greentapestry : January 2019

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!