After a successful morning in the garden, Mrs Bun and myself were sat on the Lutyens-esque bench, chit-chatting over a cup of tea and a piece of homemade ginger cake. The side gate swung open and a woman peered at us inquisitively. “Is this your dog?” she asked. And indeed there was the lovely Bobbie, at the end of a borrowed lead, looking very pleased with herself. “We found her at the other side of the village rummaging in the recycle bins.”

Let us get something clear from the start. Mr and Mrs Bun care very well for Bobbie. She is the recipient of all the best things in the doggie universe: long walks, a warm bed, plenty of grub and of course a plethora of love. In return for this canine cornucopia she is charming, adorable and mischievous to the point of being perpetually forgivable.

But she refuses to grow up. At the age of eight she should at least be making an attempt at “refined”, perhaps slowing down just a little. Instead Bobbie is a turbo-charged bag of craziness and, most importantly in this instance, a demon of the sneaky side-step.

Bobbie’s kind rescuers must have wondered what sort of home this canine delinquent had come from. However, I think their mind was put at rest when Mrs Bun said, in an attempt at explanation “She lives in the hedge and we thought she was in there.” Yes, I thought, that will definitely have reassured them, she lives in a hedge.

It is true that Bobbie enjoys snuggling into the ample privet hedge that runs down one side of the garden. From this slightly elevated position she can spy on all things that a wayward spaniel considers attention worthy; next door’s cats mainly. After months of trying to dissuade her; blocking holes, firm words and such like, it was decided to let her have her way, she was at least out of trouble’s way.

However, she was in for the long-game. Little did The Buns know, this was all a ruse for a future escape plan and a lunchtime munch on some leftover takeaway foils.

Very naughty, but of course forgiven. Whether or not the hedge excuse will work again, we will see.


There is nothing like a strong north-westerly and a hike up a steep hill to blow the blues away. It also helps if you are accompanied by a good friend who listens patiently to your Moaning Minnie diatribe. Perhaps she had ear plugs in. It made no difference; either way, I felt much better by the end of our, often muddy, exploits. And she didn’t complain, or even sigh, when I admitted that I wasn’t absolutely sure where we were. By the time I was home, there was not a cobweb left.

Thanks Lady M, it was good, socially-distanced, fun. The Mantles are commencing their own, slightly less steep, adventure this weekend. This was a bit of a surprise. I had got the sequence of events and locations a little confused (moi?) and thought they would be living in the shire for a while longer. It had to happen eventually, so with a tear in my eye, I once again say “good luck my lovelies, I will see you in the gloaming”. x


I thought it would be enough, but it wasn’t. It appears that we need a little more than the vibrant chrysanthemum to keep our spirits buoyant. Mine, anyway.

For those who could also do with a little extra sparkle, here is a booster shot. A dew-bedazzled Inula hookeri. It helped me.


For those of you who, like myself, have suffered a weekend of rain, wind and misery (a blatant exaggeration for dramatic effect), this vibrant chrysanthemum might come in handy. In the cheery-uppy department.

You are most welcome.

Six on Saturday – Hanging On

Everyone still attached? Hope so. A great point of contact, something to keep us grounded and in touch with the rest of the world, is Six on Saturday. And the glue that binds SoS together is our very own Mr Bostick. Have I gone too far with my analogies? Perhaps. If you’ve got a minute, pop on over and check out what everyone else is up to, you won’t regret it.

As you might have guessed, my theme today is Hanging On, although I may well run out of steam by the end. Shall we proceed, as always, with caution.

First we have Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ which has continued to pop open the odd bloom as it sees fit. I’m not complaining, keep on keeping on, my lovely!

Next we have Fuchsia hatchbachii which lives in the front garden, AKA The Frozen North. It is planted in a half barrel which is being held together with a forcefield of intent. Every leaf has been blown from its body. Still it holds on to a few flowers.

Most of the potted acers have now lost most of their leaves. This mummified acer leaf clings on tight, denying the onset of winter.

Now an unknown fuchsia, gifted by Steve and Dawn, again sited in the Frozen North. Again it has been stripped of all but a few blooms. In comparison, fuchsias in the back garden are quite lush still. I am slightly embarrassed at its naked state and I promise to treat it far better next year. In fact this very day I shall move it to a more sheltered position. Probably.

Onto the disappointing Cosmos, a little nibbled but still the pink eyed bloom is most welcome. I’m not sure what went wrong with them this year, but a few other SoSers have also complained. It is nice not to suffer alone.

Lastly, eventually this dahlia has bloomed. Although I am pleased to see it, I can’t help but think that the margin between first flower and first frost will be very narrow. The flower didn’t look familiar to me and I wondered which of my many under-performing dahlias it was. Luckily the pot had a label in it; unluckily it read “Mystery”.

Keep the SoS faith my friends, til next time.

Good Boy

Initially, I was horrified to see Nancy Nightingale’s pup running around the garden with a chicken head in his mouth. On closer inspection, it appears that dear, lovable Scooby had decapitated NN’s metal rooster. This naughtiness is quite out of character. Apart from digging up many of the muscari I planted last week, wrecking the red hot poker by rolling around on top of it, chewing both my bag and my sleeve and (apparently) getting into the dishwasher to lick the plates, he has been a very good boy. There is no photo of him as he was banished inside, sitting with his wet nose pressed to the window, suffering the hardship of injustice. As a substitute you get a chicken head.

