There's Gold in Them Hills

It's ended up being a very mixed week this last week just to remind me there is never a dull moment in this house. As they say variety is the spice of life and I'll agree totally with tht, but i could do without the stressful bits. 

This week's cafe flowers
I arrived back at the nursery on Wednesday to find all three deliveries I'd been waiting on had arrived the previous day! Guess what I'll be sorting out for the next few days. But first I had the cafe flowers to do, I brought in some lovely feathery Fennel flower heads from home and teamed them with Asters for some delicate early autumn vases. The rest of the day was spent potting some shrubs and tidying up others to go out in sales, some evergreen Viburnum x burkwoodii and Sarcococca confusa for winter interest. I even managed to get to the hairdresser to get my unruly mop back under control, or as much as it ever will be. A lovely hour of pampering made me feel much better and my hair looked great too.

There is lots of autumn colour in the nursery including these blueberries

Thursday was a beautiful, hot and sunny day, perfect for tidying and restocking the sales area and weeding the stock beds. I started in grasses this time and worked backwards and by the end of the day had half the stock beds weeded. Once one area was finished I put the sprinklers on, the sunny weather and wind quickly dries out the plants. I finished the day with some potting and it was a relief to be in the shade of the potting area for a while.

Euonymus europaeus is colouring up too

You too could have your own Quirky bird

The Echinops and Gaura are still flowering away at home

Mangetout for a thai chicken curry for tea

Friday and the sun was shining again, though a bit cooler. I spent most of the day unpacking the bulb delivery, pricing them and setting them out for sale. We are doing pick and mix bulbs again as this worked really well last year. You can buy as many or as few as you like. It's the ideal time to get spring bulbs in the ground for a fine display next year. We have tiny Iris, Crocus, Daffodils, tall Tulips, Alliums, Frittalaria and many more as you can see below. I have quite a few to get into the nursery gardens, hopefully sooner rather than later!

Pick and mix spring bulbs

At lunch time Uncle Andy and Jean arrived to visit. They are on the mainland for a couple of weeks to catch up with friends and fmily before heading back to the Isle of Coll where they live. We had a lovely lunch and catch up in the Whitmuir cafe. A few more plants were bought and boxed up to go back to the coastal garden they have on the island. You can see the blog from my last trip there here

Unpacking the bulbs for sale

Acers are colouring up beautifully both at home and in the nursery, this is Acer 'Bloodgood' at home

We've booked our table, have you? Looking
forward to trying the new menu

On Saturday I had a day off, I know on a Saturday too! I have always wanted to try gold panning and this year decided to spend my birthday money on a one day course run by Leon Kirk through the Museum of Lead Mining at Wanlockhead, you can get more info here. The weather was very kind and got better as the day went, which was a relief as we were out in the hills all day. A forty five minute drive saw me at the Museum of Lead Mining in Wanlockhead where everyone met for coffee and an intro to the days events. We then headed down the road into the valley for a couple of miles where we parked up and got kitted out in waders. Never worn waders before, interesting, warm too in the cold stream. 

I reckon I rock a pair of waders lol, not!

Glorious weather for it

Learning to use the sluice to find gold

Part of the group learning the panning technique

Me enjoying a day off and ticking something
else off my bucket list

Using the gold spy to see clearly under water

One of the specks of gold I found

The four specks I found, y very own gold 

I had a great day with a nice group of people in beautiful countryside, the weather really helped make the day too and some gold to take home. I'd really recommend doing the day with Leon, well worth the money for a day learning, coffee, packed lunch and use of all equipment. Home to tea and what I hoped would be a relaxing evening until I got a phone call from Granny. She was in A&E in Edinburgh with my eldest son who'd come off his motorbike on the way to Granny's for tea! He has been a very lucky lad with only a cracked fibia, badly sprained wrist and some bruises and scratches. He now has to have six to eight weeks off work to recover, longer than he's been in his new job! So that's more gray hairs and stress wrinkles added to me but if that's the worst accident he ever has with his bike I can live with that. He spent seven hours in A&E before going to stay at Granny's house. I went down to visit him on Sunday morning. He'd had a good night's sleep and was on pain killers for the pain, a stookie over his foot up to his knee and crutches! I got to the nursery after lunch having also begged a shower at grannies, we are now into our 5th week of no hot water!

Gentiana sino-ornata

On Monday my first task was to clean out the wee greenhouse where the two hen pecked chickens had been housed for a couple of weeks. How much muck do two chickens produce, and awful lot! An hour of sweeping and hosing got the greenhouse back to normal and the plants moved back in. As winter approaches there will be a lot more of the tougher tender plants making their way in for winter. I carried on to the big greenhouse, cutting back all the Pelargoniums for winter. This encourages them to make bushier plants next year and they take up less space over winter. Once the greenhouse was tidied, they both got a good water. As the weather cools down over the next month or so I'll start moving the most tender plants in first. I also got the grass around the front garden borders edges, some weeding done and the front paths swept. The place looks a bit tidier.

Cacti in the big greenhouse at home

Echivera glauca

The big greenhouse cleaned out and tidied ready for winter

Echivera sp

After lunch I cleaned the house then did some baking, 2 weeks in a row, wow! I baked bramble and apple muffins and lemon slice. They went down well with David and Daniel, even if I say so myself they were rather tasty.

Making lemon slice traybake

Lemon slice and muffina

Tuesday and our day off together, we were both tired, coming down with some kind of lurgy and not really feeling like going far. David suggested we should go to Crighton Castle which is only half an hour away. We've been talking about going here for a while so it was ideal for a more relaxed day out. Situated near Pathhead in a hidden valley the castle stands on the edge of an escarpment dominating the valley. From the car park it is a five minute walk along a track to the castle which is run by Historic Scotland. 

Crighton Castle from the car park

Inside one of the store rooms

Once inside the castle you can explore all the ground floor store rooms with their stone ceilings, peer into the well or dungeon before climbing up any of the three stairs to explore the upper levels. From here you can get great views of the surrounding country side, especially on a lovely day as we had.

The Italianate diamond faceted facade added by Francis Stewart in 1480

Looking back towards the collegiate church at the car park

On the way home we stopped off for coffee and cakes, nothing like a wee treat to make you feel better, especially a big fat cream cake.

David admiring the view

One of the upper rooms

Peering down the well

Looking west

The castle from the stables

Inside the very impressive stable building

Outside the collegiate church at Crighton

So that's my week, I hope yours has been good and you are enjoying the beginnings of autumn colour on the trees like I am. Have a great week to come, chat soon.

Previous September blogs

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