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Jacinta D's Journal

Jacinta D's Journal January 2015

Last Post 1021 days 21 hours ago

Hellebore

31 January 2015 08:52:30

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Got this little beauty a while back. I think Joan may have posted a photo recently of hers in full flower. Mine was only a little bitty thing at that stage and I wondered why. However, mine has now decided to flower. Not in the ground yet, just waiting for the soil to be workable after this freezing weather. Maybe some time today or tomorrow. It's a beauty though, don't you think?

This is the reason......

30 January 2015 20:13:56

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that I have done NO gardening all week. My newest little grandson, Logan, was born on Monday morning and Wee Davey has been staying with me for the best part of the week. Tiring, to say the least. But oh, so enjoyable. They are all settling in to a nice routine now. And hopefully the weather will improve for the next week so I can do a bit outside. No excuses!

Give me sun and heat NOW!!!

29 January 2015 18:23:06

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Had a few errands this morning, so dropped in to Lidl as I was passing. After buying 5 hellebores there last year, I didn't need any more. Just curious to see if there were any different ones. A couple of last years haven't made an appearance yet. So today I bought just 2 - H. 'Double Ellen Red' and 'Double Ellen Purple'. Didn't have the heart to even put them into the greenhouse just yet.

I seem to be feeling the cold much more this year, so no gardening done. But I did make lots of Birdseed Cakes as I had run out of fat balls and didn't feel like shopping for more, instead getting home and lighting a big cosy fire.

Quite a few flurries of snow all day, so I stayed indoors apart from feeding the birds.

From next Thursday 5th February, Lidl have fruit trees @ €5.99 each, or two for a tenner - apple, cherry, pear and plum. Also their summer bulbs - Crocosmia, Freesia, Ornothogalum, Ranunculus and Zantedeschia for €2.99 each.

A bit of colour

28 January 2015 20:16:38

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Nothing done outside today as it was so cold and a wind that would skin you alive. But it was lovely to see some yellow crocuses open, and dwarf irises just about to bloom. Pelargoniums out in the front still flowering away. Amazing.

Keep warm, everyone, and safe driving for tomorrow. Hopefully this will be the last really cold snap.

Pieris

27 January 2015 07:38:17
Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'

Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'

I have three different types of Pieris in the garden. But this is usually the earliest one to flower. It was bought in Johnstown a few years ago. It's starting to 'do its thing' right now. Love the deep colour on this one.

Spring has sprung

26 January 2015 20:08:01

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While at the hospital this morning for a checkup on last years knee injury, it was so uplifting to see the cherry blossoms in full flower. Raging now that I let Steve persuade me to get rid of my big cherry a few years ago.

Got news that I should be getting a new knee (the other knee) sometime this year so that came as a bit of a shock, but is good that it will be done at my age rather than wait until I'm a pensioner and completely incapacitated by it.

And my dear friend Greta has wonderful news. Her wait is finally over. She goes in for a new hip next Monday. I'm sure you will all join me in wishing her well, and future good health.

Nearly garden time!

26 January 2015 14:16:24
Big brother David

Big brother David

I'm such a proud grandmother today for the second time. My daughter and her partner welcomed their second little son into the world this morning at 11.00. Baby and Mam doing really well. Baby Logan (just hope he's not nicknamed  Loganberry!) weighed in at 8lbs 12ozs. Lets hope he is as enthusiastic about garden jobs as big brother Davey is. Hope to have a photo soon.

Big brother is dying to see him, and then I'll be free for the garden once again.

No journal

25 January 2015 20:33:41

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No journal tonight. But I just wanted to post these three pretty photos.

Bergenia

24 January 2015 21:11:29
Bergenia 'Lunar Glow' eaten

Bergenia 'Lunar Glow' eaten

Got this a few years ago and I love it for its later foliage colour. It turns a beautiful shade of red. Watching and waiting from now on. But just looking at it today it seems to have been nibbled quite a bit, something I hadn't noticed with Bergenias before.

Do what I say. Not what I do!

24 January 2015 18:20:50

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I just couldn't keep my mouth shut, could I? When Wee Davey learned that I had started sowing seeds for this year, he wasn't going to be happy until I allowed him to do the same. How could I explain to a nearly 5yr old that it was too early when Gran had already started without him!!! After much pleading and telling me how much he loved me, I just had to give in. So he settled for a pot of dwarf beans. Magic beans!!!

And instead of taking them home with him, they're now on my Living Room wndowsill. I will be seeing him again pretty soon as his Mammy and Daddy, AND GRAN await their newest arrival. I'm now on 24 hour call.

