Porthminster Beach #1

Porthminster Beach #1

Keeping it simple this week as an unforeseen family incident has interrupted my peaceful life in the south-west corner, but these images were taken just before that took place. Porthminster Beach in St Ives around 8 p.m. on a beautiful evening. I spent a couple of hours wandering the beaches and photographing the sunset. Little did I know what the future held for me and primarily, my son.

You may not see too much of me in the blogging world for bit, but I will try to pop in to at least like your posts, if not comment. And hopefully it won’t be too long before I can walk on these beaches again.

WPC: Collage

In My Garden: June blooms

In My Garden: June blooms

A garden is always in transition. Nothing is static, nothing lasts forever. Plants come and go. Designs change. A photo taken today will be unlike a photo taken tomorrow. Petals fall. Seeds drop. New life begins.

A year ago I showed you how the garden had changed in the few months we had lived in our new house. Apart from removing a few of my potted plants and planting them into the soil I didn’t change anything in the garden until this year as it is good to understand what is already growing and how the light changes over the year. The overgrown and rotting raised beds at the end of the garden were replaced last May and since then most of the work carried out has been weeding, pruning, mowing the lawn and tending the veg beds.

Until this spring: when I decided that I wanted more flowers and shrubs in the garden and rather less lawn. I don’t need a lawn, I’m not likely to lie on it, I have no children to play on it and I don’t even need the green of it as we have lovely green fields and hills in the background. So my plan is to remove the lawn over a period of time and replace it with shrubs and flower beds and gravelled pathways.

What I hadn’t realised is how much effort this takes! For now I have removed the lawn from around the large rock (which is used as my bird bath) and also alongside the stone wall on the sunny side of the garden (on the right).

Lawn early May 2016

Now the lawn on the right-hand side has been removed and planted with geraniums, hebes and assorted cuttings that I have taken. Several new climbers have been planted and a couple of New Zealand shrubs purchased.

New gravel area

I shall have to wait a little longer to show you a full picture as I still have one section to complete. My illness, then the wind and rain followed by the excessive heat have stopped me in my tracks, but all being well it will be finished by the end of this month.

But I will show you around so you can see some of the changes.

Vegetable beds: Sadly the ‘Bright Lights‘ Chard have failed to materialise despite two sowings and I only have four kale plants this year. Dwarf beans are growing (second sowing, the slugs and snails ate the first lot) a couple of broad beans are in flower and a couple of courgette plants are finally growing after being munched on for the last two months. We are getting many more strawberries this year and the herbs are doing well with the exception of the chervil and coriander, both of which wilted in the heat. Rocket and other lettuce varieties have also bolted in the heat and I had hardly picked any of the leaves.

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Herb Garden

Sunny side:

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Among the penstemons (all taken from cuttings of the original plant) is lavender, fuchsia, rosemary, osteospermum and a day lily that still hasn’t flowered. I suspect I need to dig that up and plant it elsewhere.

Shady side:

Most of the plants growing here are well established, but I still need to fill in some gaps on the wall. Maybe ajuga or brunnera to add colour. I have planted some heuchera (again from cuttings) and hellebores (from seed) and in the autumn I want to plant miniature daffodils, anemones and crocuses, but the trouble is that roots from trees and shrubs make planting difficult along here.

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Patio: Not much has changed in this area of the garden other than a jet-wash last month. The pelargoniums have been re-potted but in all honesty they are past their best and next year I shall replace them. The white lilies got eaten in the spring, but I hope to have recovered a few bulbs so next year I shall place them all in the conservatory until the plants are ready to flower in order to stop them being eaten.  The side of the conservatory has altered. I removed the rotten wood edging and put gravel down all over the ground and cut down the overgrown jasmine completely. Needless to say it is shooting madly now! A Dwarf Hebe and some Crocosmia and a half-hardy fuchsia are getting established as is another white climbing rose which last year was a miserable stick with only two small flowers.

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The Patio and tomatoes in the conservatory

The conservatory may be getting a new roof by the end of the summer and it desperately needs painting outside so that’s another job to tackle, but hopefully there will be time to sit and enjoy the garden this year.

I won’t be joining in the monthly challenge for a while, instead I shall bring you monthly updates of the garden. Plus I have a plan to visit the 19 Great Gardens of Cornwall many of which I have already visited over the years, but I’ll go in different seasons and one is the wonderful garden of Tresco Abbey which will involve a trip across the water at some point in the future…

Truro – the UK’s most southerly city

Truro – the UK’s most southerly city

In February I had the occasion to visit Truro. The name Truro is believed to have come from Tri-veru, meaning three rivers, after the Kenwyn, the Allen and the Tinney. Together these form the Truro River which flows into the Carrick Roads and the River Fal. The rivers mostly run under the streets though so there aren’t many river walks in the compact city. Truro is only 20 miles from me, which takes an hour and a half on the bus and about 25 mins in the car, and not a place I have visited often since moving down here. Although Cornwall’s only city I am afraid it doesn’t really appeal to me. It doesn’t have any distinct areas that other cities have and the architecture is all over the place, although predominantly Georgian with some Regency and Victorian buildings. It apparently has ‘the best examples of Georgian architecture west of Bath’. Really?

