greentapestry : At The Starting Line

Sunday, 23 January 2011

At The Starting Line

It's almost two years to the day when I posted here the first of what I hoped would be a regular diary type entry, enabling me to keep track of plannings, plantings and generally of goings on in the garden and at the allotment. Well I did quite well at first, then in the way of all previous diary attempts I slowly stuttered before finally fizzling out.
So I am going to have another crack at a hopefully a weekly or thereabouts diary type post. The weather has been on the cool frosty side with some frosts including a couple of rather murky foggy days - decidedly not fit for venturing out. As the third week of January came to an end I am almost all sorted in the seed buying stakes. My seed boxes had a ruthless cull over the Christmas season and I established that there was not much that I needed for the new season. One or two small orders have gone off and have been delivered. I was pleased to come across Mark Diacono's newly opened 'Otter Farm' internet shop on Friday. An order has been placed for a Japanese wineberry and an Egyptian walking onion. I only hope that they will settle into the Cheshire Plain without any great degree of homesickness.

I am not sure what is happening at the allotment but a trip there is on the cards in the next few days. Meanwhile in the garden the snowdrops are showing shimmers of white - just a few more days. Out of my diminished special snowdrops the early flowering 'Faringdon's Double' is in flower. Lots of promise on the hellebore front and pulmonaria rubra 'Redstart' is now showing colour - this usually flowers in late autumn but not this time around.

I made my first trip of the year to a garden centre  today -  two to be precise - they are within a mile or so of each other so you can't visit one and not the other - well that is what I tell himself. There seemed to be fewer winter interest plants on sale than there usually are - a result of the cold winter I wonder.  I was looking out for seed potatoes but was disappointed that the range available did not seem as varied as last year. I looked for 'Lady Christl','Belle De Fontenay' and 'Ratte' in vain but did come home with 'Pink Fir Apple'. A new ornamental pot also slipped into my basket along with a packet of pak choi 'Rubi'. One of the garden centres had a sale and I could not resist a half price cornus sanguinea 'MidWinter Fire'. This is to replace an old straggly red stemmed cornus, which I have not pruned as ruthlessly as I should have done over many years. I think that I should still be able to take some hardwood cuttings before I dispose of the old shrub. We stopped off at a well known DIY store on the way home and a couple of small deliciously scented sarcococca confusa firmly attached themselves to my personna. So my first garden related retail therapy session of the year ~ I dare say it will not be the last. Has anybody else been indulging so far this year? Do tell.


  1. You're ahead of me in both the snowdrop and garden retail therapy departments. My snowdrops are through but are several weeks off flowering, and I although I did visit the garden centre last week I didn't buy anything (mind you it was dark and they were wrapping all the plants up else I probably would have!).

  2. Like Sue, you are ahead of me in the snowdrop department Anna. They made an appearance before we had the snow and now seem to have come to a full stop. Have also been to a garden centre and found they did not have much in that was seasonal apart from seeds. Hope to visit the lottie soon - dread to think what it is like as not been there since November.

  3. Hi Anna,

    Lovely to see you have Snowdrops showing up, I look forward to more photos of them :)

    Hmmm, my Pulmonaria are not yet showing at all. I hope the snow didn't kill them off, I only bought them late summer, ready for this Spring :(

  4. No snowdrops here yet. I did most of my seed shopping at the end of last year when they were on sale, but I didn't really need much. I've bought some new strawberry plants this year which are all potted up as their bed at the allotment isn't ready for them yet, but apart from that I haven't bought anything new yet.

  5. I think you are being a little harsh on yourself. You do post regularly and you have had rather a lot to deal with over the last year.

    My garden retail therapy has all been on line so far. I have ordered seeds for the allotment from Mark and also for thegarden from Special Plants, however there were a few others I needed and I have more or less placed an order with Sarah Raven incl some new dahlias to replace the ones the mice nibbled at. I know I have given in and bought seeds but they all have homes identified so that is a huge stepforward for me!

  6. You are so lucky to be out visiting nurseries. When I woke up this morning in mid-Atlantic US, it was 0 degrees F (-18 C) with our sixth snow storm predicted for tomorrow. I like the photo of the snowdrops emerging.

  7. Hi Anna, "garden retail therapy" is a great term, and yes, I have indulged. My latest purchase was some "Velvet Queen" red sunflower seeds after admiring some dark red sunflowers in our allotment colony. And it seems I can't go to the store without buying some more gardening gloves. I'm intrigued by "walking onions", will look it up. Your snowdrops look just like mine right now.

  8. It's too early for us to plant, even indoors. Come March, we can plant annuals, tomatoes and such inside, and go find some pansies at the local nurseries.

    I just discovered hellebores a couple years ago, and have managed to plant several kinds. I had some blooms last year, and am excited to see what blooms this year.

  9. I forgot to mention that I'm not posting as often as I used to, and am trying to get some rooms in my house uncluttered, but still go in spurts where I'm reading blogs and messing with my template.

  10. V. exciting about the snowdrops, and sounds as if you have plenty of other delights about to make their presence felt! I've managed to avoid going to a garden center so far this year, I rarely escape without things miraculously leaping in to my cart that I wasn't planning for. I have, though, placed several orders for veg seed... I still have to finalise my Dahlia order, which I will get from the Dahlia Society as so much cheaper than Sarah Raven. I also need to order Raspberries, but am bribing myself not to do so until I have finished digging out the bed they are destined for... Oh, and I still have to finalise my "pretties" order. Must at least attempt to exercise some restraint, it is shocking how quickly a couple of pounds here and a couple of pounds there mount up... Enjoy your new pot and plants!


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.