Wednesday, 31 July 2013

More on pruning and picking blackcurrants as a combined operation


UPDATE on picking blackcurrants

Last year I did a short post describing how I picked blackcurrants sitting down at our picnic table! This year my pruned-away fruiting branches were particularly prolific and comfortably seated I plucked and rolled with my fingers 6kg of large, round, fat, juicy blackcurrants into large plastic bowls. My domestic goddess regards the operation as a garden chore so the job falls to me. I am careful to remove most of the tiny sprigs attached to a few of the fruits, although this is not too critical because when they are frozen, any I have missed rub off very easily. My three blackcurrant bushes have done us proud this year and there will be plenty of pies. We actually ate our last 2012 blackcurrant and apple pie from the freezer a week ago! Brenda was so thrilled with this year’s yield that she came out and helped me finish picking, whipped the fruit into the freezer in plastic bags and holding back 1kg to make some jam, she dispatched me to the village shop to buy some sugar!

Half the crop, I will do the rest tomorrow

This year taking out the fruiting two year old branches did not complete the pruning, The prolific growth of one year old shoots with all that rain last year was too dense. I was not sure whether I wanted such large bushes and nor was a I confident that such shoot density would give me the quality I need next year. Worse. I might even get too heavy a crop and I am not that fond of picking… 
I returned to the bushes and took out half of the one year shoots to ground level. When I compare the photographs of this year’s and last year’s plants I wonder if I should have taken out more.

After taking away fruiting branches to pick. But I don’t want such large and crowded bushes

Two minutes later I have limited the plant to about thirty  one year old shoots.

Last year my pruned bushes were rather less dense. 

Making blackcurrant jam.

Blackcurrants, sugar and water. Ready to go

Steaming cauldron. Temperature must reach setting point of 104 C

Trouble with the bottle  tops. Spilt jam looks too good to waste

Twelve pots. We eat very little jam but it makes very nice presents!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Raptor


Cathi came round for dinner last night and we talked about raptors. We all thought they were a large but specific group of predaceous birds. We thought the group did not include owls or herons. We searched the dictionaries. Most said that raptor was a name for any bird of prey and some mentioned that the term raptor also meant flying dinosaur. You can certainly imagine the dinosaur genetic inheritance in many predaceous birds! I must admit we ended being rather confused. Cathi had promised to send me some of her fine pictures of local birds of prey (excluding owls and herons which I will keep for a future post).  We find it quite remarkable that Harry was able to photograph five different birds of prey in his garden in Seaton Ross
I struggled for a title for this post and settled on hawk. When I looked up this word I was even more confused. I would be grateful if anyone can cast any light and no doubt if any of today’s birds are not hawks someone will tell me! As you can see, I changed my mind and went back to raptor!


The common buzzard is an opportunistic predator and has a peea-ay cry rather like a cats’s meow 

The red kite’s diet of small mammals  and much carrion also includes earthworms
The kestrel hovers facing the wind searching its prey


Low flying merlins rely on their speed and agility to catch their prey

Followers of my blog need no introduction to the sparrow hawk!


On my roof


You might have missed these posts

Harry Poole pictures

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Kirkwhelpington moth trapper

A night’s catch

We have just been up to Northumberland to help Brenda’s big sister Joyce keep on top of her fine garden. It gets a bit weedy and a little overgrown at this time of year. We always enjoy our visit, we are very well wined and dined and it is always lovely to see her.
For twenty five years, Joyce has as an unpaid volunteer, trapped, identified and reported moths. It is part of a national scheme run from The Arable Crops Research Institute at Rothamsted . Originally funded as a service to agriculture it now continues to collect data about climate change!

Every night of the year moths are trapped and subsequently recorded.
Some of you might have reservations about killing moths and other insects. Joyce’s sample only captures moths from about a fifty metre radius and the next trap is sixty miles away. No more insects are killed than on a long car journey on a hot summer night!

Each day Joyce armed with her tweezers sorts out the catch under her large illuminated lens

Those relevant to her search are pinned out and counted
Joyce can identify about one hundred different moths. She looks up new ones that she does not recognise. Her remit is to report particular kinds. She tells me that she used to pass on her catch to an elderly amateur entomologist. His eyes would light up like a child when his parcel arrived!

It is absorbing work
But those long latin and greek names are a bit of a headache

Two years Joyce attended a weekend gathering of thirty fellow lepidopterists who work in the scheme  Other than Joyce they were all male. They treated her right royally and talked moths incessantly. She had a whale of a time!

