About my garden

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day - Up close and personal

As previously discussed, it's a wonderful time of year and we are finding new treasures every day. I particularly like the mounds of fresh foliage which appear untouched by pests or faded with age or weathering.
Here are a few of the things starring in my garden. It's a rather long and picture heavy post so settle down. Oh, and I was trying a borrowed macro lens so it's mostly close ups.

Corydalis 'Berry Exciting' this has purple flowers but at the moment is a wonderful mound of yellow. 

Saxifaga stolonifera. This and the corydalis are in my shady bed. I created it last year when I realised this area was always in shade. It will be trial and error to see what survives there. 

Lambs Lugs as my Mum calls them or Stachys byzantina to everyone else. Lightly touched by raindrops but not bedraggled

Spirea japonica. Such a good value shrub, I think, but this is the favourite time for me.


This is artichoke foliage. Last year it produced the most wonderful flowers
What about things to eat? 

            Curly kale.


                                                                                                                                                           And beetroot leaves. I don't think any beets will be produced, this has been in the ground all winter, but you can eat the young leaves in salad.  

These are all Crocosmia, looking very lush but definitely need thinning. I cleared up bags and bags of leaves but as you see there are still more to do.  

Here is where they go...

Here is the compost complex, now moved. The powerhouse to feed all the beautiful foliage. 
Not looking as good yet as I'd like it to. The bags on the left are leaves collected in the Autumn and there are twigs saved for staking. The leaves are not nearly rotted yet so will need to be hidden away somewhere and forgotten.

This is a pile of manure. This was left to us and is to the right of the compost. How lucky am I? I've already moved two similar piles. When it is moved I'll be able to tidy up the whole area and it won't look like pallet city but then I'll have to go looking for manure! I'm using it to feed all my new trees and hedges as well as flower and vegetable beds. We'll also add a third compost bay when we can. 
So lots of work to do here but it's all good fun. 
I'm joining in with Garden Blogger's Foliage Day hosted by Christina at myhesperidesgarden.

Monday, 20 March 2017

In a vase on Monday -

Suddenly we've gone from having nothing much to put in a vase to having a choice!
This week I've seen daffodils, primroses/primula, forget-me-nots, hyacinths, hellebores, cerinthe, forsythia, aubretia and the first few camellias. 

I found this Hyacinth growing under a bush. I must have planted it there last year but it was a rather lost so cutting was the answer. There are two more spikes which I'll cut when they've opened a little more. 
I've added some of the gorgeous new leaf shoots which are so welcome and so beautiful. 

(It seems as though I should clean the window)

Here is willow, spirea, cotoneaster and wigela. The spirea is my absolute favourite. 

One of the fun things about moving to a new garden is finding out what is growing. Last spring daffodils popped up everywhere closely followed by white blubells (white bells?).

Here are a few with elaeagnus shoots. Last year the sides of a hedge were pruned but not the top. Another job to add the my very long list. 

 For creative and colouful vases from around the world visit In a vase on Monday hosted by Cathy - Rambling in the Garden. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March 2017

So what's going on in the garden? All sorts, it's so exciting.
Everyday I notice something new popping up or flowering. We have had quite a few sunny days but I mostly seem to be trapped inside on those days. Still, it's great to look out at the sun even if you can't garden.
Yesterday, I did have a bit of time to spare.
I went outside and discovered toad spawn in the pond. I took of my boots, went back in to get my camera, put my boots on, focused, pressed, pressed, pressed. Nothing. I'd left the memory card in the house. Boots off, back in. Can anyone explain why it is so annoying to have to take off easy pull-on boots every time you need to go in?

Finally I got some photos. Here is what is going on:

Strings of toad spawn. The fish will probably eat most of it but some will survive, we often find toads hiding under things. 

And the blooms, more is coming out every day. 

It was warm enough for bees to be out and busy. This is an unamed hybrid hellebore. 

These are Virgina Stocks. It's anybody's guess why these are flowering now but they are very welcome.

These Narcissus Tete-a-tete were a surprise as I forgot I'd planted them in this pot. 

This Lonicera fragrantissima has been flowering for weeks. I've never owned this plant before so am especially thrilled. 

These hyacinths were a pot of flowering bulbs I bought last year so have come back very well. 

I couldn't resist this little willow flower, I'm sure that will be attractive to bees. 

I'm going to stop now as the photographs are loading so slowly it's painful. This is enough for you to see that it's spring and I am very excited!

I'm joining in with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for the first time. This is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Monday, 13 March 2017

In a vase on Monday - sweet viola

Another small is beautiful vase from me this week. 
Who could resist these happy little faces?

 The plants have been growing in my poly tunnel for at least a year. Last summer I planted the tomatoes around them so I could keep the little plants. 
So far the slugs have not got going very much so the little blooms are perfect. 
I think I grew these from seed but don't now know which seed or why they are planted here. 

I picked them with their own foliage and then found them very difficult to arrange. They were facing in all directions. So I took the flowers off, put the leaves in the vase then popped the flowers in again. 
I've added a few straps of Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'. I'm pretty good with latin names but I always have to look this one up. 

  Here they are growing. Tucked between the Kale 'Red Russian' though I think I can see a buttercup coming up in the middle!
For interesting and creative vases from around the world visit 'In a vase on Monday' hosted by Cathy from Rambling in the Garden. 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Spring vase on a wet day

I'm so pleased to have something colourful to pick for a vase.

Here are 3 Tete a tete daffodils, mahonia flowers, primroses, ceanothus foliage, lavender foliage and golden Corydalis 'Berry Exciting' foliage.

