greentapestry : 2019

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

A Fanfare For Spring

" Everything now gives way to daffodils. I am a bit one-sided about daffodils. If I were allowed only one sort of flower on my desert island, it would have to be daffodils. When nothing was out in a flat in-between time earlier in the month, I cam home from a tiring visit to find a bunch of cut daffodils in my letter box. Some telepathy from my neighbour had moved her to this inspired act. I retired to bed for a couple of days, downed by the slight attack of plague that had been dogging me throughout the month, bought a jug of lemon and the daffodils up from the kitchen window-sill where I had set them and together they effected the cure. What crisp fragrance, what unburdensome vigour, comes from leaning one's fevered brow to the cool touch of those extraordinary trumpet-tubes , and what health one breathes in from their stringent breath,

If there us one smell of spring it is the smell of daffodils, not the sweeter, further-travelling, sometimes over-powering jonquil ..... not the very elusive smell of the small wild daffodils ...... No, it is your ordinary all yellow single trumpet that catches the wind in its strong favourite horn and almost rings the bell for spring".

- an extract from 'Led By The Nose' by Jenny Joseph.

- illustration by Angela Barrett.

Monday, 18 March 2019

In A Vase on Monday ~ Branching Out

Although there was a slight mizzle falling as I took photos for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday', engaging in this activity didn't involve the same risk as last week either to me or vase. After endless days of gales or so it seems the wind has finally dropped. It's a smidgen warmer too and the weather looks as if it's on the upper as the week unfolds. There are plans for much sowing of seeds and other garden related activities.

Just a couple of bits of twiggery in my vase this week in the shape of snippings from prunus x subhirtella 'Autumnalis', which can be grown as a small tree or a large shrub. Mine is a tree which provides much welcome and delightful flowers in the coldest and darkest of months. In theory the tree flowers between November and March. Usually though my tree has two substantial flushes of flower, one which lives up to its name in autumn and the other in spring. It's autumn leaf colour is it's other attractive feature.

Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' for hosting each week. I'm looking forward to some vase hopping later this evening with pen and paper in hand. No doubt the wish list will expand.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ Over The Edge

A few words are needed to explain this follow up post to my latest 'In A Vase On Monday' post - this is the over the edge from where I often take my vase photos. The land on the other side of the stream is outside our boundaries - the clumps of snowdrops where there when we arrived but I've added some later colour by doing some guerilla gardening. I've lobbed some 'Tête-à-Tête' narcissus bulbs over the edge and crossed my fingers. As you can see some have survived. There is a further patch of these little daffies just out of shot together with some tall later flowering daffodils that were already growing there. A few more bulbs will be jettisoned in the direction of the bald patch later this year.

Monday, 11 March 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Living On The Edge

My 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked yesterday on one of those days that bought my sister's wedding day to mind. It was one of those days when the weather gods were intent on selecting a morsel of everything to chuck at us mere mortals - icy gusty winds, rain, serious hail, sleet and some all too brief sunny spells were in all the mix. My sister got married on such a day at the beginning of April, which presented me as her only attendant with quite a challenge to keep her looking at her pristine and glamorous best.

Fortunately there was a lull in the early afternoon which enabled me to rush out, snip and photograph all at lightening speed - well as fast as I can go these days. I even managed a couple of outdoor photos which was an achievement. What you can't see is that behind my normal perch for vase photos there is a drop of some fifteen feet or so into the stream below. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of parking a vase in such a spot especially when it's windy but there's nothing like living on the edge.

In this week's vase are :
  • Narcissus 'Elka' 
  • 'Narcissus 'Jetfire' - that's the one with the orange trumpet which was most helpfully identified for me last year by fellow bloggers.
  • Narcissus - unknown variety.
  • A couple of stems of a pulmonaria seedling. 
  • A couple of stems of ribes 'Elkington's White'. The flowers seem to have a tinge of blue on it which isn't visible to the eye - maybe it was the light or it simply was feeling cold.

A BIG thank you as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

Monday, 4 March 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Sink or Swim, The Saga Continues

The annual attempt to float hellebore flowers once again has left me feeling decidedly unimpressed by the final outcome. I don't know whether I should opt for a more shallow vesssel, more water or whether it's just my general clumsiness but I have never created an arrangement that has satisfied me. Well the saga will continue next year but until then above is my latest floral float. 

Although I'm unable to name any of the hellebores which may well be nameless anyway, I can say that the bowl is made by Highland Stoneware in Scotland. I am fairly sure that it was one of my very first purchases after I started full time work. I bought it purely because I liked it. It has never been used as a bowl for eating which I think it is intended for but I've certainly enjoyed looking it over the years. It quite often filled with potpourri. I also bought a dress which I liked on the same shopping trip in Chester but the dress has long since departed from my wardrobe. The innards of the bowl are the grey you can see in the bottom photo.

