Simple Solution… with Big Benefits


The Productive  Nasturtium 

There was a time earlier this year when lockdown measures and other restriction would  make a difference to our garden.  Tending the established herbaceous and shrubs was no problem.  But as garden centres and nurseries were closed till who knew when, the chances of getting those colourful summer bedding plants looked very doubtful.

So for the first time for many years we planted seeds of the humble Nasturtium.  Apart from the bold splashes of colour they have also proved to be a big hit with the Bees and other insects seeking nectar and pollen.

They did have competition from the Lavender which is still attracting the Bees despite now turning to seed.


But those early doubts about having splashes of colour in the garden  proved unfounded.  It was especially important to enjoy the garden this year when travel and visits were so curtailed.  Even the yo-yo weather  proved not to be as detrimental as we expected…

The only possible downside it that now at the beginning of August, many plants are now turning to seed…seems a tad early for autumn to me….


Whatever the weather, wherever you are…

Please Remember ….

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

4th August

(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

Teasing again….. this on/off summer


This evening we have some bright sunshine and a near clear blue sky.  I did suggest yesterday that the weather was a tease.  One day Winter, then the next summer.  Well today  the weather continues to tease us.  We started with a clear sky and sunshine…. summer again!  Disappointment soon headed our way and by the time breakfast and a coffee had been quickly consumed, the weather reverted back to grey with clouds that looked as if they contained rain.

It has remained that way till now and a belated promise of a rather fine evening.

You may recall that we planted a new climbing Clematis.  A Clematis who’s first buds were not the colour, on the label, for the variety we bought.  Now that it is really getting into its stride, I have to admit to being rather pleased.  For a first year the growth is better than expected and the ‘surprise’  colour is rather pleasing.


The petals may be paper thin but the centre stamen with it yellow anthers are little marvel of nature…


The Clematis may have made great growth. Not so the Hydrangea, whilst producing some equally intricate and colourful blooms,  they have had to fight hard this year.  The blooms are much smaller, no big blousy cushions of petals this season.  We did have a very very  late frost, the only real frost of the year.  It killed off several plants, knocked back others and in the case of our Hydrangeas, it burnt the leaves, particularly those round the new flower heads.  So whilst we still have a good display it is with miniaturised blooms.

   On a dull day, yellow is still the colour to glow,  the first of many more to come as this border is packed with buds..


We do have a mystery visitor to the garden.   In amongst the lobelia we planted in some baskets, this little purple flower with a yellow centre has appeared.  It looks a little like a viola or maybe from some angles a pansy….but its size says that it must be something else.  I said it was small, just over 1cm in diameter…. that’s small.



Please Remember ….

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

20th July

(C) David Oakes 2020