wet and dry

we had 3 dry days this week, Monday, Tuesday and Friday, Wednesday and Thursday were very strong winds and rain, when I put my bins out Thursday morning as it is collection day I was literally blown across the path, I managed to stay upright as I battled my way back to the house,

Monday and Tuesday I spent doing some weeding, with the light evenings and so much to do I go back out in the evening as well, there is still lots to do but Friday I decided to have a go at the damp meadow, it is so bad I was trying to ignore it until I had most other garden work done but it has been getting me down and lingering in my mind knowing that I have got to tackle it some time, I started by raking out as much as I could of the dead stuff and cut back dead stems, there is/was a pale yellow lupin under here, thankfully the others have pushed through but I fear this is dead,


there is still a lot to do but at least I’ve made a start, I am amazed at the daffodils considering what the poor things had to push through, the clumps do need lifting and dividing, 12 years ago they were single bulbs, I threw them across the area as they tell you to if you want a naturalistic planting, now as I have claimed more ground and expanded the damp meadow they only cover about half the area, I made a start last year and planted a few in the barren half,


these were planted along the path between the tweenie and damp meadow a few years ago, I moved them back last year when they finished flowering as they were too close to the path and the bare leaves after the flowers finished started to get on my nerves, now all I need is to get rid of that grass and I can put in some plants so the daffodil leaves won’t stand out so much,


I did some work on the tweenie a couple of weeks ago when we had some dry very windy days, it was cold, very cold, it felt like it was January not early April, you can see from the dry stems there is still work to do,


I had hoped to get out today but when I got up this morning I saw the garden like an impressionist painting through the rain covered kitchen window, you can clearly see in this photo how the tweenie garden and damp meadow are sandwiched between 2 areas of native wild heather, and brown is how it looks 11 months of the year,


the autumnal colours in the bottom right of the photo are moss in the heather, it’s about 2 ft deep and very difficult to cut down and pull out, then there is a deep layer that is old heather stems filled with dead leaf and flower bits, somewhere under that I assume is soil, I’ve never managed to reach the soil and have found the only way I can deal with it is that after cutting back the heather and moss I cover with paper/card and then old turfs/soil and start planting with small plants, I’ve tried larger plants but most don’t survive, I’ve sort of given up with it and just stay with clearing the tough grass areas which are hard enough but at least I do find the soil, I knew none of this when I moved here and started to make a garden ………….

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

wet wordless Wednesday ;o)


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.


today was sunny with a chill wind in the morning, by late afternoon the sun was still out and the wind had almost stopped, so I had a good day in the garden and started some clearing up and weeding at long last, first though as so many flowers have open this past few days I took some springtime flower photos,


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

skunk cabbage



the first time I came across Lysichiton americanus was reading one of Emily Carr’s books in 1994, she clearly disliked this large leaved plant that she said smelled horrid, I’ve heard others say this but of the plants I have seen I have not noticed any smell, when I saw my first photo of the beautiful yellow flower I loved it, so when I eventually had a garden I just had to buy this plant, to enjoy it’s beauty and remember some wonderful visits to Canada and of course to remember Emily Carr’s writing and beautiful west coast (Canada) paintings,





I was living on Scalpay when I bought it in 2000, I dug it up and brought it here, the overgrown jungle of a garden meant there was no where to plant it but I found a ditch with bare ground near some of the pines and planted it, well that was it, I never saw it for several years, infact when I looked where I had planted it there was nothing left,

further up the ditch just under some trees a large leaf plant grew each summer, something wild I guessed but could not identify, then in 2008 I took part with some online friends to post a photo every day, one day when wondering around the garden looking for something interesting to photograph I saw something yellow under a tree,


I was now very puzzled, this was clearly Lysichiton americanus, but was it my skunk cabbage, how could it have moved along the ditch, I reasoned I must have planted it much closer to the trees than I realised, it had to be my skunk cabbage, I was so thrilled,





then I stupidly thought, it’s not really in the best place, so that winter tried to dig it up and move it, big mistake! the root went down so far it ended up breaking, what I’d got I moved to a damper place, by spring it had rotted, that summer nothing, then in 2010 I saw a leaf in the original place, just a leaf, there was hope, 4 years later my first flower, this time I am not going to try to move it, this plant is clearly happy where it is and so that’s where it is staying,
I am forever amazed by the strength and determination of plants, I’ve just decided I’m calling her Emily, I’ve never named a plant before but Emily introduced me to this one so it seems natural,

Emily today   Thursday

Emily today

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.


