Long Overdue Catch Up

I was intending to write a Six on Saturday today given that the garden is waking up and there’s more to share, but then I realised I also wanted to write about our holiday so I’m combining the two (along with any other random thoughts that may enter my head!) But first, a holiday! Yes, that’s right, we actually managed to have a holiday, and in a different country at that!

Hubby was unexpectedly given three weeks holiday because the days needed using up, so we took the opportunity to book a short break in Gran Canaria. It didn’t turn out to be a simple as originally planned – we were due to fly out on 10th March (so we should be there now!) but a mix up in the holiday meant we had to bring it forward a couple of weeks. Much thanks to my boss for being so flexible in letting me change my holiday!

Anyway, Gran Canaria was the only one of the four main Canary Islands that we hadn’t been to, and we wanted somewhere with (pretty much) guaranteed sun. As it turns out, we pretty much could’ve been anywhere hot because we barely left the complex. After so long without a sunny break, we just wanted to chill out and recharge our batteries, and we were only there for four nights so we weren’t there long enough to get bored of lying around.

I just have to have a quick Brexit moan!

A stamp in my passport for an EU country. Honestly, it made me feel a leper! Anyway, it is what it is! I need to get over it, and currently there are far, far worse things happening in the world. As you can see, we flew out on 24th February which is the day that Putin decided that millions of innocent people needed to have their lives disrupted, at best, or ended at the other end of the scale. It was incredibly surreal to be lying on a sun bed in the sun with people going about their normal holiday lives around us, whilst a war was being waged a few hundred miles away.

I didn’t take many holiday photos because there’s only so many hotel photos you want/need, but I did snap some of the greenery around the hotel with a future Six on Saturday in mind.

There’s the obligatory palm tree and sun picture which I took as we were waiting for our tranfer back to the airport so I could remember the last bit of sun. Next to that, a beautiful bloom from around the pool. I don’t know what this is, but they were in pots all around the pool and in the sunlight the colour was amazing! Underneath that an impressive cactus and next to that, the olive tree of dreams. I have one in a pot that looks nothing like this at all!

On our first full day, we were treated to a visit from this beauty.

I tried really hard to get a photo that represented the vivid colours accurately, but I didn’t manage it, so I resorted to filters to get it to look something like an approximation of reality. The butterfly was beautiful, and huge! It was at least the size of an adult palm.

Typically for us on holiday, we managed to find a cat.

We joked that she looks like Tink’s grandma! Lovely as it is to find a cat to fuss, it’s still always good to get home to our girls waiting for us in their new basket.

It’s a month or so till our next holiday and we have to leave them again and I’ve recommenced my healthy eating and exercise regime. This week we discovered Pinch of Nom’s Diet Coke chicken, except we did it with Pepsi Max Cherry and Quorn pieces – absolutely delicious, full of veg and very low in calories – nutritious and delicious!

Back home, and spring has definitely sprung and what says spring more than daffodils?

Unfortunately the rest of my daffs have been flattened! Ordinarily this would really upset me, but, whilst I’m not happy about it, the reason for their flattening is good (and there are a few which look like they’ll recover). The week after we got back from Gran Canaria, our neighbour had the biggest of his trees chopped, most of which they did from our side, and the clean up involved a petrol powered leaf blower which caused the aforementioned flattening!

They chopped loads off, but I have to admit (especially as we contributed half to the cost) to being a little disappointed that they didn’t chop more. The height has been reduced significantly, but I was hoping they’d thin the trees out more too. However, it’s better than it was before, there’s already more light in the back of our house (and my home office is in the back bedroom that you can see so it’s not insignificant) and we remain to see how much more sun we get in the summer. Incidentally, I think I’ll look into getting a petrol leaf blower because our patio has never looked so clean, I’ll just be more careful around the daffs!

There are more and more signs that the garden’s waking up appearing almost every day. I always try to say to myself around this time of year, that I must appreciate the fact that we’re on the up again, days are getting longer, the sun is gearing up to shine on us and new shoots are emerging, because seemingly in no time, we’ll be past the longest day and heading back down. For now though, let us not think about that because it’s a long way off.

First is my polemonium which I bought to put in one of granny’s pots last year. I thought it had died so imagine my delight when I looked at it today and there’s new growth coming through. That’ll teach me not to read labels – I didn’t know it would die down and come back in the spring. Next to that is the cowslip that I rescued last year after it self seeded itself. It’s got such beautiful sienna edged petals – I’d never seen a cowslip that wasn’t bright yellow. Underneath that is one of my raspberries which has some leaves. Fingers crossed that I might get some fruit this year. Finally, beautiful flowers have appeared on my cherry thing! I got this from QVC last year, and I can’t remember what it is, but it’s some sort of cherry blossom,

Unfortunately, with flowers that you want, come plants that you don’t! The weeds have started growing again already!

