Allotment Things :)

The second allotment post 🙂 The last one I showed some of the things that don’t appear to be working quite so well. So before you all panic and think that we are completely failing I thought I should show some success’.

Elephant garlic: This was Reiss’ choice and we have overwintered it, it looks healthy and strong and hopefully better than the purple garlic that was my choice!elephant garlic

Golden Courgette: These are my beauties, the funny thing is I don’t actually like courgette! They are fairly simple to grow and seem to be doing really well in this ‘patch’.courgettre

Brightlights Chard: This is a beautiful plant and will eventually have different coloured stems, however, only the leaf may be eaten. Which is such a shame.Chard brightlights

Finally, these are my Purple Brussel Sprouts. They are still babies at the moment and are residing in the poly tunnel waiting to be planted out.brussels

Reiss purchased a new ‘toy’ recently. Part of the land is dense forest, a lot of it is dead and it desperately needs felling to allow light in and trees to grow. I find it really oppressive when I have to venture into it, Reiss doesn’t seem to mind.

Reiss Chopped

Allotment Things

I haven’t posted about the allotment before and thought that it was about time that I did. Reiss and I have a little bit of land thanks to his mum 🙂 We currently have 5 beds, a poly tunnel, a courgette patch, a bath full of strawberries, one full of herbs, some fruit trees/bushes and 4 chickens.

Last weekend we decided that we would start to document our progress and failures through photography and film.

Some weeding was desperately needed! This is a long and backbreaking job but extremely rewarding!

before and after

If anyone can identify this extremely annoying weed and a way to keep it at bay, please help! Why does it only grow in the beds and not in the grass? I have been told it is bindweed but am not entirely sure?

bindweed onions

Whilst we were weeding we pulled some of the smaller onions as they were fallen over and apparently ‘ready’. However, as you can see they are still not much bigger than the bulbs… Again any thoughts as to why this could be? They have been overwintered.

harvest

These garlics were overwintered also, as you can see nothing has developed. The evidence above ground was healthy and strong. I am very confused!

garlic

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

Kew Part 4 – The lilypond

This is my favourite part of Kew Gardens with the Tropics running a close second. The colours are so vibrant and fantastic, the size of the pads are amazing and the overall feel to this special place is unlike any other…

White Pink 2 Pink 1 Leaves 1 bud Leaves 2 Purple

Some fairy spirit with his wand,
I think, has hovered o’er the dell,
And spread this film upon the pond,
And touched it with this drowsy spell.

For here the musing soul is merged
In moods no other scene can bring,
And sweeter seems the air when scourged
With wandering wild-bees’ murmuring.

One ripple streaks the little lake,
Sharp purple-blue; the birches, thin
And silvery, crowd the edge, yet break
To let a straying sunbeam in.

How came we through the yielding wood,
That day, to this sweet-rustling shore?
Oh, there together while we stood,
A butterfly was wafted o’er,

In sleepy light; and even now
His glimmering beauty doth return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn.

The yielding wood? And yet ‘t was both
To yield unto our happy march;
Doubtful it seemed, at times, if both
Could pass its green, elastic arch.

Yet there, at last, upon the marge
We found ourselves, and there, behold,
In hosts the lilies, white and large,
Lay close, with hearts of downy gold!

Deep in the weedy waters spread
The rootlets of the placid bloom:
So sprung my love’s flower, that was bred
In deep, still waters of heart’s-gloom.

So sprung; and so that morn was nursed
To live in light, and on the pool
Wherein its roots were deep immersed
Burst into beauty broad and cool.

Few words were said; a moment passed;
I know not how it came–that awe
And ardor of a glance that cast
Our love in universal law!

But all at once a bird sang loud,
From dead twigs of the gleamy beech;
His notes dropped dewy, as out of a cloud,
A blessing on our married speech.

Ah, Love! how fresh and rare, even now,
That moment and that mood return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn!

George Parsons Lathrop’s poem: Lily-Pond

 

Kew Gardens Part 3 – The Tropics

The Princess Of Wales Conservatory

The Princess of Wales Conservatory was commissioned in 1982 to replace a group of 26 smaller buildings that were falling into disrepair. It was named after Princess Augusta, founder of Kew, and opened in 1987 by Diana, Princess of Wales. It is the most complex conservatory at Kew, containing ten computer-controlled climatic zones under one roof.

