Category Archives: Six on Saturday

December ‘Gardening’ in the Rain – 8 December 2018 – Six on Saturday

The weather has been wet, very wet, in Manchester this week – but it’s still mild for time of year. There’s hasn’t been too much gardening by me except for bulb planting in pots in the porch. My Chap has the unenviable task of putting them out around the garden. The wet weather makes my arthritis ache which makes me tired – ho hum.  But we have been making plans, plans for the garden, plans for #ChristmasatDunhamMassey, plans for relaxation and self-care.

So I nipped out today with the ‘big coat’ on to take photos for my #SixonSaturday and then retreated indoors to take some more 😉

1. Hacking around

We’ve been out doing some pruning today in the Rain – mainly because it’s so windy we’re worried it will damage the shrubs and the privet tree. Well, My Chap has been chopping things down – he’s a trooper.

Me? I was hacking down the grasses and the ends of lavender (there are about 20 bushes so it takes a while). And making mugs of tea.

This hand hoe is just great – very sharp. It’s comfy to use too – I’m terrible with tools as I’m so clumsy. I won it in a Twitter competition earlier in the year 🙂 Whey! I was gobsmacked to see Burgon and Ball were founded in 1730. They made agricultural shears in Sheffield – Steel City. It’s good to see a family business still going strong.

2. Bulb love

Most people go to TK Maxx to buy cheap clothes, random homeware, and weirdly flavoured chocolates. Me? I come back with cheap pots and bulbs – I’ll be potting these up tomorrow, in the porch 🙂

3. Violas and Pansies

Orange Pansy

Pansies in the rain

Orange pansies are taken with my Lensbaby #Trio28 – sweet effect. This a sharp focus with a soft, dreamy focus to the edge (So no cropping as you’ll lose it).

The violas and pansies are looking more chirpy, especially if they’re out of the rain.

4. Roses in the Rain

The orange rose is STILL flowering – all through the summer had a rest in September and it’s been flowering since late October…

My Chap says it needs pruning so I think that’s tomorrows job apparently.

Red Patio Roses – Lensbaby #Trio28 – twist

I’d moved the patio rose into the porch out of the wind and rain – it obviously liked its new spot as it flowered again. I moved it to take this photo as I wanted to see if I could get a good twist shot. In poor light, I thought this was a good effort.

5. #ChristmasatDunhamMassey

#ChristmasatDunhamMassey two giant reindeer made of lights in the woods with red and blue lights

#ChristmasatDunhamMassey – giant reindeer in the woods

These reindeer are about 40 foot high – plenty of other deer in the woods.

I had such a good time at #ChristmasatDunhamMassey* I booked to take My Chap and some pals next weekend. There are still places left especially in the week – it’s on until 30 December- book online for #ChristmasatDunhamMassey here. I’ll write a more detailed post next week – I’ve got the video to edit first.

Or check out a light show near you – they’re spectacular.

*I was invited free of charge to the preview evening for National Trust Staff – in return for social media coverage – I always give my honest opinion.

6. Indoor gardening 😉

Since the weather is so grim outside, I’m mostly reading these magazines. I learn so much from both titles – especially Gardeners’ World.  I believe you never stop learning so and I’m far from an expert when it comes to gardening.  Bit rubbish at remembering Latin names… oops – could be the E in ‘O’ level Latin to blame.

I might just have ordered a few plants for next year…double oops.

I joined RHS a few years back as we go to Tatton Park or another RHS show every year. So you can imagine my excitement when it was announced their 5th Garden – RHS Bridgewater will be two miles up the canal from us in Worsley, in Salford (right by the Junction 13 on M60 for the locals).  It’s coming along nicely – I’ll be going for a look round soon I hope.  The Garden and membership are handy because Wisley is near my mum house’s so we go when we are visiting her. She goes with her pals every month – they have a nice lunch and a good walk round to see what’s flowering – and buy a plant or two.  I get my love of gardening from my Mum.

Reading the magazines, listening to the rain hitting the windows, I’m planning and thinking of high summer and all the plants I’ll grow next year…how my bones won’t ache, how everything will grow and bloom just as it should – reality isn’t usually like that… but hey gardeners are optimists at heart.

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As usual, I’m joining J from www.thepropagatorblog.wordress.com with #SixonSaturday – he’s got many cuttings, seedlings and tiny plants under his care – definitely living up to his name this week. Gardeners from around the world join in – there’s usually some tropical flowers to lift my spirits at this time of year.

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My Self-care when I can’t garden

I’ve written often about how gardening and being in the garden is my happy place, it lifts my mood – it’s vital to my self-care.

So what do I do when it’s hurling down and I can’t get out into the garden?…

ln daylight, I sit so I can see out into the back garden – I have plenty of violas and pansies by the door. The porch and path have viola pots too 🙂 I check the small flowers as I go in and out. Concentrating makes you focus on the moment – that’s a good thing 🙂

During the week, when I’m at work, there’s no chance of getting out in the garden as it’s dark when I get home – what do I do then? I go for a walk at lunchtime even in the rain, noticing the plants, birds and animals as I walk around Oxford Road in Manchester. It is surprising how much urban wildlife and plants even in places they shouldn’t be.

