Monday, June 18, 2012

....and then there were 4

I'd been wondering if Mrs Duck was sitting on her nest as she hadn't been around for a while and sure enough she came marching up to the house to show off her latest brood.

7 little beauties.  Clever girl!
Mrs Duck & her 7 ducklings
We gave them some mixed corn and then she took them back to the pond.  I love the way they're following mowing line where the formal lawn meets the border of the orchard.

Catching flies
It was a lovely warm evening and so we followed them down to the pond and stood watching them scooting around catching flies.  The photo is quite blurred because they move so quickly.

This morning when she came up with them there were just 4 ducklings.  It's so sad and I really hope that she manages to protect the remaining 4.  Her record is 10 hatchlings with 9 reaching maturity.

My palindromic birthday (55 and proud of it!) was last weekend and as a birthday treat we went to visit Denmans gardens in West Sussex.  I can't believe I haven't been there before as it's creator, the garden designer John Brookes, has been a major influence in my garden construction and plantings over the years.

It was really interesting to see how many of the plants grown are amongst my favourites and even Mike, who has no interest in gardening, walked around recognising plants that we grow in our garden.  This photo could sum up my own planting style - the placement of giant cardoons behind that wonderful euphorbia is just divine.

What made it even more special for me was that the man himself was out digging in the garden and we had a lovely chat.  We laughed because I said it must be immensely satisfying to see the garden reaching maturity (he started it 30 years ago) and he said that most visitors he talks too think it must be a chore!  I told him that it felt as if I was wandering around a slightly different design of my own garden as so many of the plants and their placement were familiar and he was visibly pleased to hear that he'd helped me.

I'd noticed masses of Nectaroscordum siculum growing in an unmown area and he said that they just self seed all lover the place.  At home I have a few bulbs planted in my gravel garden which is in full sun and I thought they wouldn't be happy in grass.  He very generously told me to take some seed heads to try in the shadier part of our orchard which I duly did.  The seeds aren't quite mature so we'll have to see if they grow.  As they are from the allium family, my hands stank of onions for the rest of the day!

I had hoped to go and visit Holly Gate cactus nursery which was nearby until I saw this write-up on another blog.  What a sad sight.  It must be about 12 years since I visited there and it was magnificent then.  I hunted around and found another collection at Manor nursery in Angmering so all was not lost.

Manor Wood cacti
The collection was started in 1948 and it is wonderful but I was disappointed that they only had a small selection of cacti for sale and a lot of them were infested with mealy bugs.

Glorious flowers
This little beauty was flowering his heart out.  I love cactus flowers as it's always such a surprise to see such beautiful blooms emerging from a spiky mass.
I've just finished sewing dangly bits onto the Evergreen scarf from Sweet Shawlettes.  The leaves and flower stems still need a bit of light steaming to flatten them out properly so I'll take a proper photo and write about it when that's been done.  It was a quick and easy knit and will be fun to wear too.


Shan said...

55, is it?! I'm surprised! And congratulations on your birthday, Susie!

Susie Hewer said...

Awwh, thanks Shan!