Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
So, I find myself in Birmingham for work last week. The place we were working at had a rather impressive planting. Well, not so much a planting as a partly living statue. Made from stone and wood and living trees, behold the Green Man.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The crow is stealing a whole egg from the meerkat enclosure. The magpies are stealing mealsworms from the meerkat enclosure. The meerkats weren't happy.
Whenever we go to the zoo, we also stop by to say hello to the tiny frogs that rule the world. At least, that's what they look like they are doing from their tiny lairs - a bit James Bond baddie style.
And a final 'hello' to the creatures that SomeBeans sponsors - the red eyed tree frogs. Or rather, the sleepy eyed tree frogs, as every time we see them they are just stuck to a leaf, asleep. I suppose we could have been conned and we have actually sponsored some stick-on rubber frogs.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Continuing with my current obsession with Pippa Greenwood (see Nominative Determinism post), I see that she has started an answer service for all your horticultural questions.
I would be interested to know what level of interest she gets in this service. After all, it appears to be an internet based service and the internet is itself a fantastic resource of free information. True, the information available freely in the net isn't necessarily from an ex-RHS plant pathologist, but there are a whole host of websites, blogs and forums available where you can just register and post a question, including photos of any garden nasties that you need identifying. Generally, within half an hour, you'll have several (and often several dozen) replies.
I suppose that the service that Pippa is providing is winnowing out the irrelevant and sometimes just plain bonkers answers you sometimes get in reply to your query on a forum, and giving you the definitive answer. I hope it works for her. Mind you, there is one thing I hold against Pippa - I note in the 'about Pippa' section, that she was gardening consultant for that appalling gardening/private detective TV series 'Rosemary and Thyme'. Oh dear.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
It started me wondering whether more gardeners display nominative determinism, or indeed whether any bloggers have gravitated towards jobs based on their names. Mind you, having racked my brain to think of more gardening examples, I've failed, so perhaps Bob and Pippa are the only examples.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Thanks for the photos, Dad!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Daffodils trumpet out that spring has arrived, and tulip buds are starting to show amidst the succulent leaves. I make no apologies for the number of photos of the daffodils - so much of their year is spent hidden underground, only remembered when you accidently spear one digging a planting hole for 'just one more' herbaceous perennial, then a brief fanfare of yellow, followed by a couple of months while you bemoan their untidy leaves. So, bring on the trumpets!
The trees and shrubs are just full of latent energy ready to explode into new leaf, such as my beautiful Acer 'Sango kaku'.
But, hiding their beauty by demurely facing down are the stars of the garden at the moment - our hellebores. The centre of each flower is a glorious confection, like a tiara or an exploding ivory firework.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Not the air of calm and tranquility which encourages meditation. Hardly - we're close to a hospital, and you soon learn to tune out the ambulance sirens. Nor the careful and thoughtful placement of the elements within the garden. Hence the name of the blog - inelegant rather than contemplative.
No - it's the moss. Over the rather wet winter, it's made a bid for the borders and succeeded in establishing itself. That'll teach me for not aerating the lawn and eliminating the stuff.
Moss is an interesting type of plant. I've always remembered the name of one type since my university days - it's very impressive to be able to say "Oh look - that's Polytrichum" when faced with what most people would consider just some green moss stuff. Or perhaps I just hang around with easily impressed people. That's more likely.
So, perhaps I should just go with the flow and live with the moss. After all, it can be extremely beautiful. And, if you really learn to love moss, you don't just have to restrict it to the garden.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
I'm a big fan of the bog standard Galanthus nivalis, especially en masse. These snow piercers are simple and elegant. Before spending a couple of hours peering at the different varieties growing at Ness, I'd not really noticed the diversity between cultivars. And, whilst it may well take a real galanthophile to notice and adore the infinitessimal differences, even a mere amateur can admire the more obvious differences.
Introduced by plantsman E.A. Bowles
One of the more 'frilly knickered' cultivers, which are a bit too elaborate for my tastes.
A tall snowdrop, which somehow seems wrong, but with gorgeous, delicate flowers.
With daffodil Tete a Tete bursting into bloom throughout the garden, I thought I'd be contrary and write about that other emblem of Wales - the leek.During the summer on the allotment I tend to frown at them a lot - they take up a lot of space for a long period of time. They take forever to get from chive size to anything resembling the pencil size that they are supposed to reach before transplanting. But when little else on the plot is providing us with a harvest, the leeks come into their own. Last year I grew Bleu de Solaise, which looked good throughout the mild winter of 07/08 but rapidly flowered as the spring came. The flowers were spectacular, but made the leeks inedible. This year, I have Bandit. Very good, very tasty and not yet starting to send up flowers. we've got quite a few of them - just as well I love leeks. They've been added to pretty much everyting we've eaten over the past few weeks (apart from the parsnip cake, though they may well have improved it!).
A couple of the simplest ways to cook leeks are either roasted with a small amount of butter (just wrap the leek and the butter in some foil and put in the oven) or cook sliced leeks in butter until softened, wait for them to cool, then add some balsamic vinegar. Lovely.
I could only find one quote relating to leeks, but it seems quite apt:
Le poireau, c'est l'asperge du pauvre. -Thibault (leeks are the asparagus of the poor).
One final reason why I love leeks - who couldn't like a vegetable whose roots look like the moustaches of a walrus?
Oh, OK - here's a picture of that other Welsh emblem too...
Allegedly, it is illegal for a Welshman to enter Chester before sunrise or after sunset. Difficult, seeing as nowadays some parts of Chester are now in Wales.
*Happy Saint David's Day (apparently - apologies if I've not got it quite right).