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Showing posts from 2022

The Big Plastic Count

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It's citizen science week here at VP Gardens as I've signed up to take part in The Big Plastic Count which starts today. The aim of the count is to gather data from as many households as possible on how much and the kinds of plastic we throw away as part of our everyday lives. Around 150,000 households are said to be taking part, including myself and at least one of my friends. Once the results are in, the organisations involved will have a better picture of the scale of the problem we face here in the UK. They also will have better facts to take to government (both local and national) and the organisations who create or use the plastic - such as food companies - to lobby for alternative packaging solutions. Like with any project of this kind I'm sure the results will lead to further questions and the potential need to drill down further in the data. Whilst there are 19 categories of plastic in the survey, many of them are quite broad and only give an idea of numbers not

Weekend Wandering: Bluebell surprise

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Some days just make your heart sing and Saturday was one of them. One of my WI friends arranged for us to walk to Calne along the old railway line  and laid on the perfect day for us to enjoy six miles of walking in the finest of company. Lockdown made this a familiar walk for us all. it's one of the few which takes you to a destination instead of around in a circle and has more of a sense of a journey as a result. Familiarity doesn't mean there aren't any surprises - we were delighted to find extensive bluebell woods either side of the track once we were close to the Bowood Estate . I thought I'd found all the local, walkable bluebell woods during the past two years, and I'm delighted to be proven wrong. There was plenty of wild garlic too - walks there during the rest of May are going to be quite pungent! May the month of May be as delightful for you, whatever's happening in your neck of the woods.

Happy Easter!

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Sunshine, spring flowers and the Easter bunnies have been. It's a perfect day. A bunch of British daffodils is my weekly treat from January through to now, they are such happy flowers. This year in an unexpected turn of events NAH has made it two bunches! Have a good Easter everyone 😊

Extra virgin olives

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I harvested last year's olive crop from my patio allotment over the weekend. As you can see the olive growers of Spain, Italy and Greece can rest easy 🤣  Inspired by Andrew's recent post on Facebook and being a curious, experimental soul, I'm having a go at turning them from completely inedible* into something that might just**, grace one of the Greek salads we have on a weekly basis. I've have some of those teeny tiny jam jars -  saved from tea shop forays just in case they come in handy - and after discarding the wrinkly ones and the stems into the compost bin, I have just** enough olives to fill 2 of them. I found the instructions for dry salt-cured olives Andrew mentioned in his post, which in turn has a link to how to pit olives when they're ready to eat in around three weeks time. Wish me luck. Next up is olive tree pruning***, once we've got rid of this spell of cold weather. * = reader, I tried one 😬 ** = only just mind *** = I'm going for a loo

Friday Bench: Badger

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  It's been a while* since we visited the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail and we had a marvellous afternoon there last weekend following the waymarked trail and finding out which ones** from last year's temporary exhibition are still there. The trail's website says these will be absorbed into the main trail, which brings the sculpture total up to 20. It was great to find Michelle Cain 's Animal Shelter is one of them and it's inspired me to return to one of my favourite regular blog features, Friday Bench . Previously seen on Sign of the Times , I've decided to retire that blog because I think Instagram is the appropriate platform for most of that content nowadays***. Friday Bench is the exception, so please welcome my seated discoveries to their new home 😊 * = um, decades ** = we found four out of the eight *** = which has more of a VP out and about style about it

Daffodowndilly

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Winter reminded me she's not quite dead when I stepped out this morning to photograph these daffodils. However, it's clear today that spring is beginning to win the battle of the seasons, with winter's snowdrops just beginning to look a little on the tired side and the daffodils definitely looking perky in the stiff breeze, even on a dull day like today. I can't remember A.A. Milne 's poem from childhood, but it must have been there somewhere as I often think of them as 'daffodowndillies' or 'dillies' instead of their real name. Perhaps mum read the poem to me when I crept onto her lap for a story, or maybe she gave me the name from her own childhood memories. Here's to spring and daffodowndillies, wherever you are x

A mystery solved

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Last year the crocuses I'd planted in the patio planter in direct view from the kitchen disappeared and I missed them. It's always good to have a cheerful sight at this time of the year as I always find February hard to deal with. This year, the mystery of where they've gone is solved. I spotted a patch of purple winking at me from our bedroom window recently and sure enough, a closer inspection showed we now have crocuses in our lawn. It's not just the patch in the photo, there's the odd one or two scattered in at least four locations close by. I detect the hand - paw really - of the local squirrel population, who've been cheekily active all round VP Gardens . Special snowdrops are missing from their pots this year. I wonder where they'll pop up next? I think I'll leave the crocus where they are as they're in the shadiest part of the lawn which struggles to look good at the best of times. I think I can persuade NAH not to mow until the corms are wel

Happy New Year!

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The New Year is the traditional time to review the time just gone, and I can't think of a better way than by showing you some of my favourite photos from my Instagram account. They're a nice mix of seasonal scenes from local walks; little vignettes courtesy of VP Gardens ; plus a few from our times away in Dorset and Yorkshire. It's good to be reminded of some of the good times after what has been another trying year for us all. May 2022 be a much better one for you and yours x