Find YOUR self-care

Everyone seems frazzled and stressed in December – it seems as if they’re rushing around trying to please everyone else…so many expectations and meanwhile forgetting to take care of themselves… it’s a quick way to burn out 🙁

Here are some of my self-care options when the weather is grim and I’m hunkered down in our house – usually with music in the background 😉

  • Yoga
  • Sewing – I’m making Christmas tree decorations from felt.
  • Making soup – I like chopping things
  • Baking biscuits – quick 🙂
  • Soak in the bath – with candles –
  • we light candles every night in the lounge too – scent is a powerful mood enhancer
  • Mindfulness – breathing apps 🙂
  • Audiobooks
  • Writing postcards/cards to my friends – Everyone loves real post.
  • Listening to My Chap play his guitar.

Please don’t forget about YOUR self-care… and find what helps you… everyone is different so you need alternative self-care options.

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What are you planning for next year? We’re planning our Cornish holiday too.

Have you been to a garden light show like #ChristmasatDunhamMassey? 

What’s your self-care when the weather is horrible?

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xx xx xx

Is it really December? Six on Saturday 1 December 2018

It’s the first day of Winter today according to the meteorological calendar. The older I get the quicker the time flies by and the more rubbish my memory becomes; this is one of the reasons I started a blog – to record what was happening around us, in the garden, days out and what adventures we got up to.  It’s certainly done that, I’ve rediscovered my love of photography.  It also gives me a chance to see how the garden changes from day to day and year to year.  But, I really do sound like a broken record mentioning often what odd weather we’ve had this year – it’s been very, very mild, temperatures often 10-15 degrees – and not getting anywhere freezing overnight.  Here beside the Bridgewater Canal, in Monton, in Salford, quite a few of my plants still haven’t realised it’s December. Usually, the garden in December would be looking rather leafless, bare sticks and trees, the odd evergreen plant and a basket or two of winter violas and pansies – with frost and cold, wet soil.  Instead, there a couple of plants flowering that really shouldn’t be…

1.Margarite – Argyranthemum Frutescens

five small yellow daisy like flowers - margarites

yellow margarite

I have three of these plants in pots, in the front garden, and they are still flowering – they’re proper sun lovers.  I love daisy style flowers, so I have many different plants – dahlias (Bishop styles), Leucanthemum, these and cute alpines. Continue reading

poppies in a wildflower meadow - using Lensbaby Trio 28 - twist

Firethorn, pansies, Remembrance Day poppy wreath, Six on Saturday – 10 November 2018

It’s been a windy and cold in Manchester this week. There’s still some summer flowers hanging on, but mostly it’s full-on autumn colours reds, orange and yellow. I’ve not been out in the garden to do any jobs as the weather has been foul.  Planting tulips in pots in the porch have been my main focus this week.  Also, I’ve been busy crafting felt poppies for my Remembrance Day Poppy Door Wreath.

There are many poppies too – as there should be at this time of year.  There are some stunning installations near Churches and memorials, in parks and in railway stations.  Our WI sent poppies to one of our sister groups out in a small village in Lancashire who was making felt and wool poppy wreaths for their war memorial – I made 16 felt poppies.

1. Viburnum

small white viburnum flowers on a branch with green privet bush in background
This is one of two standard viburnum trees that came as a wedding gift to us last year;  they were in full bloom for our wedding in September 2017. Since then – they’ve flowered at very random times – I think the very cold weather in March and boiling heat in June/July has confused the plants. They’ve been re-potted so I hope they survive the winter OK.
I don’t know the variety, as M and S didn’t admit it.  I’ll take some bud photos next time it’s sunny to help me identify it – no scent though.

    • Do my gardening pals have any ideas what variety it might be?

Continue reading

Manchester Urban Gardening – always unexpected – Six on Saturday 27 October 2019

We were out and about in Manchester City centre early on Saturday morning mostly running errands around the Northern Quarter. It was a bright, cold but sunny day – it’s been the first morning with frost in the air. My pals who live in the hills around Manchester said it was trying to snow… Winter is coming…

I thought I’d take some photos and tell some stories for my Six on Saturday.

  1. Silver Birch

    There are many Silver Birch trees dotted around the centre of the city – some mature and some, like this one, planted by new flats built a few years ago. There is no sign of the leaves turning yellow as Autumn has been mild until this week. Look at that blue sky though! #nofilter 

2. Special Acers


      These are two of the 22 dwarf

Acers in huge black iron containers in memory of the Arena attack victims placed around the city centre. In May 2018, they were covered in messages and hearts – the containers have bees on them too. The city council are planning a permanent memorial. 

I don’t think I need to tell you how much impact this terrible act had on our city and its people but we are resilient – #strongertogether

3. Urban re-use – Mackie Mayor, Swan Street, Manchester

The North part of Manchester city centre around Oldham Street and Great Ancoats Street is now called ‘Northern Quarter’ but in the 19th Century it was the market area of Manchester.

Only two of the market halls remain and are still in use.

