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Excerpts From A (recently discovered) Garden Diary (1)


By david


Yesterday, I found, in a box of stuff, my one and only attempt at keeping a garden diary, which began on October 24 1998, and ended October 7 2001. Not ancient history, by any means, but I have enjoyed reading through it. Those were the pre-children days, when I did not have a digital camera,and watched, avidly, TV garden make-over programmes. Thought I’d share some parts of it, especially as it shows (eventually) an old garden “make-over” I did.

Peacock Butterfly on Buddleia, August 1998

October 10 ’98 12 Noon Saturday.

“A warm, bright, sunny day…….Planted up a small, blue Malay pot with:- 1 miniature conifer “Snowhite”, 1 dark blue winter pansy, 1 pink cyclamen, 1 variegated hedera."

Blue Pot

Blue Pot Close-up

October 24 ’98 15.30hrs Saturday

“Sunny showers, fairly mild. Autumn gold and orange colours very vivid today. Clouds of insects dance above the grass, watched by a Great Tit from atop the rose arch, and a Blue Tit on the canopy of the swing seat. British Summer Time ends at 2.00am tomorrow”

(Did I really write like that? Lol! For some reason, this entry was “illustrated” with a photo, from August ’98, of the border at the bottom of the sloping garden, which was always in dark shade and very damp. I think, however, that I got the planting correct?).

Astilbe, Helleborus and Alchemilla mollis, with a gravel path as drainage at the bottom of the sloping “lawn”

In mid-November 1998, we were promised the sight of a fantastic meteor shower which is visible only every 33 years, when Earth crosses the path of the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

Daily Record newspaper article, 17 November 1998

November 17 ’98 22.00hrs Tuesday.

“Ken and Cathy came round. We were going to have a “Meteor Party” in the garden but, typically, it was a very mild night with total cloud cover and nothing was visible, so the idea was abandoned."

(Well, if I remember correctly, only the “garden” part was! They lived in our street. Cathy worked at the local vet surgery, and set up a dog-grooming parlour in their utility room, which was attended by our West Highland Terrier, Hughie – relevant for later in the diary. She also became qualified as a Homeopath, and used to practice on us with her box of plant-based pills at every opportunity, Lol!)

November 21 ’98 9.00hrs Saturday.

“A video I ordered – “Life in the Garden;The Last Resort” has arrived.

(I still watch this one from time to time, and it must have inspired me, for…)

November 24 ’98 22.00hrs Tuesday.

“This evening I made a nest box for Tits from a pine shelf.”

My Home-made Nest Box, after it was put in place Feb 1999

(I may also have been inspired to “do my bit for wildlife” by a local newspaper article of 17/11/98, which I included in the diary below the above entry ……)

Blue Tit young down 85%,Chaffinch down 83%, Greenfinch 87%, Redpoll 93%, Bullfinch 54%, Goldfinch 33%

December 5 ’98 10.00hrs Saturday.

“Awoke to find 3” of snow. The birds looked dejected, with their feathers puffed up to keep out the cold. (The snow lay until Tuesday)."

The Garden, December 5, 1998

December 26 ’98 23.00hrs Saturday.

“Boxing Day. Severe gales this evening. Have just lost part of our boundary fence, and the conifer hedge is almost flattened. Shrubs and plants blown out of their containers.”

(Perhaps I thought at the time that we needed something to bring us luck for the New Year, following the gales, for the next page in the diary is this……)

Erica carnea (of the “Lucky White” variety?)

(To be continued…….)

More blog posts by david

Previous post: "Big Tree Country" - Part 10

Next post: Excerpts From A (recently discovered) Garden Diary (2)



How fascinating.....look forward to more "entries" David :))

14 Nov, 2009


it is great to have a record like a diary~ to look back on ~especially with photos~love the cyclamen and pansies in the blue pot~ which is a really nice one!

14 Nov, 2009


Am scanning more of it now, Alice. :-)

Can't remember what happened to those lovely pots, Arlene (this was one of a set of three) :-(

14 Nov, 2009


About time you put in an appearance, sir!!
Great blog! :~)))

14 Nov, 2009


Great blog David....very interesting. Waiting for more.

14 Nov, 2009


How interesting - for you and us, as well! Keep'em coming. :-))

14 Nov, 2009


Beautiful Astilbe David ,great blog :)))

14 Nov, 2009


Fascinating David....
as you say, the writing style maybe more reminiscent of 1898 - 1901..
good one :o)

14 Nov, 2009


fantastic blog. diaries are always interesting as so much minutia is recorded.
are you going to start keeping a diary again.

14 Nov, 2009


He CAN'T be that old, Tt! I've met him.....or maybe he's just well-preserved? LOL.

14 Nov, 2009


Or totally pickled! ???????????

14 Nov, 2009


Love the planting at the bottom of the lawn, it looks as if we`ve got a repeat of the severe gales you mention in December `98 hope they hurry up and die away. Have enjoyed your diary entries.

14 Nov, 2009


Great blog, interesting things diaries. I wonder if many years hence gardeners will look at this site and think how thing have changed or not?