Joyce told me their names but I have forgotten them!

It is proving to be a very good year for moths in Northumberland.  There is no doubt that the present high temperatures are good for breeding. Joyce is finding species normally not found  in the north. They have wonderful evocative names. This week she has had a Pale Emerald, a Swallowtail and an Orange Garden Tiger. She is very excited to hear that a rare moth almost exclusive to Holy Island is doing very well this year.

Joyce has very fine taste, she grows rogersia!
And has a very fine garden
By complete coincidence BBC Springwatch  is doing a programme on moths on friday.


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Reasons not to dig 7: to grow healthy plants



What are the effects of cultivations on pest and disease?

The traditional view of birds following a tractor is that they are eating pests. Come to think of it, if you see a tractor in a field these days you blink and it’s gone! The birds may well be eating harmful ‘grubs’ such as wireworms, cutworms, swift moth larvae, millipedes and all, but they are also eating beneficial predators such as centipedes and ground beetles. They are also eating worms.
Even in my lifetime students have been taught that cultivations control pests. Winter diggers tell me that exposing the soil to the elements reduces pests!

When I read on some of those fascinating vegetable blogs written by diggers, I often see concerns expressed about soil-living pests. I cannot help thinking that constantly cultivating the ground and perhaps working in organic materials and expensive garden centre potions actually creates the excessively aerated conditions where grubs thrive. I have no evidence for this and it might be a foolish notion. Perhaps it’s just that I don’t dig and don’t see them! My instincts tell me that where the natural balance in the soil is undisturbed by cultivation, pests like symphilids, springtails, millipedes and woodlice are less of a problem. A complication to my argument is that sometimes springtails, millipedes and earwigs are sometimes beneficial predators!

Don’t get me wrong, I have my fair share of sick plants. Only yesterday I cut down my plum tree as it had acquired silver leaf disease (I was actually pleased to have an excuse to give Brenda for me to get rid of it). My delphiniums this year are pathetic (all that leaching of nutrients with all that rain last year). Shame on me, I even have some glyphosate damage, my favourite Aster amellus and Aster nove-anglae are so sensitive to drift.

Silver leaf on plum, early signs. The silvering is due to fungal toxins ascending from the trunk.

Silver leaf fungal infection in the trunk eventually kills the tree. 

Glyphosate damage on phlox. I hang my head in shame, I have been very careless with the ‘roundup’ in my cemetery garden.
Never-the less when I survey my gardens I see thousands of healthy plants. I am of course completely blind to minor blemishes, cuckoo spit and small aphid infections. I know  my brassicas will be covered in cabbage white fly in August and I might have to abandon my carrots to carrot fly later in the season. None of my vegetables would pass supermarket standards but they do taste good!

But yes, I do claim that most of my plants are healthy. I believe plant health to be the norm if plants are well grown. I have used no insecticides or fungicides so far this year. I do confess to a few slug pellets under protective fleece which is there to prevent the collared doves and pigeons from decimating my young brassicas.
(My post on slugs suggests my minimum cultivation methods which involve leaving plant debris on the soil surface contribute to minimizing the damage of slugs and snails. Contrary to the popular view).

So why do I think that minimum cultivation helps to grow healthy plants?
The essential thesis is that if plants are grown well they will be less likely to succumb to pest and disease. To me this is a firmly accepted principle in pest control. Of course there are many situations where either because of pathogen virulence and/or plant susceptibility, no matter how well you look after your plants they might become infected with pest or disease.

For over a year now I have hammered away at why minimum cultivation grows healthy plants. All these matters are inter-related
  • Soil organic matter is elevated
  • Soil density is reduced by spaces and pores. Soil structure is improved.
  • Soil aeration is improved.
  • Drainage is improved and rainfall penetrates into the soil rapidly.
  • Roots grow more deeply.
  • Walking on wet soil is less damaging than feet compacting cultivated ground.
  • Plant roots and dormant vegetative structures are undisturbed by cultivation.
  • It easier to control weeds. Some weeds may be hosts for pest and disease, on the other hand they might support beneficial predators and parasites!
  • There is more biological activity in the soil.
  • Worm populations are enhanced. Apart from contributing to the fertility listed above harmful organisms are digested in the worms’ gut, worms’ coelomic secretions have anti bacterial and nematicidal properties and worm-casts enhance nutrient availability. My post on worms
  • Beneficial fungi are increased. Apart from  mycorrhiza that aid nutrient uptake, nutrient sharing and drought tolerance, other species of fungi kill nematode pests (eelworms). It his fascinating how some fungi ‘lasso’ and digest their prey.
I would have liked to show you some pictures of soil grubs from my garden but could not find any!
This seems to be a popular post, if you found it of interest you might like this one

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

How to grow epiphyllums?



