Friday, 29 May 2009

Bench of the Week - Durham

This week's bench is at the back of Durham Cathedral overlooking the river and it's sylvan banks. The old fashioned serpent design on the metalwork fits in well with the weathered stonework of the ancient walls.

Along the riverbanks one gets glimpses of ivy-clad trees. Since taking these photographs a few weeks ago, the foliage has grown, obscuring much of the view.

An occasional shaft of sunlight illuminates a jewel-green lawn, contrasting strikingly with the pink walls of the riverside building.
The atmosphere all around is of tranquillity steeped in history.
Bench of the Week has been begun by RuneE of Visual Norway. Do visit his beautiful blog and the other participants of Bench of the Week!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Gardening in an inch of soil

Part of our garden is over a concrete area, around which the edging bricks are raised approximately an inch. This means there is only an inch of soil ...

I have planted the area with two types of plants: those that are happy in shallow soil, and those that happened to be spare at the time of planting!!

The star at the front of the first photo is Uncinia rubra, a lovely little grass which glows like rubies in the sunlight.

The pale leaves catching the light behind the Sedum are Lychnis coronaria, soon to be bearing vivid magenta flowers.

Above is a striking little Euphorbia. Does anyone know which it is? I have divided it several times over the years.

Cornus alba seems to like the site! This was one of several cuttings from a friend - probably 'Spaethii'. The leaves are a wonderfully bright yellow.

Melissa officinalis makes a bright lemon-scented statement next to forget-me-nots. I shake the seed-heads of these all over the borders to get lovely clouds of blue flowers in the spring.

One of many self-seeded spiraea glows in the evening sunshine. This is appropriately named 'Goldflame'!

As the evening deepens, Melissa and Myosotis merge into the shadows. Stachys byzantina 'Primrose Heron' lifts pale downy foliage to the sun, and Uncinia joins its ruby glow with the incandescent fire of 'Goldflame'.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Bench of the Week

For today's 'Bench of the Week' I have chosen one of my very favourite seats in the Botanic Garden. Nestling in a sheltered glade screened by tall conifers, it is perfect for basking in the afternoon sun. There is no panoramic view here, the site lends itself to inward musing, creative ideas and solitary bliss.

How happily the bench appears to the visitor coming up from the Woodland Garden! Even on an overcast day it seems to shine and exude a warm welcome.

This photo was taken last summer, when the lovely Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' was in flower. Something to look forward to very soon!
Bench of the Week was begun by RuneE of Visual Norway. Do visit his wonderful blog and also Barbara Martin, who first introduced me to the theme.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Secret Bluebell Woods

A narrow path leads into the bluebell woods.

Carpets of blue go on for ever among the trees.

All is silent.

The path curves on and up to a faery hill.

Bedazzled by shafts of sunlight, dark shadows, illuminated blooms.

Sunday, 10 May 2009


With delicate beauty and evening fragrance redolent of paradise ... Zaluzianskya!
Each flower so perfect, as if tenderly sculpted from the finest porcelain.

Tiny buds open as the evening sun bids farewell.

By the front door, its perfume offers a rapturous greeting and fills the heart with delight.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Flying through the air on a Magic Bench?

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I decided, as promised, to try out the Magic Bench! I had already had a large lunch with pleasant company, so when I sneaked off to the wood, I was not hungry. The feast could wait - but the ride to a magic land?

Tentatively I sat down.

I saw the pattern of shadows of new leaves moving in the breeze. I felt the grain of the wood. I waited ...

Oh! A small green caterpillar hoisted itself up over the edge of the bench-table and began rippling along the surface. So gracefully undulating - a perfect ballet.

Was this the magic, then? Transformation? To be reminded that caterpillars become beautiful butterflies?

"But this caterpillar is wonderful now!" I exclaimed.

Satisfied, I arose from the bench as the caterpillar continued its journey and the evening sun shone on our own magical world.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Magic Bench

This is my first 'Bench of the Week' picture! RuneE, a photographer from Norway, has begun posting photos of benches on Fridays - this week his bench is on his blog Visual Norway Extended. RuneE's photoblogs were first introduced to me over at Barbara Martin.

I have called my bench The Magic Bench.

Coming down the slope into the woods, I saw it gleaming in the evening sunlight. Much more than just a humble picnic-table-with-benches-attached, it has a sense of other wordliness. I get the feeling that if I sat down, a feast would appear on the table, the whole thing would rise up into the air, and I would be whisked away to a magic land ...

Maybe I read too many Rupert the Bear annuals!

Should I try it? If it happens, and they have the Internet where I am transported to, I will let you know!