Friday, 27 February 2009

'Fair Maids of February'



I could not let February slip away without a mention of possibly my favourite plant the snowdrop. At one time I thought that all snowdrops were the same lovely little white flowering spring bulbs. I gradually came to realise that there are a myriad of 'drops out there with different markings and colourings, shapes, sizes and sometimes as in my favourite 'Diggory' variations in the texture of the petals. If you click on the photo of 'Diggory' lower down the page you should be able to see that the petals look like seersucker. As well as 'ordinary' snowdrops, I now have a small number of special named snowdrops or galanthus to give them their Latin name. Snowdrop collecting can be expensive as well as being addictive ! Each year I treat myself to one or two, or himself kindly purchases them for me as a Christmas or birthday present.

If anybody is interested in acquiring any of these delicate little gems you are unlikely unless very fortunate, to find them in your local nursery or garden centre. In the U.K there are a number of specialist suppliers including Avon Bulbs, North Green Snowdrops, Monksilver Nursery and Ivycroft Plants. There are also some individuals who produce ad hoc lists of bulbs for sale,depending on what they have surplus to requirements. Up to a couple of years ago eBay was sometimes a reasonable source but people buying through eBay now seem to be often paying well over the odds. There is also more risk of getting a wrongly named bulb with eBay but there are some reputable sellers. I would love to hear from any any other snowdrop collectors in other parts of the world.



There is some dispute about when the best time is to lift snowdrops for planting. Although a lot of people think that this is best done when the plant is in the green, some experts suggest that it is best done when the bulb is dormant later in the year. A lot of the sellers send out their catalogues or lists early in the new year but there are some that come out in the summer. From my limited experience either time of the year seems suitable to plant newly acquired bulbs. What is important is that the bulbs do not dry out at any stage. Once planted I have found that my 'drops need little attention. At the moment I grow them in pots, mainly to reduce the risk of squirrels munching them for breakfast, but I am hoping to make a couple of hypertufa sinks this year to plant them in.



The 'bible' on all matters snowdrop is ' Snowdrops - A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus' by Matt Bishop,Aaron Davis and John Grimshaw published by Griffin Press. As in most matters galanthus this book is expensive too !




'Judy's Snowdrops' is an excellent web resource with information and photos of different species, list of suppliers, gardens to visit with good snowdrop displays etc.



If any UK readers of this blog are interested I may have a few surplus bulbs later this year which I would be happy to send to you, in exchange for a donation to a charity plus cost of postage or perhaps even for a swap. Please email me if you would like me to send you details in due course. My email address can be found if you go to the section for leaving comments on this post.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

'Purple Haze'



“First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus –
Crocus.”
- Lilja Rogers


Well although we have escaped the howling blizzard in this neck of the woods, my crocuses are now well and truly croaking. This is 'Firefly' growing in a pot.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

'Earth Laughs In Flowers'

F IS FOR :

 
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FLOWERS
and foliage too !

"Earth laughs in flowers"

- Ralph Waldo Emmerson
- 1803 -1882.

Flowers and foliage are fascinating, frivolous and fabulous. In the above collage are a few to be found in my garden. I would be utterly forlorn without them !

Please click on the collage to take you to larger images.

This is my post for ABC Wednesday where you can find further frippery and frolics featuring the letter F.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Wooooooooosh !



It seems that this last week has seen a tremendous surge of growth in the garden boosted by the warmer weather and extra daylight. The snowdrops have had their skirts wide open instead of being hunched over in the cold. I noticed yesterday that some of them have already started to go over. I noted that some creature has been nibbling at them, apparently enjoying the singles more rather than the doubles. I wonder why that is. I have made a mental note to divide several clumps later this year but will remind myself by putting labels in the ground beside them. Crocuses have started to croak, the hellebores are unfolding and irises are opening although sadly I seem to have lost 'Kathryn Hodgkin'. Will have to get a replacement as soon as possible.



The young hellebore plants that I bought from eBay arrived quickly. They are sturdy little plants that have now been potted up. Some of them had big enough rootballs to go straight into two litre pots. I am hoping that they will grow into marvellous specimens, as can be seen in this guest post on tulipsinthewoods.com written by Sylvia from Blotanical. Also arriving in the post this week, was the order that I had placed with Pam from Hortensia for some dahlia tubers. I opened a box in which were nestled some most dinky and beautifully adorned little hessian sacks containing the tubers. They would make a lovely present for a gardening friend. Pam also has some other most tempting items for sale on her Etsy shop.

