Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Missing Factor

O IS FOR?

 


OUT ON THE STEETS!

'Out on the Streets' is a regular feature at over at Veg Plotting where we are invited to show everyone the public open spaces and planting that we come across in our neighbourhoods or on our travels.

Over the last few months I have been visiting Chavasse Park in Liverpool and reporting back. Chavasse Park is small park slap bang in middle of the city centre You can see my June, September and Decembers posts here,here and here. I made my latest visit in early April and perhaps should have left it until later in the month. The grasses which are a feature of the planting still looked good but there was very little evidence of spring. There was little in flower - the odd perennial but not a single solitary sign of either emerging, flowering or flowered bulb. Whilst this area would not lend itself to mass plantings there are plenty of pockets that would be suitable for drifts of snowdrops, crocus or narcissus so why they have not been planted completely puzzled me. Maybe the planting budget was exhausted by the time it came to spring. Unlike my previous visits this peek in to the park left me disappointed. However I will try to nip back in the next week or so to see what else has emerged, now that spring has well and truly finally arrived. Please click on the collage for the bigger picture.

Over at ABC Wednesday there are many more observations on the letter O.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Digging Myself Into A Hole


My love affair with the allotment is at a low ebb at the moment. Those "lazy hazy crazy days of summer," when I will be munching fresh sweet peas, crunching crisp salad leaves and salivating over strawberries seem but a cruelly teasing mirage. Have you ever started on a task and then wished you had left it well alone? Well that has been the case at the allotment during this last week. When I took on the allotment five years ago I inherited some undesirable and unwanted features which I have slowly been working our way round with some much appreciated assistance from the muscle that is himself. The boundary fence has been replaced, the raised beds have been renewed and the layers and layers of carpet have been removed. There remained a couple of tasks for this year. One of them is to completely empty the shed. I think that I am wary of doing this because there are bound to be gigantic spiders or worse lurking in the inner depths. The former occupant's taste in interior design is not mine but I have been reluctant to remove his Liverpool Football Club memorabilia and do not have the heart to paint over the names of his grandchildren, which are written above the doorway leading into the lean-to/semi greenhouse. So up to now I have sorted through cupboard and shelves but have still to sort out the underneath clutter. At some stage though this summer though there will be a grand chucking out and brushing down.

The other task this year was to remove the gigantic slowly rotting wooden cold frame with its impossibly heavy lights, freeing up more growing space in doing so. Last weekend himself was in a demolition mood and having enlisted his help for the morning I could not stand in the way of so called progress. Within an hour the cold frame was reduced to smithereens which for the main part fitted nicely into our trailer for a journey to the municipal tip. What I have been left with though is a veritable crater full of grotty bits and pieces including a myriad of shredded bits of plastic. To add insult to injury himself emptied out the contents of a big bucket onto the ground sending rusty nails, nuts and bolts, old light bulbs, door knobs and other unidentified objects scattering out out in all directions. So this last week has seen me crouched on my haunches picking up the bucket's contents as well as riddling through the general debris. This is a work in progress and I will be there for some time longer before the space will be clean enough to add some top soil. Meanwhile the allotment inspections looms omniously near on the horizon and of course my plot would have looked better with the cold frame intact. Urgent cosmetic surgery is on the cards. In the meantime I am consoling myself that I read on this week on Carrots and Kids that rusty nails can be a beneficial addition to the planting hole when you are planting blueberries. I just happen to have six blueberry plants rescued from the cheap and cheerful section of the garden centre waiting to go in.

In the meantime if you are wondering where the brunnera comes into the story, I could not bring myself to photograph the hole so will leave you with an image of what has been bringing a smile to my face on my return home after stints at the allotment.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wings

N IS FOR?



NARCISSUS!

and this is my favourite - the most elegant 'Thalia' which is in flower now. Why not visit ABC Wednesday where you can see more posts on the letter N!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Bookworm



Why is it that a ruck of desirable books turn up at more or less all at once just like buses? There's a handful of books that are must reads for me at the moment but I am trying to be restrained in my buying. The one that I could not simply resist arrived in the post on Friday morning and I am looking forward to having a linger over its pages in the next few days. My favourite gardening activity has always been propagating plants, whether it be from seed, division or cuttings etc. so I just had to buy Carol Klein's 'Grow Your Own Garden'. I have only had a quick peek so far but I think that I will be making good use of this book. There are chapters on seeds, stem cuttings, stem cuttings, leaves, root cuttings, bulbs, tubers and rhizomes, layering, division, offsets, ferns and aftercare. The book concludes with a section on matching plants to techniques. Carol's enthusiastic personality seems to come shining out of the pages and her passion for the subject is evident.



