Sunday, 21 September 2014

One of the nicest things

When I get home from any trip one of the things I like most - aside from sleeping in my own bed again! - is taking a trip around the garden to see what has been happening while I have been away.  Even if I have only been a way for a night I like to go and see what is growing or flowering.

There were a lot of leaves down already.  In fact there were more leaves down here than I had seen in New England it seemed.  We also had a lot of apples (i.e. small hard inedible rocks that the apple tree produces!) down, but hubby had picked them up before I got chance to take a picture.

I was surprised to see this giant mushroom growing, it must be four of five inches across!  I didn't pick it though as I would be too worried, and I suspect that it is going over now in any case.  It looks to me just like the sort of mushroom that you would see a little elf or pixie sheltering under.

There were just two flowers left on this beautiful bright pink penstemon, but it was lovely to see them in any case.  The rowan leaves are changing colour and the birds have been eating the berries already.  I saw a blackbird trying to eat them and I notice that there are a lot less berries than before we went away.  These are always one of the first things that get eaten in the garden.

Although they might not look like much, these two pictures really delighted my heart.  This is the best that this daisy has ever flowered.  It was so wonderful to see it, and I was even more delighted to see this Japanese anemone flower as I have been growing this plant for about 4 years now and it is the first time that it has ever flowered.  As you will see there are several spent flowerheads so I have obviously missed more flowers too.  To say I was excited would be an understatement!!

Of course there are other more normal signs of the changing seasons as well.  The forsythia leaves are turning a beautiful dark red colour and the sedums are blooming too.  Any passing insects and bees will be glad to stop and visit these.

The wildflower bed really is past its best now.  This week I will clear it and pick up some seeds to sow for next year having learned that wildflower seeds are best sown in the autumn.  Apparently some of them need to be frosted to stimulate germination so next year I hope they will be even better.  It has been fun to grow them and there has always been something in flower all summer even if it has been a bit faded looking in recent weeks.

The leaves of the peony are turning too.  Of course I really grow these for the beautiful flowers they produce, but the red leaves are another benefit later in the year too. 

I have absolutely no idea what the flowers are in the picture below.  Perhaps someone can identify them.  They only open up when it is bright and warm and sunny and are a stunning shade of pink.  When we moved here they were already here and I moved them to this spot and they love it.  I love them too!!

More sedums.  I really do love these for the late season colour they provide as well as the benefit they give to the insects and butterflies.  It is amazing how feathery they look when you get up close to them.

This marigold is still going and doing its best so I will leave it until it is spent.  The geraniums are still putting on a show as well which was nice to see as they were also looking a bit past it when we went away.  I have never had much luck in keeping these from year to year.  I don't have space indoors to keep them and no greenhouse. 

Last year though I put the ones I had in one of the raised beds and they made it through the winter.  Mainly I suspect because the weather was so mild.  So in the hope that I can keep the plants from last year as well as the new ones I bought this year going again I have bought a small plastic "greenhouse".  Actually, it is more like a plastic cold frame.  No idea if it will work, but nothing ventured nothing gained. 

The grapes are really ripening up now and looking good.  I haven't tasted one yet in case they ripen some more.  Although they look amazing, they are usually hard with very thick skins and far too sharp to eat.  I think they must be a wine grape of some sort rather than a dessert grape.  Who knows though, I have had a hankering to make some grape jelly so perhaps I will pick them in a while and see what happens.  The birds will be disappointed though as they usually get to eat the grapes!

One thing that hasn't faired at all well is this pot of mint.  it was growing really well when we left.  Now I think that it is a gonner.  Strange, because mint is one of the toughest of herbs and can actually be quite a thug if you grow it directly into the soil - which is why it is in a pot.  Oh well, I can get another one next year!

The grass is being mown though and the borders are looking pretty good considering, but I really must get out and start on some tidying up work while the sun is still out and it is dry.

