….. and the slabs, and the gravel, and the chippings, and the timber, and the water butt…
Another productive afternoon saw the Golfer and I working together in the garden, ostensibly clearing the area at the back of the shed which had become a dumping ground for waste greenhouse bits and the old framework of the fruit cage which is currently being overhauled. Soon distracted by the area shown above, a bed of heucheras around a young Acer griseum, I realised that a simple edging at the front face would enable the soil to be built up and retained, instead of allowing water to wash soil down the slight slope and onto the path – the heucheras might be happier too as currently the soil dries out quickly. Keen to recycle wherever possible, I was chuffed to be able to use a stack of cut tiles, offsets from recent roofing repairs, and an edging was soon in place and soil topped up with ‘spare’ from the greenhouse upheavals.
That quick ‘tarting-up’ was soon followed by replacing the step in the middle of the picture with the smaller slab shown, relieved from the paved area behind the house where the small sink has been inset. Striking while the iron was hot, half bags of slate chippings and gravel were used to fill in gaps between paving and walls, small but outstanding jobs. You will be pleased to know that a cup of tea was then made and taken to the bench behind the shed, now clear of all detritus, and the Golfer and I both sat and talked and looked at the garden together – a rare occurrence indeed. The sitting and talking and looking did generate other little jobs, including emptying the water butt to enable it to be moved next to the new greenhouse and replaced with the bigger one there was no longer space for, but we did enjoy just sitting for a time first!
Encouraged by posies produced by Louise of Wellywoman and The Cut Flower Patch fame and also by Julie at Peonies and Posies, I was thrilled to be able to take advantage for the first time of flowers from the garden to take to a friend I was visiting. I’m sure there have been flowers suitable for cutting before, but I hadn’t really considered it until now and the Vase on Monday meme has really whetted my appetite. Lyd’s posy was a simple bunch of the first bluebells, Leucojum aestivum and hellebores with their now bulging seed pods, tied together with brown string with the ends frayed; needless to say, she was delighted.
The sunny weather this week has seen me, like many others, working industriously in the garden – sweeping the paths and paved areas and teasing out weeds from the cracks has kept me busy for a few hours, with occasional sidetracking to replace damaged labels or inspect new growth. I was hoping to remove the large number of allium seedlings that are populating the main borders but they are proving particularly resilient and tend to come out without their bulblets -doh! Nevertheless, the bergenia that began as a trimming picked up from the pavement adjacent to a Council border over 30 years ago has been removed, having long since outlived its usefulness in filling a space in a previous garden – nothing against bergenias, but it never really did anything except fill a space. Likewise, a clump of polygonatum has been ousted from one of the main borders (there are still clumps by the stream and in the woodland edge) and I am looking forward to filling the gaps in these borders with the annuals that are being grown from seed.
Annette of My Aberdeen Garden mentioned the use of a photo gallery when she commented on my GBBD post earlier in the week, inadvertently offering me a challenge. I have not used a gallery on WordPress before so investigated the process and if you would like to check out a slideshow of images from that post click here. I thought it was too black and ‘in your face’ to include on the main page so have linked to another page from the original post – but it still seems a bit clumsy and I would welcome alternative suggestions from other bloggers.
The post brought me more seeds this morning – not that I had forgotten I had applied for seeds to take part in trials for Which? Gardening again, but I had forgotten which seeds I had applied for…. more courgettes, more tomatoes, more cosmos……
I make no apologies for today’s collage and the lack of text, because on this garden Bloggers Blooms Day the garden was singing:
Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m havin’ a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all
On April 15th last year the snowdrops had finished, but the Tête-à-Tête were in full flow, as were the hellebores, pulmonaria and primroses – and this year? Well, see for yourself – it’s no wonder the garden is having such a good time, and I wouldn’t dream of stopping it! For a slideshow of all the images, please click here. To see what other gardens are up to today do have a look at Carol’s blog May Dreams Gardens as she kindly hosts this monthly Blooms Day meme.
It didn’t take long to gather material for today’s vase but resisting additional blooms was tough – bluebells in particular had been on the mental list but were rejected to enable the vase to keep a pastel focus. Once picked, all of today’s blooms quickly drooped, obviously wanting to curl up and go back to sleep, but Springtime Bedtime doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Not only this but the tulips were opening faster than I could put the arrangement together and dithering for appropriate props was not helping. Not altogether satisfied, I have just taken pictures of the vase without supporting paraphernalia – the first time I have not felt a at least a slight sense of satisfaction with the result.
