A photo a week – week 35


Back to wintry scenes – it’s still snowing, but we’re hoping it’ll stop soon!

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The Liebster Award

This blog has had a nomination for the Liebster Award from the very interesting Mrs N’s Ordinary Life – as with a lot of these awards there is a follow-up, of course! The idea is to answer eleven questions set by your nominator and then to nominate eleven blogs which have fewer than 200 followers with the aim of increasing traffic to them; flattered though I am to be nominated, here I hit my first stumbling block as it seems quite hard to find out just how many followers someone has and I don’t like to bother people.

On the whole, while these awards give you a nice warm glow I suspect that they have limited reach and are really aimed at new blogs, to get them going. The Liebster is not an official, endorsed-by-WordPress thing, so with that in mind I’m not going to follow the instructions to the letter. I’ve acknowledged my nominator (thank you, Mrs N!) and will answer her questions in a moment, but I’m not going to ask eleven questions of my nominees, or expect them to continue the process if they don’t want to.

Without further ado, the eleven blogs I’d like to recommend to you are:

Tony Tomeo

Winterbourne House and Garden

Smugface Lazybones

Welcome to Fabulous Sparkyville

A Mischief Managed – and Other Adventures

The Cynical Gardener

The Patient Gardener

The Scottish Country Garden

Yet Another Crafter

A Novel Approach

Rambling Ratz

A reasonably wide selection so there’s proably something for everyone there. And for good measure, my other blog – the rat blog – as a cheeky no.12 in case anyone wonders why my name when I comment on the garden blog is Owned by Rats!


So Mrs N asked me:

1) Why did you start blogging?

Originally, on MySpace in about 2007, for something to do and I wrote about all sorts of things. It didn’t last very long but in August 2010 I decided to start a blog about my pet rats, and the gardening blog followed in April 2011. Both were meant to be single-topic and as much as anything a record for me as things in both gardening and rat-keeping can change quickly. Having other people read and enjoy my musings is a bonus.

2) How did you decide on your blog name?

Owned by Rats was easy – they’re in charge. The Random Gardener because that’s how I garden – I’m very much a “plant it and see what happens” gardener.

3) What is your favourite post that you have written (link please) ?

Ooh, tricky. I’m not sure I have one. On the rat blog I have enjoyed the occasional Past Rats posts though I’m terrible at keeping up with them. And at the moment on the garden blog I’m enjoying my Photo a Week challenge.

4) If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

Myself, but with talent!

5) If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Hard to say, because as I get older I find the prospect of travelling (especially abroad) less and less appealing. I used to want to visit China and South America. I would still quite like to go to New York and San Francisco.

6) What is the most difficult situation you have found yourself in?

There have been a few, mainly work-related, none of which I feel it would be appropriate to share.

7) Would you say that you are an introvert or an extrovert?

Definitely an introvert.

8) Where do you prefer to live-city, country or someplace in-between?

In between. I don’t like big cities much and am happy in a moderate-sized town. It’s good to be near facilities, shops and entertainment but I don’t like busy places, noise and lots of people.

9) If you went to Japan what is the one thing that you would want most to do?

Good question. A friend of mine visited Japan a couple of years ago and blogged as she went, and I read the blog eagerly as it was all fascinating. I liked the look of the Fukuoka City Museum, and Kyoto looked gorgeous.

10) What is your favorite book?

If you know me, you’ll know that naming a favourite anything is impossible. Can’t be done. My favourite author of fiction is Terry Pratchett, but I mainly read non-fiction and would really struggle to nae a favourite book.

11) What is your biggest challenge?

Keeping going.


So there we are. I hope you enjoy my selections, and if I’ve linked to yours and you feel inclined to make a few recommendations yourself then so much the better.

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It’s growing! I did say I’d update you, but for a while it looked like nothing was happening. Then last weekend it started to do things, and now it looks like this:

amaryllis 20 jan 2018

So I’m optimistic that we’re going to get impressive flowers.

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A photo a week – week 34


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Things are happening

Yes, it’s January and there’s not much going on, and everywhere’s cold and damp, but not everything in the garden is dormant. We’ve had a bit of a tidy up today, finally getting rid of the annuals that had gone over and putting the daffodils in the ground, plus doing a bit of weeding, and chopping back things that won’t suffer for it at this time of year. Some things will need to wait for warmer weather before they get a haircut, but the sedum and verbena with their seed heads on long dead stems will cope with a trim.

So the last of the rudbeckia and clary have gone, and the daffs in pots that are starting to emerge have gone into the gaps in the flower beds. Looking around, we have a lot of bulbs starting to emerge which is encouraging, and lots of buds appearing on shrubs and trees. As usual I failed to get good photos of some things but here’s a few I did get.


Mahonia berries




Acer buds


Witch hazel buds


Winter honeysuckle




Hypericum berries


Fungus on tree stump (it’s not honey fungus so I’m not worrying about it!)

The pittosporum is probably my favourite thing in the garden right now – it’s grown steadily since we got it and I’m so pleased with it. A few more weeks and we should have flowers on the witch hazel and forsythias, and there’ll be snowdrops and crocuses flowering too.

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A photo a week – week 33


The first one of 2018!

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New shoots

A few minutes’ wandering around the garden to see what’s going on has done wonders for my mood – not that I was in a bad one, but it’s lovely on a rather damp, grey morning to realise how much life there is going on.

Various bulbs are sending up shoots – we have snowdrops beginning to emerge:1st jan 2018 (2)

There’s some in the ground too, but I can’t remember where. Hoping they’ve survived and will show themselves soon.

Crocus – Firefly:

1st jan 2018 (7)

And a mixed pot:

1st jan 2018 (8)

Daffodils have been popping up in their pots too – at some point I’ll get the rest of 2017’s annuals out and put the daffs in the ground. Some tulips are also starting to put in an appearance already.

The prunus has a good number of buds:

1st jan 2018 (6)

As do the acer, witch hazel and forsythia, though they were even harder to photograph than the prunus!

Flowering, or starting to – primroses:

1st jan 2018 (3)

Also hellebores and the quince, though you’ll have to trust me on those as I couldn’t get a decent picture. There’s even a flower on a slightly confused hebe:

1st jan 2018 (5)

And the herbaceous perennials are for the most part doing well in their trug:

1st jan 2018 (9)

Though we may have lost the echinacea – it’s hard to be sure at the moment.

Meanwhile, indoors, we have an amaryllis “Dancing Queen” which Mum gave to us for Christmas:

1st jan 2018 (1)

We used to have amaryllis every year but haven’t had one for some time. I’ll keep you posted as it grows!


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