Category Archives: wild and gardens

Everything outside from gardens and gardening to nature, wildlife, the countryside, sea and sky.

My life’s essentials 13: my lawn rake

Garden rake | My life's essentials | | robertz

My trusty lawn rake must be 29 years old. My Dad gave it to me, I think, as a birthday present the year Mrs Z and I moved into our first house, which had a garden some 50 feet long by 11 feet wide.

To me, this was paradise. The house I was born in had a much bigger garden and some of my earliest memories are of gardening with my Dad: helping him mow the lawn or plant vegetables, especially radishes. He loved radishes and, by coincidence, so do I.

I retained my love of gardening, as a teenager and adult, and when we bought our first house, I was thrilled to have a tiny patch of lawn and some borders in which we grew 50 or different herbs.

The house we live in now has a much bigger garden space, although when we moved in, much of it was covered by plant-killing membrane, and rocks and stones. We took all these up to discover the soil was dead. I planted several lawns, hedges and trees. At first, our main lawn would get water-logged during a downpour, but over the years all the plants and trees have improved drainage to soak up the water and now we don’t even get puddles. It’s no surprise that there is so much flooding in towns these days, with people and councils chopping down trees, concreting or tarmacking over the soil, and covering it with decking. Only the other week, I saw someone move into a house and – even though it has a garage with another car space as well as unrestricted on-street parking out the front – tear down the garden wall, dig up the lawn and cover it with tarmac. I am against this from an environmental perspective.

Anyway, today I mowed our main lawn and clipped the edges with shears. When you get down close, you discover not just grass but moss, dandelions, daisies, clover and other plants. As you can guess, my lawn is not bowling green standard, but we don’t want it to be. We want a natural cushion where we can sit to enjoy warm dry weather. I never treat it with weedkiller or chemicals, so now we have worms busying themselves all over the garden and lots of insects buzzing around. If we could have more garden, I’d like a wildflower meadow.

And so, after cutting the grass, I gathered it up with the rake Dad gave me. It is somewhat battered now, but it’s still serviceable and I hope it will be for a few years more.

Garden rake | My life's essentials | | robertz
Posted in my life's essentials, wild and gardens.

Welcome Autumn

Spring is always full of promise as plants shoot and flowers come into bud.

Then plants bloom and mature before dying away again. Summer has passed, the clocks go back and the days shorten.

I’m always sorry to see spring and summer pass, but then reminded that autumn is just as wonderful.

The views on the clear mornings are breath-taking and even walking with our dog in the twilight is exhilarating.

Yes, there’s dull, wet and gloomy days, but we wrap ourselves up in outdoor clothing to enjoy them.

Just look at the beads of dew on a blade of grass.

We need every season and I enjoy them all.

Posted in a musing, wild and gardens.

Stop and see new life

I’ve got so much to do over the next few days that I don’t have much time, but before rushing to my office this morning I remembered the seeds I had planted.

I had to take a look.

Sure enough, the runner bean and tomato seedlings are sprouting.

What a wonderful feeling.

What makes it even more special for me is that I have family members and friends who are ageing or not in good health at the moment.

It is a sad knowing that there will be farewells soon. Sometimes it can feel that life is grim, but these tiny seedlings put it in perspective.

We are all young once, full of vitality, stretching up in search of light and energy. We live our lives and, hopefully, are able to enjoy our time as much as possible.

The seedlings stopped me and reminded me of this.

I’ll get my work done today, but I won’t feel so frantic.

• By Robert Zarywacz

Posted in a musing, wild and gardens. Tagged with , , , .

Birds ‘n’ fish ‘n’ flowers ‘n’ trees

There’s so much wildlife to see around Ilfracombe, North Devon.

At the moment the foxgloves are just coming into flower up Hillsborough . . .

Foxgloves in flower at Hillsborough, Ilfracombe, North Devon

While conkers are already forming on the horse chestnut trees near the swimming pool . . .

Horse chestnut trees in Ilfracombe, North Devon

While nearby a starling hopped around on the grass . . .

Starling in Ilfracombe, North Devon
Starling in Ilfracombe, North Devon

Over at Bicclescombe Park, a collection of goldfish and other fish have mysteriously appeared in the boating lake. From what I have been told they are not supposed to be there and may be someone’s unwanted fish from a pond . . .

Fish in Bicclescombe Park, Ilfracombe, North Devon
Posted in wild and gardens. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , .

Beautiful bluebells in Ilfracombe

The bluebells on the north and east sides of Hillsborough, Ilfracombe, North Devon are astounding at the moment.

Bluebells on Hillsborough, Ilfracombe, North Devon

To see them:

  • walk from the harbour round to Hillsborough
  • go via the car park by the swimming pool
  • climb the cliff steps from Hele Bay
Posted in wild and gardens. Tagged with , , , .
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