Outa Space

IMG_6771…well, not quite yet, but I am anticipating that in a couple of month’s time I might be! The staging of the larger greenhouse is full of overwintering sweet peas, fuchsia, pelargonium and chrysanthemum, with late summer sown cerinthe, poppy and cornflower on the upper level – hmm, it might have helped if the latter three had been planted out in autumn…

IMG_6772Winter Sunshine sweet peas, as described by Julie at Peonies and Posies earlier in the week, are doing well in the greenhouse border, and across the path from them are pots of narcissi, hyacinth and Anemone de Caen. I now know from Julie’s advice that it is worth feeding these sweet peas before flowering, as well as other seedlings kept in pots or trays for any length of time – do have a look at her post for other helpful hints and a free giveaway!

It has been largely dry this week after local flooding but cold with a chilly breeze, and I don’t envisage being able to plant out the summer sown seedlings for several weeks, which may leave a space issue once this year’s seedlings are potted on…

IMG_6770Sowing began in earnest again at the beginning of February, with my ‘contraption’ brought into use again beside the ever present warmth of the Aga. As soon as seedlings germinate inside their individual plastic bag propagators they are moved out to the smaller greenhouse which is kept just about frost free – still risking a big drop in temperature but increasing the light levels. So far all have survived the transition.

As in previous years I find this process so exciting – the joy of tiny seeds bursting into growth within days and changing from white to green as they absorb more light, producing their own distinctive and recognisable true leaves in no time at all. Such magic!

So far there is no pressure for space in the smaller greenhouse, even though autumn sown stock and Californian poppy (top photo below), nigella and linum (middle) and others have been joined by this year’s seedlings (bottom) at various stages. Once pricking out and potting on stages are reached and seedlings transferred into cells from their current quarter trays, however, it won’t be long before it is bursting at the seams – and with no overflow space available in its larger neighbour!



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Synonymical Liberties

IMG_6757Nothingness consumes
Crystal water, fiery air
Grows seed in dark earth

Nothingness consumes crystal water, fiery air
Crystal water, fiery air grows seed in dark earth

Joining in with Wild Daffodil and friends’ 52 week photo challenge, with challenge word ‘zero’, and Ronovan’s haiku challenge with challenge words ‘gem’ and ‘flame’ – and synonyms a-plenty!


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Wordless Wednesday: Bittersweet


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In a Vase on Monday: Continuing the Thread

IMG_6738I had envisaged having to compile a green vase with mostly foliage before now, but early spring surprises postponed this necessity – and with Tête-à-Tête beginning to flower it could have been a floral vase again today but foregoing that opportunity I went with this green one instead.

Taking green blooms of a self-seeded euphorbia (not sure which one) and Hellebore foetidus as a starting point I added distinctive foliage of spotted laurel, an almost lime green ivy, fresh aquilegia growth and stiff epimedium leaves with their appealing bronze halo. Placed in the green spherical glass vase that has been used before they needed a handful of glass pebbles keep the wayward stems in place and the ivy, which never dangles the way you would like it to, tucked in behind other stems to keep it under control.


Mindful of all the shades of green in the garden I was rummaging in the loft for tubes of green acrylic paint to reflect this range when a box of embroidery threads caught my eye  and with far more shades of thread than paint the props were now a foregone conclusion. Neatly and opportunely they also gave me the title, linking as the threads do to last week’s Stitching a Garden Tapestry haiku – more than any other colour it is the green threads that hold the garden tapestry together.

So there we have it, another Vase on Monday, everything falling into place as it always seems to do. What will fall into your vase this week? Do share what you have found in your garden or foraged nearby to fill your vase by leaving the usual links to and from this post.


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IMG_6752Having written a list of  ‘jobs’ that needed to be done in the garden, mostly of the ‘move this’, ‘tidy that’ type, I didn’t let yesterday’s rain get in the way – it was never heavy here, just persistent, but the saturation was worth it to cross all those things off the list, some outstanding for just too long.

As well as the tidying tasks, the timber for replacing these steps (below left) had been waiting for a few months and it took less than an hour to do the job, including digging up and splitting some primroses and ferns to add to those already bordering them. These steps lead from the right hand end of the snowdrop border, behind a dead tree covered in ivy and into the woodland. Another job quickly done was adding vine eyes to all the posts with climbing roses, spaced at regular intervals so that when tied into the posts the roses will look less of a shambles than they do now – a new supply of this soft flexible wire is needed before the job can be finished and they are all tied in neatly and consistently.

oddmentsAlongside these odd jobs, have a look at these oddments as well – Hamamelis ‘Ruby Glow’ in the top picture, clearly NOT red this year as it should be, something I have never come across before, and a fused flower on snowdrop Galanthus ‘Mrs Thompson’ (a frequent occurrence in this variety) and the distinctive twin spathes of  donkey-eared Galanthus nivalis ‘Scharlockii’:


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Stitching a Garden Tapestry


garden tapestry
like heavens’ embroidered cloths
stitched with childlike dreams

Linking to Ronovan’s haiku challenge with prompt words ‘star’ and ‘child’ and Sandra et al’s photo challenge word ‘stitch’. Thank you to all of them for setting the challenges and do check out their blogs to see the very different ways others have approached them.

This was a tougher challenge for me this week. Basing the haiku on the concept of a garden as a tapestry was my starting point and I knew I had this little embroidery which would fit the photo challenge. Stitched from a photograph of the herbaceous borders at Packwood House in Warwickshire during a period when I had time to sit and embroider (early 1990s, I think!), it measures only 2″ by 3″ and was one of several miniature embroideries I completed at the time, most based on photographs and each only taking a few hours. Much quicker to complete than the samplers which I also enjoyed stitching during that period!

‘Star’ and ‘child’ were much harder to incorporate – but that’s what makes it challenging – and I toyed with ‘childlike’ awe and wonder but struggled to accommodate anything star like and certainly not alternatives like ‘constellation’ and ‘firmament’ (allowable in the challenge as synonyms) which just had too many syllables. Finally, it was researching possible readings for Younger Daughter’s wedding that provided the solution, and I am grateful to WB Yeats for the inspiration which resulted a haiku which meets all the challenges as well as the ethos of my blog. My garden is indeed a tapestry, one which I am constantly stitching and weaving – and oh those dreams!

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Wordless Wednesday: Spot the Difference


Top to bottom, left to right: Anglesey Abbey, Lady Elphinstone, Washfield Colesbourne; Blewberry Tart, Mrs Thompson, Pusey Green Tip; Lady Beatrix Stanley, James Backhouse, Ophelia

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