Expect the Unexpected

IMG_4056It is impossible to know what to expect from the weather this week, with a mixture of snow flurries and rain and a dollop of wind forecast, but in-between this lot there have also been periods of sunshine and blue sky and it is probably the latter combined with the lengthening days that have suddenly coaxed Hamamelis ‘Arnold Promise’ (above) into bloom, about a month later than the other witch hazels. Only ‘Ruby Glow’ and the two flowering buds ofΒ  ‘Zuccariniana’ are yet to break forth. Also enjoying these brief bright spells are the hellebores, boosting the length of the flowering stems and encouraging those promising buds to open:

unexpectedThe species snowdrop border has been perking up too, with lots of clumps of the little white beauties bobbing about like yesterday’s robin :

IMG_4066IMG_4064As more of the clumps open up, watch out for a post focussing solely on them in the next week or so – and no doubt feedback from a visit to the special snowdrop event at Hodsock Priory. In the meantime, the natives (right) in the woodland edge border are catching up quickly, the Flore Pleno always first, then the nivalis – also evident in the picture on the right are first signs of those pesky little celandines that defy all attempts atΒ  annihilation!

Perhaps not unexpected is the purchase of more snowdrops (the first batch) to add to the collection and to replace some of those that have disappeared without trace. Suspicions that there may have been an issue with either the aquatic baskets or the compost used in these baskets were further aroused when I realised that the established clump of Galanthus elwesii ZP1 that was replanted last year in a bigger basket was producing only one shoot… Not wanting to risk this again, particularly as some of the lost varieties were not the cheapest by any stretch of the imagination, all newbies this year are going to stay in pots in the greenhouse until I am sure they are established, planted in a recommended compost mixture – will they be replanted outside in the aquatic baskets? Not sure yet. Not quite as inevitable as the snowdrop purchases are more clematis, to fill the mid to late season flowering gap – these can wait in their pots in the greenhouse till the current cold spell has been and gone. The clematis were from Taylors – excellent service and value.


Definitely unexpected was finding my rambling blocked yesterday by a rather large bush – the ceanothus having been pulled out of its support on the fence by a combination of the wind and presumably its own weight. Whether or not it will survive being righted is another matter as its roots have been partially pulled from the soil – as I have only recently given it an overhaul to curbΒ  its desire to hang over the path perhaps I should cut any potential losses and replace it with a new one that can be trained along the fence. When in flower, its blueness is a good backdrop for the blue & white borders and the bees love it, so its presence would certainly be missed.

unexpected.3And finally, we have (ahem…) some bricks….. Unexpected? I think not…



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25 Responses to Expect the Unexpected

  1. mossfighter says:

    Haha, yes the bricks were unexpected. Interesting post, thanks, it reminds me that this garden doesn’t have a ceanothus, I must get one in early spring.

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Cathy,

    Have fun at Hodsock; just earlier today I though to myself I’ll ask mum if she wants to go. But it’ll have to wait until we’re well as I’m recovering from flu and I think it’ll be a quagmire this year after the snow (yet more arrived today). I’d planned to maybe, accidentally come home with more hellebores….

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Liz – thanks for the warning about the weather! It is Tuesday we have been invited, so we shall be wearing lots of layers and wellies or similar I expect! Hope you feel better soon – perhaps a new hellebore will help πŸ˜‰

  3. AnnetteM says:

    You have got me thinking about getting some more clematis too.
    I wonder what you are thinking of building next? You could have a Guess What I’m going to build competition. I am guessing a BBQ.

    • Cathy says:

      Tee hee – definitely wrong about a barbeque! I am am not deliberately keeping it a secret and in fact have given the odd hint in passing – all will be revealed shortly πŸ˜‰

  4. Amy says:

    The bricks look promising, Cathy – as do the clematis! I can’t help wondering what varieties… πŸ™‚ We’re expecting the unexpected here too; that is, a couple days’ worth of rain… But isn’t there something about changing seasons that pushes one out into the garden?

    • Cathy says:

      I avoided details of the clematis in the post Amy, as there were a few more than the photo showed – but no doubt they will all be mentioned in due course πŸ˜‰ Hope you enjoy your rain!!