This is the start!

24 January 2015 07:16:23
This is the start!

This is the start!

Some of you will be happy to know that this coming week starts the beginning of the gardening year with Aldi. I suspect Lidl will be the same.

Next Thursday Aldi are kick-starting the growing season with seeds, soft fruit and mixed planters. Not much, but it IS only the beginning. So, let's just enjoy what's on offer, and welcome great bargains along the way.

Patience is a virtue

23 January 2015 22:26:42

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But it's not something I possess much of.

This little Galanthus could be one of 6 different varieties here. But I guess I'll just have to wait until it opens a bit more to decide which one it is. Actually I wasn't even aware that I planted any in this area!!!!!

New Kid on the Block

23 January 2015 21:19:54

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Thought a seagull was landing in my garden this morning and got on with the dishes. But later I discovered that it was a white pigeon. Never saw a completely white one before. Holly was lurking in the undergrowth. And as she had already killed a sparrow this week, I was watching the pigeon carefully, and ready to rescue it. Holly did pounce. But the pigeon was quicker, thank Heavens.

Looking good

22 January 2015 20:49:19

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Chasing my tail all morning. But when I got home I potted up the Hollyhocks and Echinacea that I got in Dealz a couple of weeks ago. Good strong growth already visible after just removing them from their packs when I bought them, and steeping in a bowl until today. Not quite ready for them to fend for themselves until the weather settles down, temperature wise. So they're out in the porch for now. 

Was going to sow some sweet pea this evening. But yikes!!!  I don't have any. Shopping list being made for tomorrow.

The greenhouse pond hasn't thawed out since Sunday. But it looked so nice today in the afternoon sun.

Today

21 January 2015 20:14:40

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Once the day heated up I donned the gardening gear and did a bit more tidying up. I was going to stick a few more plants into the ground. But it was completely frozen. So that's on hold until the weekend maybe, when temperatures are due to rise. 

All is well in the greenhouse and I spent a bit of time picking up dropped leaves and a general tidy up. The doors were left open for about two hours to aid ventilation.

Spotted my lovely little Geum 'Eos' in the greenhouse border, just beginning to peep up. I love its lime green leaves, and later its vivid orange flowers.

The birds were making such a din all day, and they were battling amongst themselves on the feeders. I couldn't keep up with them. Good job I had gotten extra supplies in Dealz last week. Aldi don't have those fat balls in the drums at the moment and I just refuse to pay Homebase or Woodies prices for them. But I'm also making up my own seed cakes on a regular basis too. So they're being well looked after.

Holly reduced my sparrow population by one yesterday and munched her way through feathers, and bones right before my very eyes. And all done next to her dish that was half full. I suppose she was relishing the menu change. :(

Had to cope with a chimney fire here before Steve came in from work. I managed to get it under control and I'm afraid to light another one tomorrow, at least until Steve cleans out the chimney on Saturday. Luckily we got a fill up of oil last week so I can use that in the meantime.

And spurred on by Dicks tomatoes, I decided it was time to sow a few. Not taking out the propagator just yet as I know that I probably wouldn't be able to control myself. LOL So they're in the warmest room in the house. So temperatures shouldn't drop too much during the night. If they germinate, great. If not, plenty more seeds, and lots more time. I brought the bag of frozen compost indoors this morning so it was nice and warm when I was ready. I've sowed seeds from my last years 'Moneymaker', and 'Black Russian' which are older seed. We'll see what happens, if anything.

Fern

21 January 2015 05:09:59

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Gosh, I really need my garden right now. It seems a longer gap than usual for this time of year that I have done virtually nothing of significance outside. But I think the weather is to improve for next week.

This is possibly one of my favourite ferns, especially the fact that it's evergreen. Haven't actually planted it yet. Just waiting for the ground to be more 'workable'.

Go forth and multiply!

19 January 2015 18:13:33

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Jeez, but this little galanthus is awful slow to bulk up!

Bought just one 2yrs ago for €25. It has now multiplied to three. Just waiting a little while longer for it to open. It has a lovely little yellow ovary.

Don't forget

16 January 2015 21:04:01

No Goldfinches

16 January 2015 20:17:51
No Goldfinches

No Goldfinches

I recently remarked to someone in the locality about the total lack of goldfinches here in my garden this winter. Like, I haven't even seen ONE.