Manchester Art and Design Centre

The Craft Centre was founded in 1982 and is run by Manchester City Council.  It was one of the first buildings to help the regeneration of this part of the city since the 1980s.  It had fallen on hard times, with seedy shops, red-light areas and a great deal of poverty.  It’s very different around the Northern Quarter now – trendy restaurants and bars, creative arts and designers, etc.

It is housed in the former retail fish market building (opened in 1873).   The Centre is home to many artists, crafters and jewellers – do visit if you’re looking for gifts. It has an excellent vegan cafe too.  

My Chap and I went last year to make our wedding rings with Charlotte Verity (www.charlotteverity.com). I need to write about this wonderful experience.

Mackie Mayor (2017 – )

Smithfield Market (the meat market) was opened in 1856 at the height of the city’s industrialisation and growth in the population, who all needed food.  It was a market until 1972, after which it was used as storage facility, a skateboard park but mostly shut despite it being Grade II listed.  Most people worried it would be knocked down or fall down.
It is named after the Mayor of Manchester who opened the building in 1856.
The refurbishment was done by the team behind Altrincham Market and Market House. It is a stunning building containing businesses selling coffee, burgers, fish, beer, pizza, oriental food. It’s a wonderful place.  Here is their ethos.

It seats 500, there are no reservations!  BTW It is closed on Mondays.
Do visit if you’re in the area 🙂

4. Urban plants

When you look closely plants are all around us in city centres – not just in window boxes.  At Mackie Mayor, these trolleys are packed with plants.

A stunning poppy, coreopsis and nasturtiums.

It was far too cold to sit outside but this area is heaving with people in the summer.

5. Bees are everywhere in Manchester

We do out bit for the bees too – there are hives on the roof of the Arndale Shopping Centre and Manchester Art Gallery. The worker bee is the symbol of Manchester – it was given to the city in the 19th century to reflect the ‘industriousness’ of its people and is part of our civic crest. There are bees in stonework, floors, windows, bins and plenty of stickers and street art.

We had an invasion of bee statues this summer – www.beeinthecitymcr.co.uk/

Halle St Bee-ter's A Chorus of Industry - No 3401

Halle St Bee-ter’s A Chorus of Industry – No 3401 – #beeinthecity

£1.1m was raised from auctioning off the bee statues to support We Love MCR Charity’s Stronger Communities Fund, which provides grants of up to £2000 for initiatives that bring communities together to celebrate diversity and build stronger relationships.

The bees inspire so much creativity – a story for another post.

Street Art in the City Centre

Stephenson Square is probably the centre of the Northern Quarter street art. The gable ends have ever-changing art overseen by #outhousemcr. Artists come from around the world to paint our street art. It often has sharp social commentary.  There are probably more than 30 street art paintings on buildings around the northern quarter.  I need to go on a sunny day and take more photos.

I take photos of this substation/building and the art every time I walk past – the art has been changing about every three months since 2010. It’s overseen by @outhousemcr.  Stephenson Square is also home to the ‘Northern Quarter Makers Market’ – 2nd Sunday of the month.

The green roof on the disused toilet block was planted by Manchester City of Trees a few years ago www.cityoftrees.org.uk. It has a mix of wildflowers but only the poppies are still flowering. City of Trees aim is to plant 3million trees around Greater Manchester – one for every person.

Stephenson Square was a tram terminus so it’s actually rectangular – it’s home to Fred Aldous art and craft shop (founded 1886).  Emmeline Pankhurst held rallies here in the Square for votes for women – she was born and lived in Manchester – founding the suffragette movement in her home on Nelson Street. This is now the Pankhurst Centre (which has a lovely garden too) – it has limited opening times (check the website).

I am proud that there will be a statue of Emmeline unveiled in the city in St Peter’s Square in December.  She’ll join Queen Victoria as the only other female statue in our city.  The statue will be unveiled on 14th December 2018 on the hundredth anniversary of the first election where ‘some’ women could vote.

I should do a post about the many paintings on this section – even the late, great David Bowie has featured.

6. Unexpected Surprises

Look out – There are monsters around Manchester… have you seen any?

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As usual, I’ve joined in with the Propagator – www.propagatorblog.wordpress.com – Six things garden related on a Saturday – I hope mine count 😉

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Have you seen anything unusual this week? Any monsters?  Have you got any street art near where you live?

Stay safe over Halloween,

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx xxx

hydrangea limelight white flower head with pink tinges

Summer hanging on – Six on Saturday – 20 October 2018

I’ve been away for the last three weekends, having fun on crafting adventures with the Women’s Institute and supporting my husband and pals running a half marathon for the motor neurone disease association. So I’ve not had much time for major work in the garden – I did manage to get out and photograph some of the plants. The weather is still rather odd in Manchester – warmer than it should be at this time of year so flowers are still going strong…Here’s my six on saturday choices.

1. Argyranthemum – Marguerite Daisy

marguerite – pale yellow

I have two of these daisies on my front porch in pots – I don’t know the specific variety as I think they were from B&Q with no tag. They’ve been very happy this year especially in the blazing sunshine and heat of June/July. Now to try and keep them alive over the winter. Continue reading