There are a lot of ‘high street’ shops and many interesting independent shops and there is an indoor market on Lemon Quay, a name that invokes a place full of scent and beauty. It’s not. Some days there is an outdoor market too, but I never seem to get the day right. The Hall for Cornwall offers entertainment and there is the Royal Cornwall Museum so plenty to offer the visitor one would think.

Coinage Hall: The current building was built as the Cornish Bank in 1848 on the site of the old Coinage Hall where twice yearly tin was brought here to be assayed and taxed.

However, I am not a shopper. I shop when it is necessary and therefore other than grocery shopping, not that often. I need something more than shops to draw me to a place. You would think that being on a river there would be lovely river walks. If there are I haven’t yet found them. And a walk to the Victoria gardens proved disappointing too and the gardens themselves rather too municipal for my liking.

Perhaps I am hard to please.  There is an unusual three-spired Gothic-style cathedral¹, though even my first visit to that left me underwhelmed. I did give it another chance this time and found it to be less uninspiring than I had first thought so it definitely deserves a post of its own.

Lemon Street: With its attractive Georgian architecture, Lemon Street was built to provide easy access into Truro for the Quiksilver mail coaches from Falmouth.

Meanwhile here are a couple of galleries of my impressions of Truro whilst wandering through the city, and if anyone knows it well and can suggest to me any nice walks or areas of particular interest, then please do so in the comment section. I’d love to be proved wrong.


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Eclectic Truro

¹ There are only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom with three spires. Lichfield Cathedral, dating from the 13th and early 14th centuries is the only medieval cathedral. Between the 14th and 16th centuries Lincoln Cathedral also had three spires, but the central spire collapsed in a storm and was not rebuilt thereafter. Both Truro Cathedral, Cornwall (late 19th–early 20th century) and St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh (late 19th century) were built in the Gothic Revival style and also have three spires.

If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.

Five Minutes in my conservatory

Five Minutes in my conservatory

When we moved here last year the conservatory was a bit of a dumping ground. Eventually it got sorted and became our breakfast room (when it wasn’t too hot to sit in – I guess we should do early breakfasts as at 7 am it is probably fine). I also used it to browse through garden and seed catalogues and plan what I was going to do in the garden once the year was up.  Recently it became a dumping ground again whilst I decorated the bedroom and office/studio on the ground floor so once again I have had to clear it out. During the spring half-term my daughter helped me to move the bookcase into the dining-hall and also move a Victorian Housekeeper’s cupboard so we could paint the wall behind it. I still have that to finish as the tomatoes have gone bananas so I shall have to wait until they are finished before I can paint the rest of the walls. Today whilst watering them for the second time I realised that the room had somehow adopted a rather colonial feel. Wicker chairs and drawers, rattan dining chairs, an open cupboard and my collection of African bits and pieces have made it feel almost tropical. I think I shall have to buy some citrus plants, grow a grape-vine and maybe some ginger lilies – of course whatever I do put in there has to cope with the cold in winter as the conservatory is unheated.

So after dealing with our second flying ant invasion (not in the conservatory, that location seems to be the preference of woodlice) I decided to take a few photos to include in DJ’s 5 minute challenge. I hope you, and DJ, like them and that she doesn’t mind that I have stretched the rules a bit.

DesleyJane – a lovely arty scientist now living in Melbourne – is also a wonderful photographer and a huge macro fan. She has a new weekly challenge called “regularrandom for anyone to join in with which involves spending 5 minutes with the subject matter.

Choose a scene or an object and keep fixed on that object, and shoot for just five minutes.   You can move around the object or scene but try not to interfere with it. See what happens in that five minutes, what changes, how the light changes, what comes into the frame or leaves the frame, or what other parts of the object you can focus on or use to your advantage.

South African Zulu basket

If you would like to join in then please visit DJ’s site where you will find more information and ideas about this fun challenge

All photos were taken with my Olympus E-10 camera and the 40-150mm lens and using various art scenes.

Black and White Sunday: Charlestown

A port built around 1791 by Charles Rashleigh to service the then thriving fishing and China Clay trades. Upon completion, Charlestown was a model Georgian “new town”. By the 19th Century various associated businesses were established in sheds and warehouses around the harbour such as pilchard curing, shipbuilding, brick making and lime burning, and the population exploded to close on 3,000. Many attractive period properties sprung up in the village, ranging from elegant Georgian houses to squat fisherman’s cottages.

The harbour hasn’t changed much. The houses are still as they were when they were originally built. However, gradually over time these trades slowly declined and the harbour was hardly used by the early 1990s.

The port has featured in many films and TV programmes including Poldark and you can often see tall ships moored in the harbour. The village is also home to the Shipwreck, Rescue and Heritage Centre. Located in one of the old China Clay buildings, the centre contains a number of exhibits relating to Charlestown’s maritime past along with more general shipwreck salvage from Cornwall’s coast.

And if you would like to see more Traces of the Past images then please visit Paula.