Saturday, 28 May 2022

Peak daisy


We have reached peak daisy here at Above the River Towers. The front gardens in our street are, as usual, a mix of solid concrete, plastic grass, a touch of rewilding and one or two beautiful patches of flowers grown for pollinators. The message doesn't really seem to be hitting home in most places. 

Down the back lane, men with strimmers and trimmers and too much time on their hands are hacking back the undergrowth as if their mission in life is to eradicate anything wild. I am grinding my teeth and working out how to politely bring it up in conversation.

There has been a casualty in the garden. I found a dead blackbird and I'm concerned that it's one of the cats that was coming in through the hedgehog hole. I haven't seen any since and I am on high alert now, poised to gallop out there and be frightening. A couple of frogs have also passed on, but that is fairly normal for this time of year. Dead frog scooping is one of my very worst things though.

My neighbour's garden is delightfully overgrown in places and between us we have loads of birds. A new family of sparrows was out there yesterday, with the babies fussing round the parents, pestering them for food. They were utterly adorable. 

Blue tits and great tits have been all around, picking juicy things off of the greenery. The snail damage as usual is vast. All of the beans that I grew from seed (from bean?) have gone and masses of dahlia has been eaten. The big dahlia reaches a point where it grows so fast that even the snail army can't keep up though, and all is well. 

The two biggest urchins are in the middle of A-levels and GCSEs. I am surprisingly calm and collected. Other than exams, they have pretty much finished school for now though. They will have a very long summer break indeed, I fear it may be expensive.

The dog is rather skinny, having been ill and then been sentenced to a low-fat diet. I think I underestimated the amount of food that he was being given by way of snacks by Someone. So I am trying to fatten him up slightly, while not actually giving him fat. He has also had a (much-loathed) haircut, which has made him look extra thin. He hates and fears the dog groomer so much that I have to carry him almost all of the way there these days. She says that as soon as he is in the bath he's fine and good as gold. It's all in the anticipation.

I feel that I need to do Something for the jubilee, it's such an amazing occasion. In my mind's eye I can see an outside table and red, white and blue bunting and lots of cake and strawberries and cream and maybe a scone or two with jam and clotted cream. Perhaps a jar or two of flowers from the garden and something fizzy made from elderflowers or lemons. And a proper floaty summer dress and maybe even a hat. It all sounds wildly unrealistic, given how much work I have on and the fact that I don't actually own a floaty summer dress or a hat, but still, it looks pretty inside my head. I can definitely do the clotted cream bit. Any plans at your end?


  1. Ooh, your Jubilee plans sound idyllic. Not sure about this end - I've seen a poster for a 'bring a picnic' party near the castle, so we may gatecrash that. You've inspired me though - I think I may dig out the cake stand and do a Jubilee afternoon tea. No floaty dresses round here either, I'm afraid.
    You'd love the bit behind my greenhouse - it's nettle city. We also have a few traffic islands nearby where someone has gone to a lot of trouble sowing poppies, cornflowers etc. They look glorious and much better than the council's 'trial wildflower verge', which I feel may be just an excuse to save money.
    Great excitement over lunch - we were having the first BBQ of the season and a kingfisher joined us. Our burgers were going cold as we froze like statues!
    Well done on the exam calm. I hope I was calm on the outside but remember my stomach being in knots for a month. I sympathise re:the slugs. I lovingly planted out my pak choi only to have it all munched overnight. Here's to Bertie putting on some weight. xx

  2. I have a floaty dress. It’s circa 1980 and has seen me through weddings, graduations tea parties the lot. I’ll send it over :). My family refuse to let me wear it anymore as they have seen it too often. Will send some fattening up treats for Bertie too. Hope he gets his oomph back soon. As for men with strimmers; don’t get me started. Whoever invented the strimmer needs to be shot. At least you have lovely next door neighbours.
    Bird song is wonderful at the moment. They really are at peak performance aren’t they. Sorry about the blackbird hopefully he died of old age. Enjoy your Sunday. B x

  3. An enjoyable post and lovely pictures. I do like to see daisies en masse. Shame about the dead blackbird. Poor Bertie what with being ill, on a diet and having a haircut.
    I won't be celebrating the jubilee, but enjoy whatever you do. xx

  4. When your children get married you get floaty dresses. And hats, handbags and shoes ! Communal picnic in the park here, may wear floaty dress and pretend to be posh. I still have nightmares over result days! Good luck to them all. Do thistles count as wild flowers?

  5. The family down from us (we live on a hill) had an extension built that looks like a fortress and then concreted the remaining back garden over. Not a blade of grass. The people next to them have done the same, also hacked down their crab apple tree which had produced fruit for me for years. I hope it is not catching, the concrete obsession. Meanwhile you would love our wildflower meadow out front. It is proper wild apart from the Alchemilla which has spread from somewhere. Good luck with the exam. We have an exam free year and I am glad about that. No floaty dresses here. The only one I have is not hemmed and I am not sure Her Majesty would approve. I don't feel like celebrating the monarchy much but have conceded to go to a BBQ next door. Give Bertie a wee treat from me. Cxx

  6. We've had baby Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnocks, Robins and one Blackbird. But no House Sparrows yet. Although they have been at it in the hedge under the kitchen window, which makes a change from the roof where everyone can watch! Love a bit of rewilding, but it doesn't help when contractors for the council "accidentally" mow a wildflower meadow flat. Numptys.

  7. Oh dear, poor blackbird. Cats are, and I speak as the loving servant of 2, the very worst. We deliberately don't encourage birds to our garden because of them. If only they would focus their attention on the mice in the shed...
    People (men usually, in my experience) are very attached to their lawns. No Mow May makes them positively ill. I know our own, rarely mown, lawn gives my brother in law palpitations whenever he sees it.
    Good luck to the urchins and with your jubilee plans. I rashly offered to help a friend decorate her living room and kitchen that weekend. There had better be cake... Txx

  8. Ruby is being clipped this week. The groomer comes to the house and I bath Ruby before she comes so the experience isn't too bad especially as the groomer comes armed with treats. One of our plot neighbours has grass paths which are a carpet of daisies whereas we get dandelions. I'm wondering whether it is because he keeps his grass really short. I used to pass one of those roadside nature reserves on my way to work and one day when I had passed someone had strimmed down a verge that had been full of flowering bluebells.

  9. I am loving all the daisies in your photos, ours or not out in abundance yet, we are most likely a few weeks behind you up here. We have one taking a few GCSEs this year, two, that is enough for me. I cannot imagine having two children doing lots. I think I would have to lie down in a darkened room for the entire period. Hope all goes well for your children's exams. I hear you on the jubilee. I realised recently that it would have made a good time for fundraising but I cannot find in myself to get engaged with it all. We might go and join in a beacon lighting if it isn't raining on the night that might be the limit of our celebrations. I am the owner of several floaty dresses I can send one your way if you like......

  10. My jubilee celebrations were mostly in my head too. The scones are still awaiting jam and cream and are probably too stale to eat now. But we did go to a beacon lighting with piper but no bugler and that was rather moving.