Now, I have left the best till last - well second from last actually - but the last thing outdoors!  This yucca is in our front garden.  It has been there for about 9 or 10 years - I cant quite remember when I planted it.  Last year it started to produce a flower spike I think in about October or November and it got wet and cold and came to nothing.  So imagine my surprise and delight to return home to this sight!  If it stays warm enough it should flower which will be wonderful as my yucca in the back garden didn't bloom this year.  Yay!!  Here's hoping.

Oh, I forgot, and the weigela is flowering again - this is very unusual.

Last of all, as the house seemed rather bare and empty when we got home I bought two bunches of flowers - wild extravagance I realise! - from the supermarket.  They just seemed to shout out autumn with these wonderful orangey red and yellow tones though and they were on offer, so it would have been rude not to buy something wouldn't it!!

I hope that all is going well in your own gardens with the change of seasons from summer to autumn and winter to spring depending on where you are.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

A first little taster from Boston

I am still going through our photos from our holiday to New England - in fact, I have barely started - but having downloaded them to my computer I thought you might like to see a few little things.  It turns out that from all the many photos that "we" took, I actually didn't take that many.  Most of them were taken by hubby and although I will share a few of the over 500 he took, I won't make you suffer the rest!

Anyhow, just a few little tasters to be going on with and to give you a flavour of what we did.

This statue is in the Boston Public Library, one of two that flank the staircase.  The whole library is a magnificent building.

One of the main things that I wanted to do in Boston was to walk the Freedom Trail.  I will give you more information about this in a future post, but one of the things that I wanted to see most of all was the various Burying Grounds as I find the headstones so fascinating.  It is amazing to think that they are so old and still in such good condition.

We walked most all of the Freedom Trail and went into most of the places that you could visit along the way.  The Old South Meeting House was just one of them.

This wonderful painting is displayed in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  It is an amazing museum.  We barely scratched the surface of looking at all that they have displayed, but we did look at all of the American Galleries and I have a lot of pictures, so I will be sharing more of them in due course.  This painting is massive, it takes up the whole wall.

When we arrived at our first hotel in Boston it was nearly midnight as it had taken so long to get through immigration - nearly 3 hours - and we were amazed when the reception told us that we had been upgraded to a Suite!!  I have never ever ever stayed in a suite before.  It was quite small, a bedroom, living room area with a table and chairs and a bathroom.  It was "decorated" to within an inch of it's life.  We stayed well away from this piece on the wall as we were afraid it would all come crashing down.  I think that they are supposed to be bird houses as there seemed to be a garden/bird theme in the decorating.  It was a wonderful experience staying in this suite.  I doubt that I will ever repeat it, but I can see why people would enjoy it so much!  We were incredibly lucky and grateful for the experience.

After leaving Boston we stayed in a lovely small town called Exeter in New Hampshire and one day found a wonderful garden centre that was full of pumpkins and Mums (chrysanthemums to those of us in England).  It was so beautiful and I told the staff, and meant it, that I thought it was the most beautiful display I had ever seen at a garden centre.  They seemed surprised and as though it was nothing out of the normal, but I thought it was far from normal and took lots of pictures!

We spent a while watching these two little chimpmunks playing running in and around this dry stone wall, they were lots of fun to watch.

The highlight of the visit for me was visiting Louisa May Alcott's home, Orchard House, in Concord Massachusetts.  Louisa is the famous author of the Little Women books, but she wrote many other works too and also served during the American Civil War and was a campaigner for womens rights.  Those of you who know Little Women will be familiar with the character Amy.  I am named after her and got to see Louisa's sisters May's room who the character Amy is based on.  It was the most amazing experience for me.

After visiting Orchard House we went to the Concord Museum and I was surprised to see how similar the style of display was to the rooms we saw recently at the American Museum in Bath.  It was another wonderful place to visit.

Of course the end came too soon, but I will relive it again in the pictures over the coming days.

Thank you for your supportive and insightful comments on my last post.  They are all greatly appreciated and have given me much to consider.  Thank you all.


