Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Almost Worldless Wednesday ~ Not On Tonight's Menu

Spotted last night growing on our gravel driveway leading to the garage a new to me mushroom. We regularly come across mushrooms growing in the garden but usually in the autumn. My initial research suggests that this might be a common morel, which is a much sought-after edible mushroom. However with no definite identification it was left to passing woodlice and their friends for their supper. Any mycologists about? 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Easter Lilies

Think Easter flowers and daffodils come straight into my mind. It's a late Easter this year and the daffodils are already fading away. Before thoughts of them go over the horizon completely, I wanted to post about a veritable host of daffodils that we had the pleasure to see on our last trip to the Lake District.

This year we were spot on with our timing to catch the the wild daffodil at the peak of perfection 'Narcissus pseudonarcissus' is also known as the Easter lily, Lenten lily, daffy and daffydowndilly. They are the daffodils mentioned in the famous opening lines of William Wordworth's poem :

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze"

The poem was inspired by a walk that Wordsworth had taken with his sister Dorothy on the shores of Ullswater. She records in her journal on the 15th April 1802 that "When we were in the wood beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side...... But as we went along there were more and yet more ...... I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and about them; some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness; and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and it seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake; they looked so gay, ever glancing, ever changing".

We didn't go to Ullswater to see wild daffodils but to the beautiful church of St. Anthony's, Cartmel Fell, which was built in 1502.

Here we paused for some considerable time in the churchyard, gazing at the daffodils and listening to the sound of silence, broken only by nectar seeking bees and by birdsong. Simply quite magical.

Monday, 10 April 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Small is Beautiful'

The flowers in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' are lathyrus vernus or the spring pea which is one of my favourite early spring flowering perennials, not just for the flowers, but also for its attractive fern-like foliage. Oh and there's also the bonus that it seems to be pest and disease free (says she whispering softly). I wanted to pick a few blooms before all the flowers had gone over. Some are already developing seed pods. This year I'm determined to collect seed which always seems to manage to evade me.

The little vase has come from my Mum's house and is one of a number that she painted herself. It's teeny, tiny being all of two inches high but just the right companion for dainty blooms.

Thank you as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

Monday, 3 April 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Take Two

Today's 'In A Vase On Monday' morphed into something else in the making thereof. An allotment visit yesterday revealed some anemone caen 'Syphide' flowers in full fettle, so these were picked to be the star of today's vase. They were joined by a trio of tulips (one seems to be photo shy) from the pots that time forgot and some lunaria annua 'Chedglow'. Something didn't seem quite right though - the penny was not long to drop. Whilst 'Sylphide' looks brilliant growing at the allotment the flowers are a very much in your face pink and dominated the vase at the expense of its companions. A touch of light was needed - either pink or white or the anemones needed to shed their company. A flying trip to the allotment late this morning provided the answer in the shape of some white blossom along the road leading to the site. There was such a profusion of blossom that I didn't feel guilty snipping the odd branch for my vase. I'm not sure what the blossom is although I know that there are some cherry trees along the road.

The vase is an old favourite which my Mum gave me many moons ago after I came across it lurking in a cupboard.

As always thanks to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the muse behind this great way to start off the week.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

End Of Month View ~ March 2017

I hadn't realised that a whole year had passed without me posting an End Of Month View, which has been most remiss as it's a great meme for keeping track of new developments in the garden and allotment. So I'm back with one day in March which just happened to be the last day of the month. I can't remember how the month started but here it did go out like a lamb. It was one of those days when it was blissful to be working outdoors.

I decided to make a start on planting up a section of the garden which was in desperate need of a makeover. An aged dogwood had made a bid for world domination sending suckers hither and thither. It just had to come out and himself proved to be the strong man for the job. There is also another shrub in the shape of a hardy fuchsia which will also probably be extracted later in the year. I'm reluctant to remove it as I think that it's the first plant that I ever grew from a cutting but it does get in the way where it is. If it comes out I will certainly make sure that I've established some cuttings first.

I have had it in mind for some time to plant more of my named special snowdrops into the ground and this seemed a perfect spot to get a few in. Growing them in pots has some advantages but has ceased to have some charm as their numbers have grown. Crates full to the gunnels of pots are getting more challenging to lug in and out of the greenhouse and tend to as the years go by, so I'm looking at making life easier. I will still keep a few specials in pots but want to try to plant the majority of them out. I know that snowdrops are happy in this spot - there is a clump of galanthus plicatus here already, some galanthus 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' and a clump of galanthus 'Blonde Inge' which is in need of division. I also wanted another dogwood or two to keep them company and have promised himself that I will keep them under control.

Work began yesterday morning with tidying up the surface of the soil. Three buckets of twiggy debris and leaves were removed. Some new compost was added. Then time for a bowl of soup before returning to an initial planting session. I've kept the back of the border clear for now to allow space to give the railings a lick of paint. The railings mark one of the garden boundaries and are about twelve feet above a small surface water stream. Come later in spring the border becomes very shady as the willow on the other side of the stream greens up. Our resident ducks were out for a morning constitutional down below which was good to see.