Visiting the bird feeders this week we have seen robins, blackbirds, blue tits, great tits and the long tailed tit as seen in the photo below :



So although it is not yet spring it does not now seem so far away and indeed neither does summer. In the words of Gertrude Jekyll :

'There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer. Perhaps it is a warm, mossy scent that greets one when passing along the southern side of a hedge-bank; or it may be in some woodland opening, where the sun has coaxed out the pungent smell of the trailing ground ivy, whose blue flowers will soon appear; but the day always comes, and with it the glad certainty that summer is nearing, and it the good things promised will never fail'.

- from 'Wood and Garden'.

I think that the trailing ground ivy she describes might be vinca one of the banes of my life but I will forgive her that !

Saturday 21st February - sunrise : 07.02, sunset : 17.27.
Saturday 28th February - sunrise : 06:48, sunset : 17.40.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Back To The Plot



Just back from the allotment and warming up with a cup of coffee. My first visit of the year - the cold weather and a stiff neck/shoulders did not lend themselves to such activity before now. It has really warmed up over this last week and last night himself suggested a visit. He is building me some more raised beds which will increase what I can grow this year. So an early lunch and off we toddled. It was a pleasure to walk down the newly resurfaced central path, which has recently replaced the pot-holed and muddy ground that we had to negotiate before.

Himself beavered away down at one end - see legs in photo below :



I had a good look round to see what had happened since last December when I went to see if there were any sprouts to pick for our Christmas dinner. I have described my disappointment in another post here. Two months on and the sprouts had grown but they are still on the meagre side. They are a variety called 'Red Rubine' which although apparently very tasty only produce a small yield of small sprouts. I can vouchsafe for that. I have picked some which we will eat over the weekend. My autumn planted garlic is all through and looking most happy, but the autumn planted 'Red Baron' onion sets are not laughing. There are some noticeable gaps in the planting.

The cold weather has polished off several cerinthe seedlings as well as flattened some dianthus. The wallflowers are fine. Daffodils are coming through the soil along with a myriad of weed seedlings. Once more I attempting to be a national collection holder.



Rhubarb is emerging so it will not be long until the first crumble of the season:



After much ooooing and aaaaahing I got on with weeding one of the beds in readiness to plant more onion sets. I might retune tomorrow to do this. A few folk were down there making the most of a fine February afternoon so there was a bit of gossip to catch up on. Before we left I found out that I will be losing my neighbour who has been a most excellent neighbour. He has moved away from the area so a new tenant will take over his plot soon. I wonder who it will be. I really enjoyed the time we spent there, and have come home full of renewed enthusiasm for the season ahead. I and am now heading off for a shower as I have come home not smelling like roses. Another plot holder has a wood burning stove which he lit, so my hair is now delicately wood smoked to put it mildly.

Monday, 16 February 2009

The Little Sparrow In The Big City

E IS FOR :

 
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EDINBURGH AND ÉDITH PIAF !

“Who indeed that has once seen Edinburgh, but must see it again in dreams waking or sleeping?”
- Charlotte Bronte, letter July 20th,1850


A few years ago we found out from her proud mum that our niece Jo was going be appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe. Jo, who sings like the proverbial lark performs an Édith Piaf tribute act. Édith was regarded as France's most popular singer and was nicknamed the Little Sparrow. This gave us a perfect excuse for a couple of days away in our campervan. As well as seeing Jo's effervescent late night performance, we were able to wonder round this beautiful and most interesting city. A highlight for me was an afternoon at the Royal Botanic Garden, which has the most amazing greenhouses. Our only regret was that we could not stay longer. A return visit is on the cards !

Please click on the above collage if you would like to see larger images.

This is my post for this week's ABC Wednesday. Other posts on the letter E can be enjoyed here.

That Magical Moment



Lengthening days, a gradual warming up, an order for some hellebores, seed sorting and the first sowing have been the order of the week gone by.

Earlier in the week I met a couple of friends for lunch. D. is a hellebore fanatic who grows a wide variety in her garden. She tempted me by mentioning a seller that she had come across on eBay, selling hellebore plug plants at a reasonable price. She had ordered and had received the plants within a couple of days. She was impressed by the size and sturdiness of the plants. So further investigation when I returned home resulted in me ordering five picotee hellebores and five anemone centred ones. They have still to flower so hopefully next year I will be in for some pleasant surprises.

