Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Exotic Blooms

One of the many things I didn’t get around to posting this summer, was the unexpected arrival of an orchid in the garden. Strange but true. I’ve never ever seen them growing locally, and there it was. I was gazing  out of the window in my default absent minded sort of way, when it jumped up and went boo! The house is cut into the hillside, so from windows at the rear of the house, the view is eye level with the lawn.

And there it was, a solitary pink spike of bloom, catching the last of the evening sun.

Orchid 3

Just a bit special, do you not think? Is it a marsh orchid?

Orchid 1

I felt rather honoured that it had taken up residency with us; but mystified as to how it arrived.

Orchid 2

Maybe there are many more out there, that we keep slicing the blooms off with the lawn mower.

We’ve had a lot of men in big boots about the place over the last few months, one of the reasons for the dearth of posts of late. But the orchid has been afforded special protection,

orchid_

 

I can report it has survived and gone to seed, and perhaps inspired by a very special visit to the Millennium Seed Bank (another post in waiting) I thought I’d have a go at propagating the seed.  However think I’m out of my propagation league, it seems far more complicated than the lovely marigold seeds Flighty sent me.

 

From the Hardy Orchid Society…

Seed sowing at home

Many members of HOS sow orchid seed in home laboratories (otherwise known as kitchens or spare rooms) with some success! Various back issues of the HOS Newsletter give excellent detailed advice on how to get started. The following items need to be considered.

Sterile working area: A HEPA filtered laminar flow cabinet is ideal – but hardly likely to be accessible to beginners. Try rigging up a ‘glove box’ or a modified fish tank on its side. See see HOS Newsletter issue 3.

Autoclave: A pressure cooker to sterilise everything.

Germination/Growing medium: There are two distinct types:

1. Medium based on agar gel and porridge oats with suitable fungi (symbiotic growth).

2. Medium based on agar gel containing nutrients to be used without fungi.

 

Maybe I’ll just let nature take its course.


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Gilding the Lily

Lilies do not need gilding, nor do orchids really. But I couldn’t quite stop myself  from adding this art deco brooch to an orchid plant. The colours are just magnetically drawn to one another.

gilding the orchid

I‘ve spent the afternoon, surrounded by magazines and scraps of paper and glue, in an arty collage workshop event, I had a lovely time. I do need to play out more,things have been far too serious of late.  I need to feed my soul.

 

I’m told it is my blogs seventh birthday today, my blog would like me to play out more too.


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Good Friday

Spud the dog thinks it is a very good Friday as he is home from kennels, he’s been simply dizzy with delight. He is now exhausted and crashed out on the sofa, snoring loudly.

 

We came home from York yesterday evening, too late to collect Spud, but an easy journey home, for the eve of a bank holiday.

 

It has been glorious here today. After a cold and frosty start

lambs frost

But the sun and blue skies melted it all away. The spring flowers like the birds are just singing.

 

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I’m not sure next door’s cockerel is too chuffed at the return of Spud, I think he’d been making a move on our chickens in his absence. Spud pointed him off in the right direction, again

public footpath 

Have another flower or two, there are plenty to go round.

snakes head


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Forever Flowers

Thank you all for your kind words, following my Mum’s death, I’ve taken time to read messages and cards and even to just sit smell the flowers,

Forever flowers_

I’ve done this in a way I’m not sure I could have managed when my Dad died some 16 years ago. His death caught us all by surprise, Mum had been very seriously ill herself, just a few weeks before, and was just home from hospital to convalesce.

 

I found when I rang family and friends to tell them of Dads death, they did a double take, having assumed the ‘sad news’ I forewarned them of, was the news that Mum had died, not Dad, it wasn’t what anybody expected.

forever flowers 3

 

They were strange, stressful times, Joe was just 12 weeks old, Tom two years, Mum as weak as a kitten. Throw into the mix the fact I had my own business (with the weight of secured business loan attached) plus Mr Uphilldowndale, had his own stressful job too. I had to ‘soldier on’ , to ‘be strong’.  Looking back on those times now, I can see, to my mind, that not actually being able to take time to grieve took its toll on my health and wellbeing even if that didn’t really manifest it’s self until a couple of years later.

 

Flowers have played an important part of the comforting rituals of the last few weeks, I tried to source some mimosa for Mum’s funeral flowers, I couldn’t get hold of any. But it was OK, I know she’d have loved the mixed spring flowers

Forever flowers 3

I did miss her not sitting in the second row of pews though, directing my pedestal arrangement,

forever flowers 4 

Just as she had always done, ever since I tackled, with the confidence of youth, my very first, back in 1974 for my  big brothers wedding. She used to love coming with me to decorate churches, not just this one where she and I were married. Some times were more dramatic than others.

I remembered with a smile, when we arranged the flowers for Dad’s funeral, how Tom toddled up and down the aisle and loved jumping off the steps on the pulpit. 


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Iced Plum Jam

The deep freeze continues. But there are buds of hope. Jammy the kitten-cat would like to show you, look he’s pointing.

Jammy and buds-1

Tiny blossoms are lying in wait.

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Here is the same tree on the 28th March 2011  it looks a little different, frosted granted, but not marooned in snow and ice. I think it’s wild plum, look I’ve even found a recipe for a recipe for wild plum blossom ice cream, written by Blanche Vaughn (I really couldn’t line up any more snowy, white  icy themes if I tried).

The snow isn’t going anywhere fast, here is the lane to our house.

snow filled lane 2-1

Here is Jammy tip-toeing through the snow.

Snow kit-1


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Bdahlia

As a child I could never quite master the word dahlia, I always called them bdahlias, b’s and d’s were never a friend of mine.

Bdahlia -1

My Dad grew lots of dahlias his favourites were  spiky deep crimson varieties, they always remind me of him (and earwigs!). He used to insist each autumn on drying the tubers that he’d lifted from the flower bed (to protect them from frost)  in the airing cupboard. My Mum was never impressed by this intrusion to her line dried laundry!  I snapped these  dahlias in the garden at Chatsworth House on Saturday, I nipped over just in time to capture the penultimate day of the Barry Flanagan sculpture exhibition. More photos to follow.


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Seaside Rock

How quickly our seaside holiday is becoming a distant memory. How quickly the real world piles in to the vacated mind.

How heavy it has rained today! Just as well I have some holiday snaps to look back at.

On the coast path there were some fine lumps of rock (you know I’m fond of them) ancient gate posts, long since disused girded with hand forged iron.

seaside rock -1

The remnants of old walls

seaside rock  1-1

The bizarre weather we’ve had in UK this summer seems at least to have pleased the costal flowers, or just made them flower later than usual. I can’t ever recall  ever seeing quite so many as this year.

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The insect world seemed appreciative

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Just delightful really, *sigh*

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