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I am taking a short break from the blog, but in the meantime I shall leave you with this photo. This bench is placed in a shady part of the garden; I do like sitting in this spot with a nice cup of tea, for a deserved rest, after working up a hard slog in the garden.

Please remember to look in again, as I shall be back, once I can prise myself off this bench!

I have many places where I can sit with a nice cuppa around the garden, in both sunny and shady spots, which include steps and tree stumps. Have you got an unusual place where you like to sit in your garden?


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Well I think it's good news and bad news. How pleased I was when I dug up my first parsnip of the season, the lovely specimen in the centre of the photo. Anxious to dig up another beauty, I quickly located the next one, oh not so good, so I thought let's try another one, oh no another disaster. You see, us gardeners do have some failures you know. I am my no means an expert on vegetable gardening, so I shall have to look this one up, unless any of you out there in blogland could tell me where I have gone wrong?

I did laugh, as I thought how my disasters of a parsnip seemed to resemble something I'd seen on Dr Who. When I came back indoors I looked up the official website, and yes there it was, the very thing right in front of me. I wonder whether the makers modelled The Ood on a mutant parsnip!

Veg Plotting has sent me some good advice, and saying I can still eat them, so right Michelle, this afternoon I made parsnip chips out of them, sprinkled with a small amount of ground rock salt. Tell your nephew that eating them like this is yummy!


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This is a photo which I took on our visit to Durrell formerly Jersey Zoo back in September 2007, I believe it to be an insect house?

An insect house is a great addition to any garden, maybe on a smaller scale than the one above, as they provide shelter for many insects which include non-aggressive mason and leafcutter bees who are known to help with pollination around the garden and are also thought to help increase fruit yield? Also an ideal place for ladybirds and lacewings to overwinter too.

I haven't got one yet, but hope to get one up this year.


Daffy, this ones for you ... having recently discovered your love of elephants, this award could only be for you!



As you have read in my previous post, I do like auriculas in old pots! I only have several plants of the same two varieties, but these are better than having none. The auricula plant is as tough as old boots, mine stay outside in their pots, come rain, shine, frost and snow, and they still come back to life, showing themselves in their full glory in the Spring.

Another one of my plans for the future is to have an auricula theatre, and to build up a collection of some of the more unusual varieties. There is a plethora of beautiful specimens out there to be had.

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The picture above is of an auricula theatre we saw when we visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales, although we visited in the summer, so the theatre was showcasing a marvellous display of geraniums! If any of you are lucky enough to be in the Carmarthenshire area of Wales, this is definitely a place to visit.

The gardens stretch over 500 acres of beautiful countryside, in the site of the old Middleton Estate, a Regency parkland whose gardens, lakes, woodlands, undulating hills and wildflower meadows provide a variety of habitats and microclimates for plant and animal life to thrive.


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I spent most of the weekend out in the garden. Whilst going round having a general winter tidy, I was noticing how many flowerpots have cracked and broken, most unusual as I don't usually lose any? Quite a few of my lovely old antique pots have succumbed this year, and these are practically irreplacable, as quite scarce and usually expensive.

I have been lucky in the past, acquiring some from carboots and a bargain job lot for a fiver at Ardingly antiques fair, but these are only small ones, and the ones I have lost are larger, and these are the pots I use for my auriculas, and auriculas do look so much nicer planted in antique pots, don't you think?

Judith from Everything In The Garden's Rosy, I am in agreement with you, I was thinking the very same.

Michele from Cowboys & Custard made a good point about using the breakages for crocks. Yes, at least this is another use for them!


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WINTER JASMINE - Modesty, Grace, Elegance

What a relief, Winter Jasmine has won my December poll receiving seven votes, equating to 50%! I am only relieved because I have this in my garden and I don't have Daphne which came a very close second, sorry Daphne, maybe one for the future?

Introduced from China in 1844, Winter Jasmine bears sunshine yellow flowers on bare stems.

Nearby neighbours have got the most marvellous display of this at the front of their home, theirs facing west, my dad (his facing south) and stepdad (his facing north) also have lovely specimens, so you can see will tolerate any aspect you may have. A few years back my dad gave me some good size rooted cuttings of his, two of which have taken around my garden, one of which needs a really good prune for next year, some of you may already know that me and pruning just don't go together!

I always go into raptures when people talk of Winter Jasmine, I just think it is so lovely, I suppose because it always adds such welcome colour to a garden, which at this time of year is sometimes shrouded in such dreary cloud, like today for instance.

In second place came Daphne with six votes, Clematis Cirrhosa with one vote, and Sarcacocca with no votes (is this because not many of us really know what this winter beauty is?). Judith from Everything in the Garden's Rosy reminded me of the beauty of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis), certainly another welcome addition to any garden at this time of year.

Michelle from Veg Plotting has also reminded me of Viburnum Bodnatense Dawn, which I do know of and love, and Winter Honeysuckle, which I have definitely got on my shopping list for Winter 2008!