Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

9 Nov '06 5:02 am
Thank you all, my friends, for your kind comments.

Dixie: Yes, the sea tractor is unusual – it’s run by hydraulics (so my Dad said) and, I think, the passenger platform can be raised or lowered, depending on how deep the water is! With regards to the pictures, I would never claim to be any kind of a photographer – it’s just point and shoot mainly – but my husband did his degree in photography, so some (a very little, I must stress! :wink: ) of his artistic eye must have rubbed off onto me (he’s always talking about “diagonals” and “rule of thirds” when he sees a photo!! :roll: ). As to your literary references, I agree that those two books certainly convey the same feeling of desolation and loneliness as Dartmoor, but I’ve just had a little surf and I’m afraid Wuthering Heights is set in the Yorkshire moors and Great Expectations (to my surprise :shock: ) is set in Rochester in Kent which is quite close to me! Unfortunately Rochester is pretty much all built-up now, so the mud flats where Pip first meets Magwitch are probably industrial buildings nowadays :( . I do know that The Hound of the Baskervilles is set on Dartmoor, as it’s my favourite Sherlock Holmes story (I’m probably influenced by the fact that it’s in Dartmoor though!! :wink: ) and also Silver Blaze, another Sherlock Holmes adventure. But all of them give the same atmosphere which I love.

Anna: Yes the caterpillar is cute, isn’t he? I think he’s a Fox Moth Caterpillar, and he will grow up to look like the photo below.

Anyway, on with the show… (yes I know it’s two weeks on and you’ve probably all lost interest, but I’m going to go ahead and subject you to this anyway!!!)

On Wednesday 25th, hubby and I took a trip down to our local garden and pet store where we spent ages looking at the reptile section and talking to one of the staff about their snakes and their Bearded Dragons (a lizard that I fell in love with as soon as I first saw one in real life, about two years ago). They had some which were about a month old which she allowed us to hold; they were just gorgeous and would just sit on the end of our fingers holding on with their tiny little “hands”! :D We decided that we’d love to have a couple, but as they need a relatively complicated set-up (upwards of 100 degrees F, plants (cacti etc), sand, rocks, along with special UV lights) we’d wait until Christmas which gives us lots of time to make these arrangements for them.

We did, however, buy two more snakes, bringing the grand total to seven!! :wink: One was another Corn Snake (our fourth) and we’ve named him Moriarty. He’s a “Carolina” colour morph, which means he’s mostly purple and orange. He’s so tiny it’s unbelievable; our two “babies” aren’t such babies now – they’re about three times Moriarty’s size now and we can’t believe how much they must have grown!! :shock:

The other snake we got is a Pueblan Milk Snake – unfortunately these snakes like to eat other snakes (horrid, I know, but all part of the wider glory if nature), so you can’t keep two together. Because of this we’ve called him Beowulf – I don’t really know his story very well but hubby does and apparently he was a bit of a loner too!

You may ask why we need all these snakes (as some of my colleagues at work have!! :roll: ), but my husband and I see animals in the same way as plants – you might as well ask why Moosey needs so many roses or why Jack needs so many rosemarys (if that’s the plural of rosemary!!) :lol: . We hope one day to breed them all too (this can be difficult with the milk snakes as I’m sure you can imagine, but it is possible!) and we would consider it such an achievement to find a little clutch of eggs that we can help to hatch.

I’ve posted below a picture I found on the net of a Pueblan Milk Snake, but I can’t find one of a Carolina Corn which looks like Moriarty, but he’s actually just shed for the first time since we’ve had him so at the weekend, we’re going to try to take some photos. It has to wait until then unfortunately because it’s dark by the time I get home from work and it’s best to do this with natural light.

On Thursday, I had to take our cats, Jeeves and Wooster, to the vets for their annual booster vaccinations. Jeeves just wouldn’t come out of the carrier, but Wooster kept trying to run all over the place!! :lol: There was a display in the corner and she desperately wanted to explore behind it, then when the vet went into the back room to fetch the drugs, she wanted to follow! :lol:

Anyway, after I got them both home, I popped out to the garden centre again for a look around as I didn’t have a chance the previous day. I was so tempted by everything, but I managed to restrain myself with only two packets of sweet pea seeds – one called Heirloom Mixed and the other called America – along with a seed propagator and some seed compost. I soaked them that night and then sowed them in my propagator the following day which lives in my utility room (which is attached to the back of my garage rather than the house and is therefore unheated – I’m hoping it’ll do the job of a cold frame!).

