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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Garden photos from 1st November and new hens

When we arrived home after our trip to England, I was shocked to see that nearly all the leaves from my colourful shrubs and trees had dropped in just one week! Now it was very windy at times in England and leaves were dropping like crazy, but I'm not aware of it having been particularly windy here (I looked at the weather forecast for home several times). So when I discovered a number of photos on my camera that I'd taken just before leaving I was rather pleased!

Two different Smokebushes looking spectacular.

Looking towards the veg patch.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
with a few leaves left.

Lime tree on the right and ornamental cherries by the pond.

The same trees' leaves closer up.

The pond level is down about 3.5 feet.

The ducks keeping their distance.

There were still a few butterflies about when the sun came out.
Comma (Polygonia c-album).

Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album).

Amazingly this is completely new growth on a Hollyhock
which is still flowering now, and a Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)
which I hadn't noticed at the time.

Borage self seeded and running riot all over the garden!

Whilst the trees are looking very different now, the flowers still look exactly the same and it always seems strange to see some already completely bare trees along with lots of brightly coloured flowers when we have mild autumns. I have loads of yellow and orange calendula and nasturtiums, pink and white cosmos, blue borage, mauve verbena bonariensis and bluey-mauve phacelia which is just starting to flower again from yet another wave of self seeded plants. It's mostly annuals that are still flowering and they will be hit by frost which is coming with colder weather this weekend. It'll make the enormous clear up of the veg patch easier as that's going to take some work with all that has self seeded in there - but it's been pretty and I've enjoyed this impromptu display of colour which has lasted at least six months and which has very much looked after itself. And given that there'll be snowdrops flowering in January or early February, having only a brief period without flowers helps to make winter seem much shorter!

Now for those new hen photos. The reason I bought more hens is because one of the only two girls still laying died some time back, so off we set for Dol market one Saturday morning for more. As the remaining layer (now called Gaby-Carly as I couldn't tell the difference between the two so didn't know which one had died), was getting to the end of her laying days, I thought I'd get three hens this time, as my neighbour usually buys a dozen a week so three laying should be about right. I had wanted another Light Sussex like Snowy, but the last two times I've been to the market, they didn't have any. So I chose three of varying colours so I could tell the difference between them! There's still a predominance of orange though. This time regarding naming them I only named one after a Facebook friend (my friend Dave) so went back to my old method of naming them according to their colours - not very imaginative but about the best my brain can manage these days!

Blondie, very young with hardly any comb developed yet.

Blondie again - I've never seen a hen this colour before.

Bottoms up.

The three newbies on the right - furthest is Blondie,
middle is Davey and closest is Goldie.

Poor Andrea the oldest hen looking awful during a full moult!
I'm glad to say she looks a lot better now.

Randy with the two oldies.

Randy with the three newbies.

The magnificent beast.

Blondie again trying to escape! Her comb is growing fast
and she is laying baby eggs now.

P.S. There are some odd things happening with the html which I can't amend as they keep coming back; also the white boxes around the photos aren't as they should be.....


  1. Love your new hens and Randy is stunning. Some of our's are looking a bit ropey too, some have moulted early.

    Love the colours in the garden, we have ad a slight breeze for a few days so loads of leaves have fallen. But this autumn has been worryingly warm (we are still in t-shirts!) causing winter stuff like onions and garlic to grow too much. I'm sure we''ll pay later.

    1. Thanks Debrazzawoman - Randy is an amazing size but the perfect gentleman to both hens and humans! I would make the most of your warm weather and say to hell with the veg - you never know when a big freeze is going to arrive, so enjoy! :-)

  2. still learning my new borage - today I saw the flowers open clear pink, then fade to a luminous blue. If it didn't bite when you get near it, it would be perfect!

    1. I thought you only grew natives, Diana? Be warned, once you have one Borage you will never be without it. I've even got some coming up in the lawn near the veg patch. But it can easily be weeded out - so long as you wear gloves!

    2. mostly indigenous.
      But there's a lemon tree, some inherited shrubs and a carob tree, herbs ...

    3. See, I don't even know where lemons are native to!! (shall have to look). But you have a good choice of plants with your natives, and of course they suit your climate. I read that Borage comes from the Mediterranean, so it would suit your climate too.

  3. Gorgeous autumn colours :) Still have Cosmos and nasturtiums flowering here too although that may change this weekend! I think I must be the only person that finds it impossible to grow borage. Buy plants every year and they die off never to re-appear :(

    We had a Comma in our garden last week too. Love the new hens - we've talked about keeping them here but have a huge problem as to who would look after them if we went on holiday so project is on hold at the moment.

    1. Thanks Caroline - it's a lot different here now and with the wind today there'll be even more leaves gone, sadly. I need to get my geraniums in this afternoon cos of the frost forecast. There are still some Red Admirals here and Speckled Woods when the sun shines, though a bit more sun would be nice!

      Hens are a problem, not so much for holidays for us as we get housesitters in, but you can't just go off for an overnight away. Cats are easier as we could put down enough food and water for them, but you need to shut your chickens in safely at night. I could ask neighbours but I don't like to. I'd rather save up the 'favours' for emergencies.

  4. Love the new hens and Randy looks more than happy with his new girls too. Beautiful autumn colors and I love your pond it looks such a tranquil place to sit.

    1. Oh Randy is a very happy boy with 5 girls now! Thanks Deb, and yes that bench by the pond has been well used! :-)

  5. I have to say that your smoke bushes look much better than my single,sorry excuse for one that I have in a pot in the garden. Great colour too. Nice to see some late butterflies, even if they are from a short while ago. The new hens look great and Randy is a fine specimen. Your garden is to die for size-wise...well in most ways actually. If I had something similar, I would never be in the house ;-)
    Good luck with the winter clear-up and let's hope for a re-rejuvenated garden AND Mandy for next year...

    Sorry I was so slow to comment again Mandy. I have been engrossed in a couple of other projects that have stolen most of my free time...

    1. Hi JJ. I have 3 smokebushes and they have taken a long time to grow; Royal Purple sat there looking small for years and has really only taken off the last three years and now needs some serious hacking back! :-)

      The garden unfortunately is too much now - having some thoughts about moving as I don't want to spend the rest of my life HAVING to work in it all the time cos it needs so much looking after (and that's when I have the energy and am well enough). It has been wonderful though and I hope I'll be able to do a lot more in it next year. Thanks JJ and don't apologise, I think everyone is either busy or not really in the blogging mood as I notice many blogger friends are a lot quieter of late. :-)