Orchid cacti



I thought I would do a short post to extol the virtues of ‘epis’ as an easy and amusing epiphytic-cactus house plant. Scruffier and with a shorter flowering period than christmas cacti they are rather fun when they produce their huge exotic flowers. As is my want when writing my blog I turn to the net to supplement my own experience. I was horrified to find what  paraphernalia I need to grow them! Special compost, special liquid feed and precisely controlled temperature. Articles even suggesting using rooting hormones. It’s all absolute nonsense and if you can’t root  a succulent shoot of this leafless plant it’s time to give up!

I was given a complimentary cutting from a cactus grower. The cultivar name was scrawled with a biro like this. It rooted of course!

Take liquid feeding. It’s delusional to imagine every plant needs its own special feed. All most  gardeners need is  no more than a high potash tomato liquid feed for any of their plants. Provided all nutrients are provided, plants are perfectly capable of taking up the nutrients they need. In my own case I have stopped liquid feeding altogether and prefer to very lightly ‘top dress’ with a commercial granular fertilizer that is formulated with all the plant nutrients - nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulphur and trace elements. 

Our conservatory has a new roof! Our epiphyllums are now grown (with a few orchids) on this high shelf on the opposite wall to a huge window that faces south east.

Shoots of epiphyllums are rather undisciplined and untidy. Judicious pruning or very careful placement - when they can look rather exotic - is needed. You might very well decide they are not for you when I tell you the flowers last only a couple of days. But the flowers are vivid red, white, orange or yellow and are very large and absolutely exquisite. ‘Epis’ are really quite sweet when their tiny flower buds appear on the flattened green leafless photosynthetic stems. They quickly get bigger and bigger and bigger. Mine reach up to five inches in diameter. Nine inches across is not uncommon. Perhaps mine are small because they do not receive sufficient t.l.c.  (tender love and care!).

Epiphyllum flower flops in front of an orchid

They are very easy to grow if you have a bright warm place to grow them. They do not need direct sunshine but it should not be dull if they are to flower. When our heating broke down this January mine were subjected to zero degrees centigrade for a couple of nights. They did not turn a hair but this is not recommended. Normal room temperatures are best but like most house plants  they should be well away from the radiator.

Over the years I have grown them in all manor of compost. John Innes 1 or 2, multipurpose peat compost with extra slow release fertilizer, even modern peat free compost! I am being a little facetious here, some modern composts are really quite excellent but there is also a lot of cheap rubbish around! Ever to push the boundaries mine  are in Seaton Ross soil with added slow release fertilizer! My soil is almost uniquely sandy and this is not generally recommended! There are several good reasons why garden soil is not suitable for plants in small pots!

Our conservatory shelf is under-lighted (not shown here). At night our epiphyllums make exotic shadows on the ceiling

My post on christmas cacti gives more details of how to grow epiphytic cacti



My recent Open day.

We had a very successful Open day which I will be writing about soon. I was delighted to meet bloggers Sue and Martyn Garrett who have prepared two fine posts about my Open day on their blog. It was great to meet them. Sue is quite a card!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Why gardeners dig 8: to shift soil



Soil shifting
Although my gardening methods seek to avoid soil disturbance, sometimes force-majeure intervenes and soil has to be moved. Fortunately our UK soils are pretty resilient - they have to be when one considers how many gardeners abuse them! Provided  that transported soil is very quickly growing vegetation it will suffer no harm. Very large stacks of soil left by bulldozers on building sites will deteriorate if left too long. Even so this is far preferable to stripping top soil and - the biggest sin of all - throwing it in a skip! Good topsoil should never be wasted.

When we moved into the overgrown garden at Seaton Ross there was a surprising amount of soil to be moved. There were piles of soil all over the place! Horrible elongated borders had been dug out at the front of the property. Even more horrible narrow rectangles had been cut away from rough grass to make so called shrub and rose gardens. Much of the soil had been dumped over a dwarf wall along the edge of the adjacent farm field. 