Yesterday was that magical moment when I turned my heated propagator on! I have moved it into the greenhouse and there are cerinthe major seeds and nicotiana mutablis seeds in residence. Hopefully later today there will be other occupants to join them. Sometime this week I intend to draw up a definitive list of seeds, sowing times etc. Exciting times ahead !

Saturday 14th February - sunrise : 07.16, sunset :17.14.
Saturday 21st February - sunrise : 07.02, sunset :17.27.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - February 2009

 
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This is my first Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and I was struggling to find plants in flower ! As you can see I like my snowdrops. I have a few named ones which are usually strutting their stuff by now, but this colder than usual winter has delayed their opening. With the slightly warmer weather of the last couple of days my favourites should be open in the next week or so. I have one crocus showing a sliver of colour, but it was only just peeking out at the world. I did not want to give it a complex by taking its photo.

So here we go :

Top row from left to right : snowdrops in garden, pulmonaria
'Rubra Redstart', helleborus orientalis.
Middle row from left to right : galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart', heuchera 'Jade Gloss', galanthus 'Green tips lost labelus'.
Bottom row from left to right : viburnum tinus, more snowdrops in garden,galanthus nivalis 'The Walrus'


in case anyone wants a better reccie clicking on the photo will reveal a larger image.

There are many beautiful blooms to be admired and to be added to the wish list at May Dreams Gardens.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Feeling Rosy Again



Well, despite the BBC weather forecast of cloud and the temperature reaching the dizzying heights of 7 degrees centigrade today, my early morning shopping trip saw chilly rain. I was hoping to get out at some point today to do some tidying up in the garden, but will have to play the wait and see game. If it was July and wet I would put a raincoat to venture out, but not on Valentine's Day.

Whilst I still wait in hope for a bunch of flowers, box of choccies etc., etc. I thought that I would write of roses, a most suitable flower for today. Back in January I wrote here about the arrival of a parcel from Peter Beales Roses, which bought contained two bare root roses.

Having already posted about the first rose 'Felicite Parmentier', now is the turn of the second occupant of the parcel. This rose is headed for my allotment. Truth to be told it was not my first choice. The rose that I was originally thinking of grows in a fellow allotmenteer's plot. For about three weeks in June, perhaps just spilling over into July it makes a dazzling display. When I first spoke to S. to tell how much I liked the rose and to ask its name he could not remember it. This year I asked if I could take some photos to help me identify the rose which he kindly allowed me to do. A couple of these photos can be seen at the top of this post. Before I had the opportunity to do some research, S. called me over one day to show me the label which he had found located in the midst of its brambles. S's rose is the 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' which as well as having such beautiful blooms is also scented - a must for me if I was plant a rose at the allotment. I was sorely tempted but then my raptures over this rose were rudely dented by the voice of reason. 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' can grow up to 40ft high ! It would need constant pruning to make sure that it did not turn into a monster, and incur the wrath of the allotment police. It would also need support - another job on the list for himself. What finally made me to decide it was not to be is when S. told me what a nightmare it is to prune as it is unbelievably thorny. So instead I decided to be content with viewing S's rose every time I go down the allotment path, and that I would plant another rose.

So after much deliberation and catalogue browsing I plumped for 'Blush Noisette'. I have seen this flowering before but am unable to find the photo I thought I took. She can be grown as a shrub or a small climber to about 10ft, so will be easier to care for. The flowers are white blushed with pink, apparently repeat flowering and she is scented. I can't wait to see her flower.

Whilst at the keyboard I have ventured into the kitchen to make coffee I noticed that the rain has stopped so I might yet get my hands dirty :)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

'Daisy,Daisy,Give Me Your Answer Do!'

D IS FOR :



DAISIES !

'If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.'


- attributed to Nadine Stair.

I think that the word daisy must have entered my vocabulary at an early age. My father always used to sing when he had his morning shave. Nearly every morning his repertoire included 'Daisy Bell', the chorus of which is still imprinted on my mind :

'Daisy Daisy,
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two !'