OK, stop your moaning, here is one I took last week.

Six on Saturday – Pale and Interesting

In my late teens, a few months after moving to Bristol, I returned to Cornwall for a first visit home. Whilst catching up with friends, someone commented that I was now “pale and interesting”. I interpretted this as he thought I looked ill. He was possibly right. This week’s Six on Saturday are pale and interesting, although none are, as far as I am aware, homesick.

First, we have Linaria ‘Fairy Bouquet’. As I am sure our Worshipful President The Prop, has a spreadsheet listing all entries in microscropic detail, double referenced, I would do well to confess that this little lovely has been featured before quite recently. This is a much paler seedling, and valiantly continuing to bloom, so doesn’t count.

Next we have a bonasi brugmansia. Brugmansia should not be bonsaied, it desperately needs to be repotted but the gardener has been lax. It is rather an embarrassment. The early morning dew captured on its hirsute foliage was an indication of the cold night. No frost yet though.

Now the ever delightful and diddy, Fuchsia microphylla. The common name is the small leaved fuchsia, although it is also small flowered. Pretty as a pixie picture. Try saying that after a pint of rough cider!

Next we have the skeletal remains of flower heads on the deep red hydrangea in the front garden. At the moment this shrub is holding new born, young, middle-aged and elderly flowers at the same time. I liked grandma the best.

Onto a rather tatty Salvia atrocyanea, doing its best in the circumstances. Blue flowers always make me a little giddy.

Lastly a magnificent tibouchina flower, but not the specimen featured last week in bud. I must confess to owning two plants, this one is Tibouchina ‘Groovy Baby’. Although not pale, it is very interesting and of course groovy, baby!

Stay safe and well my friends, I am especially thinking of those of you across the pond. Take care.


With barely a month left to run its course, I have become accustomed to autumn. Two days of sunshine has helped my conversion immensely.

If I could put in a weather order for the next few months, today would be the template. No pinching frosts to nip vulnerable plants and fingers. For moisture I request only a heavy dew. The air must be calm, with perhaps a little laundry-drying breeze from the south. I am willing to negotiate on the details. There is one thing I will not compromise on; I demand the life-enhancing, low light that allows even the most to modest shine. Surely that is not too much to ask?

Does anyone know which department I should write to?

It’s Just a Shower

It has been a sad day, and the weather matched it perfectly. I think, in literary circles, this is called pathetic fallacy. I remember the phrase from studying that comedic masterpiece, Tess of the D’urbervilles. Feel free to correct me if I have got the wrong end of the stick, it was a long time ago.

The reason for my gloom, is that Lord and Lady Mantle are moving to mansions new. Today was my last visit to their grand estate. Although I am devasted to see them go, there were several pointers to suggest that my time with them was complete. First of all Her Ladyship used the word “node” and in the correct context, later she suggested that she write a label for a newly potted up specimen (quite unheard of), followed by using my preferred pronunciation of the word “crocosmia” (usually a très posh crow-ko-smia). Lord M. emptied full wheelbarrows with only subtle hinting necessary, he tipped plants out of pots with tender loving care and then fed me quiche with garlic bread and coleslaw for lunch. And all day they only had the teeniest disagreement, over the thorny issue as to the best way to fold a tarp. Between hail, thunder, lightning and torrential rain storms we managed to complete all the jobs on the gardening list. Or we think we did as the list was in Lady M’s head.

I came away with some booty; several plants (yes, I do need them), a Tom Jones LP with the most splendid cover and a couple of lovely prints. And on the way out, for the first time ever, I managed to turn my car and get out of their drive in one go. Unfortunately, nobody was watching.

In attempt at balance, I outline below both the negatives and positives of my time with The Mantles:

Things I won’t miss:

  1. The single-track lane with its inherent threat of agricultural machinery and delivery drivers,
  2. Reversing whilst being marked out of ten by those mentioned in 1. above.

Things I definitely will miss:

  1. Phil and Brohna
  2. Brohna and Phil
  3. Lady Mantle
  4. Lord Mantle
  5. Lord and Lady Mantle
  6. Young Wills (although it is unlikely he will miss me).

On the drive back, I met a delivery driver on the lane. Luckily for me he was one of the very rare subspecies Politeandgenerous who reversed for me. It was a sign.

My time with you is done. Thanks for the good times, my friends, I will miss you very much. Love you both xxxx and a special x for Wills.


After a “will she, won’t she” morning (she didn’t), and a good few hours making life or death decisions about my seed collection, the weather cleared. My mind and body needed some fresh, preferably dry, air so I ‘proofed up and headed out into the fray.

It was busier than I expected, although I suspect this was because my stroll co-incided with Walkies. I felt a bit conspicuous in my dog-less state. Perhaps I should have borrowed one.

In an attempt to avoid the canine tangle, and my obvious short-comings, I took a path that I hadn’t walked for several months, not since the first weeks of lockdown. At that time the trees were yet to leaf, today they were in the process of shedding their garb. A lot has passed since. Somehow it all seemed a lot simpler then.