There was a huge pile of soil alongside an old greenhouse - itself roof-high in nettles. It was standing on top of this five foot heap - I think it represented decades of grass mowings - that Iooking over an overgrown ten foot high privet I first met Harry!

At the bottom of the garden there was a large rubbish dump that contained a hundred years worth of unwanted debris. We subsequently would clear the metal and rubble and cover the rest  with soil to make a raised garden feature.

Somewhere in the past someone had build a huge ‘rockery’ using large broken blocks of concrete. I use the word ‘rockery’ (as opposed to ‘rock garden’ ) as a term of abuse!

There was a lot of soil to be moved! Where my gardening demands unpleasant or arduous tasks I split the job by doing a little each succeeding day. It was to be nine months moving six barrow loads a day before I was done.

Bad practices

I often observe that when gardeners make a new border they strip away the weedy or grassy top soil. Why? Not only do they remove the most fertile soil - even exposing  subsoil - they also create sunken emaciated new borders that fill with wind blown leaves and debris. The best way to make a new border is to mark it out, make vertical slits at the edges, and to spray with glyphosate. Keep all that lovely fibrous soil, good enough to make John Innes compost! Dig dead turf in, if you must, before planting. If you can’t bring yourself to use ‘Roundup’ then just dig it, but you might have later problems with grass or weed roots. Of course stripping away topsoil will not avoid the problem of perennial weed…

Another source of an unexpected problem is when soils of different textures are layered one over another, for example sand over clay or clay over sand. Most gardeners will not have this problem because all their soil is the same. Some gardeners with a heavy clay soil import sandy soil which can bring it’s own disasters if it is not well mixed in. Where there are discontinuities of texture natural drainage patterns are changed and thin layers tend to hold more water back against gravity even when otherwise freely drained. It goes against common sense that heavy soil lying above a drainage layer of sharp sand lies wetter than if lying over drained heavy soil, but it is true. 
Very thin layers of compost in a half filled seed-tray behave in the same way -the compost holds too much water and therefore too little air after free drainage.

Thin layers of soil are the problem. Golf course greens are frequently created with deep layers of sandy soil over gravel, that is okay. Similarly building ‘raised beds’ for growing vegetables is also okay if the extra layer of soil is deep enough or does not create a distinct zone of a different texture to the natural soil below.

I was once the prize in a raffle! A so-called garden expert for one hour! The unfortunate winner had purchased some extra garden which was at the edge of an old World-War 2 airfield. The drainage was appalling as a result of distinct layers of surface materials deposited when it had been originally leveled. It goes against the grain for a no dig gardener, but the best advice was to dig it deeply, or horror, of horrors, rotavate to mix the layers together!

So what did I do with all my extra soil?
Well of course I leveled off all those wretched sunken borders. They were destined to disappear anyway. There were also other parts of the site which needed to be raised.

A lot of soil shifting to excavate my three foot deep pond.

When two years laters later I dug out two huge ponds I had another 400 barrow loads of beautiful sandy soil to dispose of. By this time I had created many large borders which I  was delighted to be able to mulch with the extra soil and thereby raise. Large island orders  are so much better if they have a gentle camber from a shallow edge to a higher flat profile. They look good and in heavy rainfall water does not stand.

I have created steep soil contours with raised banks and  sunken depressions in my large bog garden.

And I call myself the no dig gardener….

I have surprised myself with posts on eight different reasons why gardeners dig and there are more to come. I am ashamed to say I used to have difficulty in searching for my old posts before I discovered how easy it is using the search box at the bottom of the blog!  It is brilliant, but after all if google is anything, it is a search engine!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A new insightful and illuminating medical blog



Dr. David Grimes

Not long ago I read in a newspaper that gardeners had been statistically shown to have a high life expectancy. It is easy to understand why, with our healthy vigorous life in the open air. My earlier reading of David Grimes book ‘Vitamin D and cholesterol - the importance of sunshine’ suggests to me that one reason for gardeners’ good fortune is exposure to plenty of sunshine and the manufacture in our skin of vitamin d.

At my age one rarely makes significant changes in lifestyle or modifies one’s ‘world view’. 
Reading Dr. Grimes’ books has changed my thinking on many health issues and for example has persuaded me that I should supplement my daily intake of vitamin d. Recommended vitamin d doses in the UK are pitifully and scandalously small. In recent years Brenda and myself and our extended families have been taking high dose vitamin d ‘soft gels’. Brenda used to be a serial ‘getter of colds’. Not any more. 

