Thursday, 1 March 2018

Obligatory snow blogpost

Much of the UK is under snow at the moment, and in the tradition of whenever it snows in the UK, this is my obligatory snow blogpost. It's short, coz you know, I'm not actually going outside in it!

This is the garden on Wed 28th Feb.

And here it is on Thu 1st March, I think well over a foot of snow now.

The branches of Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku' really do their thing in this weather.

Next to the front door is Armeria pseudarmeria 'Ballerina Lilac' under the snow crystals.

And the just about to fully flower, Helleborus x hybridus Harvington dusky.

Now that I've done my obligatory snow blogpost, I can go back to bed, right?

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Spring is coming

Yes, I know it's still late winter, but look, Spring is on it's way in the garden.

I have the Sarcococca confusa by the front door and the fragrance is divine.

I have a few snowdrops in pots. The first here is Galanthus ophelia. This one is special to me as was J-P's, and it was given to me by his wife Kate who felt I'd appreciate it. I so do. Just having something that J-P chose, in my garden, means a lot to me.

Next up is Galanthus ikariae.

If you are like me, it's hard to tell the difference between a lot of snowdrops. Ophelia and Ikariae looks so similar, so I took photos of the inside to see if there was any difference.

Galanthus ophelia

Galanthus ikariae

The main difference that I can see, is that the inside green markings on Galanthus ikariae are darker and a bit bigger than on Galanthus ophelia. I counted 7 and a bit 'bars' of green on Ophelia, but Ikariae has 8, with 'a bit' extra on each end of the bars. Perhaps a galanthophile could tell me the difference in botanical terms?! Either way, I love both, but especially Ophelia.

My other favourite snowdrop is Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Bagpuize Virginia', who I've blogged about before. A lovely memory of our previous life in Oxfordshire.

And then there is the unknown galanthus - somehow lost the label. I like the way it's petals look like the wings of a wind turbine.

There also a lot of colour. I love the colour and texture of Helleborus x hybridus 'Double Ellen Red'.

And was also recently seduced by Helleborus 'Painted Bunting', and added it to my collection.

There is the ever cheery yellow viola.

The cool blue of Iris histrioides 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'.

The silky blue of Hepatica transsilvanica 'Blue Eyes'.

The volcanic red-orange of Primula Ember Glow.

Then the non-stop flowering of Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve'. Seriously, this hasn't stopped flowering for months and months.

However, someone needs to tell Lavandula 'Regal Splendour' that it isn't supposed to be getting ready to flower for a few months yet. Still, I shan't complain.

And while we are at it, this Armeria pseudarmeria 'Ballerina Lilac' has also been flowering all winter. It's by the south-facing front door, which might help.

It looks like the weather may get colder again next week. Even some snow is being expected. But I don't mind, because the garden is telling me that Spring is coming.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Feeling seedy

I'm feeling rather seedy. No, not that type of seedy. The growing seeds type of seedy. This week the seeds I ordered from the annual Hardy Plant Society (HPS) Seed Distribution Scheme, arrived. As a member, for only £5 (to cover the costs of postage and admin), I can order 20 packets of seeds. You can see the different types of seeds I ordered above.

I looked each variety up so I had the correct growing information and collated all of this into a document, along with a picture (where I could find them) so it will be easier for me to identify. Yes, I'm that nerdy. 

From finding out this information, I discovered that I needed to sow all the Allium seeds immediately. So I also made up labels for them.

It was then seed sowing time. They need light to germinate, so I didn't cover the seeds with anything. I felt like I should have done so, as you do that with most seeds. But HPS said you don't, so I have followed their advice.

And because they need cold to help them germinate, I've put them on a display shelf in the garden. The ground staples (the silver prongs) are there to stop the pigeons from getting in there an digging up the seed. Yes, they do that, and I've found this is effective in stopping them. Once the plants get to a certain size, I can remove the staples.

The rest of my seeds are to be sown in Spring. 


Monday, 8 January 2018


Midwinter, clear blue skies, sunny, freezing. A very hard frost last night and it's still -1 at midday. I took a short walk around the garden and photographed a few plants in their frozen state. Winter has it's own beauty that, to me, is just as fabulous as a floriferous mid summers day.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Saxifraga hirsuta leaves

Sarcococca confusa

Primula veris leaves

X Heucherella 'Tapestry' leaves

Verbena bonariensis seed head

Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve', flowering, it seems, all year around.