The ‘Peach Blossom’ tulips, saved from last year but resulting in relatively tiny blooms, were the starting point, joined by pink Dicentra spectabilis for a ‘swinging’ focus. The wallflowers were the perfect shade of pink to complement them and will add fragrance to the arrangement, whilst summer snowflake Leucojum aestivum brought additional swing and together with the Primula denticulata inject some lightness into the grouping. The one aspect I do feel is inspired in today’s vase is the inclusion of the fresh feathery brown flowers of Luzula sylvatica ‘Marginata’ – a spur of the moment choice, and doesn’t it work well? I hadn’t even noticed it was flowering, it being one of those reliable plants that makes a continuous but subtle impact throughout the year.
It may be that the blooms will perk up a little bit as they get used to their temporary location but meanwhile I feel they are sitting glowering at me and wishing they were back home – let’s hope that anyone else posting a vase today will have more joy and happier blooms! I would love to see what others have found in their own gardens or round about, so please think about joining in too – those of us contributing are finding we look and think about our plants in a different way, finding the meme quite empowering. Just include a link to this post and a link to yours in a comment if you would like us to see what you have put together in a vase this Monday.
(from left to right)
Top: unknown freebies, tarda?, Orange Sun
Middle: Angelique, Peach Blossom, Princess Irene
Bottom: Little Beauty, Beauty of Apeldoorn, vvedenski ‘Henry Hudson’
I feel as if I am getting towards the stage of becoming more organised in all aspects of the garden, not just in the seed sowing stakes but in planting, bulb ordering and moving or turfing out things that don’t work – definitely less of a haphazard approach. Bulb ordering in the past involved mainly tulips for the pots outside the window, building up the narcissi and crocus in the streamside grass and trying to inject colour into the hot borders (and the initial bluebell and wood anemone purchase for the woodland). This almost random bulb ordering has left odd nameless tulips in the hot borders, a handful of leafy daffodils now ousted from those borders and allium seedlings popping up all over the garden. The discovery of the joys of species tulips in recent years brought a few clumps to the main herbaceous borders, but also lonely singletons separated from their friends by a major layout upheaval two years ago.
Last year’s order still included ‘hot’ tulips, as the decision to embolden the hot borders had not been made, hence the inclusion of ‘Orange Sun’ and ‘Beauty of Apeldoorn’ (in pots to be dropped into place); species Tulipa vvedenski ‘Henry Hudson’ and batalini ‘Bright Gem’ (not shown) were included for the same reason. I seem to have acquired ‘Princess Irene’ as a freebie somehow, and I haven’t a clue what the frilly looking buds in the top right picture are – another freebie, I guess! For the pots outside the kitchen I tend to alternate between ‘Angelique’ and ‘Peach Blossom’ and seem to have ordered the former (unusually with some double and triple headed flowers) for this year, whereas last year’s ‘Peach Blossom’ were rescued and are flowering again. This is the third season for the little beauty ‘Little Beauty’ so the clumps are clumping up nicely – but who can confirm the middle picture on the top row? Is it Tulipa tarda?
I have already started a list for my next bulb order, which will include some bulbs specifically for cutting and – who knows?!- perhaps some tulips that are not red or yellow or orange for the bold borders!
I am not referring to the recent suspicious cases of fritillary chomping, tulip beheading or even the newest crime of polyanthus pecking, but to the daily opening and closing of many of the current blooms according to the sun. The flowers can take on a completely different appearance when this happens – personally I prefer Lady Jane (above) when she is closed, her petals modestly and tightly tucked around her, but the jury is out on Tulipa praestans whose blooms take on a fiery appearance when the sun is out, blazing a glorious path to some unknown destination while they have a chance before subsiding to a bright but sedate pillar box red as the evening draws on. It doesn’t look like the same tulip, does it?
The wood anemones, now thickly carpeting most of the right hand side of the woodland, are a pleasure to behold, open or closed – I am just so thrilled that they have established so well. On the other side of the bark path through the trees are many clumps of bluebells, mostly budding up nicely, but I intend to inspect them and possibly replant those without buds a little deeper, in case this is what is holding them back – has anyone else had a problem with non-flowering bluebells? The wild garlic, still in manageable numbers, is not surprisingly carrying on regardless.