Shrinking Violet


Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

New GW...??

Posted: 11/10/2016 at 19:23

I'm pleased so many people are liking the one-hour format.  What, for me, was once a "must watch" has become a "watch if I feel in the mood".  Obviously that puts me in a minority, but at least there is a reasonable spot for gardening, and I think it helps lots of people whose experience is limited, or who are entertained by the various elements.


I listened to Monty on Classic FM on Sunday when he was interviewed by Charlotte Green.  Now that, imo, was interesting, and far too short!


Truly, one man's  meat etc etc.

Who's visiting your bird feeders?

Posted: 11/10/2016 at 19:15

Relatives in Winnepeg head for warmer climes in the worst of their winter - which makes the occasional snow shower we have totally insignificant!


Re the bird feeders:  a veritable Charm of Goldfinches the other day:  I counted 38!  We know that a couple of broods have been raised (they descend on the Niger Seed feeder and the Sunflower hearts mob handed) but I have never, ever counted so many at any one time!  Naturally, they all shy away when the RSPB are doing their bird count.


A neighbour complained that he doesn't see too many birds in his back garden;  that would be because we are providing all the delicacies that they want, I assume.  Costs a fortune.  But worth every penny!

Strictly is back!

Posted: 09/10/2016 at 22:29

I wondered about that, too, Frank.  I suppose it will become clearer tomorrow as we are given more information in "It Takes Two". 


Shame - I rather like Tameka, and although she was unlikely finalist material, she has brought a lot of humour and energy to proceedings. 


I suppose we have to get used to a few weeks of Widdi-Balls as the public votes in a rather perverse way.  Fortunately, there are plenty of good dancers out there, any one of whom would make a worthy Glitter Ball champion (on current performances).

Strictly is back!

Posted: 09/10/2016 at 14:02

Good idea DR - these performances will be warming the cockles of my heart (!) for many a long year.

Strictly is back!

Posted: 09/10/2016 at 13:47

I just loved the whole programme.  Week 3?  It felt like a semi-final with some of the superb performances.


I tried to vote on-line but the site wouldn't let me, so I hope that it was a temporary glitch and won't have made a difference to the outcome - not that I'm implying that my votes would have made the difference, but that, if it was a universal problem, then it could have had an impact.


I thought that the Singin' in the Rain number was fantastic - a true homage to the original film.


I look forward to future Strictly programmes with the young Franks taking centre stage!  What a lovely result for them - and what a future they may have if they so choose. 

History

Posted: 06/10/2016 at 19:55

I think that history is vital on so many levels.  We all learnt at school about the Tudors and Stuarts, the Romans, the Victorians etc - but all from the perspective of the well-documented accounts.  Of far greater value are the accounts of every day lives - the minutiae of daily living and working, of life and death and of various practices of the times.


I have found the programmes on the TV by Ruth Goodman - the Victorian Farm and the like - to be truly fascinating, since it looks at just those "small" events - the food, farming methods, medical knowledge etc in a way that is overlooked in the history books of political history, treaties signed, wars conducted and the like.


How often have we wished that we had quizzed our parents, grandparents and other family members about the way they lived, their own memories etc?  So now we have the opportunity to pass on our memories, sometimes by village project or sometimes by personal family trees, and we are also enriched by the knowledge that is there at the touch of a few keys on the computer.


Even in the field of relatively recent gardening is history writ large.  The chemicals that were taken for granted (for every pest there was a spray!) are - well, history.  And we have learned the better ways of gardening with nature rather than against it, rather than trying to tame it to our wants and needs.


Todays fads will fade.  New imperatives will come to the fore.  We may well be indulging in Mediterranean styles of gardening by the end of the century.  Or not.  But the process of learning and developing are part and parcel of history.

Geranium cuttings

Posted: 23/09/2016 at 17:42

Interesting variations on over-wintering geraniums.  Many moons ago, my mother always overwintered hers by lifting the plants, wrapping them in newspaper and storing them in our cellar for the winter.  They were kept totally in the dark without any water.  Each spring, they were resurrected, pruned and re-planted, and produced lovely, healthy plants.


I have never done it this way - not least because I don't have a cellar under the house.  But I guess the constant cool temperature played a part in keeping the plants. I'm not sure that I'd be brave enough to try this, though.

Are these Sloes?

Posted: 21/09/2016 at 16:26

Oooh HC I like the sound of that.  But, given the dearth of sloes in my neck of the woods (and no truck to lob a branch or two into anyway) d'you reckon it would work with damsons?  I can get lots at the local pannier market.

Are these Sloes?

Posted: 21/09/2016 at 16:07

The "frosting before picking" idea has been dismissed in recent years by some authorities.  I always used to bank on it - and then found that, when I went back, all the fruit had been picked by others! 


Current thinking seems to be:  if the fruits are ripe, pick them and use them.  I've just made this year's batch (of damson gin:  I can't find any sloes locally since we moved here last November ).


Rather than go for the tedious business of pricking them with a darning needle, you can freeze them.  The skins may split on defrosting or you can just give them a bit of a bash with a rolling pin (fruits inside a poly bag!) and go from there.


Good luck.

Wildflower ID?

Posted: 17/09/2016 at 21:06

This is very hardy - apparently it grew in nooks and crannies in bomb sites after WW2 and earned the name "fireweed" as a result.


I think it is spectacular along the roadside when in full bloom - a real splash of colour.  But it is prolific, so I wouldn't want it in a garden setting!

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