Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Happy Holidays for Quirky Bird Gardeners

Now we are on holiday it's time for us to relax, chill, have some nice days out and catch up with things at home. Monday was a day at home, working through the big list I've accumulated of "stuff" to do. Anything from getting help to get the last of the big plants into the greenhouse for winter to cleaning the house and doing some baking. 

Getting through the apples frm the nursery, only 2 thirds to go! So far I've stewed and frozen boxes of them, made an apple and rasperry pie two weeks ago. Today I made apple and cider bread, apple cake and apple and bramble muffins, all very seasonal

On Tuesday I had some pampering and a hair cut, definitely the way to start a holiday! Then Bracken and I went for a walk up Tinto, one of our nearest big hills. The weather was perfect for it and we had good views. An hour up which I was happy with (first hill walk since January) a seat at the top to enjoy some snacks and then a quick walk back down. Really enjoyed it, good to get some proper walking done again. This is the start of my training for my charity climb challenge up Ben Nevis next year!

Coulter fell with snow on it from Tinto

Give me your snack, go on, I've finished mine, Bracken, Tinto

On Wednesday we headed south to Penrith to visit two of our favourite places, Larch Cottage Nursery and The Brunswick Yard. It's a bit of a trek but if we do both it is well worth the journey. If you are in the area, do visit both. It was the last open day for the Chapel garden this year at Larch Cottage and finally we weren't working and were able to go. It was lovely to have a wander round and enjoy the amazing chapel built for the owners wedding. We managed to only buy two items from the Brunswick Yard, which was very restrained of us! But we did enjoy coffee and cakes for lunch in their excellent cafe. See the link below for details of where to find these great places to visit. You can also follow the link to read a previous blog about another visit we made there.

A visit to Larch Cottage

Larch Cottage Nursery

The Brunswick Yard

Acer palmatum 'Hondoshi', Chapel garden,
Larch Cottage Nursery

Acer palmatum 'Koto no Ito', Chapel garden,
 Larch Cottage Nursery

Inside the chapel

Clematis seedheads, Larch Cottage Nursery

Fading roses

Late afternoon and time to head home

But before we do, time to walk Bracken

He's spotted something

Surely it's too cold for a paddle

Our purchases from Brunswick
yard, the bottle is decieving, it's
2 feet high!

Heading north, but not to far on Thursday we visited Wallace Monument near Stirling. It's 21 years since I was there and David has never been, so good to go back. We were lucky with the weather too and had fab views all around. A god work out climbing the 200 and odd steps but worth it for the views. East all the way to Edinburgh, south to Stirling castle. west to Ben Lomond and north along the Ochils. You can visit the website here National Wallace Monument for more information on visiting.

The winding twisting loops of the River Forth 

You can see how many times the River Forth loops backwards and fowards in this photo

Ben Ledi

Stirling castle

The Ochil Hills

Walking through the woods below the Monument

Friday was a day at home catching up with that long list of things to do, including cleaning the car, watering greenhouses, sorting through piles of stuff, lists of admin and making apple chutney with the last of the apples. It goes very well with cheese and pate and I don't think it will last long!

Apple Chutney

On Saturday we were back at the nursery with a stand at the Whitmuir Art and Craft Fair. It was lovely to catch up with people and sell a few things. We will also be at the Christmas fair, which is over two days this year, on the 1st and 2nd of December, 11am to 4pm. We'll have gardening gifts, gift vouchers and mistletoe for sale. Wee you there!

On Sunday we had a great day at St Abbs head which will appear in another blog soon. It's been a relaxing break so far, with long lies, leisurely breakfasts, lovely days out and catching up at home. Looking forward to lots more of the same interspersed with nursery visits and work there.

Have a great week.

#Larchcottagenursery #thebrunswickyard #nationalwallacemonument #whitmuirartandcraftfair

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Autumn Fades, Holidays Beckon and a Hint of Winter!

Anemone × hybrida 'K├Ânigin Charlotte'

As our nursery season draws to a close for 2018 (I know I can't believe it either!) there is still plenty of colour in the garden. Although most of the autumn leaf colour has been blown off by all the recent gales perennials are still holding their own. Aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendsii', Japanese anemones, Persicarias, Asters, Rudbeckia, Agastache, Marigolds and a second flush of flowers on all the lupns. 