alnus incana, grey alder, April

in 2 words, no change, I was not expecting a change as I have noticed that the alders both common and grey are the last trees to come to leaf in my garden, so a photo of branches, I find the bark a rich warm brown but I’m not good at amazing close up photos, 


the rest of the border,
I had not done anything since last months post, however as the sun shone this morning I decided to do some work on the border, it was time to start to move the A. Mollis which was starting to grow, they proved much harder to dig out than expected, the roots were entangled with tree roots and I’ve not got them all out yet, I decided to move one of the Ash trees I had planted two and a half years ago, the tree in the centre that is leaning,

the daffodils are the ones that I rescued from under the horrid grass last month, I had planted the 2 Ash trees a bit close, there was a willow which is not growing so I cut it down to a stump last month and now I wanted to move the leaning ash to behind the old willow, it was starting to leaf out so I was a bit concerned and as the ash trees have grown so much I wondered if I’d be able to dig it up, it came up fairly easily and with a good root ball,

francescaple.fandb6replanted, nice and straight,

francescaple.fandb7I have a pulmonaria that has never done great things but has survived so I thought I would transplant it here and see if it does any better, I put it between the daffodils,

francescaple.fandb8the newly rearranged west end of the border, as you can see the trees have more room, you can see the stump of the willow, lots of bare soil for wee woodland edge plants, I did put a pine mulch around the tree and pulmonaria later, I intend to mulch the rest of the border as well,

francescaple.fandb9save the best for last, this cowslip self sowed a few years ago, it is quite happy so I have left it be, it’s between the grey alder and a hornbeam,

francescaple.fandb10thank you to Lucy for hosting this meme, if you would like to see any more tree following posts please click through to Lucy’s webpage with links to other tree followers,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

a morning walk to the cove

this morning I awoke to a windless day, it wasn’t raining either though there was that damp wetness in the air, when you can’t get out much there is the urgency to spend every moment you can get out working in the garden, sometimes it’s a good idea to ignore the work and just enjoy getting out, so this morning I decided to go for a walk down to the little cove near me, I think this is the first time this year, usually I go a couple of times in February to collect seaweed but no chance this year, 10 photos taken on the walk, the birds by the shore are oyster catchers,


as I walked back I noticed the temperature had increased and so I though with no wind and damp in the air it’s a perfect day to do some plant moving, so after a smackeral or two ………….. it decided to pour with rain, only for about an hour then it was just damp so I did get some work done in the garden,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

end of month view ~ March

well I got less time in the garden in March than February but that is usual, just that I used to have more garden work already completed, everyone else is getting excited about new shoots coming through or in areas still covered in snow looking forward to the snow melting and seeing the shoots, seeing new shoots coming up through last years growth and not being able to get out and clear that growth is for me depressing, I want to push the shoots back into the soil as I’m not ready, though I don’t know if I ever will be ready,

the jungle bed I did get a little raking off the dead material on the area that needs digging and was shocked to find very deep sphagnum moss, shocked because when I moved here the garden had not been touched in over a decade and yet the moss and grass was not as bad as this!
one of the plants I’ve been enjoying all month is Erica golden starlet (the little white flowered erica), erica erigena brightness (large pink flowered) is now starting to flower too, the mauve pompoms of P. denticula have been putting on a bright show along the privet hedge at the top of the garden, the colour is much stronger than the photo shows and the first narcissi flowered Saturday,

francescaple.eomvjungle1francescaple.eomvjungle2francescaple.eomvjungle4francescaple.eomvjungle3the middle bed hasn’t been touched, I am surprised by all these tulips, I had T. Queen of the night here and the first few years she flowered well but then didn’t so I removed all the bulbs I found and noticed as I did that there were lots of tiny bulblets, I have 2 large pot fulls and now more,

francescaple.eomvmiddle1francescaple.eomvmiddle2the wilderness, the now large clumps of daffodils are all along the privet hedge,

francescaple.eomvwilderness1francescaple.eomvwilderness2as I said I hoped to dig up and rescue the plants I know are here and one of them is Geranium phaeum, so when I noticed the first leaves through the grass I decided I am going to dig it out this year!! I’d been wanting to the last 2-3 years,

francescaple.eomvwilderness3francescaple.eomvwilderness4I know where I want to put it in the alder garden but ~ yes the area is not ready, so I got ready composts and pots, the reason for 2 composts is the 2012 home grown compost blue trowel bucket, is full of flower seed, now I like lady’s mantel, foxgloves and red campion, I just don’t want them every where, so I am now very careful of how I use it, I put it in the bottom of the pot and then topped up with sterilised purchased compost, mauve trowel, I had a bit of pine needle mulch so topped the pots off with it,

francescaple.eomvwilderness5the wind was so cold I dug a clump up, put it in a bucket and sorted it out in the side porch out of the wind, lots of small pieces of geranium with new shoots,

francescaple.eomvwilderness6I planted 3 to most pots but more with the very tiny pieces, they have been labeled and put with my growing collection of outside pots of plants, despite the very cold and strong wind outside I felt I had achieved something, not much but something,

francescaple.eomvwilderness7the little beds, this is the other plant I have been enjoying, N. tete-a-tete, I moved them to the little bed a couple of years ago to be able to enjoy them every time I leave and return to the house, and I am enjoying them,

francescaple.eomvlittlebed1francescaple.eomvlittlebed2the other side of the path to the larger little bed, the crocus have gone, the scilla have just started flowering and the bergenia has been flowering for a couple of weeks but I couldn’t understand why the first flowers suddenly flopped, then one morning I was up very early and went out early and realised there must have been a light frost,


I had been hoping to move plants during March but no luck, maybe in April,

thank you to Helen for hosting End of Month View, if you would like to see the view in other gardens then please follow the link to Helen’s blog,

Tuesday day morning update, I was tired last night and forgot to add the links to Helen’s blog, apologies for and confusion or inconvenience, 


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.