We have lots of apples this year, some from our trees and others from a glut of apples from local gardeners. My partner bought a couple of bags. We also had some damsons this year off a tree. If you look closely, hiding in the front of my fruit bowl, are three tiny tomatoes which I grew (they didn’t do so well this year).

What to do with them? Last week I made an Apple lattice pie, this time I stewed some of the apples and damsons with a bit of water and some artificial sweetener that you can use in cooking. The result was a pink fluffy mess of stewed apples…

What to have with them? I could have served them with cream, or icecream, or custard. But I decided to try some shop bought organic rice pudding. The result was delicious.

I wish we grew more crops, we got some good red peppers, and a cucumber this year. I might try growing some courgettes and marrows next year. We also grow raspberries and the next door neighbour has wild blackberry canes growing into our garden so I also pick those. One thing that didn’t grow this year was some onion sets off a friend. I think out garden is too overshaded by trees that have grown up. We may have to cut the trees back a bit. We have also grown potatos in the past. That’s something else to grow next year.



Ripe cherries

I thought we had eaten all the cherries off out two cherry trees, but Richard went out on some step ladders and a broom today and managed to pull down a couple of branches. He came back  with about a third of a bowl of the ripest and darkest cherries we have ever had off the trees.

I was surprised, basically because we leave the top half of the trees to the blackbirds.  Every year they eat their fill of them. But its such a pleasure to have the fruit that I don’t begrudge the birds any of them.

At the same time our pear tree is gradually filling with fruits, they are quite well hidden because they are not very big yet. Our pears are the same colour as the foliage so they just don’t show up much against the leaves, where the cherries seem to glow with their internal fire of red.

Small apples are also growing slowly. The weather is hot and dry and the apples are not swelling up much. I’m not sure what sort of crop we will get. Last year all but one of the apples fell off in June so at least we are doing better than that.

We got all the fruit trees from our local Woolworths store. That was a few years ago before the firm went out of business. They were a good bargain.

What did I do with the cherries? Washed and stoned them, then had them with a small amount of vanilla icecream. Delicious and cool. Tasty.

Time ticks by for Ash..


An Ash tree in the garden is being taken down because it is too close to the house and its crown was also reaching wide. The branches (which some say look like witches fingers) were scraping on the upstairs landing window.

I feel like it should have an epitaph to mark its removal…

Here stands the limbs of Ash,                                                               waiting to be felled, the rest of it,                                                       long branches and twigs, already gone,                                            resting on the ground, used as fuel, burnt in stoves.

Ash is now ashes. Time has ticked…

That tree once tiny, New, planted from a seed.                   Moved with us from our former home when we came here,  planted with love,  2 foot high… grew with us..

Tick…but time moves on… Tock.

Witches fingers scratch the glass. It only took 25 years,               Ash is tall now, many stemmed, reaching out and up.                  I wish tall, slender tree, that you could stay,                                  but your leaves block light and Sun.

Your TIME has come, I am sad indeed.                                             But you are only one, a Walnut bearing fruit stands near, two Cherry trees, one Pear. There are small  Apple trees with blossom on, their fruit now soon to bear.

I see you cut down, still quite young, I do feel pain indeed.          I know that Oak and Plum and Holly also grow out there.        Perhaps you will forgive the blade that took your mighty crown                                                                                                 and understand my tears. It is a moment’s work to take away   your years.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…..

My life has sped, as you have grown, the time has gone so fast  … in so few years and yet long…then mine will also end.

I’m not really good at verse, and putting my feelings into words is difficult in this situation. I want to describe how sad I am to have the tree removed, but it will allow light in. The area under it has always been ever shady. There is also deep shade from a holly tree, and further down the garden a large laurel bush. I want to get more flowers in for the bees. But I will miss the Ash…. I know its a tree, not a person, but we are all cut down by time…seed, sapling, mature tree, then possibly the disease of age takes over…and our time too will be done.


Sketches at Dorothy Clive Garden



I like taking a small sketchbook with me when I visit interesting places, its easy to snap a few photos on my phone, but much more challenging to sit for 20 to 30 minutes sketching the view.

Dorothy Clive Garden is beautiful. Even at this time of year when there are mainly spring flowers and the perrenials are not out yet you can see the towering trees, Bluebells, Magnolia’s and Rhododendrons.

We walked up to the tearoom and sat and drank coffee and ate icecream while the Sun (unusually for a Bank holiday weekend) shone down. It was so hot Richard bought me a wide brimmed hat from the gift shop.