I've been informed that a man has been seen on a regular basis in Santry Park who is trapping as many of our small birds as he possibly can, to sell on to the black market. Goldfinches are of particular interest to him as they try to breed them with other species to replicate their beautiful colour or markings, or even birdsong. He uses a misting net and a 'glue board' (whatever that is) and collects them all up in a picnic basket. The Park Wardens have been informed of their antics, but tend to just turn a blind eye to this. Most upsetting to think that they are depleting our bird population right in front of our eyes and nobody is prepared to do anything about it.

 

Still going strong

16 January 2015 17:16:22
Agave attenuata

Agave attenuata

I plucked this little offshoot from a big Agave growing in the garden of our bungalow in Lanzarote 5yrs ago, not for one minute thinking it would even survive the journey home.

But after not doing much for the first year, and putting it into the greenhouse for the summer, and subsequently potting it on, it has now grown into a fairly decent specimen. Obviously it has overcome its homesickness as it's looking quite healthy.

Thanks!

15 January 2015 21:55:58
Thanks!

Thanks!

This morning I decided with the weather that was in it that I would have a pj day. But Jackie contacted me fairly early to say she'd be over to me with all the goodies that Fleurette (Margot) had promised me, and an Agapanthus from Jemo. I must admit, I did think it was only one or two. So when Jackie came in with an armload, I was so delighted.

So a big thanks both to Jackie for fitting me in to her busy schedule, and Margot for all the extra plants, and not forgetting Jemo.

The weather was so awful. And the lights went on inside from about 2.00 when the rain came down in sheets. But I was all ready, with the bag of compost in the dining room. That saved me having to go out in the rain. My fingernails are looking more like a gardeners now. Ooooh, it felt so good.

One man's meat is another man's poison

14 January 2015 17:48:20

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Steve came in this evening with something behind his back. Here we go again!!!!  LOL

They'll have to try and keep him away from the skip in his job. This 'planter' was chucked into the skip by one of his work colleagues today. Steve thought it was a planter, and indeed it COULD be used as a planter. But it could only hold a very small plant, and the opening is barely big enough to get a hand into.

But turned up the other way, I realise that it must have originally been a candle holder, or something similar. The 'planter' just sits over the candle, no bottom on it. It'll be lovely to use out in the garden on a summers' evening to cast a romantic glow to the Patio table.

Winter Colour

13 January 2015 20:37:15

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Decided not to cut back my Ceratostigma this time round. It looks well now with the dead flowers still on.

Hamamelis

13 January 2015 09:18:59

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One of my witch hazels in the front is beginning to flower. Think it's 'Arnold Promise'.

Extra Space

12 January 2015 21:45:59

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I do love growing edibles. I tried it on numerous occasions, and with mostly success stories. But what didn't do too well was mainly stuff that needed much more space. I more or less gave up, except for stuff that could be grown in pots. And now my garden has evolved to being just perennial borders and ponds. No room left.

Now I have the option of a small piece of ground up in Dad's garden. It measures about 20ftx15ft. Dad is not able for the garden any more and it's been a while since he has made any serious attempt at growing things. I'm thinking potatoes. Wow, spuds in the ground?????  Carrots, cabbage, onions, and garlic will feature strongly too.  I'll set it out in rows and have only stuff myself and Steve will eat. We'll have to block up holes in the hedge between him and his neighbour. And Steve will make a small picket fence to cordon it off from my sisters dog who comes up with her on a regular basis. The whole area also needs to be dug over, or even rotovated.

His greenhouse also lies empty and very much in need of a good clean out. I had thought that I might be able to get Steve to dismantle it, and relocate it to my own garden. Where? Well......I thought it would fit underneath our pergola. But then, it would surely stick out like a sore thumb. And we'd lose that seating space.

So I've decided to leave it in Dad's garden, and grow things that wouldn't require daily looking after. And keep the regular growers in my own greenhouse here.

Let's hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew!

 

Front garden today

12 January 2015 18:14:02

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What a super bright, but cold, day today. But wrapped up well, I got out and massacred all the weeds in the front garden, and raked out any leaves that the winter winds had collected around shrubs. Not as easy as I had initially thought. And OMG, all that flippin' wild garlic got pulled up. Really need to spray it regularly, but don't want anything else dying in the process. A long term solution would be to get a wall built between me and my neighbour. But at the moment that's not an option.

It's great to see all the tulips and daffs coming up, and hyacinths about to flower. 

 

Jolly Johnstown!

10 January 2015 20:50:34

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Didn't do a whole lot outside today as it took a good while to cajole Steve into helping me to  actually put the Christmas decos back up into the attic. And anyway, it was quite cold out there and verrrrry gusty. Hadn't the energy to do much afterwards. Gave my indoor plants a good going over and re-locating them to more suitable quarters. 

