires on the wall and train them as fans I needed to remove the Ivy so as to be able to attach the fastenings to the wall and it was whilst doing this that I saw the wasp. I managed to get them all pruned and the Ivy removed and also cleared up all the mess, I now just have one big apple tree to prune tomorrow all being well. There is also another Pear tree on the end of our house which is always a problem because its very tall and the estate doesn’t own any ladders. I can borrow some from Len and Alf but they aren’t too keen on that because I’m not insured to climb their ladders so all in all it’s a bit of a carry on. I usually end up reaching what I can with the long handled pruners and then report to the boss that I can’t reach anymore so he then asks if I don’t like climbing ladders so I then explain what I just did to you and so far the end result has been for Len and Alf to finish off the rest of the tree which all seems very stupid to me as I could have the job done and dusted ten times over if only I had the tools. In fact for all the trouble it causes I would have the top off the tree and it would sort the job once and for all. But what do I know?

Thanks everyone for answering my query about restricting my blog. I’m making a list of addresses as time permits. Anyone who has left a comment in the last few months will get an invite anyway - provided they have a contact address on their profile, anyone who doesn’t, Matron being one such person will need to contact me either through my email which can be found in my profile page or through my ‘Hiking Gardener’ blog http://peakdistrictwalker.blogspot.com/ . I know it will seem a pain having to sign in every time but once you’re in I think it will be worth the extra effort as the content will be better than now for sure.


Sunday, 27 January 2008

Permission Maybe Required.

All readings are taken from a sheltered location in our garden and cover a 24 hour period starting at 6pm.
Low Temp: 9.1C
High Temp: 11.7C
Rainfall: 0.0mm
Strongest Gust of wind: 4.4 metres per second.
Weather Today: Dry and bright, quite breezy at times.
Hello everyone, I hope you’re all keeping well, I think I am feeling slightly better than I was so hopefully I can get myself back on the mend again pretty soon. Because of the way I’ve been feeling I haven’t been up to much at home therefore there isn’t a lot to report.

Digital Flower Pictures made a good point in a comment that made me think or at least reinforced something that has been bothering me for some time now and that is the comment he made about my employers etc. reading what I write. Whilst I always tell the truth as far as I see it there are those that don’t like the truth and prefer instead to live their lies. So for this reason I’m finding it hard to write my blog the way I want to write it which is about life as gardener on an English country estate. I can’t really do the job properly if all the time I’m having to second guess what people might like to read about themselves and worse still having to leave out the bits I think they might not want to hear, which again is a lie. Then of course there is my job, whilst I can write about it I can’t include pictures of my work in case they are viewed by the wrong people, for example criminals. The close ups of various gardening jobs are ok up to a point but they tend do be few and far between. So over the past few days I’ve got to thinking of using one of the various restrictive viewing options that ‘Blogger’ has to offer. This seems a shame as I know there are people who read my writing who don’t actually blog themselves or don’t have an email address on offer. I think the way it works is if I have your email address I can send you an invite to view and then you just sign in with your email address, I know it will be a pain having to sign in but I guess anyone who is genuinely interested won’t mind doing that, especially if it means I can blog in a less restrictive manner. My email address is in my profile page so if I do leave anyone out and they wish to be invited to read they can mail me or leave a comment at my ‘Hiking Gardener Blog’ and provided they appear genuine, i.e. have a well established blog of their own, or maybe someone I visit first and if any of you anonymous readers would like to be considered for an invite as I say. either email me your address or leave a comment at my ‘Hiking Gardener Blog’ which will stay unrestricted. Anyway this is what I’m considering, I don’t know what you all think. If this doesn’t work it will be hard to continue with ‘The Gardener To The Big House’ as I find it harder and harder to be motivated when I can‘t do something as I want to do it for whatever reason.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Tonight’s picture was taken from Lochgilphead just as the light was going. Just as I was taking the picture I noticed a lady approaching me from behind - you didn’t know I had eyes in the back of my head did you! I wondered what she was after, especially when she grabbed hold of my arm, I thought I was about to be kidnapped or something. Anyway she was just another friendly soul expressing an interest in the picture I had taken and wished that she too had her camera with her. I in fact used my phone as I’d left the camera in the car. Anyway I thought it was one of the many nice moments of our holiday to Scotland and if the lady in question ever reads this it was nice to meet you and I hope next time you remember your camera. One would think that there was little chance of a stranger happening upon this post but did any of you see the comment I got about the derelict farm on my hiking gardener blog. If not go to the last post for my West Highland Way journey and there you will see the person who was the last one to live at the farm left a comment so it just goes to show you never know who is reading what.

