Friday, 12 February 2016

Musing In February

"You cannot have too many aconites. They cost, as I said before, about fifty shillings a thousand. A thousand will make a brave splash of colour, which lasts a month. If you can afford ten thousand you are mad not to buy them. There are so many exciting places you can put them ... in the hollow of a felled tree, by the border of a pond, in a circle round a statue, or immediately under your window, so that you can press your nose against the glass when it's too cold to go out, and stare at them, and remember that spring is on its way"

~ Beverley Nichols, 1898 - 1983.

Illustration by Cicely Mary Barker, 1895 -1973.

P.S. My financial adviser informs me that fifty shillings is £2.50 in today's currency.

Monday, 1 February 2016

In A Vase On Monday ~ The One That Got Away

Mindful of the weather forecast for a most wet Sunday I hurtled round the garden on Saturday afternoon to pick a few flowers for 'In A Vase On Monday'. Although dry and with some sunshine it was still bitter out there. My ungloved fingers were soon frozen, so it was a case of plonk them in quick and photograph before retreating back inside into the welcome warmth.

In the vase (a French yoghurt pot in a former life) are a hellebore flower, some snowdrops and some flowers from viburnum tinus 'Lisa Rose'. The hellebore was one of those chance findings in the garden. I debated over whether to leave it as it was when it was just a seedling but left it to its own devices to grow on, in what in theory is not the ideal place for such a plant. Luckily my hellebore has not read the gardening books otherwise it it would have curled up its toes long since. It's not the showiest of hellebores but I am still most fond of it.

Thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for getting the week started on a happy note. I'm looking forward to lingering over some no doubt fabulous and unique vasefuls of flowers later on today.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Just Now

my favourite is galanthus elwesii 'Rosemary Burnham' which has opened up this week. It could well be something else when more 'drops open over the next couple of weeks. Brian from Our Garden@19 asked recently whether I had a favourite. How do you choose from a bevvy of beauties? I think though with some agonising that I could probably narrow it down to half a dozen or so, which might be the subject for another post.

However for now 'Rosemary Burnham' is my leading lady. She is a snowdrop that I fell in love with at first sight albeit long distance when I saw her on various web sites. She was first discovered growing in Canada in the late 1960s by a lady of the same name. It was some considerable time before she was available to buy here and intitially the price she sold for was exorbitant. However after patiently waiting for several years I was able to treat myself to a dormant bulb last summer. I have been holding my breath since and was most relieved to see a green nose poking through the compost last month. As she is new I'm not sure whether she is flowering early/on time/late especially given the weird winter weather we've experienced. Like most virescent snowdrops she has the reputation of being a bit miffy to grow so please, please keep your fingers crossed for my bulb. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

And The Winner Is .........

the lovely Shirley who blogs over at Shirls Gardenwatch! Please email your address Shirley so that galanthus 'Wendy's Gold' can wing her way over to you. 

The address is :

Many thanks to everyone who commented and entered the draw. I wish that there had been enough gold to share with all of you. I may though have the odd surplus bulb or two though as the year goes on so watch this space.

In other news it was cold this weekend and we saw some snow - not much but it was a relief to get some proper winter weather. the sort that might do some damage to the mollusc population. I'm not sure how the birds must have felt about it but keeping their refreshments topped up was a priority. I enjoyed being warm and snug inside looking out.

Illustration by Lena Anderson.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ January 2016

It's so c-c-c-cold out there this morning - the ground is peppered with some sort of white precipitation which may have included the odd snowflake or two. The jury is still out on this. Before gloves became an item of vital clothing, I nipped into the greenhouse to take a photo of my newest special snowdrop. It only arrived last week and which is the source of much pleasure. This is galanthus 'Trumps' which I've killed off at least once before. I was talking to a good gardening friend about it recently and confessed to two previous murders of the same bulb but now think my memory has got snowdrops confused so I'm not a serial killer yet. Anyway fingers crossed that this one is in for a long life.

I mentioned in my last post that I am giving away one bulb of galanthus 'Wendy's Gold'. This is a snowdrop which I've managed to nurture for several years now. It seems to be a tough customer and clumps up well. If you would like to be entered for the giveaway all you need to do is comment on my last post here by the end of the day on Sunday 17th January. Sadly I can only post to UK bloggers in this instance.