I do a disservice to David Grimes here. He does not accept anecdotal evidence. All his opinions are soundly evidence and statistically based. He does not usually give specific recommendations. He does however with his radical thinking, gives one cause to challenge many of present day medical mores. In my own opinion ‘health messages’ from the establishment are so ossified and restricted by vested interest and political caution that the only way forward is to read the evidence and decide for yourself. David’s writing is easily digested but he does not spare you the relevant facts

I am delighted David Grimes has been persuaded to write a blog. His curriculum vitae as a pillar of the medical establishment is of undoubted quality. He has a lifetime of experience of sound medical practice and clinical investigation. He is widely respected in the medical world. I suggest you have a look at his blog. I know I am going to be a regular visiter. 


Monday, 8 July 2013

A very unscientific trial



Growing runner beans in a cold greenhouse



In the old days climbing french beans, variety ‘Blue Lake’ were a very fine commercial greenhouse crop for early beans. For no very good reason I have never tried them in my own unheated greenhouse. Silly really, as we both prefer french beans to runner beans and we could have had fresh beans for an extra month.
It has always been my understanding that cross pollinated runner beans were unsuitable for the greenhouse because, unlike self pollinated french beans, without insect pollinators ‘runners’ produce no beans! 
Even outside, pollination of runner beans can be a problem. Early crops might lack pollinators and some bumblebees cheat and go direct for the nectar through the back of the flower and do not transfer pollen. Worse, in a dry summer pollination sometimes fails.

I was intrigued when Marshalls introduced beans resulting from hybridisation between runners and french. I took it into my head that it might be a good idea to try part of my packet of the new variety, self fertile ‘Firestorm’ in my unheated greenhouse for some early beans! I could spare a little space through June and July before my tomatoes grew high! I would grow them in the north west corner of my greenhouse where they would cause little shade.

At the beginning of May I sowed six seeds in each of three large (15 litre) pots. My sandy soil is particularly suitable for large pots - I frequently use it rather than potting compost - and as the level of fertile soil in my tomato bed was a little high I just scooped up some soil, mixed in a tiny amount of Yara Mila Complex fertilizer and filled the pot. I would later top dress with the same fertilizer as I do not liquid feed. It is very important to note that seed and young seedlings are very sensitive to direct contact with strong fertilizer and this must be avoided at all costs. My seeds were sown at the top of the pot in a thick layer of unfertilized soil.

Threatens to take over, note I use no glasshouse shade.


Will they reach the telegraph wires?
I am pleased to report the beans grew rapidly without any check to make fine plants. They threatened to take over the greenhouse as they found struts of the greenhouse to supplement their seven foot canes!
The only critical part of their management is to recognise that as the plant’s leaf area becomes large, huge amounts of water are required, especially on sunny days. For the latter few weeks I have been thoroughly watering at least once a day.

Lessons learned
Much to our eating satisfaction we now have a heavy crop of delicious runner beans. What has my ‘experiment’ proved? Nothing, but I have learnt a few interesting things.
Although my crop will be very little in advance of outdoor runner beans in the balmy south, here in the north I have gained beans for perhaps an extra month. Next year I might just try sowing a little earlier. I might try a few tricks like watering in the seed with warm water, ‘free’ from our solar generator! Bean seeds are very liable to rot away if the soil is cold.

Although Firestorm is a fine variety it is in practice a runner bean and not a french bean. I do not dispute that its genetic inheritance of self fertility has been ‘bred in’  from french beans.

My ‘trial’ completely failed to demonstrate the afore mentioned self fertility! My greenhouse ventilators and door are always completely open from June. The bumble bees thought my greenhouse was a wonderful warm place to collect their nectar the proper way and pollinate, I am pretty sure if I had grown a standard runner bean variety I would have had just as many beans.

Bumblebee heaven

Next year I think I might sow some beans direct in my greenhouse soil rather than pots, I will not need to water quite so often, The plants will need the same total amount of water but in less frequent doses.

But should I grow a  true climbing french bean next year. I recall blogger Mark Willis recommended a good one…

Just one more observation. My runner bean pots are standing on soil. By mid-June they were starting to root through into the ground - rather like old fashioned ring culture of tomatoes. I am sure that the extra zone of watered soil made my watering so much more effective. And those extra vigorous fibrous roots would improve my soil, perhaps the roots would support nitrogen fixing bacteria…..