  5. Anna says:

    Oh what an attractive hellebore Cathy. I like the speckles. Your snowdrop border looks as if it near to its moment of glory. I expect that they are just waiting for the temperature to rise slightly before they open fully. Most of mine in the greenhouse remained firmly closed today. I hope that your ceanothus recovers. We had a tremendous hoolie here yesterday morning which blew a couple of plants out of their containers! Bricks – what are you up to now or are you going to keep us guessing? πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Did your plants survive their unexpected trip?! I will tell about the bricks soon – they are for the benefit of something very topical… πŸ˜‰

  6. rusty duck says:

    Apparently we are to expect 60 mph gusts at 3.00 a.m. tomorrow morning.. Oh joy!
    It’s sad to see the ceanothus come down, I hope you can right it. And as for the bricks.. Bothy extension to peep at the neighbours?

    • Cathy says:

      Tut tut – that would have been poor planning if I was proposing a bothy extension so soon, and our neighbours haven’t suddenly got any more interesting πŸ™‚ Did you get the expected gusts – or get them and sleep through it all, I wonder?

  7. Christina says:

    The wind here this week has been dreadful, and icy cold. I have really only ventured out on a couple of slightly warmer afternoons and to check things in the greenhouse. Was the compost in the snowdrop baskets the same you were using in the greenhouse that caused huge problems?

    • Cathy says:

      There has been quite a windchill factor here, but not as severe as yours I think. Do keep warm. I know I mixed compost for the lattice pots, but I can’t remember if I included any of the one that was definitely not right – but it was certainly the most recent acquisitions that had suffered.

  8. Helen Johnstone says:

    I am looking forward to seeing your snowdrops open.
    I have to say I am getting fed up with the weather now, all wind and grey. The greenhouse is getting full of my recent purchases which is good in one way as it shows me I have bought rather a lot but at the same time I cant get in it!!
    I am intrigued by the bricks

    • Cathy says:

      I have been a bit reticent about photographing the snowdrops Helen as I struggle to get decent images – but I will show them off soon, regardless of image quality! The bricks might have a connection with the snowdrops…. πŸ˜‰ ps you must sometimes really wish you had a bigger greenhouse!

  9. croftgarden says:

    After my comments about the bothy, I’m not going to speculate on the new building project.
    I’m pondering on whether the aquatic baskets may be the problem, unless it is mice? Always a good idea to keep the choice one’s in pots until you have enough to spare for the garden.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s no big secret, just that I have had other things to write about – and it’s really only tweaking, not a project πŸ˜‰ Pretty sure it’s not mice at the bulbs, and could be a combination of things. I can’t rule out the dry summer either…

  10. Annette says:

    My hamamelis are just starting but their high spirits will be dampened soon enough as a cold front approaches. Think you may get some of it too. Which clematis varieties did you buy? Had to smile about the bricks, Cathy, you’re hard to beat and I bet we can expect to see something amazing in due course! Did you finally succeed in getting the neighbouring plot? Happy weekend πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      A spot of sunshine and your hamamelis will be happy, even with your approaching cold front I expect. Too many clematis varieties to list, Annette, and I didn’t want people to think I had gone OTT with them πŸ˜‰ I haven’t broached a takeover bid as the neighbour has been in and out of hospital recently – but his garden would be ripe for a house or two so it would be a no-go I am sure… Hope you have a good w/e too with all your planning πŸ™‚

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Cathy, love the pink hellebore – very pretty. A visit to our local garden centre searching for snowdrops in the green proved fruitless today. We’re off to another centre tomorrow so I’ve got my fingers crossed … I need snowdrops in my garden. Now, what are you planning to do with those bricks πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      You can buy quantities of the ‘common’ snowdrops in the green quite reasonably by mail order which is a good way to build up a naturalised colony. Or I could send you some as I split my clumps every year and spread them about…..just let me know

  12. Isn’t it exciting no matter the crazy weather to see the garden stir to life….and oh bricks…I am looking fir some reclaimed to build some cutting beds. I am sure you know why I want those beds…wink, wink!

  13. Chloris says:

    Have a wonderful day at Hodsock, I hope the snow won’ t linger. We have a white covering at the moment.
    Are you going to build a raised bed for your snowdrops?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – they have had more snow in that vicinity than here, I think, so we shall go prepared. You were right about the raised bed – good sleuthing skills – although technically I shall be raising their bed, not building a new one.. πŸ™‚

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