Thursday, 29 October 2009

New toys

A camera for me and a box for Smudge.

Just practicing on a dramatic sunrise.

Collared doves, wondering when their seed waitress is going to stop clicking and start serving breakfast.

I know he's not in focus but I like this chaffinich posing on my otter. (Nasturtiums are still blooming!)

I have tried for ages to get a good pic of a dunnock but I'm going to have to make do with this dunnock's bottom.

Anything still flowering? Well yes the hydrangea is looking gorgeous,

the fuschias are still dancing,

and the Mum is in her prime.

A short day, 3:30pm and the sun goes down in moody blues as rain rolls up the loch.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Cat mint

This cat mint grows in my Gran's garden in Shropshire. It has always attracted cats. At the moment bad boy Thomas is luxuriating in the growth and flattening the plant (thanks to Mum for the photos).

When I moved to Tillicoultry and the small patch of builders rubble that became my first garden, Mum gave me two cuttings of the plant. They struggled after planting out because Smudge the Incontinent loves cat mint and reduced both cuttings to little hairy twigs sticking out of the ground. I had to put cages over both of them to allow them to establish. Once protected they grew into beautiful robust plants that Smudge adored and which attracted all the neighbours' cats.
Smudge, head down in the mint sniffing ecstatically.
Miss Milly giving Smudge "evils" from the garden wall, she wants that mint.
Eventually I moved from Tillicoultry to Argyll. I divided the mint and took two healthy chunks with me. One clump did not survive the transfer to the pot, the other thrived for a short while until Smudge found it in it's pot and reduced it to a hairy twig once more. I planted this mint on the third tier with the periwinkle and potentilla. I couldn't protect it with a cage on the steep bank and it didn't survive the affection lavished on it by fatty and various visiting felines.
Luckily Carol at work had grown several cat mints from seed and gave me one of her thriving plants. I planted this in a difficult, shady, damp area on the first tier and it has romped away, mainly because the cats have ignored it. Apparently it lacks the attraction of my Gran's special Shropshire catmint. Looks just as pretty to me but then I'm not a catmint junky.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Mum from Mum

Mum and Dad visited at the weekend. Mum brought this beautiful Mum:

and a box of teasels. I'm going to plant these on the wildflower bank at the top of the garden. "Wildflower/Wildlife area" is the posh way I now refer to any untidy/unkempt parts of the garden.
Dad brought:
If I wasn't such a grateful daughter, I might suggest there was a small glut gloat going on. The artichokes were yum with roast duck and I have enough left to make soup today.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Still camera-less so thought I would catch up on some of the things I meant to post this summer but never got round to. I know I'll be stating the blindingly obvious when I say that the midgefarm is not a manicured garden. The bonus of the untidiness is all the wonderful wildflowers that pop up.

Spring starts with banks of primroses on the first tier before even the azaleas are out.
Just as these start to fade, the bluebells in the grass above are reaching their prime. Of course this means I don't cut the grass (yippee) and there are daisies in abundance.

Then as the bluebells die back the foxgloves start waving for attention.
I have two grassy banks on the third tier. I have planted a blue ceanthus, a periwinkle and a pale yellow potentilla on the first bank. I had visions of the blue and pale yellow growing in a mix together. But nature put together a much prettier mix. This bank was covered in cuckoo flowers in spring which the orange tip butterflies loved. This slowly gave way to hawkweed, selfheal and clover. The bank was constantly buzzing with bumble bees and hoverflies and all sorts of grasshoppers singing. I think I may have to move my plants and let nature have her way.
There are other more secretive plants hiding in little clumps. This sweet forget-me-not lives on the second bank.

I didn't tidy the grass round this old tree stump as there was a speedwell looking very pretty growing through it.
And those are just the few photos I could find (my files are as tidy as my garden). There's so much more, several types of St John's wort, creeping Jenny, ferns, willows, hazels all unplanned but all very welcome.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


I've been using a little point and click kodak, good enough for a beginner like me but didn't do close ups very well, tended to focus on things behind the object I wanted and nothing would persuade it to change its mind. I took it with me to Belfast last week and it was still in my bag when I went North this week. All that travel seems to have fried its chips, when I turned it on today the screen showed a blank field of white with just the odd ghostly outline. A couple of weeks ago this would have meant the end of blog photos but my work worries are almost over, so I'm going to celebrate and buy a new camera. No point choosing something fancy whose features I won't understand. I've decided on a Canon powershot A480. It has a 1cm macro, allegedly focuses rapidly and has a short time between shots, all things I have found lacking with the kodak.

That's not to say it hasn't done a good job over the summer and produced images that sometimes surprised me. I love this bee flying up to the foxglove with its tongue hanging out; the snub nose of this painted lady against a riot of azalea flowers; and the way the light catches this con trail.