Delighted to find that my Strawflower is still producing flowers, also my C. Niobe. And of course my Hellebores are looking a treat right now, as with everyone else's.

Have my Dealz purchases dampened for now (Hollyhock 'nigra', and Echinacaea purpurea), and hoping to pot them up tomorrow. Probably a bit early, but here's hoping. And I do need to be doing something positive for the coming season.

Just want to take this opportunity to wish all you Johnstown-goers a fab day tomorrow, and so looking forward to seeing all the albums posted. Safe journey to those who are travelling a long distance. Weather is to improve slightly. At least those horrific gales are on the decrease.

Just something pretty!

09 January 2015 22:06:04

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Picked up this pretty little Primula Obconica in Tesco yesterday (also known as Florist's Primrose). It'll perk me up indoors until the weather becomes a bit more conducive to a decent bit of outdoor work.

Bird id please

09 January 2015 07:21:10

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Normally the Brent geese take a turn at landing in the 'village green' throughout the winter. But not this time. These birds landed just before I took the photo, and they were gone about 5 minutes afterwards. What kind of bird are they, please? Photo quality bad as the wind was doing a great job of blowing me about the place.

Hippeastrum

08 January 2015 20:30:13

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These were bought in Aldi what seems like ages ago. And instead of planting them up singly, I decided to plant all three into one big planter to give more impact. I also kept them in the coldest room of the house to delay flowering a bit. 

So now that Christmas is over, and the decorations are down, I can now feast my eyes on this rich red Hippeastrum. Two more bulbs with much shorter stems in the same pot, and flower buds on them even at slightly above soil level (one of the bulbs has three flowering stems). So they will replace this one when it has 'gone over'. That's what I call a good flowering season for indoors.

Next task

08 January 2015 08:31:20

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I have neglected the front garden all winter long. Had a critical look at it yesterday and the time has come to get out there and pull up all that new growth of wild garlic that my neighbour insists on sharing with me (it's even growing in the gravel). Maybe tomorrow as I'll not get any time today.

But my Rhododendron 'Goldflimmer' is coming along nicely. Lots of bud for this year. Looking forward to those lovely frilly lilac blooms.

Unpredictable front gardens

07 January 2015 19:05:50

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Have been meaning to take a photo of this before. It's a corner garden on my Dad's road. On one side of the owners hall door she has a lovely perennial border. And on the left hand side she has a tiny greenhouse and all the paraphernalia that goes with it. The whole garden is surrounded by a cutesey little white picket fence. I'm very surprised that the greenhouse is still standing as there is a major turnaround of younger families moving in to the area. I just hope she wasn't looking out her window looking at me photographing her garden. :) She also has hens roaming around, although talking to her a year ago she mainly keeps them in the back garden for their own safety.

Every time I pass by, it brings back very fond memories from my early childhood of visiting my Grandparents in Terenure all those years ago. They had a corner house which consisted of a wide expanse of lawn taking up half the garden. And the other half was made out like a mini allotment, growing potatoes, cabbages plus lots more. I even remember Grandad letting me help to earth up his spuds when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Maybe that is where my love for gardening really started!

A friend of a friend

06 January 2015 20:08:16

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Today I met up for the first time with an acquaintance from Facebook. He had a very good friend of his with him who has a 7 acre farm in North Dublin. I do remember his place being spoken about by my brother-in-law about three years ago. It just happened to be a coinsidence that the friend of the friend is the same person.

As I said, he has 7 acres. He is/was a farmer and his wife did the gardening. Sadly his wife died about two years ago, after a long illness. As his memory is failing, he couldn't tell me much about the way the place looked while she was alive. But the thing I remember from my brother-in-law was this massive MAZE on one side of his garden. Well, it really has to be seen to be believed. Without my two guides today, I would have become well and truly lost. It's planted with Beech. Did a google search and found the image below of his land. As you can see, it has been planted in the shape of a shamrock.

The garden is mainly evergreens/conifers etc. But I was told that there are areas where there will be lots of snowdrops emerging any day now. Around the front of the house he has knot garden-type planting schemes with lots of buxus.

He would prefer to remain anonymous, but has given me permission to post photos. 

I have been invited back for a visit during the warmer months so I can see the difference. I thought it was so magical today. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. And the sad thing is that his family hold no value on the grounds as they are. I only hope that it doesn't get sold as small plots of land when he passes on. In my opinion, the grounds should be developed as gardens. With a small bit of landscaping the area holds so much potential to be of public interest.