There has been excellent pollination and fruit set

Three days ago I was at last completely confident there would be plenty of beans. It’s beans tonight and for the rest of the month!

Isn’t playing in the garden fun. Brenda says I play in the garden whilst she works in the house!


Update on greenhouse runner beans

One month later (Aug 3rd)

I filed this post in some haste before everyone got sick of their own outdoor runner beans! Things did not go quite as expected. I did have a few reservations whether my newly set pods would actually grow. I need not have worried they gave me a huge quantity of beans. They came in a glut! I am left wondering whether it was wholly because of the extraordinarily hot July or because of their superbly efficient self pollination, not to mention my busy bees. It will be interesting to see if there is much continuity of supply with the Firestorm I am growing outside.
Unfortunately I am having a little trouble with my culinary chef. As mentioned Brenda is not particularly fond of runner beans and has not been preparing menus that involve them. We have only eaten runner beans three times! (She does not also seem to consider that my summer cabbage is suitable for summer either!). Her reluctance has been to the benefit of friends and relations who have proclaimed them  tender and delicious. I estimate that my total yield has been 40 generous person-portions.
To the relief of my now cropping  tomatoes the three pots of beans have now been completely removed and their tops are mulching my vegetable garden where they are rapidly being covered by my extending butternut squashes. I hate to waste organic matter.
Interestingly when I dragged out the pots from the greenhouse there was much less rooting through than I had expected. My outdoor french beans are just starting to crop. We have visitors tomorrow and they are on the menu.

My previous posts on vegetables

Thursday, 4 July 2013

London Open Garden Squares weekend



London’s secret gardens
This annual event in early June has been running for fifteen years and goes from strength to strength. This year, 200 gardens were open (hint, you won’t get round  them all in a weekend, although a single  twelve pound ticket would access them all). The event is superbly organised with brochures, maps and updated internet information. The well designed maps make it deceptively easy to navigate round. You are greeted at each garden by enthusiastic and  knowledgable volunteers. 

There are all manner of gardens of every quality and style. They are normally not open to the general public or have restricted access. You see parts of London you would never see. We were particularly thrilled at the hidden gardens and cloisters only a stones’s throw from Westminster Abbey and The Houses of Parliament!

O.A.P’s riotous weekend
We have done Amsterdam’s wonderful Open Gardens Weekend three times and thought we would give London a try. We teamed up with Harry and Rowena from Preston - you might remember Harry’s recent pictures of worms on my blog. As I write I eagerly await his photos to make a decent post!

Brenda and Roger

With our seniors rail-card we booked cheap train tickets three months in advance. None refundable advance booking at the Travel Lodge, Waterloo - suitably central - was £115 for three nights for each couple. It was going to be a cheap weekend! One of the best way to navigate the gardens is to use London buses - we never used the tube. What did Gordon Brown ever do for us? He gave us our free bus passes! London buses are now so very good.

The K+K George Hotel, Templeton Place is a very fine hotel well above our pay grade. It has a very fine garden, perhaps the best we saw, It is a rare combination of superb design, fascinating garden architecture and unusual healthy plants.
I have to report we geriatric hooligans rather blotted our copybook! We inadvertently turned up in the morning when it opened at two. We brazenly entered the foyer and walked through to the garden. It was wonderful and we felt very grand. On returning through the hotel this delinquent senior in a fit of chiIdish enthusiasm could not resist plastering his latest blog on a complimentary computer (the no dig gardener was here!).

In all we managed 18 gardens over the two days. Each evening we assembled in our room for a bottle of red before going out to dinner. Nandos was best, but on Saturday night we had a special treat, a wonderful traditional London fish and chip supper! By 10pm each night we were back to our hotel and  tucked up in bed!

Rockin sixties in the park. Long tall Sally…..

Would Brenda let me take her home?
Mr Kennedy’s pictures

A fine Viburnum plicatum in Belgrave Square


This tree looks very stable in Ecclestone Square

A camelia in Ecclestone Square

A very fine ceanothus in Ecclestone Square

Lambeth Palace garden museum
Lambeth Palace garden museum


London is alive with native animal life


A small private garden at the back of Maro-Coco chocolate

Medicinal Garden at the Royal College of Physicians







Union jack opposite Lambeth palace


Westminster Abbey gardens
You can see the rest of Harry’s pictures here

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