curiosity about the ways of the world

Category: Tales from Pond Cottage (Page 1 of 6)

Windpower, wildlife, water and woodland gardening

Here’s to a new season of unruly gardening

Here we are at the start of a new season. Though of course the promise of a new season has been poking through the ground since Christmas. Now there are snowdrops everywhere I look but they are being nudged and jostled by bright yellow sploshes of narcissi. Bluebells and wild garlic are racing to catch up. Which season are we in, exactly?

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Standing against the storm

Another storm brewing, I’m teetering on the edge of despair when up comes a cheery message from Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. The new guide book is out and we can find our entry online too.  I wrote the Pond Garden entry but now I’m wondering if I got it right…

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We’re here for the trees

A sudden fall. Opening the door, I find the ground is littered with leaves: birch, oak, lime, maple, hazel, blackthorn, dogwood… all making a lovely mess on the newly laid paths, helped by foraging black birds, blue tits, and red squirrels.

I’m posting an extract from the Scotland Grows article kindly commissioned and published as a Reader’s Garden feature for December. Trees Mean Home is their heading and it takes on special meaning this treacherously stormy winter. Trees are the reason we bought our ten acre plot 30 years ago. In a rapidly changing climate we value their shelter more than ever.

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Look this way: the glass is half full

A proper winter morning for a change. I’m birdwatching by the window with a cooling coffee. There’s a cluster of blue tits on the birch tree feeder, chaffinches catching crumbs on the ground. One robin, two blackbirds, three red squirrels frisky in the snow. Sights for sore eyes and sad hearts this grim December when there’s precious little seasonal comfort and joy.  But look, look! There’s a nuthatch again. Is it the one that likes to pose?

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Blowing in the wind

I have a windmill in my backyard and I am very fond of it. On calm days swallows have been known to sit on it. When the wind blows hard across the fields we know our batteries are brimming with beautiful clean energy. But oddly enough, with all this power surging freely into our house, we are now much more reluctant to waste energy than we used to be in the old days of electricity bills. Owning a windmill can change your outlook on life.

This was the message I wanted to get across when BBC Scotland came to call but it seems our wires were crossed. 

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The warm heart of the Hidden Gardens

“Where would you like to start?”  The question, presented with a smile, is a good one. Looking at the map I’ve just been handed there’s plenty temptation. The Hidden Gardens of Kingsbarns offer no fewer than ten gardens open to visitors ready to explore nooks and crannies of this handsome village.  But the tantalising trail is just part of a remarkable story which winds a long way back.

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Welcome to the Pond Garden and a splash of sunshine

This year our Scotland’s Gardens Scheme openings at The Pond Garden are supporting the extraordinary work of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

Sunshine and showers

I’ve been walking round the garden through sunshine and showers.  Mostly showers, it has to be said, some of them torrential. The sunshine blooms in borders at the top of tall stems. So tall you have to look up. Even when grey clouds are glowering, the sight of Inula helenium smiling down at you can make you smile right back. Better still on a bright day, that sunny splash of yellow is spectacular against a deep blue sky.

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The Pond Garden in June

Blue skies again. Sunshine sparkling on the pond. A friendly breeze ruffles new leaves and turns the wind turbine merrily. What kind of killjoy would complain about the promise of yet another glorious summer day?

It does seem perverse. How often have I moaned about waking to endless cold, wet midsummer days? Now, we open the door to Mediterranean mornings – it feels heavenly but strangely disturbing. Heavenly if only it wasn’t for daily visions of hellishly soaring temperatures elsewhere. And is there another heatwave on our own horizon?

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