Sunday, 30 May 2010

Retail Therapy



An opportunity to indulge in some welcome plant retail therapy this weekend as plants sales seem to be thick and fast on the ground. Yesterday was our garden club sale .Typically the day started wet and in fact continued most wet throughout. I must have had a premonition as I decided not to have a plant stall this year. So I was delighted not to be traipsing round in the rain early in the morning, gathering up crates of plants and desperately searching for loose change at thevery last moment. No frantic labeling as I realise that a dozen or so pots have escaped my beady eye and although I know what they are potential buyers may not. Instead I could take my time and although I helped my friend D. on her busy stall I had plenty of time to wander round the other stalls at my leisure. I came away with some unamed plants including a white phlox and a purple campanula as well as a cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', which I have been contemplating buying for some time.

Today it was further afield to another plant sale about five miles away or so. At the advice of friend D. we arrived just before the start time of 11.00am. I am so glad that we did as within half hour the sales area had been decimated. The sale was not due to finish until 2.00pm so latecomers would have been rather disappointed. Coming home with me was the oak fern that you can see below~



a phormium to replace the one I lost in the winter as well as monarda 'Gardenview Scarlet'. Before we left there was time for a walk round the windswept hilltop garden with its fine view of the Cheshire countryside. Better weather is predicted for tomorrow, the ground is warm and damp so ideal planting conditions for my new purchases.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Scentsational

S IS FOR?



SUBLIME~ inspiring uplifting emotion because of its beauty!

This sight and its accompanying scent certainly uplifted my spirits last week after a rather difficult few days.

Saunter over to ABC Wednesday for more snippets on the letter S.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

A Gift



Time in the garden and the allotment has been precious during the last few days, especially as I have been away from home unexpectedly. In my absence a long awaited spell of warmth has really spurred on growth. Whilst my back was turned all sorts of flowers have suddenly unfolded from nowhere, faster than the speed of light. I have spent a most pleasant and calming evening just pottering about checking out the openings, squidging the dreaded greenfly which have appeared on my tomato plants as well as trying to keep up unsuccesfully with the potting on. Last task of the day and the most pleasant was trying to decide where to plant a couple of cortusa matthioli - a gift from Patient Gardener. As far as I am concerned plant gifts are the best gifts of all and I will certainly treasure these plants which were just showing colour last time I peeked at them and now look!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Fancy A Nibble?

R IS FOR?




RIDICULOUS!

A little plant slipped into my supermarket shopping basket yesterday - a dianthus to replace the one that is looking very forlorn at the allotment. Could not believe my eyes when I had a closer look at the label.

Race over to ABC Wednesday to find out more about the letter R.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Still on Tippy Toes

One more treat lay in store after the Malvern Spring Gardening Show and fortunately though still unseasonably cold the rain held off. As I don't do motorways (become even more of a gibbering wreck of a passenger) we traveled home via the A49 as usual. If you do not mind getting stuck behind the odd slow moving tractor this is a most enjoyable route taking you through some most pleasant countryside. There are some county towns en route which are great fun to explore including the country market towns of Ludlow and Shrewsbury. Not so far away though from where we stayed and perfectly positioned for lunch were the gardens at Hampton Court.

This was our second visit in May and I noticed that the garden was definitely running behind last year, when the tulips were already going over. This year they were looking quite splendid so with Shirl's Tulip Photo Fest in mind I was pleased to see these beauties ~





Pretty in various shades of pink ~





and some egg yolky yellows ~





Having walked round the gardens we headed off for lunch where who should we meet in the restuarant but none other than the 'Fab Five' ~ what a small world! Fortified by leek and potato soup at the recommendation of Patient Gardener, we headed back through the garden where we heard the Five's dulcet tones and giggles from deep within the maze. I believe that they have since escaped so no need to launch a search party I most relieved to say.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

'Tip -Toe Through The Tulips'



Whilst at the Malvern Show I was keeping my eyes open for tulips at the invitation of an absent fellow blogger Shirley to a tulip photo fest. As I wondered round the floral marquee I espied these ~



these ~



this combination which really appealed to me ~



these ~



and then there were these beauties ~


featuring the most delicately coloured pastel frothy tulip 'Shirley' ~



The tulip odyssey continued on our way home so part two to follow very shortly. Do watch the You Tube clip if you have time (gentle chuckles in store) and make sure that you visit Shirl's Garden Watch where you can linger over more tulip posts.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Lady In Waiting

Q IS FOR?



ALMOST A QUEEN!

~ this is tulip 'Prinses Irene' who is glowing in my garden this month.

Make your way quickly over to ABC Wednesday for lots more quirky Qs.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Malvern Blue



Back home after a most enjoyable day at the Malvern Show where it was great to meet so many fellow garden bloggers and put faces to so many names. Many, many thanks to Veg Plotting and Patient Gardener for all the organisation, attention to detail, love and thoughtfulness that went into making this blogger's get together such a memorable occasion. You did us most proud.

