Thursday, 27 October 2016

Autumnal colours, vegetables, fruit and Photography

Dappled autumn colour in the hospital grounds

Parental stress management as Ben went in for his operation

An extra day off this Wednesday so I could take Ben to hospital for the operation on his wrist, we arrived just before 10 am and he was taken not long after. So started a long wait for a stressed mum, it doesn't matter what age they are you still worry. I had coffee and cake and walk around the hospital grounds enjoying the autumn colour for a while until I was sure he wasn't going to be sent back out. I went along to the nursery to make sure all was ok there, had a coffee and then headed home. It's amazing what you can get done when a few extra hours present themselves and you need to keep occupied! I got the monster ironing done and quite a few other household tasks out the way. David was away working and Dan was at Granny's so I had dinner on my own before dozing off on the sofa. The call to say Ben was ready to come home finally came just after 6pm. He has his wrist in a plaster with a screw to pull the bones together and a bone graft to fill in the gap! Ouch.

Autumn means kicking through leaves, yeh!

Back to normal, or as normal gets in this house on Thursday and back to the nursery to catch up. First things first though, the cafe flowers. Cut flowers from the gardens are beginning to run out and I am hoping to get another week or two out of them before switching to winter evergreens and berries. The rest of Thursday and most of Friday was spent weeding in the stock beds, making the most of the dry and reasonably warm weather. This will be the last weed of this year and I won't do anymore with the stock beds until after the new year. Friday started with an emergency appointment at the dentist for the agonising toothache after root removal last week. I now have a course of antibiotics to take to deal with an infection. Vets, doctors, dentist, hospitals, it's beginning to get a bit mad.

This weeks cafe flowers

The Aronias in the car park are stunning in their autumn colour

Lots of colourful squashes in the veg porch of the Whitmuir farm shop

Autumn reflections in the Whitmuir pond

Lots of colour in the sales area to entice customers

An unexpected combination with Aster 'Monte Casino' which will flower
into November and a second flush of Sanguisorba working well together

Saturday and Sunday arrived with David feeling ill with a nasty cold, so he sat in the super heated office doing business planning for next year while I weeded and we chatted about all the things we want to achieve at Quercus in 2017. We are both looking forward to some time off over winter as both businesses wind down for the end of the season, it's been very busy for both but very rewarding too. Saturday evening saw us in Edinburgh for David's company end of season dinner with his survey team. We chose to go to Cosmo again as there is plenty choice for all tastes, especially puddings, I like puddings!

I have desserts down to a fine art

Rainy Edinburgh nights

Autumn colour on the farm, the perfect place to visit on a lovely autumn day

David's lurgy was not improving and he's was feeling quite rough, but managed to give me a help to get both cats to the vet for the their second round of jags on Monday. I also took the opportunity of being in Lanark to do errands to the charity shop, banks and choose reading glasses! Trauma, but it did cheer David up watching me try them on. Once home it was the usual housecleaning chores and baking. This week I kept it seasonal with apple and custard cake and fruit and nut flapjacks. They are much appreciated by everyone. 

Makings of apple and custard cake

Everyone approved of this tasty autumn cake

Very easy to make fruit and nut flapjacks

The end result which is quite impressive as whenever I've made flapjacks before they have crumbled

It's not unusual for a small fuzzy doglet to get in the way of a photo shoot

Messing around with squashes in the garden

Miscanthus 'Dreadlocks' in the front garden with great autumn colour

It was a lovely sunny clear day on Tuesday as I took eldest back to his flat, he is adamant he can cope on his own, despite his arm and leg and is desperate to be back in his own space which I can understand. The one and half hour journey there didn't seem so long in the sun and with all the lovely autumn colours on the trees. I bought him a couple of weeks worth of food and lunch then we went to his flat. All was well there, so I left him to get on with things and headed home. I've done more driving in the last week than in a long time, not  bad thing for me or the car. David managed to find the energy to go out on our night out at the Botanic lights event in Edinburgh Botanic gardens. The weather was perfect, not too cold, dry and still. This is the second year we've done this and it didn't disappoint again. 

I'll leave you with some of my photos from the evening, I hope you are having a healthier week than we are having in this house, take care.

