Monday, April 27, 2015

April at Skip

I have a soft spot for Forsythia. I think it was the first garden shrub whose name I learned. This one was here at Skip before I was, and every spring I look forward to its flowers.

I planted a few new clumps of daffs last autumn. This is Narcissus 'Minnow'. It's a tiny thing, but looks great.

This is Narcissus 'Delibes' which Taylors had as 'new for 2014'. I rather like it.

I'm not a big fan of double flowers, but the one on the left has a certain something. It came in a mixed selection so I'm not sure of its name.

Keeping on top of the weeds is the usual April priority. I have been fighting with the awful ground elder in this bed at the bottom of the garden for a couple of years. This spring I gave up, dug it over completely, twice, and picked out every trace of the weed I could find. I replanted the plants saved from the bed elsewhere in the garden, and decided to give this area a new start.

It really is a nasty weed, see here. I smiled when I found that the Gardeners' World website (here) called it 'virulent'. Apparently though the leaves are edible and were once used as a treatment for gout.

Friends had recommended a good nursery, in the Lesmahagow area, so I searched out the Beeches Cottage Nursery, and went shopping!

What a lovely place, and a great selection of plants.

Everything is well laid out and labelled.

Just a great selection.

The nursery is family run. Margaret Harrison was on hand to advise on my purchases. And the flower pot man was a trigger for lots of 'Watch with Mother' nostalgia. Is this Bill, or is it Ben, I wonder.

(You had to have been there, see here. But don't get confused with the other Flower Pot Men, on their way to San Francisco, here.)

So, home with a variety of perennials I don't have already in the garden!

All planted. I'll just need to keep my eyes open in case I've missed any of the ground elder roots, and it will be interesting to see how these new perennials come away.

Now, with last week's fine weather all but a memory, we're back to cold winds and wintry showers. But it is only April!

Still, the weeks roll by. These 'garden escapees' on the roadside near Skip, which I photographed last week, are already past their best ....

 ... but I'm sure they will be back again next spring.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fife Folk Museum

If you are a curling history enthusiast, this would be the place to live! Sadly the pond to which this road leads is well overgrown, but would have seen many contests in years past. The Ceres Curling Club, in the village of that name, near Cupar in Fife, was founded in 1857, and the pond probably dates from around this time. Its memory lives on in this street name. If you are interested in old curling ponds, then this site is for you!

My reason for being in Ceres yesterday was to visit the Fife Folk Museum. What a wonderful place! So much to see.

I particularly liked the use of mannikins in various places throughout the museum, such as here in the Cottar's kitchen.

... and here in the gaol!

and here.

 Now, this was a fascinating exhibit.

There's a little curling exhibit too, more about which in another place.

Add to this a friendly welcome, knowledgeable volunteers, and a first class tea room, the Fife Folk Museum gets my fullest recommendation. Read about its history here.

Another thing that made my day was seeing this old classic in the car park. It's not a museum exhibit as such, but belongs to a local who lives nearby. I enjoy going to classic car shows, and I always look out to see if anyone has a Triumph Mayflower. Rarely these days do I find one. The car dates from 1949-53. So what a thrill to have this encounter yesterday! You see, one like this was my first car, as a student in 1966. My Mayflower was an old banger then, already fourteen years old, but it holds so many memories. Bought for £30 and sold a year later for £20, it taught me a lot about looking after an old car. It only let me down once. Charities day, in the evening on my way to a party. Suddenly I had no clutch. I looked under the car, and the clutch rod had sheared. Next day I took the two bits into MacHarg, Rennie and Lindsay's parts department, in Partick. I showed them to the guy on the desk. He disappeared into the back, and after what seemed like ages appeared with a brand new rod, saying something like, "I don't know that anyone has needed this part before!" I was mobile again within minutes of getting back to where I had to abandon the car the night before!

I loved it then. I love it now. One's first love is always so special!

James May once called this the 'world's ugliest car', see here. He's quite wrong of course, imo!

Details of the car can be found here, and I was delighted to see there is an owners' club, here. Hopefully this Mayflower will have years of life ahead.

1966 was a good year in my life. Nothing like a good wallow in nostalgia, forty-nine years later!

Photos © Skip Cottage.

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Life in April

Lambs doing what lambs do in the first week of April in Wamphray!

No sign of life yet on my favourite beech tree.

I wanted to call this blue tit 'Scruffy'! I thought at first it was a baby, but it's too early.

Spring is here when the flowering currant is covered in pink.

These crocus bulbs, planted last November, have done well. The tulips ... not so successful! There should be lots more.

These have been in the garden for longer than I've been here at Skip.

Chionodoxa in a bowl, celebrating the April sun. It is a pretty thing!

Photos © Skip Cottage