Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Thursday, 15 January 2015
Just one glimpse of the outer world today - the very first hellebore to arrive at the party. There are other plants carrying plump buds but they seem reluctant to flower. I'm not surprised as it's still perishingly cold and windy, so I've kept relatively warm to celebrate Garden Bloggers Bloom Day venturing in to the greenhouse to capture a handful of my 'special' snowdrops.
|Galanthus 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'|
|Galanthus 'George Elwes'|
|Galanthus 'Lost Label'|
Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens who kindly hosts 'Garden Bloggers Bloom Day' where I'm sure there will be all sorts of winter gems to tempt and tease.
Wednesday, 14 January 2015
Loose and Leafy to see what fine tree specimens from all over the world are up to this January.
Monday, 12 January 2015
The weather has been interfering with play so far this year. I can do cold but I can't do cold and windy. No matter how well wrapped the wind seems able to permeate and cause havoc. So apart from nipping to the greenhouse and the odd quick reccie of the garden I've been devoting time to indoor activities.
I have been doing some gentle digging whilst sorting out the folder of family information that came into my care after my Dad's death. He had managed to trace his ancestors back until the early 1800s, before the onset of dementia cruelly meant that he became increasingly unable to pursue his many interests. I've been peeking in the folder on and off since Dad died in 2011 but it's really only now that I feel ready to try to take things on further a step or so if it's possible. The folder contains not only quite a detailed family tree but also several old photographs, a cassette tape (remember those) of one aunt and uncle (sadly no longer alive either) talking about life in their community in the 1930s, as well as several letters written in reply from people Dad had contacted during the course of his research. There also a couple of newspaper snippets, one of which describes a court case involving a murder trial. The accused was a relatively dim and distant ancestor but still I was most relieved to find that he had been found not guilty! I've now got the folder's contents into what seems logical order to me and I'm looking forward to more digging and delving whilst winter is still with us.
As far as the dropping is concerned I'm now waiting with bated breath for the arrival of some new special snowdrops from Cornovium Snowdrops and Avon Bulbs. This involved much studying and brow furrowing whilst I made some difficult decisions. Now the deed is done, the orders have been made so now it's just a case of waiting for the postie. In the greenhouse where most of my specials are in residence there is already quite a show of white. If I thought that many of them opened early last year they are even earlier this year. I'm hoping for a sustained cooler spell to slow them down. I plan to take photos sometime this week. I'm especially keen to take photos of the unlabelled ones as some fellow snowdrop lovers might be able to help me put names to them. I'm also keeping the old grey matter occupied tackling this cryptic crossword . One lucky winner will receive a selection of unusual snowdrops from Colesbourne Gardens. Progress is painfully slow but I have a few weeks longer to work on it.
Meanwhile out in the garden snowdrops have also opened during the last few days whilst several hellebores are on the point of unfurling. Exciting times are on the horizon but for now I'm content with indoor pursuits until that wind drops.What about you - are you braving the elements or keeping out of them?
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
It was sometime back in the autumn when I started to hear a noise. I heard it in the kitchen. It was an unfamiliar noise - a distinct click followed by a whirr.... and then silence. In the following days I heard it regularly though not every day and if I did hear it it was only just the once. I could not work out what is was or where it was coming from. Strangely enough himself did not hear it so it was just my ears that were being assailed by a rather disconcerting sound.
I became increasingly perturbed and searched high and low to see if could locate the source without any success. To my great relief himself finally heard it one evening but was then adamant that it was coming from the other side of the room to which I thought it was coming from. I dismissed this possibility as I did his suggestion a week or so later that it was just a normal everyday noise emanating from the fridge. Now after several years of intimate acquaintance with the fridge I knew that this was not the case.
So the mystery deepened. Shades of the film 'Gaslight' briefly flitted through my mind. If you have not seen this film it's a must for a dark, dreary indeed preferably murky afternoon at this time of year. Very briefly 'Gaslight' is a most scary psychological thriller in which evil husband attempts to drive wife insane by most subtle methods so that he can get his hands on her jewels. The heroine began to see and hear things ..... but I'm pleased to report than in this case that there were no sinister shenanigans going on.
The penny finally dropped when logic came to my rescue. On hearing the noise the thought that it might possibly be time related came to me. So a thorough search of the kitchen ensued with my attention focused on time driven devices. Eureka - I found it!
