Friday 28 February 2014

Mistletoe update !

                                            Something is happening !

I,ve been trying to grow Mistletoe for years with no success . Back in December 2012 , I tried again . Making a slit just under the bark and squishing the seed out from the white gooey berry...and using that goo to hold the seed in place on the branch . It sets very quickly and the seed is sheltered from the elements ( yes ....spell checker  ! elements ...not elephants ! ) under its little roof of bark .
 I tied green string around the branches on which I performed this operation , so I wouldn't forget where they were .
 Yes .... so now... look !    I can see a small green bump emerging !
 I think it might be germinating !

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Meanwhile in the greenhouse .....

                                  Schlumbergera x bucklyi Charles Lemaire

                                          The star of the show today !

  It is a miracle that my little 8ft x 10ft unheated greenhouse , with the dirty windows , hasn,t been smashed in the recent storms ...... There is some water coming in somewhere from along the roof , but it's not too bad . We haven't had a real freeze yet , but I throw sheets of newspaper over everything if the weather forecast is more seriously cold .
 I have hung silver insulation stuff that comes on a roll from B and  Q , across the rafters for a little insulation . It has got us through the last two very cold winters. Today the sun shone for most of the day and I had to open the the top windows. Ventilation is so important to keep the bugs at bay ...also it can get too hot in there and then the temperature drops  dramatically if the sun goes behind a cloud, at this time of the year it is a job keeping an eye on it really  ....I  have quite a collection of cacti, and epiphyllums, but during this time of the year , everything gets crammed in there to over winter. Right now I am starting off leeks and onions...and various flower seeds. Cuttings of fucshias and pelargoniums and herbs. Two Soap nut tree saplings . Agaves , Gasterias ( I have a real thing for Gasterias ! lol ! ) All these things like different temperatures and varying amounts of light levels too , hence I have put up shade net over the Epiphyllums, those Gasterias like to be right under the bench. .the dirty windows modify the brightest sun so nothing gets scorched . ( my excuse anyway ! ) The sun loving cacti go nearest the South facing side .
 Tomatoes....are a blooming nuisance because they like a much higher level of humidity ....maybe I wont grow tomatoes this year. I need another greenhouse ..or three would be good : )

Here's a jumbly photo of around my greenhouse , you can zoom in on and look around.
It is blowing a gale outside again as I write ...and I think we have another three days of stormy weather coming in ... again .
So what happens if the greenhouse begins to collapse ?  Answer.. The plants , cacti , tree saplings epiphyllums ,Agaves, hollyhocks , leeks and onion seedlings will all have to come indoors ...somehow .... next thought .....spiders  !    eek !
  My heart goes out to all those of you who are really suffering in these storms with the misery of flooding ... you are in my prayers . x

Jake's Bones

Here we are on the beach again, beach combing and looking at our brilliant new book !
 Me and my little grandson reading the best educational children's book I,ve seen for a very long time " Jake's Bones " written by Jake McGowan -Lowe .Published by Ticktock.
  Jake who is 12 years old has been interested in wildlife and collecting bones he finds whilst out on nature walks , woods and beaches . He shows how he puts the bones together as complete skeletons of the different animals  . It is such a fascinating hobby and a great introduction to biology in general .
 We love that dinosaur on the front cover !

Monday 10 February 2014


                                      O Wind , where have you been
                                       That you blow so sweet ?
                                           Among the violets
                                         Which blossom at your feet .

                                           The honeysuckle waits
                                          For summer and for heat ,
                                          But Violets in the chilly spring
                                            Make the turf so sweet !
                                                                                    Christina Rossetti 1873

 So with the cafe closed at Charmouth , off we drove to Groves Nursery in Bridport .
....Where we enjoyed a huge...and I mean huge, full English breakfast !
I stocked up on shallots and onion sets , peas , beans , seed potatoes , greyhound cabbage and kale seeds and potato sacks......hormone rooting powder ....
    ............. and then fell in love ....... with Mr Groves collection of Violets .
 Violets ,  an almost forgotten about treasure of our English wild-flowers  .
Oh ! My goodness me ! This was the first time I have ever breathed in that sweet scent from a real Violet flower , heavenly !
 With delightful names such as Grandads Violet , Annalesia , Becky Groves ,Perle Rose , Lydia's Legacy , Lavenders Lady , Dawnie and Dick o The Hills .
 I took home with me to Cornwall , The Baroness de Rothschild early Valentine 's  Day gift from my husband xxx
Our Cornish violets , which are so beautiful , along our Predannack Cliffs , Mullion , sadly have no fragrance ,  unlike the ones that grow in Devon and Dorset ...I must go and see them ..they must be loving this rainy weather !

Charmouth Dinosaur Hunting

So we finally got away to Charmouth between the storms . In fact we had four dry and quite mild days .....and when the tide went out , we did some dinosaur hunting .
 We,ve been coming to Charmouth for many years , looking for fossils along the shore line.    We never bring geological hammers , there is no need !

Think small , you can find sweet tiny things lying in the shingle on the beach .
The sea has washed off all that grey sticky shale for you and you stay safe , well away from the mud flows and slipping crumbling cliffs .

                                         Heres a beautiful tiny piece of coral .

                                                         Ammonite .

 Very worn, sea rolled piece of rock with ammonites in , beautiful ....into my pocket it goes !

Beach combing is so therapeutic and back at base , I turn out my pockets !
      Now look at this !  This might be something special ....any ideas  ?
                  I am pretty sure it is bone ( fossilised ) .

Over the years , I have been lucky to find both Ichthyosaur and Pliesiosaur vertebrae  at Charmouth . Yes ! You will find them from time to time and they are easy to spot lying in amongst the shingle and cobbles on the beach . I decided that I would begin to train my eyes and brain to find other bones apart from vertebrae . So I,ve been doing alot of study and research .
 I think this might be an ankle bone , calcaneus ...and if it is then it will be from a land dinosaur .Scelidosaurus is the one that has been found in Charmouth .....and they have one in the  Charmouth museum and heritage centre ,which sadly , was closed while we were there ! : (        ( so were the loos ! )

 Anyway , here is another pic of my best find , have a look and please if you are an expert on fossil bones , then let me know what you think it might be ?
 I also want to stress , that this too , I found lying in the shingle , not far along the beach really  . I didn,t feel like walking all the way up to the Golden Cap this time !

The Charmouth Heritage Centre and Fossil Museum is brilliant ! Especially for children !
Here there is also a Fossil shop full of wonderful things , fossils, rocks , crystals ,Massive Ichthyosaur skeleton .There is a cafe too , but also , not open while we were there : (