I think when you see the album, you'll understand my sentiments.

And so it starts!

06 January 2015 17:38:09

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Thanks to Lilmai mentioning that Dealz had begun to stock their plants for this year, I headed over there this morning to have a little gander. Managed to pick up a few goodies - 2 packs of seed potatoes 'Swift', onion set 'Red Baron', Echinacea and black Hollyhocks. Total came to under €9. What a bargain. The spuds are now chittiing out in the garage. Tomorrow I'll pot up everything else and keep them in a frost free place.

And because I had saved so much in Dealz, I decided to head down to Homebase. No great bargains there. Although they did have 'buy 2, get 3rd free' offers of which I availed.  Very thrifty day, and it has sparked off a bit of welcome enthusiasm. It was my little bit of therapy to make up for not being able to attend Johnstown on Sunday.

Fungus

05 January 2015 08:40:48

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The retaining bed at the back of the Upper Pond contains plants like Astilbe, Bergenia, Galanthus, Saxifraga 'London Pride', primulas, ferns and the like. A small piece of driftwood which is almost permanently damp has produced interesting looking fungus.

Underskirts

04 January 2015 21:26:35

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Clematis 'Niobe' is still producing flowers. But it was only today when I was taking away dead leaves that I noticed how beautiful the underskirt is. Have a peek under yours next time. You may be surprised.

Did a bit.

04 January 2015 20:16:31

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After lunch with Dad today I was letting NOTHING stop me getting out to the garden. We had another bitingly cold night but the heavy frost thawed out very quickly and gave way to a gorgeous bright and fairly mild day.

Spent a good while picking up and disposing of cat faeces. Every time I shooed Holly from one particular spot during the winter, she'd promptly do her business in an area further from my reach. She could almost be heard miaowing 'Nah nah, na nah nah'. I think I planted some galanthus in that bed (where my hostas are growing in the summer). And as I can see them peeping up, I'd like for them not to be uprooted by Holly. So they got covered with a wire basket until they can fend for themselves.

Had the greenhouse door open for the whole afternoon. Worked inside removing any fallen leaves, and cleaning down a lot of my geraniums. Cuttings of trailing geraniums are doing really well. Delighted with these. All of the leaves have fallen from my two brugmansias. I'm hoping this is ok.

Had such a glorious two hours or more in the garden, doing a bit more cutting back. Namely ferns, and tree peony. I know there's a good chance of worse weather to come and I suppose I should have left on the dead material to protect the plants until the weather warms up a bit. But then, they ARE hardy plants. And have been doing their thing without the help of mankind since the days of the dinosaurs.

I was lost in my own little cocoon for the afternoon. No radio, no T.V., no mobile phone, and no other half asking me to put more coal on the fire. :) Such solitude, and peace. Haven't felt that in a long time. 

I had the BEST day today!

 

January sunset

04 January 2015 17:11:31
January sunset

January sunset

Spectacular sky out there this evening. Check out some photos in the album I just posted.

Summer

04 January 2015 10:13:08

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These three photos wouldn't have been my favourite summer photos. I usually delete photos when I have used them in a post so I was lucky to have found some I saved from July. But I do love this Solidago, originally donated by Fran.

It's been another really cold night and my poor little echium has had yet another blast of harshness without protection. If it does survive to flower, it'll be a miracle.

Wakey! Wakey!

03 January 2015 12:00:54

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Was out yesterday surveying what needs doing in the garden. Still have lots more cutting back to do. And it's very heartening to see that the garden is already waking up. Lovely new healthy shoots on Sambucus out the front, and some sedums are coming to life already, with most other things having lots of fresh green shoots.

A cold couple of days in store for us over the weekend and early next week, but it'll probably be tomorrow before I get a proper opportunity to do anything constructive. Hopefully the head will be in working order as I'll have another late night tonight to round off the festive celebrations.

Great contrasts

02 January 2015 20:50:37

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During one of my walks over the Christmas, I took a short cut in through the local church carpark. Haven't been to this area in years and I hadn't realised that there was dogwood planted here. Love the contrast. 

Geraniums

02 January 2015 12:42:25

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Just a window box filled with the common old summer-flowering geraniums out on my front window sill. Great to see them still flowering away in early January, and with no extra help from moi.

Ready for the new year

02 January 2015 11:24:45

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Time to tidy up the house and concentrate on getting out there at last. It's been a long time. 

Most of the decorations are put away now, except for the tree and wreath at the hall door. So I'm raring to go outside. And today I will have my little helper with me. Time also to start thinking about what seeds I'll be sowing.

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