October a New Month….. and Summer Fades Away


October…many say the real start of Autumn.  But there are still many signs that summer is trying its best to hang on with us.  The delicate flower heads of the Chives attracting spiders and insects all searching for food before the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

1st October

(C) David Oakes 2020

The Hydrangeas…… provide a garden of delight.


Tomorrow is August the 1st and here at one of the National Heritage Hydrangea Collection it will be an ‘Open Day’.   The Collection is open everyday during the season but tomorrow there will be guided walks and volunteers available to tell folk  about the collection, both for Hydrangea care in general and also historical background to this walled garden.

For the volunteers this year it will be one of mixed emotions.  Every years since the team started the restoration and establishment of the collection, they have spent hours  producing a spectacular display for visitors to enjoy.  This season they have had to work extra hard over the past few weeks trying their best to make the gardens look anything like what they would really like.  The winter and spring took its toll. Heavy rains,  a period of drought and a very late frost followed by high winds would have made life difficult in any year……  but add the CV19 factor, lockdown and  other restrictions and those dedicated volunteers were unable to take prompt and continual actions, to mitigate the problems.

So whilst the Collection may not be having one of its best years…it is still a very worthy display.  White blooms seem to have survived the best.  There are still many dead flower heads and even seed heads from last year, however hard the team worked they were never going to achieve several months work in just a few weeks. So full credit to all.


The Collection can be visited at Darley Park, on the banks of the River Derwent in Derby.  The National Heritage Collection is open till September.  An approach area is open  with  both Hydrangeas and Herbaceous borders all year ….. and its all free.  🙂

I should add that today has been blistering hot….35c this pm.  Certainly had people heading for the shade.  Every shadow  was occupied 🙂   Thunder on the way.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

31st July

(C) David Oakes 2020

Fun in the sun….. and Kids know best!


There is a  well equipped  Children’s Play Area.  It has been re-opened for their use for about 3 weeks now.  But this old tree trunk has proved to be much more fun both before and since the dedicated play area was opened.  The trunk itself was a gift from the river when it was in flood in December.

It has been a strange old year for weather.  The weather which has had its ups and downs hasn’t helped matters much.  The National Hydrangea Collection should have been bursting with colour at least a month ago.  Thankfully they is some colour and some healthy looking plants, I say thankfully as they plan an open day with guided tours this weekend.  Nothing like the usual bountiful blooms… but still some to give an impression of what it is striving to look like….

Seasonal progress is indeed strange.  Not yet the end of July…. but this Rufus Oak is already starting to show signs of it autumn colours, far too early for autumn to my mind.


Despite the heavy rains of this last week and weekend, the River Derwent is rather placid.  Maybe this yo-yo weather of one day sun, one day rain and the next sunny again has enabled the Derwent to ship its waters down stream …..


I guess that this weather has also helped our garden.  Lush greens and an abundant flush of summer flowers, warmth and wet with a sprinkling of sunshine seems to be the right tonic..  and in the current climate that discourages  travel very far from home,  both the garden and the park have been a god send in keeping one sane..

Now the question is…what will the weather do tomorrow ?? Just a little different today from the established yo-yo scheme…. it has bee hot and sunny and cold and wet… all in one day.  🙂

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

28th July

(C) David Oakes 2020

Yo-yo Weather…….


Lake or Field the sun did shine…..


Today was Sunday and the SUN did decide it was its day to shine.  Yesterday was mostly grey but ended with several severe downpours.  They say tomorrow will be wet again, so this yo-yo weather looks likely, according to those who are supposed to know, will continue for most of this week.

No mater what the weather we do have some home made sunshine in the garden.  It is the  humble Nasturtium that is stealing the show at the moment.  Dismissed by many, the Nasturtium is a rather fabulous example of  botanical  engineering, much loved by Bees who are enchanted into entering that central labyrinth.   But some other hot spots add to the the colour range…

So Sunday lived up to its name….   and we did enjoy the warmth and the chance to sit and laze in the garden.   We did though ponder just why our weather cycle this summer is so much a case of ups and downs….real yo-yo weather.

No matter what the weather….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

26th July

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Good Start…. Not a Half Bad Day in the making


Riverside Walk, Darley Abbey, Derby

Well the day started full of promise.  Better than the forecast.  Sunshine and some clouds.  Busy day ahead so we decided to stay local.   I was though, rather surprised to find, at mid morning, that we had the Park virtually to ourselves. I also have to keep reminding myself just how lucky we are, we have so many open spaces on our doorstep.  Open spaces, wooded hillsides and here at Darley the River Derwent.  Over lockdown they proved there worth to a great many of us.

Still strange that so few folk were about….still there loss – our gain

Being so quiet did mean that Buster got a riverside bench with a view… all to himself


Whilst at Darley, I did pop into the Hydrangea Collection.  Blooming has been a slow process this season.  At least today there are some very hopeful signs that they may yet give us another specular display….so I will keep my eyes open.

But for now here are the days best blooms…


As always we still need to be vigilant…. so

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

23rd July

(C) David Oakes 2020