Wednesday, 20 March 2019

A Fanfare For Spring

" Everything now gives way to daffodils. I am a bit one-sided about daffodils. If I were allowed only one sort of flower on my desert island, it would have to be daffodils. When nothing was out in a flat in-between time earlier in the month, I cam home from a tiring visit to find a bunch of cut daffodils in my letter box. Some telepathy from my neighbour had moved her to this inspired act. I retired to bed for a couple of days, downed by the slight attack of plague that had been dogging me throughout the month, bought a jug of lemon and the daffodils up from the kitchen window-sill where I had set them and together they effected the cure. What crisp fragrance, what unburdensome vigour, comes from leaning one's fevered brow to the cool touch of those extraordinary trumpet-tubes , and what health one breathes in from their stringent breath,

If there us one smell of spring it is the smell of daffodils, not the sweeter, further-travelling, sometimes over-powering jonquil ..... not the very elusive smell of the small wild daffodils ...... No, it is your ordinary all yellow single trumpet that catches the wind in its strong favourite horn and almost rings the bell for spring".

- an extract from 'Led By The Nose' by Jenny Joseph.

- illustration by Angela Barrett.

Monday, 18 March 2019

In A Vase on Monday ~ Branching Out

Although there was a slight mizzle falling as I took photos for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday', engaging in this activity didn't involve the same risk as last week either to me or vase. After endless days of gales or so it seems the wind has finally dropped. It's a smidgen warmer too and the weather looks as if it's on the upper as the week unfolds. There are plans for much sowing of seeds and other garden related activities.

Just a couple of bits of twiggery in my vase this week in the shape of snippings from prunus x subhirtella 'Autumnalis', which can be grown as a small tree or a large shrub. Mine is a tree which provides much welcome and delightful flowers in the coldest and darkest of months. In theory the tree flowers between November and March. Usually though my tree has two substantial flushes of flower, one which lives up to its name in autumn and the other in spring. It's autumn leaf colour is it's other attractive feature.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' for hosting each week. I'm looking forward to some vase hopping later this evening with pen and paper in hand. No doubt the wish list will expand.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ Over The Edge

A few words are needed to explain this follow up post to my latest 'In A Vase On Monday' post - this is the over the edge from where I often take my vase photos. The land on the other side of the stream is outside our boundaries - the clumps of snowdrops where there when we arrived but I've added some later colour by doing some guerilla gardening. I've lobbed some 'Tête-à-Tête' narcissus bulbs over the edge and crossed my fingers. As you can see some have survived. There is a further patch of these little daffies just out of shot together with some tall later flowering daffodils that were already growing there. A few more bulbs will be jettisoned in the direction of the bald patch later this year.

Monday, 11 March 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Living On The Edge

My 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked yesterday on one of those days that bought my sister's wedding day to mind. It was one of those days when the weather gods were intent on selecting a morsel of everything to chuck at us mere mortals - icy gusty winds, rain, serious hail, sleet and some all too brief sunny spells were in all the mix. My sister got married on such a day at the beginning of April, which presented me as her only attendant with quite a challenge to keep her looking at her pristine and glamorous best.

Fortunately there was a lull in the early afternoon which enabled me to rush out, snip and photograph all at lightening speed - well as fast as I can go these days. I even managed a couple of outdoor photos which was an achievement. What you can't see is that behind my normal perch for vase photos there is a drop of some fifteen feet or so into the stream below. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of parking a vase in such a spot especially when it's windy but there's nothing like living on the edge.

In this week's vase are :
  • Narcissus 'Elka' 
  • 'Narcissus 'Jetfire' - that's the one with the orange trumpet which was most helpfully identified for me last year by fellow bloggers.
  • Narcissus - unknown variety.
  • A couple of stems of a pulmonaria seedling. 
  • A couple of stems of ribes 'Elkington's White'. The flowers seem to have a tinge of blue on it which isn't visible to the eye - maybe it was the light or it simply was feeling cold.

A BIG thank you as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

Monday, 4 March 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sink or Swim, The Saga Continues

The annual attempt to float hellebore flowers once again has left me feeling decidedly unimpressed by the final outcome. I don't know whether I should opt for a more shallow vesssel, more water or whether it's just my general clumsiness but I have never created an arrangement that has satisfied me. Well the saga will continue next year but until then above is my latest floral float. 

Although I'm unable to name any of the hellebores which may well be nameless anyway, I can say that the bowl is made by Highland Stoneware in Scotland. I am fairly sure that it was one of my very first purchases after I started full time work. I bought it purely because I liked it. It has never been used as a bowl for eating which I think it is intended for but I've certainly enjoyed looking it over the years. It quite often filled with potpourri. I also bought a dress which I liked on the same shopping trip in Chester but the dress has long since departed from my wardrobe. The innards of the bowl are the grey you can see in the bottom photo.

Thank you to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who prompts us to get out into our gardens to see what we can pick and share on a Monday, whether it be fair or foul as it was today. I do hope that none of my fellow bloggers suffered any damage as a result of 'Storm Freya'. Here she made a lot of noise but didn't appear to do much in the way of harm. 

Monday, 25 February 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Tassels

I spotted the contents of this week's vase on Saturday afternoon.  Looking out of the allotment community hut windows I caught a flash of yellow out of the corner of my eye. Later when we had finished our refreshments and caught up with plans for fund raising plant sales this year I decide to investigate and this is what I found. I think that they are hazel catkins but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I wondered why I had never noticed them before and then it struck me that is highly unusual for me to be at the allotment in February. It's usually March before it's warm enough for me to surface there. I'm quite happy out in the garden in February in the knowledge that I'm near all creature comforts should the weather gods be spiteful but the allotment is usually still on hold this month. I was amazed how dry it was down there. Most years the central paths are often underwater or at least muddy at this time of year but then we've had very little rain this winter. I noticed a tweet from Monty Don on my Twitter timeline yesterday which read as follows: "the last time I remember a spell of February weather like this was in 1976 - if we are going to have a summer like that one start storing your rainwater now!"

Plans to add to the catkins where shelved when I realised that the slightest touch resulted in clouds of yellow dust floating through the atmosphere. I also persuaded myself that they looked quite replete on their own without the need for companions.

The vase was bought on a day out with one of my nieces and always makes me think of her.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing such a constant platform for us to share our vases each Monday.

Monday, 18 February 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'

       My 'In a Vase On Monday' morphed overnight. I originally put it together yesterday afternoon to photograph. Try as I would though I could not get the creamy double hellebore to hold its head to attention and look at the camera. Then the skies darkened and rain got in the way of play. I nipped outside this morning and replaced it with a single white flower which was much more obliging.

It was a beautiful weekend here which bringing to mind a quote that I have used here before but it was seven years ago so I think that I can be excused the repetition:

"There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer" - Gertrude Jekyll, 1843 - 1932.

It was such a day on Saturday as it was on 23rd February 2012, when I used this particular quote. The temperature had hit the magical 60 degrees mark and I spent the best part of the day outside pottering in the garden. It was not quite as warm on Saturday but after a dip our temperature is set to rise again later in the week so we might yet get there in a day or two.

Anyway I digress. Keeping my hellebore company are some twiggy bits in the shape of beech and cornus as well as some leafy loveliness is provided by eucalyptus gunnii. The vase itself is part off a present of a set of five vases from my lovely sister.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting and encouraging us to start the week in such a satisfying manner.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019