All readings are taken from a sheltered location in our garden and cover a 24 hour period starting at 6pm.
Low Temp: 0.0C
High Temp: 7.6C
Rainfall: 1.2mm
Strongest Gust of wind: 3.9 metres per second.
Weather Today: A dry day after a frosty start.

I’ve spent most of today clearing away the prunings from yesterday, it took longer than it should really as I burnt them in on the veg plot as they were in the walled garden but because they were wet from last nights rain and it was green wood it didn’t want to burn at first so it would have been much better to have loaded them on the trailer and take them away to the burn pile to die off a bit but I didn’t want to run on the grass if I could help it with it being so wet.

The Sweet Pea seed that I sowed last week has Germinated so now I have to watch out for the mice eating them. It was a packet that I had left over from last year, I’m not sure what’s happening with the seed ordering as her ladyship has taken that in hand this year. Its getting to the sort of time when I would be thinking of sowing things like the Geraniums so I hope she isn’t going to leave it much later, unless of course she isn’t having Geraniums this time. Also Last week I sowed a few Lettuce seed to try and bring on some early Lettuce. Below is a picture of my Spring Cabbage and some Cauliflowers, as you can see I have them in pots in the conservatory at the moment but when the weather picks up a bit I will plant them out in the garden. They could be outdoors in the garden now but I have room inside so I just left them in there out of harms way.

There is quite a bit of baby talk around these parts at the moment as Vicki’s niece Nikki is due to give birth within the next week or so. it’s a very exciting time for all concerned and I will be sure to keep you posted on how it goes.

Well I’m going to get off now so y’all take care and I will see you tomorrow.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Not Fit To Turn A Dog Out.

ObanAll readings are taken from a sheltered location in our garden and cover a 24 hour period starting at 6pm.
Low Temp: 6.5C
High Temp: 11.3C
Rainfall: 12.0mm
Strongest Gust of wind: 4.1 metres per second.
Weather Today: Very wet this morning, brightened up in the afternoon before coming on to rain again in the evening.

Hello everyone. This morning was one of those mornings when you knew as soon as you woke what the weather was like even without having to look out of the window. There had been a lot of rain in the night and it was still to wet to turn a dog out when I awoke so I had an extra few minutes in bed and then took Tommy to work with me later on in the morning. Tippy doesn’t usually come with us in a morning since she has been ill and she doesn’t seem at all upset at being left behind. If she fully recovers and shows an interest in coming with us when the weather picks up a bit I will start to take her again.

Because of the weather I didn’t do much outdoors this morning, I needed some things from the garden centre, mainly potting compost and I also picked up a tub of bone meal although I won’t be putting that on for a few more weeks but I like to have some in stock so its there when I want it. This afternoon I did some shrub pruning in one of the shrub borders, I got all the cutting down done before the rain came on again so now all I have to do is dispose of the rubbish and dig over the border when the weather picks up a bit. Just to finish off the day I potted and boxed up some of my Dahlia tubers that I want to take cuttings from. I wouldn’t start them in to growth just yet if it wasn’t for the need to get some cuttings to increase the stock.

Vicki did a post to her blog with her new laptop yesterday so I’m sure she would be pleased for some of you to pop on over to her flower shop and take a look at her handy work. The link to her blog is
http://vicks-floral.blogspot.com/ I will have to put a link in my sidebar sometime, I used to have one and didn’t realise it had disappeared somewhere along the way.
I will be going now, I hope you’re all well and I will see you again soon.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Vine Weevil.

Another picture from Oban.

All readings are taken from a sheltered location.
Low Temp: 7C
High Temp: 14C
Rain In Past 24 Hours: 0.6mm
Strongest Gust of wind in 24 hours: 4.8 metres per second.
Weather Today: Breezy with some light rain, quite mild this afternoon.
Hi everyone, how are you all today?

Tonight I’m going to show you an ugly little blighter that I found by accident lurking in one of my plants. Some of you may already have seen him for yourself on your own plants, others may have had plants with roots that look like those in the picture and wondered what the heck happened here.

Can you see the Vine Weevil, the white grub at the end of the dibber? There were several more in the compost this plant came out of. As you will see they've just about eaten all the roots of this plant and it will be lucky to survive, for more info click the link http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0600/vineweevil.asp

Well I’ll tell you what it was, its the darn Vine Weevil that happened here. If your plant has got to this stage as in the picture and is of little value to you then you would probably be better off just destroying it. If you’re like me though and hate to throw plants away then you must get rid of the compost the plant came out of and don’t just replanting in fresh compost because first you have to make sure there are no more Vine Weevil hiding in what’s left of the roots, you can be more or less sure that there are. With this plant it wasn’t hard to remove the rest of the compost. Usually I remove as much as I can and then wash the rest off with water making sure to remove every last bit of compost as they can hide in the smallest bit. Once this is done and you’re sure its clear of any more pests you can re-pot the plant in a new pot with fresh compost. With this particular plant I removed some of the bottom leaves and re-potted it deeper than it should have been as I think there is a chance it might put out new roots from the stems, only time will tell. As a plant its not really worth a lot but its got flower buds on so I felt it worth giving it a chance.