Aster (Symphyotrichum) pilosum var.
Pringlei 'Monte Cassino'
Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers'

Lupinus 'The Governor' (Band of Nobles Series)

....... and one from the same batch of
 Lupinus 'The Governor'

The nursery will be closed from 28th October and then open by appointment only from Monday 19th November until Saturday 2rd March 2019 when we re-open for the 2019 season.
If you wish to purchase plants or to ask advice, please email and we can arrange to be open.
We'd like to thank all our customers and visitors to the nursery for helping make it a fantastic year, for your custom, great reviews and positive feedback, it's very much appreciated.
We have lots more exciting plans for the nursery and gardens in 2019 and hope to see you back to enjoy the next part of the garden development and all the new plants we will have for sale.

I spent the last week getting everything ready for us closing and for winter. All the herbs and alpines are back in the big tunnel (not because they are not hardy, but because they are in small pots, they are more vulnerable). A lot of plants are back with their batches in the stock beds, signs are down, ornaments and benches stored undercover for winter (this prolongs their life so much more) and the water features are all switched off. The gunnera got it's winter tent of its own leaves cut off and turned upside down, this will keep the worst of the frost off. So far so good, I'm really pleased with how well it is surviving in the stream garden. 

David has started taking the turf off in the middle terrace, marking
out our next project or two!

Last year in 2017 we created two large gardens here in the nursery, the scented and herb garden which have been much enjoyed by visitors and staff. This year we concentrated on signage, labelling and information boards in the sales area, stock beds and gardens.
Next year we are going big again with two new projects! One has been started for a while and the second David started last weekend, lifting off the turf so we can get a feel for the new border lay out. If you've visited the nursery recently you'll have seen the first tracks laid for the Quercus Light Railway and the video I put up here last week.

Around the railway with be the second project - my interpretation of a prairie garden. I love Piet Oudolf's designs and plant use and would love to recreate something similar (on a much smaller scale of course). ALthough I will be using lots of cultivated garden plants I want it to blend into the wild life bankings on either side too.
As they say watch this space!

We had snow at the weekend, it seems we've gone full circle, starting in March with snow and ending with it. This is it coming over the Pentlands, it didn't lie but fluttered down for a while.

My Wisteria at home has had some beautiful autumn colour this year, such golden leaves!

At home the garden is very much heading to winter. All the tender plants are in the greenhouse, the new greenhouse heater is working well which is a good thing considering the low temperatures we've had this week, three nights of frost and down to -5 on one morning! Brrrrrrrr, it feels too early, I just hope we're not heading for an early and long winter after an early autumn.

Bracken has a new tennis ball to skin!
Milly and Rona morning selfies while waiting
for the school bus

I've also had more time for cooking and baking. We had a bumper crop of apples from the nursery and I'm now working my way through the second lots. I've stewed some and put them in the freezer, made an apple and raspberry pie, apple and cider bread, apple cake and apple and bramble muffins. I think the last lot will become apple chutney.

The second picking of apples

Lots of homemade yummyness

Sticky treacle pudding with poached pears, dessert when we
 had friends over for dinner

WIth clear skies and cold weather come beautiful skies and we are lucky to have open views around us and on the way home from the nursery. I never get bored taking of sunset and sky photos.

The autumn colour on our wee road has been fabulous, it's almost all gone
now, blown away with all the strong winds in recent weeks

Our day off last week was all about the Clyde Valley after a much needed long lie we stayed local. A visit to the antique place at Garryon Bridge where I managed to buy an old gardening book, 2 mugs for my Denby dinner set and part of Bettys Christmas for £23! I should be on Antiques Road trip, next a stop at Silver birch garden centre to wander amongst their Christmas shop much to David's bah humbug. Next it was Bracken's turn and we had a lovely walk up to the Falls if Clyde, so lucky to have this lovely place to walk on our door step. Then it was back into Lanark to do some shopping before heading home, whew!

This way or that

We are now going to enjoy a few relaxed weeks off, we will be back and forward to the nursery over winter as there's always plenty to do. 

Have a great week.

#autumn #autumnharvest #apples #newlanark #Fallsofclyde

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 If you want to find out what's been happening in our garden at home like our Facebook page 
                                                      The quirky Bird Gardener 

 If you to see whats new and looking good at the nursery like our Facebook page
                                                         Quercus Garden Plants

Find out more about the nursery here - our web site:

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All contents  and photographs ©  Rona, unauthorised reproduction & use of these images is strictly forbidden, thank you