Not many photos from me with this post. Firstly I took fewer than usual as my hands were so cold, that I nearly resorted to buying some gardening gloves in the morning just to feel them again. Secondly I followed himself's advice and took my fairly new to me camera with me, rather than its reliable predecessor. Having seen the results I obviously need more practise at using this piece of technology as many of my photos were sadly quite blurry.

However here are a couple of photos of the plants that I really fell for in a big way. I am suffering from the same "You can't always get what you want" syndrome as Patient Gardener. Like her I was besotted by magnolia laevifolia ‘Mini Mouse’ which featured in a magnificent display staged by The Hardy Plant Society ~



I spent some time last night unsuccessfully trying to track this plant down on the internet and then read Patient Gardener's post today. Apparently this magnolia is only currently available from one nursery which happens to be at the other end of the country!

I was equally smitten by melanoselinum decipiens which grabbed my attention as I looked at Jekka McVicar's stand. This umbifeller is also known as black cow parsley and I think that I may have found a source of seeds but will not rest until they come through the letter box ~



So those were the plants that I did not bring home with me. The ones I did were lemon verbena (which I find hard to find locally every year), actaea 'Brunette', actaea 'Hillside Black Beauty' both of which I have been looking for) and lastly my only impulse buy ~ athyrium niponicum 'Applecourt. Photos of all will no doubt follow in due course. I resisted all temptation to come home with another hosta. Several packets of seeds also found their way into my paws - parsley peas, various salad leaf mixtures as well as some clematis.

If any of you who met me on Saturday thought that I had a discrete little blue tattoo on my left hand, I have to confess that I was still sporting the remnants of a most effective pass out stamp, having left the showground briefly for lunch. I woke up on Sunday and realised to my horror that despite several hand washes in the interim I was still branded. The scrubbing brush came out last night and this memento has now been permanently eradicated but it will be a long time before my memories of the weekend fade.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

At The Museum



For a bit of light relief whilst shopping on Saturday, I popped into the World Museum, Liverpool which is currently staging an exhibition entitled 'Plantastic'. The museum building is decorated with two inflatable flowers - you can see one of them in the photo below. They used to be high up in the concourse area at Liverpool Lime Street Station and were designed by a Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa for the Liverpool Biennial in 2004. The blurb about the exhibition on the museum's website sounded quite exciting "Discover the secret world of plants in Plantastic!, an exhibition for all the family. Enter a magical realm with giant leafy canopies, massive seed pods, huge root systems and strange man-made trees. Forty exciting interactive displays help explain how we use plants in our daily life and show that plants are essential for the planet’s survival". However I had forgotten it was a bank holiday weekend and the place was bursting at the seams with families. I soon decided that I would return another day when it will hopefully be quieter. The exhibition is on until September so there is time to return at a later date.



Before leaving though I did enjoy a ten minute or so sit down under a fabric canopy and watched the seasons unfold in slow motion on the screen in front of me. Oh so perfectly relaxing - I nearly nodded off. Pop over to ABC Wednesday for plenty more on the letter P.

P.S. I had two contenders for this P post - saving the other one for a week or so.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

End of Month View ~ April 2010



Well here we are - another month down the line and isn't the year just flying. My end of month post, inspired by Patient Gardener is slightly late as it poured down on Friday. It ceased early in the evening but the light was not good so I have been out there camera in hand today. I was amazed to see how much growth there has been in the last month. Here is more or less the same spot at the end of March. I have been delighted with hellebore 'Mrs Betty Ranicar' this year - last year she sulked and produced a paltry handful of flowers. This year she has been most floriferous - isn't that such a satisfying word ?



She has also been going strong for a good month or so now and whilst the other hellebore flowers are spent she still looks attractive. Now if only she would set seed - she is meant to come more or less true but has never produced as much as a single seed in the few years she has been in residence. Some of the other residents in close up ~





Truth be told I have not done much in the border since last month other than get rid of one or two annoyances so there are now some bare patches. I have some nectaroscordum siculum bulgaricum grown in pots waiting to go in, some orlaya grandiflora grown from seed and a white pulmonaria. Priorities now are to remove the self seeded rosa rubignosa and self seeded tree (possibly a chestnut) which I thought was a stem of the weigela. Note to self that I should wear my specs more often in the garden. Other than that I need to get in and behind and sort out the back, do some dividing and repositioning of plants (may have to wait now to do this) and include some autumn colour and interest. Easy peasy really. I am hoping to crack on tomorrow - I am trying to make this week a by and large allotment free few days as I have really been neglecting the garden for some time much to my shame. Before I start I need to remove the pile of bricks that himself has so considerately arranged in front of the border. It will make access and taking photos so much easier!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Garden Bloggers Muse Day - May 2010



"Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair:
Fear not; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept.
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night:
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth! Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best when once we go a -Maying."


~ Robert Herrick, an extract from 'Corinna's Going a -Maying' ~ 1648. The poem can be read in full here.

The very month of May has dawned fine and fair here and the garden has been refreshed by yesterday's drenching. More May poetry, prose and song over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago, kindly hosted each month by Carolyn.