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Wireless Weather Station.

Low Temp: 4C
High Temp: 9C
Rain In Past 24 Hours: 0.9mm
Weather Today: Rained most of the morning with showers in the afternoon.

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all feeling very well. Tonight I’m going to show you a little toy that I had for Christmas, sorry its taken me so long getting around to showing you but you know the reasons for that.

Some of you may recall that one of the things I wanted for Christmas was a wireless weather station, well either that or a Volvo V50 estate car, it seems however that the weather station was more forth coming, with luck Santa will drop me the car off next Christmas! Anyway the first picture below is of all the sensors, I’ve plonked this in the middle of one of Vicki’s flower beds, I thought it might not go down too well looking the way it does but when I looked around the garden there are all manner of other weird sculptures and what have you so I view this as another one added to the collection. I would like to have put it up on the tower but I think I would be backing a loser asking the boss about that. Its okay in the garden but its very sheltered so doesn’t give very good wind reading either with regard to direction or wind speed but I guess it’s all relative to the garden.
The top two sensors are for reading the wind speed and direction. The next one down is the rain gauge, and the round one at the bottom is for temperature readings and also the transmitter is in there too. It will read the temperature indoors and out plus indoor and outdoor humidity. It reads the wind direction, speed, gust speed and wind chill. The rain gauge gives totals for the hour, 24 hour period, week, month and total since last reset. It will do all manner of other things too but I don’t want to sound like a wireless weather station sales person so I’ll shut up - in a minute. Inside there is a desk top read out of all functions and this can be connected to the computer where the data can be viewed and saved, graphs made and data sorted. It wasn’t the most expensive one on the market, the one I really liked was twice as much but I passed that up as I was sucking up to Santa in the hope he will be nice to me next year - you know what I mean?!! Anyway I’m happy with it and it does what it says on the box so no complaints there.
You will have noticed at the top of the page there is a picture from our Scotland holiday, this was taken in Oban on a very blustery and damp day.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Foster & Pearson Greenhouses.

Low Temp: 7C
High Temp: 10C
Rain In Past 24 Hours: 6.6mm
Weather Today: Rained most of the day.

Hello everyone. Today I was told that dogs have been banned from the village church, this doesn’t bother me personally as I don’t venture in to the village with my dogs and only mention it because I think it says everything about the church and the attitude of the people who run it. I think it’s disgusting that they should see themselves so almighty as to ban one of the almighty’s own creatures - and they wonder why they can’t get bums on seats!

As promised yesterday I’m going to give you some info about the greenhouses and conservatory they have at the big house. They are genuine Victorian made by the company Foster & Pearson Limited of Nottingham. Anybody who was anybody had a Foster & Pearson greenhouse or conservatory, even Queen Victoria herself. They made all the fixtures and fittings and even the boilers for the greenhouses they supplied. For more information why not visit this link http://www.winsfordwalledgarden.com/greenhouses.aspx?Group=greenhouses&Page=Victorian_Greenhouses_Home_Page If you’re interested in this sort of thing its well worth a visit. As you will see from the pictures I’ve included everything was crafted extremely well which is why there houses are still around today even after in many cases being neglected.

One of the roof supports.

The mechanism of riasing the roof vent.

Water from the roof goes down the pipe and is collected in an underground tank.

From the tank the water was pumped by this hand pump which is no longer functional, the tank is still there and seems to hold water okay.

Monday, 14 January 2008

New For This Year.

Hi everyone, how are you all doing? I was just going to talk about the greenhouses as Matron keeps asking about them. I keep on meaning to do a post on them but I want to do a good job and show a few pics of various things but I haven’t taken the pics yet so I will try and do them tomorrow and then I can do the post about them tomorrow. I really haven’t felt like doing much of anything since Christmas, as you will probably have noticed I haven’t been taking my weather readings or post a picture from Scotland, I must try and get back in to the swing of things. I have to say that I am really wondering if Christmas is worth bothering about. I know it probably makes me seem like a misery bum but almost a month has passed by with nothing to show for it, I’m not sure how much of that is down to Christmas and how much is down to being ill but I seem to remember something similar happening the year before.

Yesterday me and Vicki went home for a meal out with the family to celebrate my brother in laws birthday which is today. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN) We went to The Red Lion pub in Bakewell
http://www.peakdistrictonline.co.uk/products.php?productId=94 if you ever visit Bakewell I can recommend The Red Lion either for a drink or a meal and everyone is very friendly and helpful.

