£1,736.03 raised for the National Gardens Scheme

It wasn’t the warmest day of the year but a hardy 284 tickets were sold to our adult guests at the gate and together we raised £1,736 with all proceeds from the gate and the teas going to the NGS charity.

A big thank you to everyone who joined us and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

A big thank you too, to our team of volunteers who helped on the day and were hard at work in the build up baking our delicious cakes.

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Lots to see

It’s brightening up and we’re ready for our visitors this afternoon.

There is loads of colour and although we should be calling it summer there is a wonderful spring feeling here with the blossom and a chorus of bird song.

Here are some photos taken moments ago to give you a taste.

Looking forward to seeing you!

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Fantastic display from the pocket handkerchief tree

Davidia, May 2010
The Davidia's 'handkerchiefs'

This Spring is proving a great opportunity to see some plants at their very best. The longer, harder, colder winter we experienced this year has seen some plants look happier than they have done in years. The apple blossom for instance and the handkerchief tree or Davidia involuctrata.

This tree had never produced a ‘handkerchief’ until 5 years ago, and while it has got better each year, this year it is putting on a fantastic display.

The Davidia in full spring glory. May 2010. Known as the Handkerchief or Dove tree.
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Parenting tip

I’m don’t know if this works for everyone but I have found however badly you are getting on with your children taking a moment to polish their shoes for them makes everything right in their world.

Am I the only one who has found this?

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iTunes in my car

When am I going to be able to drive my car home at night, park it near my house, and have it connect wirelessly to my iTunes.

Then it could sync the music library in my car with my PC/Mac ready to go in the morning.

And while it is at it my car could connect to the Internet and download updates for the Satnav and maybe even the ECU.

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40,000 photos but something’s missing

When I look at my family photographs from the 1980’s I look a lot younger but the photographs look a lot older. So I feel ok.

But when I look at photographs from 2000 I look a lot younger but the photograph looks like it was taken yesterday. Why? because I was given a digital camera in 2000 and so at that point my photographs stopped ageing. Sadly I haven’t.

The disconcerting thing about looking at the photographs of a much younger me in 2000 is that it looks like it was taken yesterday. Which means I feel like I’m ageing very fast. Or put another way, when I see pictures of me looking much younger I don’t get the comfort of seeing this in a faded photograph clearly taken a long time ago.

So my request to Microsoft and Apple is you need to make a filter that overlays an aged photo look to the browsing of digital photos. The older the photo (you know when a lot of them were taken from the metadata) the more faded. I obviously don’t want the original altered but you could place a temporary viewing effect on the photo – please!

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The annual chip completed.

Chipping down several tonnes of garden waste

There is a great sigh of relief this time of year when we finally complete the chipping up of the compost.

For five years we have been storing and then chipping our garden waste instead of burning it. This seemed kinder to the environment but I have no proof, calculations or evidence this is true.

However there was an economic case, especially if we took the long view because we are able to reuse the green waste and cut down the amount of compost, top soil and fertilizer we buy. We have seen the beds looking more ‘voluptuous’ (if you are allowed to use such a word to describe a pile of mud), easier to work and with fewer weeds.

Significant factors to consider when chipping include:

  • Getting a decent chipper. If you don’t raise a sweat feeding your chipper (and I don’t mean unblocking it) then get a different one. We need two or three fit people to keep the Bandit 65XP fully busy.
  • Sort your waste. Chippers don’t like soil. They can take green material but only if woody material is going through with it. So if you choose to pile your garden cuttings and pruning for a later chipping session then separate out the waste so you can blend it appropriately through the machine making the use of your time quick and efficient.
  • Turn regularly or two year cycle. If you can turn your chippings regularly and keep them damp a finely chipped large pile of several tonnes will compost suitably in a year. If you can’t turn regularly then it will take longer and it is worth trying a two year cycle for which obviously you will need twice the space.

This year we undertook a heavy cutting back of the laurels to encourage some thicker growth. This created a lot of extra waste which we decided to chip straight into a trailer to go back on the ground under the laurels. This relieved us of having to find more space for composting but will also prevent unwanted growth among the laurels while they thicken up again.

It is difficult to quantify exactly how much we chipped this year but we had the machine running for two and half days and put in excess of 45 man hours behind it. It’s a good feeling when its done!

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Delivery of bad news

Andy, our postman, delivered some sad news today. His post round is being changed and he will no longer be delivering our post.

While this might sound trivial, the context of this news is that Andy has been delivering the post to Sennicotts since about 1982. During nearly 30 years of deliveries to Sennicotts, Andy has epitomised all that we think of fondly about the British postal service. He has been consistent, reliable, helpful, cheerful, flexible, trustworthy and friendly (even when Elo reversed into his van!).

I like to think of myself as someone who embraces change but I have found myself feeling all the thoughts of someone who wants to resist this change: for instance the injustice of the fact that his round is being moved so it will start two doors further down the road. Surely we could move the boundary for the round by two houses so we could keep Andy!

The truth is we will just miss him. He’s a very good postman and a very likeable person. The sort that gives you hope in humanity and community.

I’m sure his replacement will also be excellent but we will still miss Andy for the time being.

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