Thorns And Scratches


Jackie is making good headway on her Spring planting


Two sarcococcas, small shrubs which already dispense amazing scents, have been tried out with temporary plonking in their pots;

Other seeds, bulbs, and corms to come, are marked with packet labels;


Our first daffodil needed a helping hand to hold up its head.


Camellias are now proliferating,


and the cryptomeria is sporting fresh needles.


Most beds are blanketed with snowdrops;


more varieties of hellebore are blooming.

Many cyclamens have survived the winter, the white one here offering a fly a perch.

On this fine morning we took a trip into the forest.

At North Gorley a murder of crows were taking a very cold bath in the temporary pools. In order to park safely for a photograph we had to drive on and tun round, by which time most had flown away, a few engaged in aeronautics, and one remained  alone in contemplation.

One of the countryside crafts much in evidence in this area is that of hedge laying. A fine example lines a section of Hungerford Hill at Hyde. Water from the fields is fed into the ditch from pipes sunk into the banks.

This seven minute video demonstrates the skill required to maintain such a living boundary:


Donkeys largely eschew the grass they leave for the ponies that they perhaps regard as wimps whilst, occasionally pausing for a good scratch, they tear away at brambles and anything else prickly enough to test their mettle. These creatures were seen, as usual, at Hyde and Frogham. Could it be that the calloused craters between the nostrils of the young white one trimming the hedge at Frogham, have been caused by its chosen nutriment?

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. Service was very friendly and efficient; the food was as superb as ever. We shared special fried rice, egg paratha, and onion bahjis. My main choice was Davedush; Jackie’s was Noorjehani. We both drank Kingfisher.

A selection of three photographs have been made from those I submitted. The size chosen is A3+. Raj, manager, wasn’t there, and the others want to check once more with him before I go ahead and produce them.






  1. It’s amazing how that first sight of a daffodil lifts the spirits and is the harbinger of hope for what is to come……. even here it reminds me that this heat will pass soon enough 🙂

  2. I agree with Pauline. I love daffodils, but we won’t see them here for a while. It snowed here today.
    I love all the plants and animals, but the solitary crow photo was very cool.
    Your dinners always sound delicious! 🙂

  3. In the early days of farming in Australia there were many hedges but then they got pulled out. But a lot of Hawthorn hedges remain, not as stock proof but as medium sized trees in rows, They are certainly good places for little birds.

  4. Ah–, planing on spring plants and the video for hedge laying! It sounds spring. I can’t wait. Wyoming winter is too long to think about spring now. We have snow storm in April, sometimes even in June.

  5. Again I loved your donkey photos, always so very cute, and the snowdrops are special for me, my garden beds back in our Autumn Street days, were also blanketed with snowdrops…….

  6. Cyclamens are one of my favorite flowers, and I am so envious that Jackie can grow them in the garden.

  7. What a fascinating video! I never knew there was such a thing as a “hedge-layer”. I might have to revive Harry Bittercress and make him into a hedge-layer. He might even be an itinerant hedge-layer riding a donkey from site to site. Delightful post, Derrick. The donkeys faces are so full of character.

  8. Nice post Derrick. Your gardens are c comming along nicely and seem to be surviving the winter and are beginning to show early signs of spring.. Gsry

  9. A very interesting bit on the hedge laying, Derrick. I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen a hedge like that here. By the way: you already have spring flowers? Wow. That makes your area a full three months ahead of us in S. Ontario. (Vancouver gets their spring earlier, but still not as early as you there, I think.)

  10. You have so many flowers in your garden already! I enjoyed the hedge-laying video very much. On our walk round Minsmere on Friday we noticed there had been recent hedge-laying there.

  11. That is an exotic plant for me, sarcococass. With most of the winter behind it, the garden seems waiting to burst with life. I quite enjoyed the art of hedging. The little foal is spoilt for choices, nibbling, scratching to its heart’s content.

  12. Very interesting video about the maintenance of hedge, it seems an intensive labor, but rewarding.
    Derrick, your garden it looks very nice, 🙂

  13. Always so good to see spring gardening in progress! I would love to have a camellia again. We had a pink one until this house was built. The excavators were supposed to dig up the old one and put it aside. They knocked it over and disposed of it instead.

    I like the living hedge. There is enough hawthorn that grows wild around here to do that.

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