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Members' Blogs - Week 10 of Lockdown


I think the Moroccan Broom (Cytisus battandieri) is my favourite tree.

It’s suitable for small gardens, hangs on to its leaves in winter and has these gorgeous yellow blooms which attract the bees. When squeezed the blooms smell of pineapples hence the alternative name of pineapple tree (but a bit misleading!). Many gardeners will keep the plant as a shrub with appropriate pruning.

The climbing hydrangea (the well- known H. petiolaris) does well on a north facing wall as seen here. This one is housing a blackbird’s nest at the moment.

This rambling rose is “Seagull”. It’s a pity the typical rambler only has one flush of blooms in the year. Nice while they last. (The vigorous new shoots have since been cut back!).

The Philadelphus (mock orange) always lightens the back fence. Can’t say I’ve noticed a fragrance from this one.


Because I broke my leg I could not do any pruning nevertheless these roses are giving me a great deal of pleasure.


Cormorants and swans at the riverside Chester le Street. Only 2 with orange feathered necks!!

Peter and Margaret

Seen on a walk round Durham Wildlife Trust's Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve.

a.     Roses round the car park.

b.    A group of Grass Cutters.

c.    A distant farm and more distant Cathedral.

d.    A different type of Grass Cutter.

e.    A path on the way to Joe's Pond.


I have again taken a few photographs of our garden, for week 10. No sun this time but a little colour.

The beautifully scented Gallica rose, Rosa Tuscany Superb, is just coming into flower. Ann kindly gave us this specimen years ago. It has thrived in the long south facing boarder.

The rose garden itself suffered serious damage during the gales. Many of the plants were blown over onto the fence around the ménage, which itself is damaged beyond repair. Now that part of the rose garden is nearly bare.

However go into the ménage and it’s a blaze of colour with honeysuckles Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’ and catmint in full flower.

A lot of work, I think, for later in the year.

The geraniums are doing well this year. Here geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ is growing through the Hybrid Tea rose Blue Moon.

Another pretty little pink geranium, endressii I think, is scrambling though the far garden mixed boarder.


This week I thought I would definitely stick to the garden with 4 photos.

The first is the one showing rather large hole/tunnel dug out in one of the beds. I suspect dug by either a fox or a badger. I think they might have been after a bumble bee nest. The bees are still going in and out so didn't get them all.

The purple is my Allium Forest. There seem to be more each year. Best to hide their rather dreary foliage by some herbaceous planting.

Then you have my attempt at a wild flower meadow which at this time of the year becomes a mass of hogweed. I keep meaning to spot herbicide but they do look quite majestic so I leave them and then regret it when they seed everywhere. But I am sure a lot of the seeds get eaten.

And finally are the white foxgloves grown from a packet of free seed. They lighten up a dark area really well even though seem a bit creamy in colour. Bit of a shame that if one tries to grow again from the seeds on the plant will be very unlikely if come up white. But more enjoyable for being so fleeting and short lived.


It is a nightmare isn't it. The government regularly updates their "what can I do" guidance, and their stay alert message.

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and canít do

Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

Good luck wading through it! At least it is keeping a lot of civil servants very busy. There are reams of notices or updates to existing notices most days.


Photos of woods near Shincliffe,Hall. Lovely!


We planted this Clematis montana “grandiflora” three years ago. There were a few flowers last year but this summer it has really come into its own threading its way up through the cherry tree.

Foxgloves, Digitalis purpurea, have self-seeded all over the garden. Over the years I have tried to introduce some hybrids, but the natives always seem to out compete them. Earlier this year I transplanted some juveniles to this sunny spot where they now stand resplendent in front of the newly painted fence!

The lupins are looking good and like the rest of the garden benefitting from the recent rain. Behind the alliums and geums are also brightening up the bed. In the distance the delphiniums are preparing to flower.

The Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis, has produced its fertile fronds. Unlike most ferns, where the spore bearing sori are underneath the fronds, the spore bearing fronds are very different from the sterile fronds.


This nest emerged from a bush that was being trimmed in my garden recently.  It is an intricate structure, like a little tunnel, with an obvious entrance at one end and a well disguised escape route at the other. Until a couple of weeks ago it was occupied by a family of long tailed tits. I only ever saw the adult birds but the chicks made a lot of noise shortly before they fledged.