Saturday 24 October 2009


This is my 100th post I have just become a Guru on Blotanical, all it took was lots of pleasure in looking at so many wonderful garden blogs around the World. Many thanks to Stuart at Blotanical for providing this opportunity.

I decided for this post to do a Meme. I have been tagged by Missy M of Missy Wayne's Backyard, Happy Mouffetard of The Inelegant Gardener, VP from Veg Plotting, Maureen from Allotment Heaven and Bangchick of My Little Vegetable Garden during the last few months and just haven't got round to taking up their tags so here goes.

Seven things about me, it was fun looking through photo albums for old photos.

1. The above photo of me as a child must be where my love of gardening was born. My maternal Grandfather was a photographer for the local paper in his spare time. This was his early attempts with colour photography in about 1953.

2. Here I am with my two elder brothers at Bolton Sailing club where my parents spent most Sundays racing, while we ran wild in the woods. As children we didn't get much opportunity to actually sail but in my early 20's whilst living in Torquay I joined a sailing club. I went with some friends in a yacht and entered the Tobermorray Race from the Clyde a three day race to the Isle of Arran and also with a group from work we hired a yacht and sailed from Teignmouth across to Aldernay, Guernsey and then back into Dartmouth both were memorable trips.

3. This Standard Little Nine dated 1932 was my first car it was such fun to drive around Wimbledon where I was working in the 1970's.

My first husband was keen on old cars and this Wolseley Hornet, Eustace Watkins Special 1935 was stripped completely and rebuilt by him with dogsbody getting the menial jobs. Although I dismantled the upholstery and re upholstered the interior. Quite a good job if I might say myself.

Eventually I also had a stab at the tonneau and hood which were particularly challenging without old ones to take a pattern from.

This MG PA 1934 was my last car I had whilst married to my first husband sadly after we split up it was not practical for me to hang onto the lovely car.
3. Some years later I met and married Mike and have been so lucky to be married to such a lovely man. These are our two daughters now grown up and nearly 30, where have all those years gone. I am not allowed to put family photos on my blog but hope they don't mind me using this one. They are both lovely girls and I am proud of them. Both have continued in their individual ways with my love of gardening as seen in an earlier post Nature or Nurture.

4. Being a none working mum with time and shortage of money I started to make soft toys, although it didn't provide me with an income because selling is not me, it was fun and provided presents and raffle prizes for schools and charities.
These Hippos were so the children could sit astride, my favourite toys were lions large enough to sit on and I am sorry I never took a photo of them.

5. When the children started school I took on an allotment but when I returned to work part time it was easier to grow vegetables in the garden and give up the allotment. A much younger and thinner me without the grey hair.

My success with the car upholstery led me to try my hand at furniture re upholstery and this is a chair I recovered, with Beth as a puppy misbehaving as only Springer Spaniels know how.

Another of my projects was this Victorian Day bed. not an easy task it had 94 buttons to sew in.

A lot of thought has gone into who to pass the meme onto so I do hope you pop over and look at their blogs. There are so many I could have chosen not just the many on my blog roll but so many more on Blotanical.
Firstly I nominate Kiki Awake with Charm and Spirit because I found her photography outstanding and her poems/prose lovely. I found a kindred spirit in her love of trees.
Secondly I nominate Rob of Our French Garden in the beautiful Dordogne because I love following his garden.

Thirdly I nominate Rosthchild Orchid Wisteria and Cow Parsley I am so enjoying her blog and look forward to seeing her develop her rambling and overgrown small holding. Her words not mine.

Fourthly Charlotte of The Galloping Gardener which I love to follow but because of her work in India with The Raven Foundation.

Esther of Esther's Boring Garden blog recently did a meme and chose blogs that were not gardening blogs so thanks to her for her idea which I will copy and have therefore chosen.

Fifthly Renee of Renee's Reflections Her and her husband struggle with chronic ill health because of Lyme Disease and the medical system.

Sixthly Laurel from Dreams at Stake for her courage at fighting her many chronic health problems including Lyme and ME/CFS. Her efforts recently in producing a video testimony are to be commended and I hope you take time to watch her video.

Last but not least number seven I choose Jo of Jo Blogs struggling with ME/CFS lets hope the recent news over XMRV retrovirus helps so many such chronically ill people.

This last one is not a tag because I do not think it quite appropriate but I would like you to pause and look at Lewis Jeynes struggles over the last nearly four years. He has finally been diagnosed with a cause for his deteriorating chronic ill health, Lyme Disease and is being treated privately on oral antibiotics he is improving and has gained some control of his head . Still the NHS shake their heads and will not treat him on the stronger antibiotics he needs because they follow the IDSA discredited Guidelines.
Next time you meet someone who dismisses Lyme and/or ME/CFS as rare and easy to cure please remember that for many of us that is not the case.