There’s even some herb Robert growing on my little sleeping dragon!

Finally, I’m going to leave you with a picture of my latest cross stitch which I got framed recently, purely because I’m really pleased with it so I want to showcase it!! Indulge me if you will.

That was a lot of info in one post – hope I haven’t bored you all silly! I’m off to order a takeaway now – hope you all have a great weekend.

Six on Saturday 19th February

What a dreary day! Better than yesterday in terms of potential danger to life (or fence panels), but it’s snowing and grey! Would you believe I actually had to water my big planter today, even after all that rain? My fuchsia Delta Sarah was looking a bit crispy because it’s so well sheltered by next door’s trees (watch this space – they’re due to be chopped next week). I popped out to the garden in between showers and managed to get some pics.

Considering the damage caused in some areas of the country, we got off lightly. Fence panels are all in tact, greenhouse and shed haven’t flown off and even the lockdown swingball remained upright. The swing chair toppled over early doors so we anchored it where it fell with a couple of slabs and I noticed this morning that the cold frame has flipped over.

Other than that, the garden fared quite well. I’m really not sure how, but even Ziggy my pet garden triceratops remained upright. I have had a bit of an affinity with triceratops ever since I first learnt about them. For those who don’t know, I’m Sarah and when I was little I decided that these were tri’Sarah’tops! Imagine my glee when I saw this little chap in a garden centre when I visited my mum before Christmas. There was no way he wasn’t coming home with me.

Speaking of glee ….

…. my first daffodil has emerged! It’s amazing how much of a boost the first signs of spring give me. Daffodils in particular, I see as such a symbol of hope. Such a shame I can’t have any inside, but a certain angelic looking feline ….

…. likes to chew plants and daffs would be a particularly bad choice given their toxicity to cats.

I’ve shared my hellebores recently, but they’re worthy of a reshare. In this first picture you can see the stages of the Christmas hellebore. The pure white flower at the bottom is a fresh new bloom and after they’ve dazzled in white for a while they slowly metamorphose into the mottled pinky green above and finally to lime. The plant that’s constantly reinventing itself.

My second hellebore, which will remain nameless (because I don’t know it!) is also showing off its beauty and, if Christmas doesn’t mind me saying so, in a much more flamboyant manner. It reminds me of a French regency period frock – unashamedly flouncy and happy to stand up and be counted.

Finally, my new hebe, and I do like how perfectly it matches with the nameless hellebore. This new purchase is still in its pot – maybe I should plant it near the hellebore. It was completely green when I bought it so its name, Red Edge, was slightly confusing, but now I understand!

As ever, thanks to the Propagator for hosting this Six party. Have a good weekend everyone.

Six on Saturday 29th January

Whoop! Last Six of January! I know February’s not much better than January in terms of gardening, but it’s next to March and that is definitely spring and therefore better all round!

I struggled to find six things worthy of posting today, hence my last two photos are more garden hardware than software, if that analogy works? My first two points though, are thanks to a trip to the garden centre this morning to buy the hardware in the final point. I couldn’t resist saving them from the sale table.

First is a buddleja. I now need to find somewhere big enough and sunny enough to plant it. The buddleja we already have was a sale table find and that’s done really well so I have no doubt that this one will thrive too, if I can find the right home for it. It will probably have to be at the end of the garden.

The second find was this hebe. Now, I know I already have loads of hebes (probably about six) but as far as I’m concerned there’s no such thing as too many hebes. I love them, and they do seem to do well in our garden. I may put this one in the border that you can see behind to the right of it.

On to a couple of established plants. I thought it was about time I gave my mystery plant that no one seems to be able to identify some airtime. It’s still lovely and is still doing well. Not bad for a 50p bargain find! It’s very forgiving – I literally do nothing to it other than smile at it!

Next is my rose ‘Hot Chocolate’. It needs pruning but as usual I haven’t got round to it and now it’s already produced new growth.

Now on to the hardware. We have a little black cat who visits us every day and, although I’m sure he has a home because he’s well groomed and very friendly, I think he wants to live with us. That can’t be because our furry girls aren’t keen on him, but he does insist on sitting in our garden even in the most inclement of weather so we got a little house for him so he can sit in it out of the snow and rain if he doesn’t want to go home.

Finally, the reason for our trip to the garden centre this morning. We’ve been talking about having a pond for years but have never got round it it. Now we’ve at least made the first step. Just got to dig a big hole now!

I’m off to see what delights the Propagator has posted today. Have a good weekend all.