I drew the view over the lawn to a low hedge where you can see evergreen trees and branches of deciduous trees just coming into leaf. In the distance was the misty blue grey hills of Shropshire. Over the ridge is a little village called Loggerheads.

Then we walked into the quarry garden. The blackbirds and robins were singing loudly. If you follow the sound of flowing water along the paths edged with Camellia, Rhododendron, Bluebells and other flowers which are just starting to open in the spring sunlight, you round a corner and see a tree that has been cut down to a stump that is still about 15 foot tall.

The stump has had the outline of a woodpecker carved into it, and apparently has had a greater spotted woodpecker (not sure if that’s the right name) living in a hole in it for the last two years.

Follow the sound further and you find the waterfall that runs from the back of the quarry down into its bowl. It is a man made feature but still lovely. I sat and sketched it, getting lost in how to represent the vegetation against the darkened rocks.

Finally we picked up some plants for the garden that we had bought earlier and walked down the slope to the pool at the bottom of the garden. This looks like it has recently been re-lined and the black liner is visible round the edges. Looking back up the hill various evergreen trees and bushes are visible, together with the new growth of Gunnera, which will grow massive over the summer. The pool is lacking its water lilies but they should be back soon. Halfway up the hill is a little wooden summer house or pavillion. The view is splendid from there.

3 drawings were enough. It was hot and I needed a drink. But I know I will go back again soon.



One day its winter, the next day the buds and flowers burst out and its Spring. The Sun goes through the Spring Equanox. Finally in the northern hemisphere days are longer than nights. In about 6 or 7 weeks it will be mid summer’s day.

The trees are covered I blossom.  Our Apple, Cherry, and Pear trees are full of it. I hope the frost does not come and damage them. A few years ago when the cherry tree was small I festooned it with garden fleece.  It’s far too tall and wide now.

The walls are bare. The hanging basket brackets devoid of their burdens. Later they will be filled with a glorious mix of trailing flowers, Lobelia, Surfinia, Pelargonium, Busy Lizzies. I even plant spider plants in them.

The back yard has its own microclimate. Last year we manages to grow a Banana plant and Lilies and Bouganvillia. (I dont know if that’s the right spelling), we also have Clematis and a small Apple tree round the back.

I sometimes paint the Poppies that grow to the size of small dinner plates in the summer. I have plans to do the same this year



The Same, But Different

Someone looked at the twisted tree photos and said they were lost in the intricate tangle of branches.

So I decided to use a sketch of a tree I did to show how each picture changes depending how it is twisted. …IMG_20180418_124018_988IMG_20180418_124209_725IMG_20180418_124355_473IMG_20180418_124517_484

Twisting each of the 4 images to end up with 4 separate designs…….


So which would you prefer? A close curved centre, spread out branches, accidental perforation or parallel lines?

Each has its merit. Some of them remind me if my blood vessels at the back if my eye, visible when a strong light shines. Others with the indentations remind me if a postage stamp.

Add colour and we are in a whole new realm.

Art, design, abstraction…it makes your mind work and stretch…

Playing with trees

I do like to use apps to multiply images.


Using an app called layout (other apps will be available ) …I have multiplied the misty trees that I photographed a couple of days ago. Sometimes if you get it just right you can make something that looks like a reflection in a lake. Other options can help you create confusing images such as the twin driveways above. I particularly like turning the photos so you end up with a tangle of branches, a web of twigs, with patterns entwined in them. Like old fashioned wallpaper you can sometimes find alien animals creeping into the edges of your vision.

Changing the filters on the pictures adds to the air of disparity. Also by changing the level of the position of a duplicated photo, you can make something that appears more natural, for instance the picture of a lone tree where I have included more of the foreground in the upper photo while including more if the sky in the lower, inverted, image. My only concern with the picture is that there is a sharp line cutting across the middle but I did not want to try and smudge it using another app like picsart.

I think the use of colour in these images can make a difference to the overall effect. Colour can be jarring or it can enhance the picture. In these I have muted the colours, or even removed it and relied on variations in grey to give a mood to the pictures. This gives a spooky, ethereal look. If I wanted to make them more cheerful I would probably enhance the greens and try and bring some blues into the photos. By taking them later on in the evening on an overcast day I found that there were no shadows to contend with, the Sun was starting to set but was completely obscured by the cloud.

All in all I’m glad I took the photos of these magnificent trees… It was a productive use of my time while standing around in the cold for an hour waiting for my friends x