Delightful, dainty and dazzling here here are one or two of my favourite daisies starting with erigeron mucronatus (see photo above), which is rather an ugly name for a most pretty little plant. It was previously known as erigeron karvinskianus, which although a mouthful seemed a more attractive name. It hails from Mexico. This plant flowers for months starting here sometimes as early as March, and continues until the first hard frost. Despite its innocent appearance it should come with a government health warning. Margery Fish writes in 'Cottage Garden Flowers' that 'no one minds how many new seedlings appear each year' but I beg to disagree. It will self seed prolifically everywhere, and the seedlings seem to dig their heels in thoroughly at any attempt to extract them. I always chuckle wryly when I see it for sale at exorbitant prices in catalogue and in nurseries.

A daisy that I only purchased last year is Leucanthemum x.superbum Sonnenschein ("Sunshine") but I am sure that it is going to be a favourite. I am not a big fan of bright yellow flowers, but I can be persuaded to grow the paler, softer yellows. I am sure that I am missing out here on some great plants but we all have our foibles. I fell for 'Sonneseschein' on a visit to a beautiful garden last year on a perfect summers day, so just had to buy it when we left via the nursery. I do not have a photo yet but one can be seen along with other desirable daisies at the Special Perennials nursery website here. This Cheshire based nursery are coming to give a talk to our garden club later this year which I am really looking forward to.

Last but not least probably my favourite members of the daisy family - Michaelmas daisies. These are great plants for attracting butterflies flowering around the feast of St.Michael which falls on 29th September :

'The Michaelmas daisy among dead weeds,
Bloom for St.Michael's valorous deeds'

My father was going to be a Michael but arrived a day too late. The photos below were taken late last September when himself and I visited The Picton Garden, Colwall, Malvern in Worcestershire, home to the NCCPG National Collection of Michaelmas daisies. The gardens were ablaze with autumn colour - daisies, other later flowering perennials and some interesting shrubs. There was an adjacent nursery well stocked with Michaelmas daisies, but sadly not the one I had set my heart on by the name of 'Photograph', which I found on asking is very difficult to propagate. I was advised that they may have some in the future. Well there's the perfect excuse for a return visit.






This is my entry for this week's ABC Wednesday. More posts featuring the letter D can be enjoyed here.

Monday, 9 February 2009

The Big Freeze



Plastic water lilies take on another dimension under ice .....


A day late with my weekly diary this time but not much to tell.
A combination of some real winter weather and my stiff neck/shoulder has put pay to any garden activities, other than the armchair sort. However my seed box has now been spring cleaned in readiness for the new season. One or two gaps were identified so I will be doing some online ordering this week.

In the virtual garden I had great fun holding a dinner party for some special guests. Mistress of ceremonies was VP who came up with this most imaginative suggestion of making this time of year more enjoyable.

I have learned a most delicious new word 'farch' (word used to cover the period from February to March). I have added some new to me gardeners and garden authors to investigate. I have also been amazed by other people's writing, great artwork and collages. So a big thanks to VP for brightening up the February doldrums.

Another ray of sunshine came with my copy of the 2009 'TheYellow Book' which seems to my mind to come out earlier each year. A full scrutiny of the book remains but we have already penned in a visit to Pear Tree Cottage in Cumbria. We were on our way there a couple of years ago when sadly torrential rain stopped play.

Whilst out on a shopping trip for household stuff I was excited to discover a bundle of willow twigs at a reasonable price.These are now outside waiting for me to get the creative urge. My first experiment will be a creation to support clematis 'Petit Faucon' which resides in a big pot outside our front door. She has had a makeshift support for the last couple of years so deserves something better to do her justice. Despite this cold weather there are already signs of green buds. There will be enough left over to make some structures to be used at the allotment so watch this space !

Postscript :
Saturday 7th February - sunrise: 07.29, sunset:17.02.
Saturday 14th February - sunrise :07:16, sunset:17.14.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner ?



Since VP suggested brightening up February by having a dinner party tonight I have been busy planning, shopping and cleaning. The house is sparkling in anticipation of my visitors who will be arriving this evening. In keeping with the cold weather I think that we will be eating something hale and hearty tonight, possibly a stew, maybe a regional speciality 'Scouse'. I am still thinking about the second course. I have a feeling that at least one of my guests is a vegetarian so I will be making an alternative. Himself has agreed to serve at the table so that I do not have miss one syllable of the scintillating conversation. He is just busy sorting out the wine at present …..........

