Having got way-laid with house matters, and knowing that once we had got a taste of outdoors that would be it, we made our first visit to Freshwinds Garden for 2018.
We walked and sat in the polytunnel for a cuppa.
In the lane the catkins were out and a single primrose.
The sheep were steadily grazing with the joyous donkeys kicking up their heels on the far side.
In the garden Anne has been working on a new tunnel for rabbits and guinea pigs to explore.
I checked on the dormant dahlias and they all look safe and untouched by any rodents.
Anne joined us and we began discussing ideas for this year.
This will be the new witch`s garden.
I was inspired by a single picture on Pinterest.
More to follow.
Bits of sedum, not yet well-rooted, have been found on the ground after high winds.
The helleborus is beginning to flower.
On the way home Tim was unpacking the Silent Soldier he has purchased. This is a scheme run by The Royal British Legion, whereby individuals or businesses can purchase a silent soldier to be placed on roundabouts, in fields or by roadsides to commemorate those who lost their lives or came home "silent" from WW1. Tim hopes to put it in the village.
As we trudged up the lane in the last of the watery sun, we met Lizzie, Tim and Anne`s niece, with 29 year old Chelsea. They had been out for some exercise.
At home the pots of pansies are a welcome splash of colour.
But......how DARE this piece of ground elder show its face in our newly refurbished rose garden!!!
Incidently, we had a nice lunch at the Winchelsea Beach Cafe, also newly refurbished. I highly recommend it. Friendly service and good hot food.
A great place to visit if you are camping at Freshwinds this year.
I have a 4 year old nephew who is nuts about Ghostbusters.
With that in mind I decided to make him a proton pack for Christmas.
There were plenty of ideas on Pinterest.
I had one or two rules to stick with....
1. He could get it on and off himself.
2. It looked authentic.
3. It had a "gun" and slot.
I gathered a pile of junk materials and just started sticking with brown parcel tape.
Steve had pipe insulation which was perfect for the "gun" and a Pringles tube to place it in at the side. Various bits of tubing and beads completed the base. I just happened to have two pieces of black webbing which I threaded through and they just clicked into place. Next I did cover the whole thing with papier mache....just a thin layer using tissue paper. It was sprayed with black stove paint and then I stuck on various Ghostbuster stickers which I downloaded from the internet.
It was finished in time for Christmas.
On Boxing Day he received it, and we spent most of the afternoon playing ghost hunts.
Here is Frazer wearing it for the first time.
It is bearing up well under use. I think my brother has had to poke a smaller tube back in.
On the whole quite a success.
A week or so later I made a ghost catching box to go with it.
I gave it 2 red cord handles to make it easy for him to carry. This has now become part of the game as well.
Whoever would have thought that I would be playing Ghostbusters with two very excited little boys on Boxing Day!
We are now half way through what has turned out to be
a very good year.
By July the artichokes were causing a sensation with visitors. Some people knew what they were, others didn`t.
We cleared this area to make a larger sitting space, with a bit more shelter, just outside the polytunnel.
We had a brilliant weekend in the woodland yurts with lots of family. The weather was great.
The polytunnel reached the mid-forties on the hottest days and I couldn`t complete the watering without several breaks outside for fresh air.
Steve built an inner wire mesh door so it could stay open longer.
Jam making began in earnest.
I was astonished to find out that pinks grew really well in the raised bed. They don`t do well at home, 5 minutes away.
The fairy garden became a mass of blue,
with lobelia and campanula.
We had a successful fairy day and the weather was good. The proceeds went to a local charity called Dragonflies, which supports bereaved children and their families.
The trough looked better with its cut-price geraniums and busy lizzies. I managed to save the lovely geranium plants and they are cosy and safe in my heated greenhouse at home.
We opened the garden for Farm Africa.
Wonderful weather again.
The garden filled up with butterflies when the buddleja and Michaelmus daisies flowered.
More jam making was happening with pounds of damsons and plums.
We trimmed the willow arch and I saved all the useful poles.
We began the rendering on the cob shed. Oh my goodness it looked smart, but there is a lot left to do. We want it to dry slowly so that it doesn`t crack.
By September the compost heap had tumbled over to the side and just grew and grew and grew. The garden produced the most incredible amount of waste, most of which can be composted down. But we need a better system.
The straggly willow hedge was woven in.
Colourful harvesting continued.
Caterpillars were at work on the late nasturtiums.
By November the straw flowers were still flowering on sunny days.
The dahlias came in for the winter.
We placed more log seats round the pond.
And finally in December, we had the lovely Carols in the Barn celebration. The proceeds from this went to Farm Africa.
And so yet another year comes to a close.
There is a quiet satisfaction in the coming and going of the seasons.
I notice that between the two parts of this review, there is a marked difference, with the changes that have been made at the garden. I can only put this down to the second half needing quite a lot of time just to control the growth and harvest, let alone change anything.
So with that in mind I look forward to another Freshwinds year and all the pleasures that it brings.....and sometimes, disappointments.
And if all the important changes are made in the first half, I`d better get my skates on.