14 Nov, 2009


Great blog, David, and it's nice to meet another diary keeper! I have kept a daily diary since 1988 but not a gardening one unfortunately. Found this very interesting - who knows one day it may be published along the lines of 'Diary of an Edwardian Lady' :)

14 Nov, 2009


Have been here all the time, Marie, lol! Doing a lot of "editing" for GOYpedia, whilst "nursing" James through his recent diagnosed bout of swine flu (mild, must add, compared to 2 poor kids in school who are still quite ill).

I'm neither well-preserved, nor pickled, Tt, Spritz, Mp!!! - Wish I were, though!!!

Stroller - have just been reading blogs about the gales down south. Am sorry to read about, and see, the damage being caused. Not a breath of wind here, not even the heating on. How can such a small country have such diverse weather? Hope it all blows over very soon for you all !

Seaburn and Gee - This was my only attempt to keep a diary - but glad that I did! Has been really good fun reading it again. Don't do diaries, really. this was when gardening for wildlife was "to the fore", and it did make me think!

Drc - It made me already wonder, too! When I read that I made, and bought, videos, telephoned seed orders, saw the lovely, clear 35mm photos as good as new, etc.- made me wonder, too! Where will we be 10 years from now????

PART 2 is uploaded now! Going out for dinner - back soon! :-)

14 Nov, 2009


Its not the same though! We used to chat every day, & now you're just neglecting me! LOl!
Enjoy the meal! Glad James is better!

14 Nov, 2009


This is lovely.
Time passes so quickly and it is great to discover things from our own, or our families' pasts. I relate to the 'Did I really write like that?' I came across some essays I had written at college after umpteen years had passed and couldn't believe that those words had come from my pen / brain.
Great blog David.

14 Nov, 2009


Those are horrible statistics of warbler decline! I wonder 11 years later how they fare? Is it quieter now in your gardens? Is this the same garden where you've made a chocolate homage?

14 Nov, 2009


Sorry, Marie, LOL!!!! Meal was so-so! :-(

Glad you can relate to it, Claire. Student stuff is a hoot to read back on, isn't it? :-D

I wonder, too, Orgratis. No, our gardens are not quiet and empty. In that particular year, the County survey cited the very wet and cold Spring - don't know how the poor wildlife has managed with the cold and wet summers here since then!!!! I still have bird feeders. etc., out, and see a wide variety of finches, etc.

This is not the same garden. We moved out of town to a village in January 2001, I did the Wiz of Oz garden with the children there, moved back into town September last year with plans for the "chocolate" garden. In January this year, my wife and I separated, and the "chocolate" garden has been created by the children and me in my present garden.Happy to keep you updated! :-)) X

14 Nov, 2009


Well I SUPPOSE I'll forgive you this time! Lol!

14 Nov, 2009


Awwww, Thanks!, Marie!!!!!! LOL! The arch is proving to be difficult, though, as Dad chucked some of it - aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggh! Poor Soul, he forgot!! His memory is very bad, since his 2 strokes, MI, back surgery, pending hernia op, and Court case next week!!!! I forgive him, too!! Am up to my "Prince Charles' ears" right now!!! But still ROFLing at the wonderful wisecracks here on GoY!!!!

You lot ROCK!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!! :-)) X

14 Nov, 2009


No worries! I'll get some wood from the river & make one!! Lol!

14 Nov, 2009


Oh, don't go that far. I have the arch top and part of uprights. Gimmee time to look at what I've salvaged!!! But, if you want to, salvage any wood you can from the river, for other uses - LOL!! X

Going to bed now - Sweet dreams, All!! :-))

15 Nov, 2009


Sweet dreams!!

15 Nov, 2009


Don't you just love revisiting those old entries? I have long been a journaler - started by keeping a small notebook on hand when birdwatching, which soon had other nature entries in it as well as sketches of plants and insects to identify later, then grew to include thoughts as well, and now I love to dig out journals from years ago and compare the seasonal happenings, weather, how I felt then etc. With my shoddy memory, the are sometimes extremely helpful - when did I plant that shrub? Well I can look it up! - Like yours, my journals hold newspaper clippings, old greeting cards, pictures from my children, bird feathers, photos, etc. The more disorganised the better, lol!

15 Nov, 2009


That was great David :o)

15 Nov, 2009


very interesting David.........

15 Nov, 2009


I like "disorganised" Grammazoo, lol! Never get fed up going through it all then! :-D

Thanks, Hywel and Holly! :-))

15 Nov, 2009


Lovely, interesting blog once again, David! I've tried on the odd occasion to keep a diary but soon tire of making entries. Having said that I keep a sort of weather diary on the BeyondSpace forum where I'm one of the Admins. I've written a page of the weather where I live for the last 3 years & it makes interesting reading to look back on.:-)

Looking forward to reading more entries rescued from your diary.

17 Nov, 2009


Absolutely wonderful sir!

A fantastic thing to be able to look back on and....pass on to the children one day as keepsakes.

Great blog David:0)

20 Nov, 2009


Thanks, Dan! I've scanned it all onto disc now, so the original will go back into the box for another 10 years or so. :-))

20 Nov, 2009

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