Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Seed Dreams and Schemes

What's the difference between planning a garden and day dreaming?  I can spend hours browsing through pictures of beautiful borders then looking at my patch and imagining the potential!  I can decide that shrub has to go; that colour combination would work there and that climber would smell divine next to that gate!  So what's the difference?  Hard Work!

I have forgotten where I read it but apparently it takes 15 years to create a garden.  It needs planning and time to grow then time to dig up the bits you don't like and re organise then grow it again.  Well this year I made a start.  I organised the paths at the back of the garden so I can get to the greenhouse ,,, I now want to move the greenhouse!  I planted two cherry trees but one of them is now where I plan to develop a vegetable patch.  I think fifteen years is an understatement!

This year I intend to put some THOUGHT into the planning ... I need to decide what I want from the garden.  Do I see it as just a flowery place round the house; can I improve it for the wildlife; how do we actually use the space; is the shed in the right place....? Once I have got my head round why we have a garden then I might stand a chance of planning one that won't need to be reorganised every year!

In the mean time I will continue to dream about flowery borders and colour combinations by browsing the seed catalogues from the the comfort of my armchair ... it's much too cold and wet to go outside!

Here's a few links you might find helpful if you want to join my Seed Dream Team:

Now does anyone know a friendly bank manager ...?!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Gambia

"If we go to Gambia a week later than planned we can save a fortune," he said.  "The return flight will only cost £24. What do you think?"
It was a good price.  A six hour flight for £24!  An amazingly good price! 
I wasn't tempted at all. 
The flight was on Tuesday 25th December!
I wanted to wake up on Christmas morning and open presents round the tree, eat too much at dinner and fall asleep in front of the telly with my family not sit on a plane.

We went on a birding trip: a few days at the coast then up river to Tendaba then cruise on to Janjanbureh (once known as Georgetown) before travelling back down to Lemon Creek.

Well, the Gambians were the friendliest people I had ever met, the chimps were cuddling each other in the trees and the hippos yawned at us from the water.

The men kept referring to me as 'Lady Boss' implying the women tell the men what to do.  In the rural communities the women worked the fields in the heat of the day; the women and children carried the water and washed the clothes and swept the dusty yards.  Men tended the animals and went fishing.  There seemed to be hundreds of children.  They pay for boys to be educated but girls can go to school for free - this is to encourage parents to educate the female population so perhaps in future years the idea of Lady Bosses will be a reality!

The tourist hotels and lodges had beautiful gardens but the local people are too busy growing crops to spend time on flower gardens.

We walked through huge rice fields and 'allotments' filled with sweet potatoes and tomato plants.  Here we complain about slugs damaging our crops.  There they have to chase the monkeys away!

Here we forage the hedgerows to make our wine.  There they stick bottles in the palm trees to collect the sap .... sixty feet up! The things some men will do for a drink!

The birds were colourful, wonderful and plentiful.  Andy recorded over 230 species - over 50 in the hotel garden at Lemon Creek.  

At Passport control on the way home the smiling official stamped the page and told us he expected to see us again next year .... we told him he had a date!

Visit Cock of the Rock for bird photographs from the trip.