Start of the Botanic Lights display

In the Chinese Garden

Interactive light display

Impressive water and light display in the pond

Music, Lights, water

The Palm House

Prayer flags

Inverleith House

Previous October Blogs

Late Autumn in the Garden

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Beautiful Autumn

Lovely fresh colours for the cafe flowers

So here we are, another week, another week I am behind, maybe I'll catch up when I'm on holiday, maybe not, hmmmmmm. Everything in the nursery and at home in the garden is gently sliding into autumn which makes the work load a bit less, and welcome  as it's been full on since the beginning of February. After I'd done the flowers on Wednesday morning I had a successful planning meeting with all the businesses at Whitmuir. There are lots of events planned up to Christmas and beyond so keep an eye on our facebook pages for details. The weather was overcast, which was a change, we've really been enjoying the sunny, dry weather over the last few weeks, but it had to end sometime. I used the time to get a pile of paperwork done in the office and some potting up finished. It's sometimes annoying not to get on with outdoor jobs but some rain does get the paperwork done! I was lucky to find some sloes today, not many but enough for a half bottle of sloe gin, which should be ready just in time for new year. You can read our previous sloe gin blog here sloe blog

Sloes, smaller than the Yorkshire ones we got last time, not complaining mind

Sloe gin ingredients

All the best laid plans and all that to get on with the job list in the nursery went downhill after a very poorly Wednesday night being sick through the night. I went in to the nursery for a few hours to do some paperwork, keeping warm by the heter and then finished early and went home to sleep on the sofa. Luckily it seems to have been a 24 hour bug as by Friday I was much better. Which was just as well as I was off to the dentist in the afternoon for a round of treatment. I spent the morning doing all the odd jobs I never get round to in the office and outside so I left the nursery to go to the dentist feeling like I'd achieved quite a lot. After five injections, one filling, a scale and polish and the roots of two large teeth removed it was home to lie on the sofa again! Its turning into quite a week but on the plus side the early morning and evening sun on the autumn trees can look quite spectacular.

Light on the trees behind the house

That tree again

Despite being almost the end of October there is still lots of colour in the gardens and nursery with late flowering perennials and autumn colour on trees and shrubs. Here are a few of this week's star performers.

Conifers can take on autumn colour as these
 Cryptomeria are showing

Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans Compacta'

Showy Acers in the sales area

Berberis 'Red Chief' and Viburnum davidii

Seasonal colour on the display tables

Euonymus europeus, Acer griseum and Cercidiphyllum japonicum

The weekend arrived with more rain, mainly showery and colder, meaning the heater is on every day now in the office and another layer on to keep warm. I spent most of the day potting, getting some plants in small 9cm pots potted up ready for selling next year. I've been gradually moving some less cold and wet tolerant plants from the stock beds into the workshop tunnel, this will be enough to protect them from too much damage over winter and give them a better start in the spring. I managed to get some weeding done in the stock beds between showers but it was mainly a day of paperwork.

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' in the entrance border

Adam was with us on Sunday helping David to lay out the plans for the next garden, straight from paper onto the ground, very exciting. Canes and marker paint do the job to let us see how it will look before cutting and digging over the beds and cementing in the brick edging. All the landscaping materials are ordered so there are no excuses to get on with our main winter job as long as the weather behaves. No pressure to get it ready either as it all needs to be finished and looking established by August next year. For me it was much the same as Saturday, potting and paperwork when it was raining, weeding the stock beds when dry.

Laying out the garden plans on the middle terrace

From the top terrace

This week my days off are a bit muddled up again as David is working and I am taking eldest son to hospital on Tuesday. Since youngest is off for his October break and eldest is coming home for the week, I thought we could have an afternoon out together. We ended up heading to Bannockburn, site of Robert the Bruce's battle victory in 1314. The last time I was here, twenty one years ago,  Ben was a baby in a back pack. Because the weather was showery we headed to the monument first, making the most of a dry spell. 

Exploring more Scottish history

The monument to the battle of Bannockburn in 1314

Features of the monument

Statue of Robert the Bruce

Sunshine after the rain

Stirling Castle from the monument

Having got the walk out to the monument out the way (long for Ben with his crutches) we went for lunch in the cafe, soup, sandwiches and cake were all very good and reasonably priced too. The battle experience runs at certain times, so we had a wee wait until it as our turn, but once we were in it was well worth the wait. With 3D glasses you see two films about the back ground to the battle before moving through to the interactive battle room where you learn about key aspects of the battle and the events are brought to life through 3D glasses and the narrative. You can handle the weapons that would have been used and hear the stories of people that would have been on or around the battle field.

Bannockburn ducks

It worked for Robert the Bruce

Lots of lovely scarfs in the shop to warm you up

Look out here they come

On Tuesday Ben finally had his appointment to get his leg checked at Wishaw General. We were taken on time and the doc had a good look at his leg before sending him for an x ray. Once the results were back there was good news and bad. The good being he didn't have to get another plaster on, only a boot to give his leg some support. The bad news was about his wrist which Ben had mentioned was still sore. It got an x-ray along with his leg and turns out it's broken so away for a CT scan and then he was booked to come in the next day for an operation. We didn't see that coming! We just looked at each other and laughed! Home for lunch, house cleaning and baking and getting organised for the next week.

Ben and his broken limbs, Wishaw general

I hope you are having a great week and the weather is being kind to you.

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