Friday, 19 September 2014

This time I really did go to America!!!

Hello everyone!  I have been away on holiday with hubby, and this time we really did go to America, not just to the American Museum!!  That is why I haven't been commenting on your blogs for the last couple of weeks, but I have been reading your posts, but it is so hard to comment using the kindle that I decided just to read and not comment. 

You have all been a very busy bunch of people, so Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Congratulations to those having good times.  To those having not so good times, my thoughts are and have been with you.  I hope that things improve for you soon. 

Thank you so very much for all the lovely comments on my posts over the last couple of weeks.  You have been so lovely to keep on reading and stopping by.  I had a whole bunch of photos stacked up waiting to be posted, so I thought that it would be a good idea to deal with them and turn them into posts for you to read while I was away.  Of course having been away I am behind again, but not as behind as I was!!

So, where did we go, where are the photos I hear you ask.  Well, I haven't even looked at my pictures yet, so no photos, but you just know that they will be following don't you!

We went to Boston - as in Boston Massachusetts in America, not Boston Lincolnshire in England as some people that I told I was going to Boston thought.  Then we went to a town called Exeter in New Hampshire, again the one in America, not the Exeter in Devon England!!  These place names can cause a lot of confusion it seems.  I was also been told with great certainty that I was going to see the "fall" in America which is a special season between Summer and Autumn that only America has.  It is so easy to get things mixed up isn't it.

We also had a brief - 3 days!!! - interlude of drag racing in the middle.  I have been holding out on you about the cars thing that we have going on around here, but I will share and explain more in the coming days.

It was a great holiday, I have never been to New England before and it lived up to all my hopes and more.  What follows didn't spoil the holiday in any way - as I was determined not to let it - and we had a wonderful time.

You might want to skip the rest of this as it might be upsetting.  I apologise if it does upset you as that is not my intention, I just want to share as it upset me and I wondered what you thought as I would like some advice about what to do next.

As you will all be well aware and may also have experienced yourselves, the security at airports has, and continues, to increase dramatically.  I totally understand and support that and those doing that work, although I wish that it wasn't needed, I agree that it is far more important to be safe and secure than not.  However, I really didn't expect to have a pat down at the airport leaving the UK that involved the security guard groping me and putting their hands inside my clothes and underwear.  It was a female guard, but surely that is not what they are supposed to do, and I have to say that I felt totally violated and still feel like that writing this down here.  This was done at the security checkpoint and I was very public and embarrassing and even more so considering the things that they did which I consider to be totally inappropriate.  When I tried to complain a huge male guard appeared from somewhere and told me off and to shut up and was pretty threatening.  There are signs up saying that you are not allowed to threaten and abuse the staff, but it seems that groping and putting your hands inside the clothes of passengers is allowed and they have to accept it.

So, the advice I need.  Do I make a complaint, or do I leave it and let it go.  Hubby says to let it go, but frankly I am pretty sure that he would let anything go as he does anything for an easy and laid back life and would never complain about anything.  Me, I don't complain at the slightest thing, but I will query and question things and don't feel that you should just accept anything just because.  I will also make a complaint where necessary.

However, I don't have the name of the guard or any details and I don't think that I could remember what they looked like as I was in such shock and so taken aback by it all - that is an understatement actually.  So if I make a complaint there cannot really be any sort of investigation or action or apology as they don't know who did this.  Therefore am I better to leave it and try and move on and hope that it never happens again, or do I put in a complaint and at least hope that it means that no one else ever has to suffer this again.

Sorry to leave things on this note.  I will be back with happier things, but I do need some advice as if I am going to complain I need to do it sooner rather than later.  If you would prefer to e-mail with your thoughts the address can be found on the About Love Made My Home page, the link is at the top of the sidebar to the right of this post.

Thank you all again for your lovely comments on my recent posts and thank you in advance for any thoughts that you may have about this issue.