The two main climate zones are the ‘dry tropics’, representing the world’s warm, arid areas, and the ‘wet tropics’, housing moisture loving plants from ecosystems such as rainforests and mangrove swamps. The eight remaining microclimates include a seasonally dry zone containing desert and savanna plants, plus sections for carnivorous plants, ferns and orchids.

There is also a ‘time-capsule’ buried at the southern end of the conservatory. Sir David Attenhorough (My Hero) placed it in the foundations there in 1985 as part of the WWF’s plants campaign. It contains seeds of basic food crops and endangered species, it is not due to be exhumed until 2085. By this time, many of the plants it contains may have become rare, or extinct!

Sprinklerorange high fivehanging

 

Kew Gardens Part 2 – Rainforest

This is the second stop on my Kew Gardens tour. The rainforest conservatory.

‘Heating was an important element of the glasshouse’s design, as tropical palms need a warm, moist environment to thrive.

Originally, basement boilers sent heat into the glasshouse via water pipes running beneath iron gratings in the floor. A tunnel ran between the Palm House and the Italianate Campanile smoke stack that stands beside Victoria Gate. This 150-metres-long (490 ft) passage served the dual purpose of carrying away sooty fumes to be released from the chimney and enabling coal to be brought to the boilers by underground railway.

Today, the glasshouse is heated using gas and the tunnel houses Palm House Keeper Wesley Shaw’s office.’

Coconut Furry Palm Palm Purple palm Texture Tree

 

Kew Gardens

The weather the weekend just gone was beautiful and to celebrate this, Reiss and I went to Kew Gardens.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Kew Gardens is one of London’s top visitor attractions and Wakehurst, the second garden in West Sussex, is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

Over the past 250 years Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has made innumerable contributions to increasing the understanding of plants and fungus with many benefits for mankind.

‘Our science and conservation work helps to discover and describe the world’s plant and fungal diversity, safeguards the world’s plant life for our future and promotes the sustainable use of plants.’

The area covers 300 acres and is divided into many sections, covering a diverse range of plant life. Also to be seen are many different exhibitions and wildlife such as peacocks, geese and squirrels. Due to this diverse range I will be splitting my posts into 4 areas to break up a large amount of photos taken.

I am going to start with the outdoor gardens.

The classic image of the Palm House at Kew Gardens, this is the rainforest conservatory and is the most important surviving Victorian Iron and Glass structure in the world. It was designed to accommodate the exotic palms being collected and introduced to Europe in the early Victorian times. (sorry about the people :P)

 

Conservatory

Japanese garden

The Japanese garden area is dominated by a massive structure shown above, it can be seen across the park. Although impressive, it is extremely difficult to capture! I much preferred the texture underneath 🙂

Red

Finally, outside the Lillypond House there were some beautiful flowers being pollinated by some wonderful bees! Again hard to capture but I gave it a go!

Bumblebee

 

 

Amsterdam Day 2

On the second day in Amsterdam we visited the Stedelijk Museum as covered by my previous post. After this we went and had lunch in Vondel Park. It is a beautiful open space with ornamental lakes, wild parrots and plenty of dog walkers.

Red light

Pigeon

Gravel

Flag

Neil

Red

Twig

Twig2

A Lonely Walk

At the moment I am signed off work and cannot go to public places. Im starting to get a little cabin fever so I decided to go for a walk around my local nature reserve. I know the walks where your not likely to see anyone. For my birthday I got a new lens the 55mm – 250mm and some of my shots were experimental with this new lens.

Firstly I walked to The Plotlands, the museum is called Little Haven and is a house that was used originally as holiday homes for wealthy Londoners and then as shelters for children during the air raids. Although it was closed you can still go into the gardens. I found a wheel barrow full of glass bottles.

Bottles

Bottles 2

Through the window I could see this medicine cabinet, I love the vintage advertising.

Medicine cabenet

soap copy

I walked from here through a pathway that is seldom used. I had forgotten why. It has the remains of other Plotland houses that have collapsed to the right of the path. There was a keep out sign, but I ignored that.