Oh how tantalising the idea of being able to invite any gardener or nature lover past or present to come to dinner and how difficult to decide. To make matters more simple for me I opted for gardeners of the present.

My first guest is Beth Chatto who will not need any introduction to fellow plant lovers. I have read and treasured her books especially her ' The Garden Notebook' and 'The Green Tapestry', the latter inspiring my choice of name for this blog. I have also been fortunate to visit her garden at Elmstead Market on a very warm day in August a good few years ago now, but the images, sounds and scents are still vivid. I was stunned. I would love to talk to her about plant associations and about her many gardening friends including the artist
Cedric Morris and Christopher Lloyd.

Second on my guest list in Cleve West, garden designer, Chelsea gold medalist and allotmenteer. A couple of years ago I spent a weekend with a dear friend who lives in Hampshire. As a very special treat we attended a days course at West Dean House, where he was one of the guest speakers. Cleve's lecture that day was not on the subject that he is more well known for, but on his allotment which is a huge passion in his life. I would love to be able to pick his brain on vegetable and fruit growing, and to ask him more questions about how he constructed his compost bin which was not only utilitarian, but also most pleasing to the eye. Cleve himself is most pleasing to the eye so that is another reason for having him sitting just opposite me at the dinner table.

Number three is a down to earth Lancashire lass, a plantswoman, writer and television presenter Carol Klein. Carol always appears so bubbly and enthusiastic that I am sure that she would inspire even the most reluctant person into growing and gardening. I think of Carol as the queen of propagation and would relish the opportunity to quiz her on this topic.

Now I know that VP said that we had to restrict ourselves to 3-5 guests but I am doing a bit of creative thinking here. I hope that I can get away with it. My fourth guest is my parents – they come as a job lot:) Both into their eighties now they are the folk who inspired a love of plants and gardening in me. They planted the deep pink climbing rose and the honeysuckle, that we could smell from our bedroom window on the warm summer evenings of our childhood. They are both struggling with health problems now but still get great enjoyment from their garden. My mum has to use a walking frame, yet shows great tenacity and determination to plant and tend to her alpine bed full of her treasures. She shuffles on her derriere to get to where she wants to be and I am full of admiration. My mum is Italian and came to England in her twenties. She still misses the warmth of Roman summers. She misses being able to pick and eat apricots from the garden. She loves and cherishes the flowers of her youth including cyclamen and wild violets. She is also has a magical touch with houseplants including African violets and orchids. I just have to look at such plants from fifty yards away and they wither. Maybe she will tell me what her secret is.

My dad is the fifth child of a Fens farmer so he grew up on the land. He would have been happy to have stayed in that environment or in forestry but it was not to be. Dad is never happier than when he is outside, whether it is pottering in the greenhouse, pruning his beloved apple trees or just sitting on the garden bench in the shade on a sunny afternoon. As a younger man he grew a lot of fruit and vegetables, both in the garden and at an allotment where he could escape to for the odd couple of hours peace and contemplation. From my dad I would like to find out the secret to creating a near perfect lawn.
Having lived a good distance away from my parents all my adult life any dinner shared with then is to be treasured.

Last but not least I would like to invite VP to complete my guest list. Although we have not yet met I feel that she has a most lively, inquisitive, has a great sense of humour and that she holds plants and the natural world close to her heart. I am sure that she would be a joy to have as a dinner companion.

As long as my guests can make it through the snow, we should be in for some good food, great conversation and hopefully much laughter well into the small hours of the morning. I am just so relieved though that it is too dark to take them for a walk round my garden !

Now, that you have read this do go and find out who other garden bloggers are entertaining here at Veg Plotting.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

'Just Perfick'

From this :


to this :



A cold day here - we woke to a white blanket on the ground, and it snowed for most of the morning. It seemed a fitting day to turn the last pumpkin from the 2008 allotment harvest into an edible deliciousness. We have an understanding. I grow them so himself cooks them. So for lunch we sat down down to a bowl of most yummy soup. All that was missing was some crusty granary bread and butter, but then their absence was better for the waistline I tell myself. Enough left over to fill three containers for the freezer, which will be enjoyed as and when the need for soup calls. If the weather continues in the same vein it won't be long !

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

ABC Wednesday

C IS FOR:

 
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain


CAMPER VANS - which have conveyed us around Cheshire, Cumbria, Cornwall, to Chatsworth, Combourg and Cancale, from coast to countryside from cities to canalsides, and a whole host of other destinations between A-Z.

