Thursday 22 September 2011

Open Day

Back to Dundonnell House for the Garden Open Day.
Lady Jane wasn't selling tickets at the gate this time, but she'd left her garden in very good hands.
On the other side of the wall it was as if winter had arrived, but in the inner sanctum that is Lady Jane's Garden, a riot of colour and late summer flowers fit to burst were singing their socks off.
I loved this garden in spring, I love it in late summer too.
Mistletoe on an apple tree. We were surprised to see it growing so far north -  the mistletoe, not the apple.
And then there's the beautiful Edwardian Glass House, fully restored and home to a grape vine
About here, just as I was giving up the notion of ever having any gardening knowledge ever, I spotted this
and suddenly it became clear and simple. All Lady Jane's gardener has is an old pot a few old packets of seeds, a broom with hardly any bristles, some sticks and a couple of pairs of rubber gloves - easy, I can do that!
I don't have the green house though?!

It isn't easy to just be passing by and nip in to this garden on it's occasional 'open days.'  It's off the beaten track and not really on the way to anywhere but should you be in the area, it really is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. The house is beautiful too, though however which way I took the photo it looked austere, you have to take my word that it isn't.
I'm flattered that anyone should want to use any of the photos from here. I would only ask if you do, that you would be kind enough to put a link to my blog. Scottish Islands Explorer did, for which I'm very grateful and as a result have discovered a magazine covering all the islands of Scotland, full of information.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Walking round the garden

I know he's not a beetle, he's a bug. I don't know which one, except this particular little bug enjoyed sitting on the outside of the car windscreen. I love his reflection mirrored in the glass
I love the clouds mirrored in the loch
I love the thistles when they finally give up their bright colour and  regimental stance and take on an altogether more haphazard and untidy appearance looking bleached and drained of colour.
I didn't know whether this tiny slug was resting or had drowned in a thimble of water trapped at the bottom of the mushroom
I love Autumn. I love it especially when it doesn't rain all the time! And I can walk from the top of the garden all the way to the bottom, to the edge of the loch, and see all manner of wonderful tiny creatures and plants.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Feeling euphoric

I looked under this toadstool to see if  there was a gnome hiding - there wasn't. Maybe because this wasn't in the garden it was out of bounds to a garden gnome? I read that reindeer in northern Europe are drawn to the fly argaric's euphoric effects. Well I didn't see a reindeer either, but I did see this little slug chomping its way round the edge of an enormous plate of dinner. I couldn't tell if he was euphoric or just hungry - it's difficult to know with a slug
I did notice he couldn't chew in a straight line though....
I was euphoric earlier in the week  to discover this tiny absolutely minuscule miniature clump of eyebright growing in our grass. The flowers are smaller than my little finger nail, and so pretty and so delicate and perfectly formed.
 Eyebright is part of the figwort family, just as these monkey flowers are. Monkey flowers grow at random all over the garden. It should be very nice if their eyebright cousins were to follow their example.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Going green

I know this looks as if it hasn't been painted properly - it looks better in real life, but short of everyone coming round to see it, you'll have to take my word that it actually looks quite nice; better than it looked last week
Last week it looked like this. This was after I'd sanded it down. A very orange and knotty piece of Ikea furniture from the late eighties, surprisingly solid, but in need of de-orangeing (I don't think that's a word)
I used an eggshell paint, with hindsight a water based paint would have been easier. Then I sanded it down in places to make it look shabby and stressed, which was how I looked by the time I'd finished. And then I put a thin coating of shellac over it. I used shellac flakes which took days to dissolve in methylated spirits and are used, apparently, in the restoration of bespoke and fine antique furniture - so just the thing then!
I had quite a lot of paint left over, so got stuck in, painting anything that was easy to take down off the wall. The discerning  of you will notice  we still haven't put skirting board up on the landing, though we do have floor now, and green shelves and boxes.
Whoops!  Sorry Mr President, it will come off with a dab of brush cleaner.
I like the green effect - which is just as well really 
In real life the patches don't look quite as patchy - somehow
And on a final 'green'note. These are too green. I'm not sure they'll ripen now. I found them growing in a shady bit of the garden
so, for the time being, I'll keep buying the ones Tesco have ripened for me.

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