I only scratched the surface of this area as I didn’t have a respirator and the air quality was poor. I will be going back.

fallen house

Jacket

Bread

Next I walked over to the lake. The usual stuff here but I did pluck up the courage to venture through the cow field on my own. Reiss you should be proud!

Mallard 2

Cow

Cows 2

From the top of the lake and up the hill, there is an amazing view of the landscape between Langdon Hills and London. As the crow flies, The City Of London is about 30  miles.

view copy

Hedingham Castle & Gardens

On Bank Holiday Monday, Reiss and I decided that a trip was long over due. The weather looked rather good, so we decided to check out a Norman Keep called Hedingham Castle.

After an hour and a half drive, we pull in to find a confused boy holding a sign saying disabled parking but not really pointing it in any direction. So we went and parked in what we thought was the over flow carpark. Others followed so we thought hey ho, everythings fine. The Gardens look rather impressive and the keep was looming behind us. We realised rather quickly that there was some form of jousting day going on with archery, an artist carving wood with a chain saw and birds of prey. We go to walk in and are asked for tickets, obviously we have none and were asked to stand aside. A few more people came up who also didnt have tickets as there was clearly a mix up at the gate. So we were taken directly into the castle to pay. On the leaflets it stated that it was £7.50 each, the gentleman in front of me was charged £12.50 each. I was slightly shocked at this price. Whilst standing in the queue I noticed a second queue had formed the other side of the till as we were in the shop. Instead of serving me next the woman behind the counter went to them. Reiss pulled me to the side and we went straight into the castle free of charge. We were there for about 3 hours, we saw everything the castle and grounds had to offer and even had a picnic by the lake, no one was any the wiser. It certainly wouldnt have been worth £12.50 and im not entirely convinced it would have been worth £7.50. All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon out and I got a few photos that I was happy with.

Castle

Flag

By the lake there was so absolutely enormous doc leaves. The sun was shining through them. I didn’t realise that doc leaves have such big spikes on them!

Dock leaves

There was a small outbuilding that was open and looked neglected and abandoned. The inside looked very strange indeed. I would love to know the purpose of this building. It was a little gem for us, photography wise.

Window

Rubble

Holes

Rubble 2

On the floor was this perfectly preserved beautiful butterfly, very hard to photograph as the like was very dim.

Butterfly

I loved the handle to the outbuilding. Beautiful.

Handle

An enjoyable afternoon, made better by the fact that it was free!

Day 3 – Gweek Seal Sanctuary

For day 3 we had arranged tickets for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. It is based in a little village called Gweek, which was about 20 minutes away and after some more precariously narrow roads we arrived.

The seals that are kept here are either being nursed back to rehabilitation, or are long term residents due to injuries that have left them unable to fend for themselves. Some are retired seals from zoos across the country.

Seal 1

Seals

These two were both partially sighted and very old. Never the less they were still gorgeous and with a lot of personality.

Sealion 3

One of the enclosures allowed you to see into the water through a concave window. The sea lions in here were very energetic and loved showing off. This particular one kept deliberately swimming across the window.

Sealion 2

Reiss and Sealion

Sealion 1

Penguin 1

As well as the seals there were 4 resident penguins, they also had a window through the water but they were a lot less co operative!

Penguin 2

Otters 1

These two are Asian otters and are the smallest of their kind. Other breeds can grow to up to 150cm which is as tall as me! 😦 Their names are Starsky and Hutch and they were very playful and loving. One of them kept juggling and catching a stone in his mouth. Very clever animals.

Otters 2

After we had finished at the sanctuary we decided to have our lunch in Gweek. Only sandwiches, but it was a fairly warm day and it was a really pretty village.

Reiss found a rope swing. It really really hurt, but was still good fun 🙂

Gweek 1

Gweek 2

We wanted to go into the harbor but you needed to gain a permit. This was a shame because we both felt there would be some good photos to be had.

When we were on our way into Helston we noticed a lot of farmland had some unusual architecture, so on the way back from Gweek we stopped to take a look.

Chimney 1

Chimney 2

Back where we were staying along our unmade track were a lot of farmers fields. At least three of them were dedicated to the growing of daffodils. Absolutely stunning were the views of these vast fields of yellow.

Daffodils

When we got back to the cottage I decided that the sky was looking rather fabulous and took these two photos of our wonderful view.

View 1

View 2