Thank you to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who prompts us to get out into our gardens to see what we can pick and share on a Monday, whether it be fair or foul as it was today. I do hope that none of my fellow bloggers suffered any damage as a result of 'Storm Freya'. Here she made a lot of noise but didn't appear to do much in the way of harm. 

Monday, 25 February 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Tassels

I spotted the contents of this week's vase on Saturday afternoon.  Looking out of the allotment community hut windows I caught a flash of yellow out of the corner of my eye. Later when we had finished our refreshments and caught up with plans for fund raising plant sales this year I decide to investigate and this is what I found. I think that they are hazel catkins but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I wondered why I had never noticed them before and then it struck me that is highly unusual for me to be at the allotment in February. It's usually March before it's warm enough for me to surface there. I'm quite happy out in the garden in February in the knowledge that I'm near all creature comforts should the weather gods be spiteful but the allotment is usually still on hold this month. I was amazed how dry it was down there. Most years the central paths are often underwater or at least muddy at this time of year but then we've had very little rain this winter. I noticed a tweet from Monty Don on my Twitter timeline yesterday which read as follows: "the last time I remember a spell of February weather like this was in 1976 - if we are going to have a summer like that one start storing your rainwater now!"

Plans to add to the catkins where shelved when I realised that the slightest touch resulted in clouds of yellow dust floating through the atmosphere. I also persuaded myself that they looked quite replete on their own without the need for companions.

The vase was bought on a day out with one of my nieces and always makes me think of her.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing such a constant platform for us to share our vases each Monday.

Monday, 18 February 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale'

       My 'In a Vase On Monday' morphed overnight. I originally put it together yesterday afternoon to photograph. Try as I would though I could not get the creamy double hellebore to hold its head to attention and look at the camera. Then the skies darkened and rain got in the way of play. I nipped outside this morning and replaced it with a single white flower which was much more obliging.

It was a beautiful weekend here which bringing to mind a quote that I have used here before but it was seven years ago so I think that I can be excused the repetition:

"There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming, summer" - Gertrude Jekyll, 1843 - 1932.

It was such a day on Saturday as it was on 23rd February 2012, when I used this particular quote. The temperature had hit the magical 60 degrees mark and I spent the best part of the day outside pottering in the garden. It was not quite as warm on Saturday but after a dip our temperature is set to rise again later in the week so we might yet get there in a day or two.

Anyway I digress. Keeping my hellebore company are some twiggy bits in the shape of beech and cornus as well as some leafy loveliness is provided by eucalyptus gunnii. The vase itself is part off a present of a set of five vases from my lovely sister.

Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting and encouraging us to start the week in such a satisfying manner.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Saturday, 26 January 2019

January Musing ~ Intrigue

'Because the first month of the year is the darkest, you might think it is the most inert in the garden, but January is not a month is which everything drop backs into inactivity. Our benign climate means that there is always something pushing against the season to draw us into the garden as witnesses. The foliage of celandine against bare earth, the perfume of witch hazel: each holds your attention and ostensibly has the floor to itself; but look again and the garden is full of intrigue. Low, raking light catches seedheads from a season spent, and plant skeletons provide a spectacular framework for frost if you let them stand, as I do, in the belief that it is good to see the garden run the full course of its cycle.

I love our four seasons, and winter is never one to fear, for it is then that there is room to think. The frenzy of activity that comes with the growing season is absent and you can look up and around and take in your surroundings without the burning feeling of the yard-long list of tasks. You can see a tree's structure and history in its naked branches, just as you can see the plants that are ready for winter pruning. 

Pace yourself with the winter work and use this time for building in change, to keep a garden feeling vital and refreshed. Tasks map the seasons, but although we have several weeks ahead of us to revitalise and re-do, there is time in January to revitalise the winter garden.'

~ an excerpt from 'Natural Selection' by Dan Pearson.

Monday, 21 January 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Leafy Lovelies

I have strayed a little from the straight and narrow with this week's offerings for 'In A Vase On Monday' as the contents have not come straight from the garden or allotment.

My first snippet is from my kitchen windowsill, where just in front of the garlic jar are a couple of glass containers containing some baby spider plants. It's a great source of hope at this time of year to see new plants in the making and certainly makes washing the dishes more exciting. The baby spiders will be potted up in due course ready for our allotment plant sales later in the year.

My other snippet comes about as a result of the annual January look through and purge of last year's photos which are taking up too much space on the computer. These were taken at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. They were part of a display by Plantagogo, specialist growers of heuchera, heucherallas and tiarellas and show how attractive the foliage of these plants can be when displayed floating on water.

