My back yard

It’s been a mixed year for my back yard flowers. The handling baskets wilted in the heat but then I thoroughly watered them and fed them and they came back quite well. The Begonias, Fushias and Petunias have flourished but the Lobelia and small flowered plants have struggled. You can see a towel rail in the midst of it all, that’s because the tomatoes have flopped, and its supporting them and a cucumber plant.

Next year I want to tidy up the space first. Next doors wild blackberries are sneaking through the fence, but we just pick the fruit and have them on our cereal in the morning.

I love mixing colours and the whole yard sparkles with blues, reds and oranges, I hope the bees like it as much as I do.

 

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Icelandic poppies

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Richard just brought a pot of Icelandic poppies in from outside. He said he wanted to enjoy their colours. I understand why. Our garden is not really visible because we have high window ledges so the view is blocked off.

These poppies are nodding their heads because I have the fan on to cool the air in here. Outside it hit 30C again in the yard. It frequently does at the the moment because its very sheltered and south west facing, trees and hedges surround it so as the Sun goes down it gets cooler. That’s when we water the hanging baskets (which keep wilting in the heat).

We are getting green tomatoes but despite the sunshine  they are not ripening much. I think I need to trim some of the lower branches.

I will try and get a good photo of the yard soon, if the plants recover a bit. In the meantime enjoy the Icelandic poppies……

A carpet of dasies

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White and yellow daisy type flowers remind me of sunshine. The dark leaves could be space and the greenery earth. Strange how a picture of petals and leaves make me think if the universe.

We need light to live. Heat from the sun warms us enough to keep the planet temperate. Light allows plants to photosynthise and create Oxygen. Without sunlight we would just be a lump of rock and frozen gasses in the infinity of space.

But it goes further than that…. the first chemical that was present after the big bang, was Hydrogen. Atoms of hydrogen were pulled together by gravity to form stars. Stars are nuclear reactors, the more hydrogen they gather from surrounding clouds of gas, the heavier they get. Eventually nuclear fusion begins and the stars light up. Hydrogen atoms join together and create Helium….

After a while (a few billion years) the stars will have converted most of their Hydrogen to Helium, and further pressure changes that to heavier atoms, from Carbon, upwards in increasing atomic weight. Eventually the star is a cinder of Iron.

But once a star is mainly burning Iron atoms, it needs to use more energy to turn the Iron into heavier elements than the Iron can provide. The energy from it also helps keep the layers of material in the star supported, or expanded. The pressure of radiation and photons of light hold the layers of star plasma up.

Then the star uses up all its fuel . If it is small nothing much may happen and it just burns out. But if it is large enough the pressure from radiation and light is not enough to hold up against the force of gravity which is trying to make it collapse.

The inward pull of gravity can make all the atoms collapse inwards, making a neutron star. A tiny ball of it will weigh a massive amount.

But if the old star is heavy enough it continues to collapse, then the energy created by the collapse can cause the stars outer layers to explode outwards. This may be a Nova, or Supernova. Supernovae create a flash of light that can be as bright  as a whole galaxy.

If the star was even bigger it can collapse completely and create a black hole. In that case the gravity of the black hole will not allow matter or light that comes close to it to escape. There is a complete absence of light.

Funny what thinking about daisies can do to you.

Apologies to the physicists, chemists and biologists out there for my rambling explanation. I’m short on facts and figures but I do like to think about these things.

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Last year

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Last year the garden was lovely, full of flowers. This ceramic head I made 20 years or so ago was full of nasturtiums and lobelia. It sits on the wall by the back door, its glazed in st Nicholas glaze if I remember rightly. Greeny grey in colour. It was hand built with a flat back and I used wet hand towels to support the face while it was drying out ready for firing.

The space inside it is not very big, so plants that can survive drought conditions are best planted in it.

We are getting our hanging baskets this week and I will try and plant some pots up with begonias, pelagoniums, bizzie lizzies and fuschias to cheer the walls around them up.

I would like to do some more pottery heads, maybe green men masks to make the yard more interesting.

Meanwhile in the main garden the trees are getting out of control. We had some work done earlier in the year but the remaining trees and shrubs have gone rampant because they now have more light.

Still if it works and we get more birds like a chaffinch and a couple of robins, plus nesting blue tits who’s chicks have now fledged , I guess I don’t mind too much!

Flower time

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This was my back garden last summer! Unfortunatley I haven’t concentrated on it yet this year. The weather was cold and wet into spring and even now I have tiny seedlings that are just not doing much. I have also been so busy getting ready for art shows and things…

Hopefully in a few weeks time it will start looking good again,

But in the meantime I’m looking out at Blackberry canes growing across the yard. The bees like them but I’m going to remove the long ones that are trying to take over. I will try and post up to date pictures soon if I get it sorted out!

I still need to plant out the onion sets a friend gave me! Shameful that I forgot them until I wrote this!

Poppy painting

This is a painting I did 6 years ago outside in the garden. I love these large poppies. I had decided to  paint outside because it was a beautiful day and why not paint in situ instead of from a photo. I think then decided to take photos of the process. I guess I painted the poppy first as it was the focal point of the painting.

I added all the other flowers to make it more interesting.  One of the things with creating art is the idea if artistic licence. The other flowers were in different parts of the garden and I wanted to add their colours to the mix.

I’m not sure whether I like this painting, its a bit flat, maybe I should have used more shading as the colours are all of very similar tones, but I was looking at a shady garden and the light was changing over the time it took to paint it. it reminds me of an illustration in a book or magazine, I almost coukd see it next to a children’s story.

I love to paint, and it is always a challenge to improve.

Biddulph Grange

Biddulph Grange, once a stately home near Biddulph, staffordshire, then a TB hospital. Now a National trust garden that was rebuilt and uncovered over the last few years.

Made up of garden rooms. Such as the China garden where a beautiful bridge reminiscent of the Spode willow patterns stands over a pool stocked with koi carp. There is a pavilion floating above the water, giving a serene feel to the garden. there is even a great wall taking you round to another aspect if the garden.

There are sphinxes in the Egyptian garden, daliahs in the daliahs walk….so much to see, so many ideas on one place. There is a Swiss cottage, and a frog staring at you from a stone wall. There is a golden calf which must have pagan overtones. The garden was created back in victorion time. I find the best time to visit is when the daliah walk is in flower. It is spectacular to see with the backdrop of a tower leading up to a higher level.

There are tunnels to walk through and various paths winding through the gardens. At the top of the long walk up the slope from the main building is a huge urn standing at the very top of the hill. You can look back and see the grounds spread out in front of you.

If you are in the vicinity why not call in?