Thursday, 1 January 2015
Monday, 29 December 2014
Well here it seems that Christmas disappeared almost faster than you could say it. We have had a stay at home quiet but thoroughly relaxing few days. All in all the batteries which were running down are now thoroughly restored. There has been good food and wine and pursuit of gentle pleasures including reading, jigsaw puzzling, crossword solving, scrabbling as well as watching the odd film. There were some gardening related presents including a couple of books (more of them a later date), pruners, secateurs, gardening gloves, a packet of peas and some muscari bulbs to plant in a most pretty jug. Best of was a trowel which made me positively purr.
The first jigsaw entitled 'Garden Party' pictured above was a challenge to the old grey matter - only 250 pieces but the pieces were not conventional. It did not follow that a straight side necessarily equated with an edge piece - they could be in the middle of the jigsaw. If the kind donor of this gift
(a birthday present from earlier in the year) reads this you chose well my friend. We have now moved on to a thousand piecer which should keep occupied for some considerable time.
Although it was not a white Christmas we had snow on the Feast of Stephen. It arrived in darkness and was quite magical. My nose had detected that snowfall was imminent earlier in the day so I was on the look out for it. I've had discussions about being able to smell snowfall with several family members and friends and there seems to be a divided camp on the topic. What about you - can you smell snow before it arrives?
The bitterly cold temperatures since have prevented it from melting completely so scattered but substantial white patches remain. No chance to use the new trowel yet as the earth is indeed still hard as iron but I've made it to the greenhouse each day to study the state of snowdrop play. There have been one or two casualties, some will not flower this year whilst some have multiplied most considerately. In flower for Christmas Day were 'Mrs Macnamara', 'Faringdon Double',' Peter Gatehouse', 'Fieldgate Prelude', and an unlabelled bulb which did not flower at this time last year or during the remainder of the winter. I obtained 'Peter Gatehouse' in the green earlier this year so this was its first flowering. It was also a debut for 'Fieldgate Prelude' bought in 2013 and which has multiplied well. You can see a photo above. The seasonally named 'Three Ships' and 'Ding Dong' did not live up their reputation with the former going over well before Christmas whilst the latter is only just showing white. Now I know that I do not really need any more snowdrops but I'm already debating which I might add to my little collection over the next few weeks. Elsewhere in the garden I had two varieties of rose still in flower for Christmas Day - snowdrops and roses, now that's a first!
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
The above angel floats on high overlooking the Angel Field Garden at Liverpool Hope University. I visited the garden back at the beginning of April this year and must return there in the future.
Wishing all my dear blogging friends peace and joy at Christmas. May your days be merry and bright!
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Monday, 15 December 2014
"We are into December, Mid-winter-monath in old Saxon, and what a difficult time it is to produce flowers to fill even a few vases in the house. The winter flowering - cherry, Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' is a great stand-by. I have been cutting small branches of it for two weeks past, standing them in water in a warm room, when the green buds surprisingly expand into the white, faintly-scented blossom suggestive of spring. This is a little tree which should be planted in every garden. It doesn't take up much space, and pays a rich dividend for picking from November until March. Even if frost catches some of the buds, it seems able, valiant little thing that it is, to create a fresh supply. This year, the winter cherry was in full flower in the open during the first fortnight of November ; I picked bucketfuls of the long white sprays; then came two nights of frost on November 15th and 16th; the remaining blossom was very literally browned - off, I despaired of getting any more for weeks to come. But ten days later, when the weather had more of less recovered itself, a whole new batch of buds was ready to come out, and I got another bucketful as fresh and white and as virgin as anything in May.
There is a variety of this cherry called 'Autumnalis Rosea', slightly tinged with pink; I prefer the white myself, but that is a matter of taste'.
~ Vita Sackville West, 1892 -1962.
Sadly my beloved Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea' is now a pale ghost of its former self. It has probably reached the quarter of a century mark and although still producing flowers, they seem to be increasingly sparse and now mainly decorate the higher branches of the tree. Picking any branches for vases would now be a ladder job even for himself who is a good six footer. Taking photos of the clusters of blossoms is a challenge too which was beyond me today so the above photo is of a solitary lower down open flower. This year the tree was showing some blossom in October, which must be the earliest I've seen it in flower. I think though that the time has come for a replacement reluctant that I am to cull it. This time round I will be looking for the white flowering version which I could not track down all those years ago.
Thanks as always to Carol over at 'May Dreams Gardens' for hosting this inspirational meme, which I always visit equipped with notepad and pen.