The colour belies the weather which has been appalling. You can see the rain in this picture. On Sunday, when I took this, we had by turn windy, hail storms, torrential rain and the odd sunny spell. 
I've managed to get outside this week by picking my moments and focusing on a task for that window. 
For colourful and creative vases from around the world visit In a vase on Monday hosted by Cathy from Rambling in the Garden. 

Here is a quick look at the broad beans sown a few weeks ago, see here. The grew away well and we kept them on a hanging shelf away from pests. 

Also a good way of creating more shelf space at this time of year. This is filled with tomatoes in the summer. Underneath, just now, is Cavolo Nero, rocket, newly potted dahlia tubers, and geranium and alstromeria roots, which I bought mail order, and are just shooting.  

This  is the lovely root system of the bean.

Here they are planted in the poly tunnel border. They look so pristine, so far untouched slugs, bean thrips, chocolate spot or mice! It's only a matter of time. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

In a bowl on Monday and positive pest ID!

Here is my bowl of flowers for Monday. I floated these Hellebores in water and added a few Heuchera leaves (Midnight Bayou) as there are still not many hellebores flowering. I think the leaves will probably sink but they look nice for a short while.
The hellebores last a few days in a bowl like this before they collapse and you have to scoop out the soggy remains. It's certainly the best way to show off the gentle colourings. 
The bowl is pale green, frosted glass and is another charity shop/bric a brac find. 

I managed to organise my son to set up the camera in the polytunnel (he'd borrowed it from work to test). It has a motion sensor which, when activated, takes a picture, there is then some delay before the next is taken. You don't get a continuous film of all activity but photo every so often, I'm not sure how long the delay is.  We got a fair few on the first night. I hope you can see the culprit here. Eyes shining brightly at the back of the photo.

There is no way of telling how many critters there are, I think I can see two in one photo, but mice are rarely solitary, as we know! It's either one with a large appetite or a whole family. This used to be a spinach plant which was about 30cm tall.
The next day there were no photos but I noticed he/they had move onto the purple sprouting broccoli in a different corner. We set the camera up again and sure enough:

I hope you're impressed by the addition of an arrow!  However, I'm not impressed that he/they are eating my psb. I only left it in there as a trial and it has grown huge and sprawled all over the place. I'm so looking forward to an early crop.
I know there is no way of keeping them out so I'll have to find deterrents and ways of keeping small things safe. Things grew pretty well last year so I hope I'll get most of the crops. At least it isn't rabbits!

Because of the mess of broccoli and other sprawly plants, my second, somewhat belated, year's resolution is - I will stake my plants properly. 
I'm very bad at it. It's quite hard to stake well, I find. Unless you want to spend a small fortune on fancy supports. There are ways to do it, though, and the earlier the better before the plants flop so I will do it!

For interesting and creative vases from around the world visit Cathy of Rambling in the Garden - In a Vase on Monday.  

Monday, 13 February 2017

IAVOM - Perfect little gems

What else is the star just now but snowdrops?
This is our second winter in this house. We moved in summer so had a good idea what was in the garden but, of course, had no idea about what bulbs would come up in spring. It was exciting to see things popping up and wait to see what they were. 
These snowdrops are growing in an inaccessible hedge so picking them involved wet twigs snapping in the face but, I think you'll agree, was worth it. There are lots of them so I felt no guilt in picking plenty.
I believe them to be flore pleno but ready to be corrected by anyone who knows better. 
Shown here with Vinca minor. They are growing together so they must like each other. 
Their sweet, gentle scent is permeating the room. 

 I've taken my own advice and placed them on a mirror. My husband produced this from his car boot. It's a truck wing mirror which is scratched and can't be sold and it's perfect for showing them off. 

 Photography then becomes very difficult as everything is reflected in the mirror. Lampshades, windows, my own head!

We had a tiny sprinkling of snow on Saturday so I tried to photograph snowdrops in the snow. So many as you see, this is about a quarter of them.
I'm planning to dive into the hedge with a trowel in a few weeks time to move some elsewhere. There are plenty of places where they could be tucked in and seen more easily and without risk to health. In fact, I'd like them everywhere.

Here is a fun picture I took with my mobile phone. I think the flash went off, hence the strange light. I was holding it underneath to try and take a photo for identification purposes.I managed to get myself in some of these photos.  I'm new to this game but they are quite large flowers and I think are probably 'S Arnott'. 
I'm now thinking I'll need to get some more varieties!

I've discovered out local town is hosting a Snowdrop festival next weekend. Apparently breeder James Allen used to live here. He bred many new varieties some of which remain incluing 'Merlin' and 'Magnet'. Now I know, I'll have to get involved. 
Here are my broad bean seedlings (shown last week) romping away:

The yoghurt manufacturers have kindly re-designed the pots so they stack nicely inside each other and make perfect little plant pots. Take care to make holes in the bases before planting as it's much more dicey afterwards. Ask me how I know...
These won't be in the pots for long so are big enough. 
I've started some sweet peas in the same way. 

Furry pests:
I've decided the culprit eating the beetroot tops is probably mice. They have moved onto the spinach and I can see a hole going under the edge of the poly tunnel wall. It has been very cold outside to a meal provided out of the wind would be very inviting.
I dug up the beetroot and we ate them just to make sure nothing got to them first. They were very good, maybe some loss of flavour but certainly a treat in February. 

For fun and creative vases from around the world visit 'In a vase on Monday' hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. 

Ps. In the language of flowers, snowdrops mean hope, consolation and a friend in adversity.