What's occuring in the backyard?

This is an odd forum, half the time no one seems to use it. Where are you all, what are you up to, if you're new to the forum or DG, tell us about you and umm well we could probably discuss some gardening too ;)

OK so bearing in mind I could well be speaking to myself here, I'll start off.

The garden here is a constant mess, a work in progress on a local council type of scale and has been since day 1. We did manage to plant out a small border under the pear tree this year in mid-April this year.

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oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Hello Baa. I agree with you about this forum-it could do with a bit more participation. I wrote some details about me in a thread to Philomel about cuckoo rhymes....in fact you contributed too so I guess you've seen it. 5 years ago we moved into half a Basque farmhouse with 1000sq metres of south-facing garden.It is my joy, and I have made a veg. plot, planted lots of herbs and fruitbushes, and am gradually importing the contents of Peter Beales nursery over here.(Very gradually-money is tight and I can't bear the look of barely-suppressed alarm on my new-to-gardens,Basque husband's face whenever he sees me in the company of pete B, David austin, Thompson+morgan,Chilterns etc)! I have a lot of what may once have been a lawn- if I think of it as my monthly-mown wild flower meadow I sleep better! I don't get nearly as much done as I would like to,partly through teaching and translating commitments,partly through frustratingly-limited energy due to fibromyalgia/ME. Still, I love it, and any spare time and/or energy goes on my beloved garden rather than housework! Well, an old, beamed farmhouse should be full of cobwebs,dust and clutter,er...shouldn't it ????

Welcome to DG Sorgina! Your house sounds wonderful and all farm houses have at least a corner of cobwebs dust and clutter :-D Any photos and how do roses fair in Spain?

Blenheim, New Zealand

Hi Baa good to see you , I have put sooo many plants aside at work that they wonder .,If I am starting up a nursery of my own.
I have got home 2 Blackberry nip roses , We had a broken plant last year that was put into the plant hospitable , but 10 meters away , you did wonder where the scent was coming from so I now have 2,

oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

My roses are doing really well,considering they were only planted last march(2004). They all flowered profusely in May(things seem to flower a month or 2 earlier than in england here), and most are already having a few repeat flowers.Some of these June flowers have scorched abit in the heatwave we've just had.(40 degrees plus some days).I guess this would be more of a problem further south where it's much hotter and drier. So far I have:
Rosa rugosa scabrosa- very disease resistant, huge fragrnt flowers, continuous if sparse supply of shortlived blooms. Supposed to have beautiful hips but none set last year.(No, I didn't deadhead!)
Cornelia-pemberton rose-masses of small,scented blooms, apricot in bud, opening mid pink,fading to almost white-beautiful! Suffering badly from blackspot now,as are most of the roses to a greater or lesser extent. I try not to use any chemicals in the garden-any ideas for organic treatments?
Penelope-In many way similar to Cornelia,more fragrant,paler ,larger blooms, enchanting.
Golden wings-modern shrub. Lovely perfumed golden-yellow flowers,short-lived but steady supply. More resistant to blackspot than the 2 Pembertons above.
Mme Isaac Pereire-climbing bourbon.Laden with huge,shaggy crimson blooms this May.Intoxicating old rose fragrance.Now almost leafless through blackspot,alas.
Centifolia muscosa-loads of delicate pink, deliciously fragrant blooms last month.(once-bloomer)Gorgeous,mossy stems and buds,but rather floppy,and flowers easily rain-damaged.
Gloire de Dijon-climbing OGR.Glorious,buff-pink,fragrant,quartered flowers.Not growing or flowering as much as the others,but I think I have it in too much shade.Will move it this Autumn.
Albert de Dumas.-moss rose.New this year.Growing in a pot.Several delicately 'wildrose'-scented,pale pink flowers already.
I guess I should be pinching its buds off this year, but I can't bear to. Must give it lots of compost and organic fertiliser to compensate.
I wish I could show you photos but I don't have a digital camera and buying one is not an option at the moment. They're all on Peter Beales website.I don't know how to do that hyperlink thing, but it's easy to find on Google.

This message was edited Jun 24, 2005 1:22 PM

Good to see you too Boots! So you get to garden at work too? I'm not a rose fan myself so am unfamiliar with Blackberry nip, is it a cultivar or a species?

Sorgina, ouch to the 40 degrees, we've had temps of 30-33 every day since Saturday here and we've all thought it too much to bear LOL but then you know the kind of humidity that comes with it too. I hear it's easier to cope with in drier climates (or is that a fib?)

I'll look up your list, I've been known on DG as an inveterate rose hater but as I share the garden with Mother, there are some in the garden ;) we appreciate the unusual, species or heavily scented. Here's what HDRA have to say about blackspot control http://www.hdra.org.uk/factsheets/dc7.htm (to add a hyperlink just cut and paste). We use the organically certified Bordaeux Mixture which to my mind shouldn't really be listed as organic.

I remember reading years ago that before the factory chimney/smoke laws in the UK blackspot was very uncommon in industrial areas due to the high levels of sulphur in the air and that yellow roses, being the most suceptable to blackspot at the time were pretty much the only roses that got it back then.

Blenheim, New Zealand

we have just finished bagging bare rooted roses 2000 of them it's a wonder I am not a rose hater by now, now its trees.
Blackberry Nip Is a cultivar bred in NZ.

Sorgina you have beautiful roses
boots

oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Baa-whaddya mean you hate roses????-and I thought you and I were going to get on well !!!! Seriously though,I wasn't keen on roses till I discovered OGRS-now I'm obsessed!
Heat is easier to cope with in lower humidity-but here in northern Spain it's damp and humid-it's not advertised as 'Green Spain' for nothing.Still,it's better in terms of gardening and I feel more at home here than in hot,dry Spain.
I've just bought some Bordeaux mixture (from near Bordeaux infact-do you think it will work better??) so I'll give that a try-thanks for the tip.

Boots,thankyou.I'm glad someone appreciates my roses!! I was feeling rather foolish having gone into all those details for a rose hater! So you work in a nursery-lucky you; all those 'sub-standard plants looking for a good home...

This message was edited Jun 26, 2005 12:13 AM

Blenheim, New Zealand

I do love the roses sorgina in fact too much , My vegie garden is getting smaller by the day,

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Here I am!

My garden is overgrown right now. Demands of college and new job (part-time). College has just finished now till autumn so I have at last got back out there again. Have just stuffed my wheelie bin full to the brim with garden leavings.

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Hi everyone. Lovely to see you here sorgina - haven't forgotten about you, just been guiding wildlife holidays and rather up to my eyes :) Had a great time though and saw SO much.

I find the relentless sunshine does make for difficulties in the garden - even some of my lavender is suffering, but we have some delicious fruit from trees that are young, but planted before we came a year ago. White fleshed peaches, apricots and cherries so far. Plums apples pears persimmons and quince to come.

I'm loving learning about the new climate and discovering new plants.
Your garden sounds fascinating sorgina, I'm an old fashioned rose fan too, but haven't made much of a start yet.
In the veggie patch I have potatoes courgettes and melons - oh and shallots and potimarron too

Hi Baa and boot, lovely to see you both - and you too Diane
Got to go and close up the chicks and chickens now.
I started with some hybrids from the market, but this year have hatched a Faverolles, 5 Marans noir-cuivré, 3 brahmas and 3 speckled sussex. Some legbars, which lay blue eggs, should be arriving tomorrow in the post, to go in the incubator. Another 3 weeks of wondering until they hatch :)

Blenheim, New Zealand

Good to See you , seems the weather is similar to here. roses should grow well , if watered. Boots

oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Hello Philomel, nice to have news of you. Wildlife tours?-sounds great. What wildlife do you get in your area? BTW, whereabouts is your area? My knowledge of French geography is very patchy.
The heat can be a problem, can´t it? It's amazing how most things recover after watering though.I love being able to grow peppers, aubergines,melons etc outside. I also love being able to leave dahlias,cannas,lilies etc in the ground over winter. It takes a while to get used to the changes in my experience- I had been planting T+M pea seeds in April as per instructions, and getting miserable,mildewed crops. This year I paid heed to a neighbouring veg. grower,sowed a local variety in January,and got a bumper crop...
Your chickens sound great! I have 6 of the local hybrids which give me delicious free-range eggs and which I've become ridiculously fond of. I'd love to keep some named varieties though- I haven't found a supplier anywhere near here yet... My son (aged 12)would love to go the whole hog, get an incubator and hatch special breeds from posted eggs...Actually ,so would I ! Better get the pond and tree-house (son's latest projects) finished first though...
Maggixxxx
PS. Do you know of a good nursery in SW France for clematis and other climbers (with fragrance)? I have a new fence to cover, and can't find what I want here.

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Hello everyone, I have joined Dave's garden this week and think it is a lovely friendly and informative site. I haven't used my computer so much for ages.

My garden is about half an acre and I have lots of new fruit trees. The old ones were about 90 years old and all on their own roots and so needed a ladder to pick the fruit. I have about 15 different varieties of apples, two sweet cherries, four pears, three plums and some nut trees also an almond and a quince oh and a new walnut tree.

At the moment I am wondering what to do with all the cherries - 50 lb so far off one tree. I've made jam, pies, wine, frozen some, eaten lots, given some away and sold some. Has anyone any good recipes for cherries?

I also grow all kinds of veg., flowers and shrubs, lots of roses - my favourites are Gertrude Jekyl, a gorgeously scented climber, and Indian summer - which is a lovely scented tea rose, soft apricot colour with bronze foliage and keeps on flowering all summer.

I have eight hens, Auracana, Silver laced wyandot, Speckeldy, and some strange looking hybrids from when I had a cockerel. Sadly he was too noisy for my neighbours and thought day break was 3 am all the year round.

Good gardening, Pat

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Welcome to DG PatBarr!

Half an acre must wonderful but tough to keep up with. Is most of it orchard?

We DG poultry keepers are growing in number which has to be good news, we have two hens, one Calder Ranger and a White Star. We had a couple of Speckaldys a while ago but I didn't think they were very good layers. We also keep ducks mucky things, and currently have a surrogate child in duckling form (the tale of which is over in farm life forum).

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Hi Baa, Yes the garden is a bit on the wild side most of the time. I can keep up with the weeds until about mid May, then it seems to get rather out of hand. My partner hasn't a clue about gardening but helps with the digging occasionally and sometimes thinks he's being useful pulling the heads off dandelions.

The front garden is flat and has the greenhouse and pond and lots of vegetable beds some herbaceous borders and a couple of sitting out areas, the side of the house is quite steep and terraced with rockeries and a herb garden, and the fruit trees are mainly at the top of the garden behind the house where the hens are kept.

The hen hut cleanings are brilliant high nitrogen compost activators and heat the heap up very rapidly. My Speckledies are good layers, but they are quite young. They lay rich brown eggs with very good shell quality. My favourites are the Araucanas which lay small blue eggs with very rich golden yolks. I do like hens, they are pleasant little characters. I'm just going to look at your duck story now.

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oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Great to have you with us Pat! Sorry for the rather belated welcome- I've been 'off' for a few days.
Your garden is beautiful, as are your hens. Your partner sounds about like mine in the gardening dept.- bless them! I also add the hen droppings to the compost bin- seems to make a great mix.
Have you tried making cherry clafoutis BTW? (No, not with droppings- this is a new paragraph)! I'm afraid I don't have a recipe to hand but I'm sure you could Google for one . It's a delicious and reasonably easy way of using cherries. So many cherries - lucky you!
What part of Sheffield do you live in? I'm originally from Nottingham, so know the area a little. (I'm now thinking Peak District, Buxton....OOOH, getting homesick)!
Anyway, a very warm welcome again and hope to hear from you soon.
Maggi

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Hi Maggi,

Thanks for the clafouti idea - for the cherries - I've done plum clafoutis in the past and they were delicious. It's like a sweet Yorkshire pudding mix isn't it, I think my recipe had ground almonds in it too.

I'm from Stocksbridge, 10 miles north of Sheffield, but we were annexed to Sheffield quite a few years ago. There is a steel works in the bottom of the valley, but it is only about a 10 minute walk into the countryside and a little further onto the moors. The heather is just coming out and there are lots of bilberries as well this year.

It must be very different gardening in Spain. It must be lovely to have such a long growing season. It already seems quite autumnal here. There's been a chill in the air in the evenings this week. We had some late frosts up to the end of May this year, but everything is cropping well at the moment, even if a bit late.

Look forward to hearing about your garden.

Pat

oiartzun-near san se, Spain(Zone 8a)

Hi Pat. Yes, clafoutis has ground almonds in the batter- also cream and extra egg yolks if you're feeling extravagant. I haven't got the amounts I'm afraid - I just make a rich batter and pour it over the fruit. Serve warm dusted with caster sugar. Mmmm- feel like making one right now- just need some cherries. Anyone got any to spare ????

What's Clafouti? (nearly said Bless You then ;)

Pretty hens Patbarr!

It's been pretty warm here but with some heavy rain showers and the ducks who usually much prefer that humans were'nt anywhere near them have taken to asking for a cold spray from the hose in hot weather.

Here's some before (after to come ... well after) of the ducks awaiting a spray, they are in moult and just lounging about looking slightly ragged.

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Here they are a few seconds later, enjoying the spray

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Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

hi everyone, I know I haven't been on here for a while, hello to the new folks too. They're a great bunch on here, there's always someone here who knows the answer to any query you can throw at them.

I'm always growing plants from seeds, then have to put photos on here to get them identified!!...especially hardy geraniums.
I love the photos of the chukkies and ducks. I'd love to keep some, but bad experience with a headless rabbit has put me off keeping any livestock!!...

I must admit that i've put in a couple of roses this year, well I originally ordered 6, which arrived before xmas (bare rooted) didn't get around to planting them until after xmas !!!....(dead twigs by now, shame on me...) because I'd been a bit poorly, they were planted without much care and attention, the result.....two live plants.

My hubby would have a fit, he balked at paying out so much for a bag of stalks...LOL.I'm just waiting for him to ask me where all these magnificent roses are, still, at least I've had a couple of flowwers off of one of them, duely put in a vase on the table, just to show him...

Luckily, like most males, he doesn't notice whats going on around him, unless it's thrust under his nose.

I dragged him to a fantastic nursery the other day to get a couple of geraniums (pelargoniums) for a couple of pots.This place is out of this world, it's hidden down a farm track, old polytunnels, you can wander around and not see anybody for yonks, the people there are so knowledgeable, real plant enthusiasts.And the plants, well!...I drool.I'm not a graet fuschia or pelargonium fan, but when you walk through to tunnels, with rows of all these different varities, and the scents from some of the leaves.

They do do other plants too, I bought a lovely spotted abutilon, and a pink bergamot. Hubby does a hige cricket fund-raising BBQ every year, so this gives me license to go buy a few plants, to fill in the gaps!!!...which is a joke as I have to shoe horn in any plants that I buy....

The BBQ is this weekend , so I keep looking at my garden (bindweed everywhere) thinking where do I begin?

I tell everyone, I'm into naturalistic ,wildlife gardening...At least the bindweed flowers are quite pretty, shame they cover up the hollyhock ones though.

It's good to see you back Sueone!

What was the name of the nursery you went to? (I daren't ask about the headless rabbit!)

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Hi Baa, Cheers, I think it's called Island Nursery, down a village called Upwey.
It looks a bit of a ramshackle place, but the people there are great.

Managed another trip there last weekend, got a hardy geranium by the name of Jolly Bee ( I think) and the woman was telling me that a company had produced this geranium that flowered virtually non-stop all summer, but it was very expensive, so this other company produced one nearly identical, and sold it at a reasonable price.

Also bought a couple of tall Lobelias, not sure what they are, forgot to ask lady in my enthusiasm to get them in the car before hubby could change his mind, must find out how to propogate them,not even sure if they're perrenial.

Thanks Sueone. The Jolly Bee is pretty with that bicolour blue and white, I might look out for that one myself, Geraniums seem to be taking over the back yard right now, we have masses of G. phaeum that needs weeding out.

I'm glad you managed to keep your new plants LOL does your hubby change his mind often?

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Your new geranium sounds really pretty. I will have to look it up. I've got about six different hardy geraniums and a few of the indoor scented ones. I like plants you can just put in and forget about, and which the slugs don't eat. It is also nice to have something which keeps on flowering at this time of year. What other geraniums have you? (sorry if you have already said). I've got the common ones - the Johnson's Blue and various pink ones, and a tall very dark burgundy one which flowers quite early. I will have to look their names up as I've forgotten them all.

I've been clearing the pond out today as you couldn't see the water for watermint plants. I've taken out mountains of the stuff and left it on the side in case any water creatures were still in it. The fishes seem pleased to have more pond to swim about in.

And feeling very energetic I've laid some lawn turf as the builders had killed a third of my lawn by tipping all their rubble on it and not clearing it away for months. The only snag is the rest of the lawn now looks horrible compared to the new bit. It will probably look the same when I've neglected it for a while.

How are all your crops doing? I'm just about keeping pace with the beans and courgettes and I've a few neighbours who buy tomatoes. My next job is to plant the last lot of seeds for this year - a few quick growing ones like lettuce, fennel, kohl rabbi etc.

I've cheated with the parsley again this year. We have a Lidl supermarket which is selling all fruit and veg half price this week, so I have bought a pot of parsley for 34p and taken it out of the pot and got 24 seedlings from it. I've potted them all up individually and they are all growing nicely. I then plant them in the greenhouse border when I clear the tomatoes out and have lots of parsley well into next year - a bargain!

Pat

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

I'll say hello to Northerner, I'm fairly Northern, but not so much as you.

I'm surprised you are throwing all your garden clearings away - don't you have a compost heap?

Pat

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Hello Patbarr!

No, and I've had too many leavings this time anyway. I bagged it all up and the council took it away. Took two loads to do it. I was cutting back some of my shrubs so it was slightly woody anyway.

I've been busy with storytelling activities on and off over the summer, will get back out in the garden again this week.

It's been far too warm this weekend to garden for me, can't cope with the heat like I used to! Still no complaining, it's been glorious this year.

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

I'm not too sure what other geraniums I have....as i grow most from seed, then have to post photos on here for identification!!....then can never remember the name anyway...I even got around to buying nice plant sticky out type labels and pen, then promptly forgot where I put those!!....

We went up to the allotment today (doing it with my sister) and had to pull up all out tom plants ,as they'd been struck with blight.When we planted them, we knew it was a chance that they'd be hit, but it's still upsetting when it happens, they were covered in toms too.

my sister also took me to the garden centre, bought a couple more plants...LOL (had to get them in before he indoors comes home) I got a couple of lovely anemones, and a tall dark leaved plant who's name eludes me for the moment,a couple of grasses, and a miscanthus zebrinus.i love anemones, and hope to get some more, they only had a choice of two at the garden centre.

Pat, my ponds overgrown too, can't see the water. a water lily has gone beserk, need to split it next spring I think, the leaves are coimng up over the rockery.

I need to think about seed collecting now, haven't done any so far this year, usually by now I'll have a tub full. this has been a year of playing catchup...but never quite getting there.

Bout time we joined you on a few of your outings Northener,

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

I've been on fewer outings this year Sueone, but they've been longer. I've had a couple of weeks in Wales. In July I went to the Beyond the Border storytelling festival in South Wales. I watched a host of international storytellers. Wonderful! Then in the beginning of August I returned to Wales again, this time to mid Wales, where I went to a week-long storytelling workshop. Yes, I learnt how to tell a story! And at the end of the week i was part of a concert where we students got up and each told a story.

I've only told one story so far, but I've told it several times now. Last week I went to Whitby Folk Week and told it again. There were several storytellers performing there. And on Monday night I went to Stockton Folk Club and told my story yet again!

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

I never even realised that there were workshops for story telling. You, though ,have a nack for it anyway, you've taken us all on lovely trips out in the country side, light relief , gratefully grabbed, in dull days.

where abouts in Wales were you? I love Wales, we used to have many a holiday walking the Brecon beacons, and the hills around Snowdon, I was looking at the photos the other day of our family sitting atop these places, eating our lunch.....the kids used to love these holidays.

Just a quick query, how do I take cuttings of sprawly geraniums like the Jolly Bee? I assume it's no good saving seeds.

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Well, sueone, this is oral storytelling, not quite the same thing as telling it online (which is classed as digital storytelling) though I suppose the same desires are there. I was in South Wales first, staying at Llantwit Major - the festival was at the St Donat's Arts Centre. It was on the coast. The second time I was in Bleddfa, in mid-Wales, deep in the Radnor Forest - and lots and lots of sheep!

I went on a jaunt yesterday again. I went over to Hutton-le-hole on the North York Moors to see a folk festival that's on there. I saw a display of Morris dancing followed by a concert. After a misty start the mist cleared away to give us a hot sunny day. Bliss!!!

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Hello all,

Isn't amazing all these different festivals and groups. I once went out with someone who's hobby was sea shanties! I didn't see him again!

Talking about walking, the moors above my home are absolutely beautiful just now - with the miles of purple, honey scented heather.

...and the Brecon Beacons - my younger son took me on a "walk" from the Youth Hostel at the bottom of the valley to the top of Pen y Fan in under 2 hours. We went to some waterfalls and lots of other beautiful places at about twice my normal walking speed. I'm fit, but at twice the age, and much shorter legs than my son it took me a week to recover from my holiday.

Going away next week to the North Devon coast so I'm trying to get most of the plants in pots out into the garden so my son has less to water. I remember one holiday when I left him a list of instructions. It was May and I had lots of baby plants in seed trays. When I returned there were lots of very sad looking seedlings sort of blue coloured and hanging limply down the sides of extremely wet trays. I think he had remembered to water them about five minutes before I came home.

The geranium cuttings usually take easily if you split a few pieces from round the edges. Get them with a bit of root on and trim the tops if they are straggly. You can either pot them up til they get going or put them in the border where you can keep an eye on them. Don't let them get too dry but don't drown them.

Must get out there while the weather is still fine I think it has forecast thunderstorms for later.

Pat

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Nothener, I loved mid-
Wales, I know a lot of people say it's grim around the slate mining areas, but I found them beautiful in a peverse sort of way.Different if you have to live there I suppose, a bit like people either love or hate Portland. I find it beautiful,I love the starkness, the harshness of the landscape.We used to go to the dams in that region, (memory fails again to remember name) used to spend hours walking along the river banks, hopping along the rocks, then you'd suddenly come upon this huge towering wall, with water cascading down it, incredible, but slightly frightening too, you could feel the mighty power of the water behind it, i always used to look for the quickest route up, in case it went!!... silly i know.

Hi Pat, cheer sfor the info, I'll be out there looking at the plants, seeing if there's any suitable pieces.

Where are you going in North Devon?

We're going there too the last weekend in September, we've booked into a pub/hotel right on the sea-front/harbour in Lynmouth.We saw it last time we were down there, and I decided that it was a nice place to stay (well it looks it from the outside anyway) I love to be near the sea, smell the brine. I've only ever lived away from the coast for a short period, and I hated it...

I know what you mean about leaving others to look after your babies...I got back once, after leaving my daughters in charge of a greenhouse full of seedlings, with strict instructions to water the trays with a watering can, well they decided it was quicker and easier with the hose!!!.....you can imagine what greeted me when I returned...

My hubby and daughter want to go on holiday next year, and already I'm dreading about who's going to take charge of my plants. I have a watering system for my hanging baskets , and a lot of my pots, but there's loads more that I have to water each day. Each year I tell myslef that I'm not going to do this, but each year I seem somehow to collect more and more plants in pots, thatI just have to have......perhaps I could persude one of my other children that they'd like to come for a holiday on the provisio that.....

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Hello sueone! I would really love to have seen more of the countryside round Bleddfa but I was a bit pushed for time and the transport links weren't too great. It was beautiful countryside though.

Devon sounds lovely. I wish you a really good holiday. It's a long time since I was down there.

I've booked another break believe it or not. A weekend in the Lake District. I'll be staying in Kendal. I'll be going to a storytelling festival nearby - I'm looking forward to it. It's a small festival but a couple of the performers are first-class - I've seen them both before but will enjoy seeing them again. That's at the end of this month. I've treated myself to a new anorak and shoes so I won't be feeling quite so scruffy.

Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

hope you have a good time there. Do they teach you the skills to story tell? or is it a question of listening and learning. Where do these people use their skills, apart from at festivals? I know our library used to have mornings for little ones, storytelling.

It makes you think about times gone by, when all history was given by tales from generation to generation. I used to love the evening when my kids went to bed, and it would be story time. I like to believe that it gave them an interest in reading and books.

there were certain stories that they used to love time and time again, so much so that they would know when you missed out a word. Strangely enough now two of them have little ones, I see that some of the books they have for them are ones they would listen to.

My mother used to tell me (and her grandchildren)stores about Tinkerbell, a fairy that lived at the bottom of our garden (we always used to say to her that she should have written them down).
It's so soothing listening to someone telling a tale, (though I never listen to the radio) When I'm at my daughters ,and she's reading a story to her daughter, I could quite easliy close my eyes and drift off.

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Well, storytelling is classed as a performance art - by the professional storytellers anyway. They don't use books at all - they know their stories off by heart. That's what I did with the very first story that I told.

The most popular place for storytelling is in schools. About 90% of storytelling work takes place there.

Storytelling is not taught widely. I ended up going to Wales to a week-long workshop to learn the skill. Beginners need to find workshops to attend. Apart from that the only way to learn is by watching and listening. Now that I have the basic skill my main way of learning more is by going to see other storytellers. And going on a more advanced workshop eventually.

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

You are very lucky to live near the sea Sueone, the nearest coast to us is over an hour's drive away, and I love the sea. We have some lovely scenery around here, but it's not the same.

We have booked a cottage somewhere between Ilfracombe and Barnstaple, and I''ve noticed that my partner has packed the ordnance map for Exmoor so it looks like we'll be doing plenty of walking. He plans these wonderful walks from the map and we end up on footpaths which no one else has used for about 50 years and which disappear when you are miles from anywhere. Last year in Wales we ended up walking through a sphagnum bog and then over ground which had basking adders in nearly every space you wanted to place your feet. Can't wait.

I suppose story telling is a very ancient tradition from times before people could write. They still have them in Africa to pass down the history of their ancestors in a memorable way. I should imagine their stories get embellished a bit over the years too. Not that that is anything to do with your story telling Northerner. I used to like writing stories at school, but don't have the 'gift of the gab' so wouldn't be at ease speaking to lots of people.

Sorry folks I'm rambling on a bit, perhaps my brain has already started it's holiday!

Bye, Pat

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Hello Patbarr!

It has a great deal to with my type of storytelling! I will be telling stories that have been passed down for hundreds of years. The area that I'm interested in is traditional folk tales. Sadly, I will be learning them from printed sources as that is my principal way of accessing them. So I won't be writing my own stories - though I will be adapting them slightly.

We do still have a few traditional storytellers in the UK, though not many. At one stage earlier in my life I lived in Aberdeen and got to know a traveller there who sung folk songs and who told stories. I bumped into him again last year at a folk festival - he is now a major storyteller. It's been wonderful renewing our friendship.

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