Other books on my must read list include Steven Anderton's biography 'Christopher Lloyd: His Life at Great Dixter'. Then there's Matthew Wilson's 'Landscape Man: Making A Garden' (television series due to start later this week). I am hoping that I might be able to procure these from my local library which has already recently come good with Alys Fowler's 'The Edible Garden'.

The only downside at the moment is there just does not seem to be enough hours in the day to fit everything in so reading tends to take somewhat of a back seat. Oh well perhaps it is just as well that the last book on my list does not come out until almost November! If I dare mention the C word without being cast out into the outer edges of blogland, Anna Pavord's book 'The Curious Gardener: A Gardener's Year' looks as if it will be the perfect seasonal present to myself. Meanwhile have I missed any other new gardening books this spring? All suggestions welcome.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ April 2010

 


This time last year forget - me - nots were singing the blues but not a peek from them yet or from the blue clematis alpina down at the end of the garden. We have been enjoying a spell of settled dry weather here - in fact dare I say it some April showers would be more than welcome. The stars of the garden at the moment are the autumn flowering cherry now resplendent in its second flush and hellebore' Mrs Betty Ranicar' (both pictured in the third row). The latter went through a sulking phase last year and only produced a handful of flowers but this year has come back strong. The name of the plant in the bottom left hand corner has gone from my memory. I think that it begins with an M. If anybody can name it I would be most grateful.

You can enjoy other April blossoms over at May Dreams Gardens kindly hosted each month by Carol.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Muck And Magic

M IS FOR?



MOLEHILLS AND MOSS !

On a recent walk we met with these mounds of molehills which you can see above. The little mount in the background has the delightful name of 'Catbells'. On the same walk we also came across this most memorable dingly dell with its mossy covered floor ~





Do click on the last photo. I have it as my screensaver at the moment and want to reach into the screen to stroke green velvet. What does your screensaver display just now? More on the letter M over at ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Planning And Plotting



Why is it that the arrival of spring always catches me by surprise and never quite ready for a new growing year? After all we had such a long cold winter surely there should have been enough time to get my house or in this case garden/allotment in order. It has been a glorious spring weekend here and I have been at the allotment for a good part of the time. I did get some work done - planted some potatoes, pruned the getting stragglier by the day eglantine rose, wrestled to extract some surplus comfrey plants and even struggled with some paving slabs to make a mini path. I have also sown carrots and radishes. Between bouts of activity it was good to stand in the sun and catch up with lottie neighbours. Good also to see the first flowers of the year on the plot apart from the daffodils - some violas planted at the back end of the year have come to life in the last week or so. The foliage is very bedraggled and I suppose I should replant but who could resist the face above?



However I also spent a good deal of time perched on the edge of one of the raised beds surveying my kingdom, notebook and pen in hand. For the life of me I can't remember what was planted exactly where last year and my notebook containing this precious information seems to have disappeared in the long winter void. Notes and sketches have been penned but it seems that I am growing more seedlings than I have space for and fitting them all in is going to be a challenge. In the meantime my autumn sown peas are flowering before I have got them in the ground! I have apologised to them and will remedy the situation forthwith.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Guardian Angels

L IS FOR?



LIVERPOOL!
Liverpool is the nearest large city to where I live. Having lived in this area for some time now and being married to a 'Scouser' (native of Liverpool) I have rather a soft spot for this city. After London, the city has the largest number of listed buildings in the county, including the Royal Liver Building, which is probably the city's most recognisable building. The two Liver Birds that perch above it guard both the city and the sea. Legend has it that if the birds should ever fly away that the city will cease to be. The clock faces on the towers are larger than those of Big Ben and are in fact the largest electronically driven clocks in the United Kingdom. The photo below shows a relatively new aspect to the scene with the extension of the Leeds - Liverpool Canal along the historic Liverpool waterfront. This project was completed in 2009.



As well as the old, Liverpool has a myriad of new buildings some of which have proved to be rather controversial in their design. Here is the new museum which is due to open next year ~


and the One Park West building which was nominated for the 2009 Carbuncle Cup - an award for the country's most hideous new buildings ~



Liverpool is certainly a lively city and full of interest whether you are a history lover, art lover, music lover, sports lover or a lover of life - there is something for everyone. Do come and visit if you can. Now why not leap over to ABC Wednesday where there are more posts listed all featuring the letter L.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

My Easter Bonnet


Easter Day - and here's my bonnet - primula vulgaris 'Quakers Bonnet' - in flower this Easter morn. Wishing you all peace and joy at Easter!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day - April 2010.



'When Faces Called Flowers Float Out Of The Ground'

when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it's april (yes,april;my darling) it's spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together)

when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we're alive,dear:it's (kiss me now) spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
(now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring (all our night becomes day) o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

~ ee cummings, 1894- 1962

Enjoy more April musing over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago kindly hosted by Carolyn Gail.