Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rhapsody in Blue

To continue my Meconopsis obsession – yesterday it looked divine, the blue of the flower fading into the stem. Today a declining Hollywood beauty casting off petals, like Jayne Mansfield casting off a mink coat.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eyes wide shut

I must have been going around with my eyes shut to have never noticed this tree in flower before. SomeBeans and I saw it at Ness gardens last week, and I was sure I’d not seen one before. Since then, however, I’ve seen them all over the place.

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It’s Prunus padus ‘Watereri’. A chorus of “Of course it is – can’t believe you’ve not noticed it before – can’t move for falling over them” rises from the blogosphere. I shall have to be more observant – perhaps an I Spy book of trees would help. I’m sure if I was trying to impress Big Chief I-Spy with my spotting abilities I would take a bit more notice of my surroundings.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What a difference a day makes…


From this…

IMG_8232 …to the petals unfurling as creased as a butterfly’s wings as it emerges from its cocoon.

IMG_8279 You might be seeing more photos of this beautiful Meconopsis. A wonderful advantage of living in the cool, damp North West of England.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy now

Our garden pleases me at the moment.

It has some weeds, it has some gaps. It has some beautiful bits. It has some ugly bits.

It has flowers, it has foliage. It has birds, it has slugs. It has had sweat, an occasional bit of blood and the odd few tears.

It has memories.It has anticipation.

It has love.

I am enjoying the daily changes at this time of year, and am happy to spend some time just sitting, looking.

Friday, April 22, 2011

“We want a shrubbery”

It seems like Roger the Shrubber (“I arrange, design and sell shrubberies”) might be becoming a little more popular in the near future. Shrubs are making a comeback.

I have to admit that until very recently I  have had a bit of a blind spot when it comes to shrubs. I have some in the garden but I just let them get on with it.

When we first moved in to this house, the front garden was packed full of a range of shrubs. Some were in theory rather nice plants (I love the wafting smell of Mahonia as I walk past one), but the previous inhabitants of the house insisted on pruning them all into round blobs. I’m sure it was just to tidy the garden up a bit before it went on sale, but it was like walking into a child’s drawing of a garden. Big, blobby green masses on sticks. No flowers – they had all been cut off by indiscriminate use of electric shears. We won’t even mention the crazy paving path. Nor the blousy pink hydrangea which was first up against the wall when the garden revolution came.

And come it did – all the shrubs were mercilessly hoiked out.

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 But shrubs are important. They provide structure to the garden. In the case of evergreens, winter interest and structure is maintained. Dogwoods give colour in a monochrome season. In spring, shrubs can be clothed in blossom; in autumn their leaves can burn as brightly as any Fall forests. Yet, why is it that I’m only just beginning to realise the importance, and the usefulness and the beauty of shrubs? Stick me in front of a herbaceous border and I can name many of the plants; place me besides a well-stocked shrubbery and until very recently I could have given a few names, had a guess at a couple more, and that would be it. Laurel was laurel – green, ugly, and usually a hedge which had been cut with hedge trimmers, leaving dismembered parts of leaves slowly browning at the edges. Perhaps that’s why I’ve spurned shrubs – people treat them badly; abused shrubs never look good.

A little bit of knowledge has gone a long way to combat my feeling of ‘meh’ when I hear the word shrub. I’ve learnt to identify some and go around naming shrubs in car parks and in peoples’ front gardens. And now I rather like them, and recognise their usefulness. Whilst a I might never want a shrubbery, at least I no longer want to grub them out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day April 2011

A few warm days last week really brought on a panoply of spring flowers. You can see many of these flowers on other people’s GBBD posts, so I thought I’d include a couple that might not feature elsewhere*. The following two weren’t planted by me, but are welcome. Our lawn is not a monoculture! No stripes of perfection here.


  *Although having gone to Carol’s post to put my own up and add a comment, I note that she, too, has included the fiery petalled flower of number 2.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011


A couple of posts ago, I declared myself to be an EMO. Times passes…

It’s early April now; and so I move from an EMO to being in a SOAP. However, I do not find myself in a foamy mass of perfumed toiletries. Instead, I find myself in a Start Of April Panic.

I planned ahead in the autumn, and planted my sweet peas. However, they died when I failed ot water them before going on holiday. In my defence, the week before we went was very frosty, and so I was concerned about watering them in case the frozen water killed them. Instead, the lack of water, in the unusually warm week that accompanied our holiday, killed them.

Luckily, in case such a thing happened, I had saved some seeds which I have now planted. Hurrah – they have germinated!

Sweet pea germinating I’ve got my potatoes chitting:

Chitting potato But… some people have already got their potatoes in at the allotments; I’ve only just sown the broad beans (or rather SomeBeans did). I’ve a whole host of seeds waiting to get into the ground; I haven’t bought any dahlia tubers yet, let alone got them growing to produce cuttings; the lawn hasn’t beenscarifed; I haven’t cut down all the dead growth from last year; I haven’t divided the heleniums, I haven’t dug up the plants killed by winter, I havent, I haven’t, I haven’t… (takes deep breath in effort to calm down…).

Are you in a SOAP, or is it just me?