Thanks as always to the lovely Carol over at May Dream Gardens who provides us with the opportunity to share our blooms each month. The pen and notebook are already to hand.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

A Flurry Of Snowdrops

There may well be some freezing white precipitation before long but in the meantime there are snowdrops flowering a plenty inside the greenhouse (please excuse the state of the windows, cobwebs etc.). This is part of my small collection of named galanthus, many of which are flowering earlier than usual. There are usually a few that come out early in the new year, some before, but the last couple of months has seen many open before their anointed time. Although the UK has experienced some very mild late autumn/early winter temperatures I think that there are other reasons that might be behind such an early wake-up call, namely :
  • The snowdrops sit outside for a good part of the year but come under cover so that I can appreciate them in the dry and at close quarters. Although there have not been any prolonged cold spells (only one frost to date) which might harm potted bulbs, they came in earlier than usual because it was so wet in November. The pots were oozing moisture so I thought it might be an idea to get them in under cover.
  • Nearly all the snowdrops were repotted whilst they were dormant - not only did they have fresh compost but they were also all treated to a good dollop of leaf mould in each pot. 
  • All my snowdrops were treated to food last year. If only I could remember whether I used tomato food or a seaweed based food!
Anyway early or not I'm not complaining too much, as these little flowers give me so much pleasure and entice me of my January lethargy into the greenhouse. Yesterday saw some new arrivals in the post which hopefully I can share with you soon. In the meantime I would like to celebrate my snowdrop bounty and am kicking off the year with a giveaway. I have a surplus bulb of galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold' which you can see in flower below :

She is a most attractive snowdrop which grows and increases well. The colour of the ovary and the inner markings can vary from a limey - green to a pale golden yellow. 

All you have to do to enter the draw is to comment on this post by the end of Sunday 17th January. Unfortunately I can only post 'Wendy' to UK residents. I will announce the name of the winning recipient as soon as possible after that date. If she comes to live with you she can either continue to live in a pot or be planted in the garden.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Musing in January

"January cold and desolate;
February dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
April changes;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly,
August bears corn,
September fruit;
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December."

~ Christina Rossetti, 1830 -1894 - The Months
This poem sums up the weather pattern that I grew up with but "the times they are a changing". At the start of a new year I'm wondering what the weather holds in store for us this year. Let's hope it's a more gentle year for our planet. Happy New Year!

Monday, 28 December 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ "Where My Rosemary Goes"

After this morning's somewhat disconcerting shock of discovering daffodils in flower on the other side of the stream bordering the garden, thoughts turned to this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Several hellebores are now in flower including helleborus 'Walberton's Rosemary', the large  flowers of which turn a deeper pink with age. The flowers were specifically bred to look upwards and do to some extent.

The flower that I had to brace myself to cut is now floating in the base of a ceramic candle container. I bought this at a local craft fair many years ago. The whole caboodle usually comes out at this time of year, when it sits on the hearth from where it sends out a warm glow in the evenings. A few left over cranberries provided a splash of colour underneath the flower.

With a special thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. Now to find out what everyone else is including in this the last vase of the year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

"Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire"

Some welcome bright sunny weather kick-started the day, so we took a stroll along the canal towpath in the direction of town to pick up last minutes essentials. Just off the busy high street and in the shelter of an old brick wall is a small grassy area of land, which is maintained by a community arts project. Recently a seasonal makeover has taken place, which provides a most welcome splash of colour and a bit of Christmas magic to please all generations.

Here's wishing all my lovely blogging friends a most Merry Christmas!

Monday, 21 December 2015

In A Vase On Monday ~ Lime Green

This week's vase for 'A Vase On Monday' is a small posy of chrysanthemum 'Anastasia Green', which has finally flowered after much, much waiting or so it seems. It is one of a collection of five varieties of rooted chrysanthemum cuttings which I bought earlier this year from 'Sarah Raven'.

'Anastasia Green' is a half hardy perennial which is recommended as being a good chrysanthemum to grow in a sunny porch, conservatory or in a greenhouse. I wish I had access to the first two but don't, so my plants have been lurking in the greenhouse for some time in anticipation of the frosts that we've not had as yet. They are straggly and gangly creatures which are getting in the way. I could forgive them if they were more floriferous but they have not produced much in the way of flower. 

Growing chrysanthemums is a first for me and I think that I need to do more research into both varieties and cultivation. Just round the corner from here is a garden which has a fabulous pink variety in numbers in the borders growing at the base of a short wall. They flower their socks off each autumn and are obviously happy and hardy. Maybe one day I might come across the gardener of the household to ask its name. I also think that I didn't perhaps give my plants enough tlc or sunshine. The allotment would probably be a more suitable home. I would like to try again as their late autumn flowering is a huge plus, so it's back to the drawing board over the winter. Any recommendations would be most welcome especially hardy varieties.

In case you are wondering the garlic jar has absolutely no relevance - it just happened to be there. The little vase is one of a cheap collection of four decorated differently coloured vases that came from Lidl. It's ideal for just holding a few flowers.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting a weekly get together of vases from all over. I'm looking forward to seeing what other flowers are playing starring roles today on this last day of autumn (in the northern hemisphere).