Freedom of a Sort!

The relaxing of lockdown restrictions this week meant we were able to drive over Bulbarrow Hill and down to Hambledon Hill a walk we used to do on a daily basis – we lived at the bottom of this 630ft high Iron Age hill fort. Our beautiful little westie terrier Chloe loved running free on the ramparts in all weathers as did our children sledging precariously down steep slopes without brakes!

Now long-sufferings parents – in the at risk category but super fit – are roaming the ramparts as their one a day exercise.  And it was at the top we were hoping to cross a socially distant path! We parked at the bottom a short distance from our old house in the village of Childe Okeford and made our way up.

28E5C78E-29AC-46CC-955B-F7CC34345E1D22B71FA9-2806-40AD-A297-4120D4A9CF88After climbing up many mountains in New Zealand this hill-fort did not feel as strenuous as it once did, the daily cycling has made a difference to our leg strength too. As always magnificent views were a constant, with clear blue skies we could see for miles.446C636D-4CC2-4643-BE19-330BCEFDFE87F613DA42-108B-483F-9071-D354196EBB51The familiar sight of the cows roaming on the top was a welcome sight for the man behind the lens, who as a young boy spent time working on his uncles farm. Not so his muse who walked in the opposite direction. While out on a walk many years ago our daughter and I were chased by a herd of cows, more recently my young granddaughter while walking a beauty spot got butted Up in the air by a young cow, luckily she survived the experience relatively unscathed!


As my feet trod familiar paths, strong memories evoked of times past, Chloe is long gone now but I could see her still, running free chasing rabbits this way and that while I waited for long-suffering to hopefully come across his parents. It was not too long after they appeared in sight over the brow of the hill easy to spot, a two and a socially distanced one.


A good half hour was spent together but not together before we parted ways and returned to our own abodes.


On Wednesday our local Garden Centre – Castle Gardens in Sherborne – reopened for shoppers, I managed to show some degree of restraint but excitement got the better of me and Saturday saw me 6th in line of a quiet, socially distanced queue fifteen minutes before opening.

The whole experience was far better than I was expecting all the safeguards for shoppers and staff worked like clockwork and at no time did I feel uncomfortable. In fact I felt like a grounded child coming out into a sweet shop for the first time such was my delight surrounded by new plants of every description!

I did have a list for myself and others and would definitely recommend this before you go. As it was one way inside the only way back would be to go out and rejoin an ever lengthening queue. My purchases below, not all for me of course!

The weekend was spent bedding out the patio pots….

And planting out three new roses Rosa ‘Tottering by Gently’ – a soft lemon shrub rose with a name I guess one day I may well adapt to.
Rosa ‘Geranium’ – this one was a curse for long-suffering as the ground is particularly rocky in the meadow and took him the majority of the day on and off to plant with much cursing!


Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ the easiest to plant of the three, in the much more forgiving soil of the bird bath border long-sufferings treat after the laborious task in the meadow!

Looking good in the garden this week, plants in the meadow and prairie border….

Meadow orchid
Thalictrum delavayi
Meconopsis cambrica
Camassia quamash
Camassia cusickii and buttercups
Narrow leaf Plantain
Allium nigrum

Flowering now in the front and back borders….

Iris sibirica
Geranium nodosum ‘Blueberry Ice’
Erigeron karvinskianus
Felicia amelloides
Geranium ‘Phillipe Vapelle’
Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’
Allium hollandicum
Sweet Williams
Rosa ‘Mortimer Sackler’
Rosa ‘Mortimer Sackler’

The wildlife are busy too….


My watercolours have had to take a back seat for my own garden in over the last three weeks. Between working days, there is so much to do outside this time of year. Some days I have managed the odd sketchbook doodle….

And some moments…..I absolutely love Roses and have been trying to capture some blooms from the garden, and some from a book, it is not always successful as I find them so hard to paint, but with so many I am determined to keep trying!

I do hope wherever you are this week you are able to pause and just enjoy a little piece of the landscape large or small – especially now we are allowed to pause!
Keep safe and thanks for reading.

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