Wednesday 21 October 2009


I love Nerines and have struggled for years with them in the garden although several neighbours have wonderful displays in their gardens. I have one flower in my garden.
I started to grew some in large white buckets so that I could place on the doorstep. They are in a gritty compost which they like and I can keep the frost off their flowers by the protection of the front porch. This worked well except they needed re potting and the buckets were too big and heavy to keep moving.

This spring I repotted them and ended up with a bench full of pots. I think I let them get too dry early in the year and due to lack of space they stayed in the greenhouse all summer. This year I have so few flowers on them I do hope they do better next year.

The Agapanthus and lillies are stored in the greenhouse during the winter but at present the greenhouse is full of geranium and other plants that need to be in a frost free place ie. the porch which is currently being re roofed.

Hiding amongst the Amelanchier is a Liquidamber that I have relocated. I need to nurture it for now until it is properly established. I am hoping it will fill a gap that has developed and balance this corner out better.

A couple of years ago I planted up either side of the fence with a view to more height and so making the top bit of the garden more enclosed and hiding the view out over the estate behind. The Hoheria grew larger than I had realised and flopped over and around the Liquidamber so I decided to move the Liquidamber I always knew it was not in a good position as it grows into such a large tree although not in my life time.

I have a cutting from Crimson Shower Rambling Rose which will benefit now with more space and the seat on the left covered in ivy will not be submerged by the Liquidamber.

Saturday 17 October 2009


St John's Church Merrow dating back to the 12th Century.

The Horse and Groom dates back to the 15th century.
The church and the pub stand sentinel at the cross roads in Merrow either side of Trodds Lane which goes via Newlands Corner over the Downs to Dorking. It was once the main road.
The road East to West at this junction goes from Guildford to Epsom hence named the Epsom Road.
Garden Cottage is directly opposite the Horse and Groom. It was once used as the school house.
Taken from a 1934 map with revisions 1938. Showing Merrow Downs.
At one time there was a race course on this side of the Downs between 1701 to 1870 and to the West of the Downs there was a prison of war camp during the last war 1941 to 1942.
Directly opposite the Church and at the top of Merrow Street is an area of allotment gardens. Merrow Street was the main road from the Downs to the main London Road now replaced in part by the A3.
Proceeding down Merrow Street this is the entrance to The Cedars.
Merrow House was once the home of Miss Thrupp. Her father was Rector of St John's Church. The Thrupp family owned most of the land either side of Merrow Street and lower down what is now known as Old Merrow Street. The original road being dissected by a road into a housing estate.
Merrow House is now split into flats and part of the Sunset homes. There are other modern flats too built in the grounds next to the house.
Merrow House Cottage
Evergreen Cottage
1 &2 Appletree Cottages
Michaelmas Cottage
Spring Cottages on the right with a new development mirroring Spring cottages, Wentworth Cottage and Orchard Cottage
1 Coxhall Cottages
2 Coxhall Cottages
Looking back up Merrow Street the hedge on the right of the photo is the boundary of Bushy Hill School. On the left is Rectory Close leading into a group of houses built in the grounds and on the site of the old rectory.
This was an old drovers way and bounds the school hedge.
This development was on land that belonged to Bushy School, now called Merrow Place the houses have been built to replicate much of the character of the older houses.
There was strong opposition over loosing the character of Merrow Street and this hedge, hence these houses Hawthorn Place were tucked away behind the hedge.
Looking down Merrow Street.
Treetower House
Merrow Infants School a church school. Miss Thrupp was responsible for the building of this school to replace the little one opposite the Horse and Groom. It was extended in 1901 about the time some of the houses were built.
Yew Tree cottages
1 &2 Salisbury Cottages
This is the style of several of the houses built around 1900 as farm labourers cottages and many of them were named after the Africa Wars.
1 &2 Garnet Cottages
A section of map updated since the Merrow Park development which started early 1980's. The church is at the bottom right at the junction and at the top of the map Merrow Street ends in a cul de sac where Kingfisher Drive crosses into the estate.
Across Kingfisher Drive into the next section of the old road this is now known as Old Merrow Street.
Great Goodwin Farmhouse
1 Alma Cottages
2 Alma Cottages
1 Peace Cottages with its majestic chimneys. There was previously a building on this site which was the old bake house. When it was demolished the bricks were reused in building these.
2,3 &4 Peace Cottages originally three cottages they have been sympathetically extended on the left to make a larger cottage and on the right to build a fourth cottage.
Pound cottage. The Pound was once in the garden and this is where stray animals would be brought. Pound Cottage was at one time used as the Laundry.
1 Orange Cottages
2 Orange Cottages
1 Gateside Cottages
2 Gateside Cottages
This is the next section of the map showing where Kingfisher Drive crosses at the bottom and the railway in the top corner. The bottom of old Merrow Street is also now a cul de sac and the new road replaces this lane.
At the top right this side of the railway is where the old brick works used to be. The bricks from there were used for building many of the cottages.
Of course there are several other modern houses scattered in amongst these old cottages.
More information on Merrow can be found through visiting Merrow Residents Association website.