Looking for Blooms for a Monday Vase

I know they are in there somewhere…

Oh good, here they are…

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, Winter | 16 Comments

End of Month View: Nobbut a Sprinkling…

Centrally placed in England as we are, weather systems heading towards us from different directions often peter out before they get here. It may be bitterly cold (minus 6°C at the moment, supposedly feeling like minus 14°) and we may have seen a succession of snow showers yesterday, but we still only have a patchy covering of snow and looking at the forecast for Thursday and Friday we may well escape without receiving any more – or we may not…

Meanwhile, we have some snowy pictures of the garden at the end of February, masking much of the detail and making any colours other than monochrome stand out like a hand tinted picture – such as the hint of pink of the sitooterie above and a glimpse of blue sky, and a shockingly bright brick wall in a later photograph.

Adjacent to the view above is the streamside grass, full of crocuses – frozen and erect like purple spears – and the shrub border, shown from both directions:

The woodland edge border, primroses and emerging wood anemones and bluebells temporarily hidden:

The main borders from the bothy and from ground level:

The woodland edge border from both directions, native snowdrops and hellebores bowed down and frigid but destined to recover immediately temperatures rise again:

The three bold borders, their promises hidden:

The blue & white border and the rose garden, leaves already bursting on the new roses:

The light covering of snow highlights details in the paths in the garden, like these cobbles and the ‘stone’ slabs and paviers used elsewhere such as in this path that heads past the special snowdrop border and back towards the house:

Despite the lack of plant detail in these photos they still serve my purpose of recording the garden at this moment in time. Other people posting End of Month photos may have a different focus, so pop over to the Patient Gardener blog where Helen kindly hosts this monthly meme and have a look. Thanks for hosting Helen!

Posted in End of Month View, Gardens, Weather, Winter | 21 Comments

Ina Vase on Monday: Saving the Last Dance

You have seen this hippeastrum before – in a vase on Monday on the 27th November and again on 8th January – and here she is again at the end of February, a third flower spike from ‘Dancing Queen’. I have had three spikes or more on a hippeastrum before but all at the same time and certainly not at convenient and well spaced intervals like this. Perhaps she was too much of a prima donna to give three consecutive performances to her fans, preferring to space them out and perform only when she chose. Today is her big finale, as she will be heading into retirement after this dance.

In a surprisingly generous gesture, she agreed to share her last dance with this unfortunate young lady, who was found naked and destitute and with an unexplained hole in her skull. She appeared ‘armless though, so I took pity on her and quickly ran up a ball gown for her to wear on her big day; sadly she was in such a hurry to get to the dance that she omitted to put on any underwear…

The Dancing Queen was chaperoned at the event by Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’ and maintained her elegance and composure throughout; the armless young lady, however, was last seen propped up against the vase, having proved to be a little unsteady on her feet.

The bulb was bought from Peter Nyssen for £5.40 and planted up in mid October; hippeastrum bulbs from this source are invariably larger than the bargain bulbs ubiquitously available in the UK in the weeks leading up to Christmas and invariably have several spikes, unlike the cheaper ones which often only have one or two – so it seems that you generally get what you pay for with these bulbs. Sadly, I have still not yet succeeded in getting them to reflower – will I persist in trying? Not sure…

What branch or bloom or bud or twig or leaf can you find in your garden or greenhouse or home or nearby haunt to bring inside and add a breath of fresh air to your week? In this northern  hemisphere ‘off’ season it is an opportunity to think out of the box – it may be Monday, but it needn’t actually be a vase and it needn’t be… well, the rules are pretty informal anyway as long as we remain within the original ethos of the meme, so see you soon?

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged , | 67 Comments

Tucked Up

We have had glorious sunshine this weekend and the solar panels have generated power at their highest level so far this year; however, the panels don’t notice the temperature and it has been bitterly cold with the projected Siberian weather system clearly on its way with a brisk wind from the east. Good days for active gardening or a bracing walk, if well wrapped up, unlike what seems to be forecast for the coming week. The forecast for our central position in the UK has changed somewhat as it initially looked as if we might avoid any snow but this may not now be the case and the lady above may need more than just a blanket of ivy to keep her warm; it could turn out to be a week of plotting and planning rather than doing, but at least there will be March’s seeds to sow in the warmth of the house! Let’s just wait and see – and keep safe everyone.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, seed sowing, Winter | 19 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Pretty as a Picture

Image | Posted on by | Tagged | 7 Comments

Never a Dull Moment: Top Blooms for February

The February garden is dominated by the usual seasonal stalwarts, the snowdrops, the witch hazels and, now gradually coming on board, the hellebores. There are too many of each to list the top ten but above are a selection of hellebores, still not yet at their best (‘Double Lime’, ‘White Spotted Lady’ and ‘Harvington Double White’) and below is ‘Ginns Imperati’, one of the many snowdrops bobbing about in the snowdrop border:

The native snowdrops in the woodland edge border enjoyed this morning’s sunshine and blue skies and were encouraged to spread their wings a little, the milder day also favouring a single bloom of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’ (sadly out of focus!):

My newest witch hazel, ‘Strawberries and Cream’, is probably at its best now, as the shreds unfurl from their restrained huddles and show more of their true colour, a very definite strawberry red centre blending into Channel Island creamy yellow:

Some of the other witch hazels are over now, but the view towards the apple trees, between the stream and the shrub border, shows ‘Spanish Spider’, ‘Diane’, ‘Ruby Glow’ and ‘Zuccariniana’ still in full flower, with rivulets of Crocus tommasinianus running through the shrub border and the streamside grass. Not surprisingly, the crocus were loving the sunshine too.

Joining the ranks of these seasonal stalwarts were numerous clumps of native primroses, in the woodland, under the apple trees and in random crevices as shown in last week’s Wordless Wednesday. Sadly they are rarely as pristine as these newly flowering clumps:

Solid and dependable, these blooms form the backbone of the late winter garden here, with the snowdrops and witch hazels flowering over a long period and providing colour to my rambles from December onwards. There is certainly never a dull moment in this UK Midlands blogger’s garden – and if you pop over to Chloris’ blog at The Blooming Garden you will undoubtedly find there are very few dull moments her February garden or those of other bloggers either. Thanks Chloris, for allowing us to share our top monthly blooms.

Posted in Garden Bloggers Blooms Day, Gardening, Gardens | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Katherine, Dawn and Ivy Come to Tea

Another small scale contribution for IAVOM from me this week, Iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and a sprig of ivy, tucked into the teapot of an IKEA children’s teaset, laid out on a scrap of fabric left over from all the tablecloths and cushions I made to grace our benches and tables at last year’s NGS open days. I am pleased to say that these iris seem to multiplying nicely and that Dawn has a number of similarly bobbly pink flowers at the tips of its stems.

See what the tea party looks like from above:

Aren’t the variegated throats of the iris pretty? And the streaks on the petals?

Are there any pretties in your garden today? Or less-than-pretties perhaps? Have you considered cutting them to bring inside and pop into a vase to bring an extra bit of happiness into your home? Please share them with us too, if you like, by leaving the usual links to and from this post.


Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged , | 71 Comments