Well, that’s pretty much it as the weather was fairly nasty for the rest of the week so I didn’t get much chance to get out (yes, I know I’m a total wimp!! :roll: :wink: ), and then it was back to work. I’ve done a little more in the garden since then, but I’m going to post it under my Garden Tidy-up post which seems more appropriate.

Hope I haven’t bored you all too much – I do seem to have rambled on a little! :roll: I suppose it’s a bit lucky I can type quite fast!! Thank you to all of you who have managed to read this far! :D

Bambi
xx
Fox Moth.jpg
pueblan.jpg
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Liza
gardening consultant
User avatar
Waterloo, Belgium

What a busy, interesting week!!

9 Nov '06 10:39 am
Bambi, I just discovered this thread right now! To tell you the truth, I was going to reply Jack's latest post with those exceptional photos, and I started reading here,... and reading, and ..stuck! You must have started narrating while I was in Oxford with my daughter..

First of all, I think I need to make a second turn for the details... But it is true, I already enjoyed enormously your narrative part : listening to the Pastoral while watching real green fields and sheep (this has happened to me, too! ), meeting tenderly your dogs/ parents, going to the lovely Garden Center! Your sweet mum's present! And I have to stress here, that nowhere in Europe I've seen Garden Centers like the British ones!! They are the best! They work on me , like candy shops work on litttle children! I like the way they are organized! The whole colourful, good-taste display! The special articles they have, so traditionally British! So lovely! And yes, those coffee-shops! But the only articles I carried with me coming back from there were bought in such a Garden Center, near the house of my daughter....

And to return to your post...Well. I just loved your country-side visiting descriptions afterwards, although I have no idea of their whereabouts, apart from Devon itself..I would love to visit the restaurant of your family dinner... I LOVED the Fuchia photos, healthy cactus, and the colourful Geraniums of your mum! I am a crazy fan of all these colours! But the seaside photos felt...cold.. Was it really cold and windy over there??

And that orange and black snake....looks gorgeous! But he is rather naugty,... I think... I loved the description of your kitties at the vet's!
And that's it, for the moment . Just lovely, Bambi! Oh! Thank you so much for tonight! Really thank you, my love!
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

jacqueline
Thankful Gardener
User avatar
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

10 Nov '06 3:57 am
Thank you so much, dear Bambi for sharing your recent tour with us! Such a wonderful read and delightfully impressive pictures too! Happy to know that you had a lovely time! :)

Anna
Gone to seed
User avatar
Hamilton, New Zealand

10 Nov '06 9:39 am
I must confess I'm rather glad we don't have snakes here but I'm glad you love yours and I hope your breeding programme goes as planned. :)

As to gardening centres, it's a love/hate thing with me. I love the plants but I hate that they tempt me so much. :D

But as addictions go it could be worse. :lol:
Woof?

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

11 Nov '06 2:27 am
Again, thank you all for your lovely additions to this thread.

Liza: your way of expressing things is just perfect – garden centres are just like candy shops – I always want one (or more!) of everything!! I feel proud of myself, though, that I have so far managed to restrain my impulse and not spend too much whenever I go. O:)

When we went to the seaside it was cold and it tried to rain all day (in fact, it started pouring down just as we returned to the car, so I think someone was smiling on us as the timing was perfect!), but as a family we’ve never minded that – I remember one particular holiday when I was a child, it was our last day and we were due to return home the following day, but we just had to have one last visit to our favourite beach even though it was raining and windy! So the six of us (my parents, two brothers, my sister and myself), along with the dog, all scrambled down the cliff path to the beach and huddled together under a rug with lovely hot cups of tea warming our hands! My sister was always a bit mad and insisted on going for a swim (she was always the first one in the sea and the last one out for as long as I can remember!), which meant that poor old Dad had to go too!! :lol:

Anyway, I digress yet again! The cold and rain doesn’t bother us as much as crowds of people, which is why we’ve always gone out of our way and walked miles to get to remote places (note the scrambling down cliff-faces which was a regular occurrence in my childhood! :roll:).

You’ve also reminded me that I left something out of my tale – only a small thing but I wanted to share it with you anyway. Not only did my Mum buy me a gift of Pinks, but she and my Dad also sneaked a couple of other presents into my car as I was packing to leave: one was a variegated aloe and the other was a schlumbergera. Both were “spares”, as it were, from the greenhouse as they have lots of others of both of these plants. I’ve posted pictures of them below, sitting in their new homes on my kitchen window sill next to my cacti.

Jaqueline: thank you for your compliments and yes, I had a lovely time and wish it could happen more often, rather than being stuck in an air-conditioned office all day! :evil: Never mind, maybe one day. [-o<

Anna: thank you too for your remarks about our snakes, but I feel maybe I should clarify that the snakes that hubby and I keep are not native to England – they are all captive bred animals from around the world (the Corns are from Central America and Southern USA and the Royals are African). We do have our own native snakes in England: the grass snake, adder and smooth snake, but unfortunately I’ve never seen any of these myself. Hee hee, you’ve hit the nail on the head just as well as Liza with regards to the garden centres!! :lol:
DSCF0003a.JPG
This is my variegated aloe. Unfortunately the cats love to sit on this window sill too and they chewed it a bit when I first put it there!!
DSCF0004a.JPG
This is my Schlumbergera. It doesn't look much at the moment, as it is pretty much just bits that have been knocked off its parent plant, but soon it will grow much fuller. There are a couple of little buds though so I'm hoping they'll open up into love
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Anna
Gone to seed
User avatar
Hamilton, New Zealand

11 Nov '06 8:15 am
I've just learned something new today. I've just learned that a Schlumbergera is a Schlumbergera. I have one but I had no idea they were called that. :oops:

In NZ we don't have any snakes and we're not allowed to import them here. :(
We've learned the hard way that some things just don't belong here as they thrive too well. eg. Possums, rabbits and gorse!


When I visited my sister in Australia a few years back I never saw one snake. Nor any poisonous spiders. Shame that.
No really...

And... the only wombat I saw was a dead one! Dangit!
Woof?

moosey
head gardener
User avatar

Schlumbergera and Gorse

12 Nov '06 12:11 pm
I, too, have seen one of these plants - but what an imposing name!

Anna, you mentioned gorse. Aargh! Wuld you be interested to know that some gardeners in Finland grow it in their glass-houses? My botanist friend assures me this - with a giggle - and he also has an American pruning book which will instruct you as to how to prune it. Hee hee!
Head Gardener
mooseyscountrygarden.com
http://www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

jacqueline
Thankful Gardener
User avatar
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Schlumbergera Truncata or Zygocactus

14 Nov '06 4:12 am
Hi Bambi, I'm thrilled to see your Schlumbergera budding and am I right to think that they're already in full bloom by now? My plant has yet to bloom again! :( The last time it bloomed was August last year and I'm still hoping - maybe this coming Christmas it'll shine again as their common name 'Christmas Cactus' imply! :wink:

Incidentally, my first post to this lovely forum was requesting for its ID and Dixie and Liza made me so happy when they answered positively! I've noted some plant info on Schlumbergera here http://peacockflower.blogspot.com/2006/03/schlumbergera-truncata-zygocactus.html in case you're interested to know more about this plant of yours and also get to view the many varieties available! :)

Anna
Gone to seed
User avatar
Hamilton, New Zealand

14 Nov '06 2:43 pm
Moosey, my FIL is from Scotland and there the gorse is a well loved plant. They use it for hedging!
He had visitors come over from there and they were blown away by all our lovely *gack* gorse and broom. :roll:
Woof?

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

14 Nov '06 10:07 pm
Hee hee, Anna, I didn't know what the schlumbergera was either until my lovely Dad wrote a label for this one for me!! :roll:

With regards to the snakes, we don't have any worry about them taking over like you have had with rabbits and gorse, because they couldn't survive in our climate in the wild - it is too cold here, especially in winter, as they need temperatures upwards of 70 degrees F and we usually only achieve that for about a quarter of the year! So, we keep our snakes in vivaria (wooden tanks with glass doors), with heat mats, light bulbs and thermostats to make sure they have the conditions that they need to survive.

Moosey, I find it nicely amusing that people cultivate gorse in their greenhouses too! I am so used to seeing it growing wild on the moors, it seems to suit that environment better I think, with the harsh winds and exposed landscapes, but perhaps people who live in deserts find it funny that I (and others like me) would keep cacti in pots on our windowsills and greenhouses! :lol:

Dixie, unfortunately the buds you see in my photo haven't bloomed yet; there was a flower a week or two ago, but I came downstairs one morning and it was lying forlornly on the windowsill, having dropped off :( . I'm hoping that the others will give a good showing though - we've still got a month and a bit until Christmas! :D . I've also bookmarked that site you kindly gave me and will have a proper look at it hopefully later on today. Thank you.
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

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