Friday, 1 April 2016

Spring has sprung!

Well, although the weather has been odd this last winter,
things seem to finally be settling into a mild Spring-like mode ...
for the moment anyway! 
The broad beans I've sown in pots while I get a bed sorted out for them
are popping up - much to Angel's delight. I shall have to keep a watchful
eye on her while she's outside in case she has a nibble ...
She has already uprooted a couple of potted violas that she has been munching on ... 
In the front garden the pond is full of frog spawn, and
Nigel the goldfish has taken up sunbathing while the solar powered
fountain is working happily, in spite of being left out all winter.
The surest sign of all though, is that Archie and Angel
are both happy to mooch around the garden in the nuddy!

As this page doesn't get too many visitors, I'm thinking of simply doing the occasional blog here - maybe monthly rather than weekly - and using the Facebook page more instead.
Come and visit us there at Dog friendly gardening!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Trees ....

With winter settling in, this blog, like the garden and allotment (and by all appearances Archie and Angel who are only too happy to spend extra sofa time snuggling under fleeces) will be enjoying a period of restful dormancy until the Spring. I'll still be popping posts on the Dog Friendly Gardening Facebook page, so do please join us over there - as usual, if I do post a blog, it will be flagged up there anyway. I'm planning on catching up with a bit of maintenance on the allotment such as hedgetrimming and rebuilding the sagging walls on one side of the compost heap, but otherwise I'm getting a lot of enjoyment from looking at the trees all around. As well as convenient places for dogs to post their pee-mail, they have an ever changing beauty all year round and in winter, their architecture is ratcheted up another gear on those mornings when each bough, branch and twig is delineated by frost or snow.
Yes, I'm fond of trees ... and as well as admiring those in the area, I'm looking forward to reading a  recent buy, spotted in the gift shop during a recent visit to Chiltern Open Air Museum, "Special Trees & Woods of the Chilterns", written by locals and inspired by Thomas Pakenham's fabulous book, "Meetings with Remarkable Trees" Winter is after all, a wonderful time for a bit of armchair gardening, catching up on some of that reading you've been promising yourself. If you haven't yet got a copy yourself  or want a gift for a dog owning friend there is also "Dog Friendly Gardening" - all profits are donated to charitable causes.
In the meantime, we all wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Plenty to look at!

A lot of the leaves have fallen around here (most of them into my garden, I could swear) but there is a real beauty to trees when they are 'naked' too, just as much as when clothed in spring green leaves or the glorious autumnal show of colours we have been treated to this year. When it gets frostier and possibly snowy, and each bough, branch and twig is delicately outlined in white they become even more beautiful to look at. And looking more closely there is always something of interest - whether you are a fan of spiders or not, their webs are a thing of beauty as well as awesome construction. And after a dewy start to the day, making a whole array gorgeous, glittering beaded decorations - who needs flowers?

And of course, your dogs will be the ultimate decorative touch, 
the perfect enhancement for any garden!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Spot the poo

Here's a fun new game to play along the lines of 'Where's Wally?'
It's called 'Spot the Poo'.
It's also an object lesson in picking up the poo the moment you see your dog doing it - because you can bet that the moment you take yours eyes off it for a second at this time of year (as I did because I had to go fetch some baggies from indoors - normally all the pockets in all my clothes are stuffed with them, but naturally, on this occasion I'd run out) it will perfectly camouflage itself amongst the fallen leaves.
And if I fail to find it, then you can also bet that as I potter about tidying up the beds ready for winter, I will of course step straight in it.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Seeds - everywhere!

A dry day and I've been rushing round collecting seeds which are now reposing in bags and boxes around the house to finish drying before I store them away ready for sowing next year. Some will also be given as small Christmas presents to friends - pop them inside a small jar which you have decorated with glass paints, tie a label with a piece of pretty ribbon round its neck and voila! a gift which even Kirstie Allsop wouldn't sniff at.
As well as seeds on the allotment and garden, Archie and Angel have also been doing their own fair share of seed collecting while out on walks - and amazing just how many they pick up considering how short and close their single coats are. They still manage to get a few cleaver burrs stuck to them, and sometimes bigger ones between foot pads. Archie also seems to get beech mast wedged in there too, hopping along most uncomfortably until I spot the problem and remove it for him. When it is chilly enough for them to wear their fleece coats, even more seeds and burrs get stuck to them, and the other day I discovered that Angel had even managed to get a dozen or so burrs firmly stuck to the inside of her jacket, where they must have itched like anything. So do check your dog carefully after walks, especially if he has longer fur, as it doesn't take long for the hairs to mat up into a knot which can only be removed with scissors!
Here we go gathering .... er... burrs in October ....

Monday, 19 October 2015

Beware ...

Apologies if posts are a bit erratic at the moment - apart from it being a busy time of year trying to tidy up in the garden and allotment before winter sets in, I've been busy - assisted by office assistants and head gardeners Archie and Angel - promoting Haunting Hounds (about which I blogged last week) and trying to get a bunch of papier mache hounds finished and posted off to their new owners. They are being auctioned in aid of Kim's Home, a terrific cause ... you can find out more on Facebook or the website HERE

On the gardening front, lots of fungi have been popping up - I've spotted a lot while out on walks. They are fascinating to look at and rather beautiful in their own way, but bear in mind they can be just as lethal as many garden plants should your dog nibble on them experimentally. Some dogs will try anything ... and very sadly this was illustrated by a post of Facebook earlier this week about Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's Pug Brutus who sadly died following this ... You can read the full post HERE

 It is a real tragedy and our hearts go out to them. It is impossible to keep an eye on your dog for 100% of the time, but this is a very timely reminder to try and minimise hazards by checking yards and gardens for potential hazards on a daily basis - fungi can pop up overnight.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Come and join in!

A slight deviation from gardening this week - I'm busy promoting Haunting Hounds
over the Halloween period as 50% of all profits are donated to Kim's Home - a worthy cause close to my heart.

Haunting Hounds
It is available from Amazon both as an ebook at £2.99 and as a paperback at £6.99 and is, of course suitable for all-year-round reading as well as at Halloween!

You can find out more about the book at its' website

and about Kim's Home

You can also join the fun on their Facebook pages: