September 2018 – apples, visitors and a surprise Hibiscus

The garden continues to surprise us. Finding a flower on the ground beneath a tangle of shrubs led to a search and a great deal of thinning out of intermingled branches.  This beautiful Hibiscus, covered in blooms was revealed in all its glory.

Grandson Joe passed his driving test, bought a car and brought granddaughter Cerys to see us for the weekend. We had a walk round Shrewsbury and were impressed with the Quarry Gardens by the River Severn.

My sister, Glen, came for a holiday and we visited the museum at Ironbridge. As a member of the Surrey Industrial Archaeological Society, she had been involved in rescuing a turbine which was given to the museum. It was disappointing to find that the staff knew nothing about it.  We eventually found it, in pieces outside the building without any indication of what it is or how it came to be there.

We also took her to the 1st century Roman City of Viroconium. It began as a legionary fort but grew to be the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. The site is quiet now and it needs a great deal of imagination to visualise the noise, bustle and smells created by its 5000 inhabitants.

Blackbirds have been feasting on the amazing crop of Bramley windfalls,  but there were plenty left for making puree. The freezer is now well-stocked in readiness for an assortment of pies and puddings. Local blackberries were abundant too and I made Bramble Syrup and added some to The Botanist to make Bramble Gin. I also made Bramble Syrup and Elderberry Rob, the former for topping ice cream, and the latter for adding to hot water as a cure for colds.

The most exciting wildlife sighting came from a sparrowhawk. I saw it bring a woodpigeon to the ground adjacent to the road at the front of our house. It was so engrossed in plucking its kill that I got quite close for a series of photographs. We live at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac so I was able to watch it for several minutes before a car appeared and caused it to drag its prey into the bushes.

Despite the huge number of windfalls the Bramley is still laden with apples We are picking the ones we can reach and although we’ve stored enough to last for several months we’ve had plenty to give to neighbours.