Plants that went in during the afternoon were cornus sanguinea' Midwinter Fire', cornus sanguinea 'Anny's Orange', pulmonaria 'Opal', thalitcrum inchangense, geranium phaeum 'Album', arum italicum 'Mamoratum', a brunnera that was lurking in the cold frame - probably 'Jack Frost' and a white flowering  Lamprocapnos spectablis. There was much dithering over which snowdrops to plant and so far only two were planted. These are the early flowering galanthus elwesii 'Peter Gatehouse' and the rather unfortunately named but beautifully marked galanthus 'Trumps'.

Come late afternoon I called it a day. Despite himself's muscle there were still signs of the dogwood under ground which I encountered whilst planting. Several tugs of war later I was worn out. I still have more planting to do - I would like to duplicate some of the planting, get more snowdrops in, plant a shrub (still to be chosen) in front of where the two walls meet, plant a couple of hellebores (debating which colour) and to sneak some interest in for later in the year. As always there is never enough room. I'm also wondering whether to leave my wooden dragonfly in. It has just come out of its winter hibernation in the garage. Oh and then the geranium phaeums at the front will be removed, the border needs some bark on it and then edging, the gravel needs refreshing etc, etc...... Hopefully I will be back next month with an update. Thanks as always to the lovely Helen, The Patient Gardener who is the most inspirational hostess encouraging us to share views at the end of each month.

Monday, 27 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Stealth

Whilst my back was turned for a weekend away some bright tulip colour quietly crept in and took me by surprise on my return this afternoon. I make no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with tulips - love the flowers and hate the leaves. I think that the bulbs pick up on my vibes so don't usually perform well. Sadly my autumnal bulb planting schedule went out of the window last year, so nearly all of my hopes in the tulip department have been pinned on bulbs that were planted in pots in the autumn of 2015. After flowering the pots were unceremoniously shoved at the back of the greenhouse and have been left to their own devices ever since. They have rewarded me with what seems the earliest ever tulips in flower so of course a trio of stems had to be snipped to leap in to this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Unless the squirrels have been playing musical labels I'm reasonably sure that these are 'Orange Emperor'. Along with them a stem of a hellebore (name unknown,very tall stems) together with a trio of narcissus - 'Thalia', 'WP Milner and sweet scented 'Bridal Crown'. I'm not sure whether I've shown the vase on a blog post before. It's a fairly recent find from a charity shop and it's Chinese. That's all I can tell you about it.

I wasn't sure whether I would get a vase together today but then I remembered that magical extra hour of daylight that we have gained, so there has been time to catch up with some domestic chores and still time to play. Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling At The Garden' for her unwavering prompt to celebrate the start of a new week with some flowery goodness.

Monday, 20 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sink Or Swim?

My 'In A Vase On Monday' this week is in fact a bowl into which I've  tried to float a quartet of hellebore flowers, hoping that they would artistically drift atop of the water. So far they are being rather wayward, hence the title of my post. It could be the fact that they were wet when picked that is dragging them down into the deep briny. Not content with chucking wet suff down most of the weekend, the skies continued to weep again this morning but the sun has come out this afternoon to celebrate the first day of spring. Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

The flowers have been picked from a plant that has been in the garden for years, from a self-seeder and from two newcomers purchased since the start of the year. I did vow not to buy all more hellebores this year but like snowdrops I find them hard to resist. Helleborus 'Madame Lemonnier' (bottom left) is the first newcomer carrying outward facing dusky-pink flowers. The majority of the flowers are conspicuous by their sheer size but this is one of the plant's smaller flowers.  The second newcomer is Helleborus 'Angel Glow' (bottom right), which seems to have been fed on a diet of steroids going by the sheer volume of flowers it has produced.

The Portmeirion bowl was a serendipitous find that emerged as we were clearing my mother's house. The exterior is an intense deep blue whilst the inner surface has a iridescent glaze of pale blues, soft greens and turquoise which has had me bewitched from the moment I set my eyes on it.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who provides the inspiration to come up with a weekly vase each Monday. I see that Cathy is very much in the pink this week celebrating the landmark anniversary of five years of blogging. Do pop in and say hello to her either with or without a vase and be sure of a warm welcome.

Monday, 13 March 2017

In A Vase On Monday ~ Thumbs Up

It's a definite thumbs up for narcissus 'Tête-à-Tête', which are filling up this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' and are now brightening up the kitchen windowsill. Whilst a good number of my daffodils are 'blind' this year, this old stalwart is as floriferous as ever whether planted in the ground or in containers. I'm especially appreciate of them as a good number of them were purchased as late season bargain buys from Wilkos. A note has been made to add to their numbers this autumn as well as to give some t.l.c. to the afflicted daffies in the hope of better things to come next year.

Thanks to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the weekly encouragement to fill a vase on a Monday. Domestic duties call for now but am looking forward to some vase visiting this evening.