Tag Archives: Dunham Massey

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

In a Vase on Monday – fuchsias, 5 favourite NW gardens

So the hot, sunny weather is over for the moment.  It’s been raining on or off in Manchester all day, so I ran out into the garden to pick some flowers for the vase, you can still see the raindrops on the fuchsias. It’s a good thing it’s been raining, as the reservoirs, the farms and the gardens need it.  The drawback for me is that my arthritis starts aching again; it’s been glorious having three months pain-free. Continue reading

From small things to big… acorns to oaks – being mindful helps

Much of this year has been very difficult for me mentally and physically, especially after my friend died in April 2015. A couple of weeks ago I saw the #100happydays challenge – http://100happydays.com/

I decided to have a go – it’s pretty simple really…It’s asking

  • Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?  
  • Every day submit a picture of what made you happy!
  • It can be about anything or anyone.  
  • It’s a way of getting in touch with the moment you’re in
  • People can submit photos privately too.

My flowers and garden have brought me so much solace this year during such difficult times; my garden has been my sanctuary.  The Great Gardens (like Tatton, Helligan, Bodnant and Dunham Massey) we’ve visited have helped too as well, as have all the beautiful flowers from all gardening bloggers across the world.   I’ve been getting back into yoga (it helps my back trouble) and have been doing some mindfulness practise too.   And of course, my friends and especially my Chap have supported and loved me.

I hope doing this will remind me of things, people and experiences that help make me happy.  I’m definitely getting back to where I want to be.

#100happy days dahlia, vinegar, acorns, mindfulness 1-4

dahlia (1/100), vinegar (2/100), acorns (3/100), mindfulness (4/100) #100happydays

1/100 – mini dahlia in a very mini milk bottle

I found this flower lurking among the slug-ravaged leaves. I wrote about it here

2/100 – blackberry vinegar

We had huge amount of blackberries from both my mum’s and my friend’s gardens so I froze some for crumbles and other puddings   I decided to have a go a blackberry vinegar; it was very easy to make and it’s hidden away in the cupboard infusing.

I’ve got to wait a couple of weeks before the next stage; it will need straining, simmering with some sugar and decanting into smaller bottles and apparently it will last for years.

3/100 – acorns in my friend J’s hands

I went to see my pal J, who’s on maternity leave waiting for her baby to arrive. We talked about growing an oak tree to mark her baby girl’s birth.  She and her husband have decided that they’ll take the sapling to be planted in the National Forest in Derbyshire. It needs to grow for a couple of years first (just like their baby) before they can plant it out. Isn’t this a wonderful idea?  Find out how to grow your own oak tree here:

4/100 Mindfulness and Wellbeing Rooms

I’ve been doing mindfulness at work (and at home) which is definitely helping.
Find out more about mindfulness which is an ancient meditation technique and also how it is used within Mindful cognitive behavioural therapy – http://mbct.co.uk/ and the Guardian wrote about it today (20 October 2015) by Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who brought mindfulness concepts to the West in the 1960s.

I’m very fortunately that there are many wellbeing classes I can attend at work, like mindfulness, as well as counselling (there are lots of stressed students).  Also, I’ve started tai chi and am doing yoga again which helps with my chronic back trouble. I do Iyengar yoga, which is very good for people with injuries, and the teachers have to study for about three years before they can teach it to others.  More information:

I started practising yoga nearly 10 years ago and it has made a big difference to my life.  I’ll write about more about yoga another time.

5/100 a visit to Dunham Massey with my pal C

Dunham Massey mansion - 5/100 #100happydays

Dunham Massey – 5/100 #100happydays

My friend C and I have birthdays close together so we usually go out for the day.  It was a glorious sunny day so we went to Dunham Massey – which is owned by the National Trust.  Dunham Massey  is a Georgian mansion, near Altrincham with a beautiful garden (including a walled rose garden) a deer park and a saw mill. It’s a wonderful place any time of year, lovely walks too and a lot to see.  As you’d expect from the National Trust, it’s got a couple of fine tea rooms and their cakes are great too.

Until 11 November 2015 Dunham Massey is Stamford Military Hospital where they have recreated the first world war hospital where over 300 soldiers recuperated from 1917-1919.  I’ve been twice – it’s a very powerful evocation of the soldiers’ situations, lives and illnesses recreated with actors.

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Come back again for the next instalment of my #100happydays challenge – it’s mostly about Lisbon

You can follow my photos for #100happydays challenge on twitter feed everyday (@becinmonton)

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Anyone around the world can get involved in #100happyday or just have a look for the hashtag or on facebook too.                                                                  

What has made you happy today?

Carpe Diem