When himself began earnestly reading 'Motor Caravaning Monthly' several years ago I was seriously concerned. I am a girl who likes her creature comforts. However it was his heart's desire so one day the dream became a reality. Disaster struck within the first month of purchase when himself made a journey to the local municipal tip returning with the roof neatly sliced in half. He had forgotten just how tall this beast was and encountered the rather inconveniently placed low entrance barrier - CCCCCRUNCH ! We have seen realised that there there are odd places that are wise to avoid. Multi - storey car parks out of the question. Well this minor mishap delayed our maiden voyage by a few months. Undeterred himself patched the van up and in doing so cured the leaking roof that had come with it.

So off we went on our first holiday one sunny weekend in June. Armed with 'The Yellow Book' and 'The Plant Finder' we travelled south along the A49 in search of open gardens and nurseries - well that was the bait dangled in front of me. It certainly did the trick ! I soon realised that this was an ideal way to explore. Travelling by van is like a snail traveling with it's home on its back. Most of them have copious amounts of cupboard space, and as for plant buying there is a cavernous space to fill. Morever, himself could sit comfortably in the van, with a cup of tea and newspaper, whilst I could amble round nurseries at my leisure. So the days passed whilst the evenings lended themselves to gentle strolls to local pubs or a meal at 'home' followed by reading or a game of Scrabble. Once darkness fell and the curtains were drawn you were in a cosy little world of your own.

So a good few years on and five camper vans on, the latest is a soon to be twenty one years old Bedford. I must confess that my eyes watered when himself sold her predecessor, the indomitable Billy the Bedford. The latest incarnation a Ford is presently resting up for the winter but come spring we will be out on the road again. This really is the way to travel !

Why don't you now pay a visit to the home of ABC Wednesday here where you can discover other posts on the letter C.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Dear Diary


My attempt to keep a weekly chronicle of my gardening/allotment activities has fallen down at the first hurdle, as my intended Sunday scribblings are appearing on Tuesday. I have a good excuse I tell myself. I am suffering from the effects of a stiff neck and shoulder which I have not had for several years. I had forgotten how painful this is. Himself has been been applying liberal amounts of 'Deep Heat' to the offending area as I wail piteously. I smell delicious. So there has been nothing taking place in the shape of horticultural activities for a few days other than armchair gardening.

Earlier in the week I had spent a cold but dry and bright afternoon finally planting the last of my tulips and daffs. I am not sure whether the daffs will amount to much, but am more hopeful for the tulips. I used more black pots obtained from Morrisons - these are the ones that they use to display bunches of flowers. Not the most aesthetically pleasing of objects, but at 99 pence for 20 buckets they are a bargain and do the job. I did not quite finish so went out again for a spell on a colder, greyer and windy Tuesday morning which might have resulted in the stiff neck.

In the post this week an envelope arrived containing an RHS diary. I have used one of their pocket diaries for a few years for keeping a note of any appointments. They have become harder to find in the last couple of years or so. I tried local newsagents and stationers without joy, and then the RHS website shop which had run out. This was in December. So that was that or so I thought, until I saw one on eBay and put in a successful bid. There is some information about RHS gardens and shows at the front but that is incidental. What I like about this diary is that it notes the phases of the moon and sunset/sunrise times. I take great pleasure in reading these especially at this time of year. I imagine that the times relate to London but for :

Saturday 31st January - sunrise 7.40am, sunset 16.49pm
Saturday 7th February - sunrise 7.29am, sunset 17.09pm

So in the space of a week we have thirty one extra minutes of daylight - yaaaaaay ! I have not seen this information in any other diaries, so although January had almost gone by the time it arrived I was delighted to see it.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

GBMD - 'Snowdrop Time'



'Ah,hush tread softly through the rime,
'For there will be a blackbird singing,or a thrush
Like coloured beads the elmbuds flush:
All the trees dream of leaves and flower and light,
And see ! The northern bank is much more white
Than frosty grass, for now is snowdrop time
.'


- Mary Webb 1811 -1927.

This is my February contribution for Garden Bloggers' Muse Day which falls on the first day of each month. Garden Bloggers' Muse Day was started by Carolyn Gail at her blog Sweet Home and Garden Chicago, where there are links to other February poems.