Me and Vicki are planning a holiday to Malta this spring, not sure how that one will go as neither of us have been out of the country for many years and I’ve never flown at all, I guess we will just have to take one step at a time.

Tippy seems a little better although not as she should be, she still get a bit of a wobble on sometimes. She seems happy enough though.

I’ve been looking through my seed catalogues, I want to try and grow contain veg this year, we don’t have enough garden for a proper veg patch, it was something we were promised when we came here but was later withdrawn. I’ve been doing the veg patch for them at work in my own time in exchange for a share but I never seemed to get much out of that either so this year I’m going to use my time to grow my own stuff although as I say it will have to be in pots and containers which will be a new way of doing it for me.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Thanks Lois.

Hello everyone, As some of you will have noticed I have another award, this time from Lois . I really appreciate the thought. Apparently I now have to think of seven weird things about myself that I feel able to own up too. I’ve given the matter quite a bit of thought and came up with some answers which I then scrapped because I couldn’t figure out what weird was? That might sound weird but you see what’s weird to one person might seem perfectly normal to others. Like for instance, to a couch potato spending vacation time walking around the country in the name of pleasure would seem very weird yet to other like minded souls its perfectly normal. So my dilemma was do I list the things that I think others might think of me as being weird for or do I list the things that I consider myself weird for doing? In the end I decided that I never do anything weird so have listed some things I do that others might consider to be weird. First thing on the list is the fact that I never intentionally watch or listen to any sort of news broadcast, I have my reasons but won’t trouble you with them. I know some people consider me weird for refusing to miss live coverage of a Grand Prix. Another weird thing along the same lines is to sit up all night watching the Bathurst 1000 from Australia. As I’ve already said, some people would consider me weird for spending two weeks of my vacation time walking hundreds of miles in the name of pleasure. I’ve never done drugs, been to a night club had an affair or smoked a cigarette, that’s got to be weird - hasn’t it? I could go on but I’d better stop before someone decides I need to be certified or you get bored, or worse still scared and never visit me again, cos that would be a shame.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

On The Mend.

Hello everyone, I would like to thank all those who missed me. Initially I didn’t bother to post on here as I thought you would all have plenty to do over Christmas without coming here to read what I had to say, especially as I didn’t have much to say for myself anyway. Also between Christmas and New Year I acquired a cold which was not especially bad until New Years Eve when it developed in to something much worse. We’d agreed to go to a party back home to let in the New Year and had it not been for Vicki being able to drive I wouldn’t have been coming home that night as every part of me ached, even my eye balls and I was rigid with cold so I spent the rest of last week either in bed or in the armchair in front of the fire in a fuzzy haze both freezing and sweating all at the same time. I find sitting around for days on end pretty boring even if I don't feel like doing anything, thankfully Jenny bought me the new Lewis Hamilton book for Christmas which is very good if like me you're in to F1, so I read that and watched TV most of the time. I went outside for the first time on Monday morning when I tried to do some work. I am getting stronger everyday but still have a bad chest and tire easily so I’m on light duties at work, if I feel myself getting drained I come home and rest a while. The people I work for have not pressured me to return to work or anything and I could probably have had more time off had I wanted. The trouble is when you sit around and do nothing you start to wonder if you really are ill or whether you just got lazy. Anyway hopefully I will slowly improve now. I think Vicki will be sort of pleased when that happens then she can have the TV back to herself on a night.

I bought Vicki her very own laptop computer for Christmas which she is very pleased with. She plans to do some posts to her blog in the near future when she’s learnt how to get the hang of it. She hasn’t really done that much with a computer so is busy learning at the moment. Also with me being ill I’ve neither felt like showing her or had the patience as I have to confess to not being very tolerant when ill, especially when it’s the flu. Really I hate it, I’d rather someone came up to me and give me a good kick on the leg than cough in my face and give me the flu.

My previous post will probably have sounded a bit cryptic so I will just explain that it relates to the Christmas present I got for Fallon. Who by the way was very poorly with the flu all over Christmas so that was a shame for her. Anyway she's had her own computer for a while now but was not online with it so as a Christmas present I got us all online by way of a wireless router and so I did the previous post you see on my blog and then got the page up on her computer so that when she walked in to her room there was the page and the surprise of being connected to the net. She was very pleased even though she was feeling quite poorly.

We had a very frightening moment on Sunday evening when Tippy started staggering around the house and falling over on the floor followed by being sick several times. First chance we got on Monday morning we took her to the vet expecting to hear the worse - you know how it is. Thankfully it turned out to be nothing worse than a sort of ear infection which is affecting her balance. The vet says she will get over it in time and it is something that older dogs can be prone too. I doubt she will ever get better though as she is now being pampered more than a royal Corgi and seems to be enjoying it way too much to ever want to get better!!
Best Wishes,