If these float your boat I still have another floating floral creation up my sleeve which I will share in due course. 

A special vote of thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to share our Monday vases.

Monday, 14 January 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ Just Dropping By

Yesterday's wild and windy weather eased up enough for me to get out into the garden this morning to pick and photograph a few of my special snowdrops for this week's in 'A Vase On Monday'. If you have been visiting here a while you will know that I grow a number of my specials in pots under cover but I have also been planting them out for some time and now have a dedicated snowdrop border although this is still a work in progress. Most of the snowdrops are in but the thinking cap is still considering what else to plant with them and the issue of summer interest. All bar one of the snowdrops in this photo are now growing in the garden.

This gathering includes 'Robin Hood', 'Fieldgate Prelude', 'The Pearl', 'Robin Hood', 'George Elwes', 'Florence Baker', 'Lapwing', 'Trumps', and 'Ding Dong' which are all single snowdrops. There are also two double snowdrops 'Richard Ayres' and 'Lady Beatrice Stanley' in the midst.

The vase is new - a Christmas present to myself and most useful in that its lid has holes into which stems can be placed and supported.

If you would like to know any more about any of them my go to place for snowdrop information is the excellent 'Judy's Snowdrops', where there is a wealth of information about growing them, gardens to visit to see them as well as individual plant profiles.

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her encouragement to gather and share our flowers and foliage on Mondays.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Reading Matters ~ 'House Of Glass'

'And on a February morning , I stepped down from the bus in a place called Kew. This was a name that I knew. For here, there were famous gardens, with rhododendron walks and glasses and pagodas. I'd read of them in books.

I entered through the gates of Kew Gardens on the twelfth day of February  ......  and Kew was grey, desolate. It grass was cropped by wintering geese; its lake had thickened with ice so that I asked myself, what is this? Why is this known, or written of? It seemed no different to other parks.

I decided to go home. But as I turned, I saw it: an extraordinary domed building of glass. A temple, or palace. I entered it and left February behind. For the Palm House at Kew contained canopies and ferns and damp wooden benches; palm leaves brushed my hair as I passed. Vines twisted on metalwork; condensation pooled on beams and, having pooled, dripped on my shoulders and the back of my hands. A droplet hung so perfectly at the tip of a leaf that I stood by it, waiting. Small handwritten signs announced such words as Indochina and frangipani.

Kew Gardens, October 2018

Now I wanted to be nowhere else. I was done with crowds and London's streets. Here was a new beginning. The betelnut's feathery leaves. The soursop and the kalabash tree. I'd move forwards to read their names. I'd wonder too, how these plants might have looked in their homeland - if jewel-coloured birds had flown up to their branches, if they had offered shelter in rains that came without warning. And I began to write down what I liked of each plant ; its brief rare flowerings, or how, in its motherland, bats would sip from it. Their Latin names : crescentia cujete. Fiscus benghalensis.'

- an extract from 'House of Glass' by Susan Fletcher.

Sunshine has been in short supply so far this January - we've had a run of almost uninterrupted mild, murky and grey days. I've been escaping into my own house of glass for a regular fix of snowdrops as well as reading seed catalogues and books. My first read of the year was Susan Fletcher's House of Glass' which certainly soon had me gripped. I was drawn in by the introductory blurb on the dust jacket :

'June 1914 and a young woman - Clara Waterfield - is summoned to a large stone house in Gloucestershire. Her task: to fill a greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens, to create a private paradise for the owner of Shadowbrook. Yet, on arrival, Clara hears rumours: something is wrong with this quiet, wisteria-covered house. Its gardens are filled with foxgloves, hydrangea and roses; it has lily-ponds, a croquet lawn - and the marvellous new glasshouse awaits her. But the house itself feels unloved. Its rooms are shuttered, or empty. The owner is mostly absent; the housekeeper and maids seem afraid. And soon, Clara understands their fear: for something - or someone - is walking through the house at night. In the height of summer, she finds herself drawn deeper into Shadowbrook's dark interior - and into the secrets that violently haunt this house. Nothing - not even the men who claim they wish to help her - is quite what it seems.

Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier, this is a wonderful, atmospheric Gothic page-turner.' 
My first ever visit to Kew Gardens was made last October - it rained heavily throughout, but like Clara I was transported to other far away lands and warmer climes. A fabulous place. Where have you been taken to by your most recent read?

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Looking Forward ....

We came across the above sculpture on a visit to the fabulous Chelsea Physic Garden last year. I'm hoping to live life inspired by its sentiments in 2019, although the drink wine advice will have to be in moderation. Wishing anybody who might pass by a most healthy and happy New Year!