Saturday, May 30, 2009

CSI Chester - updated

Hmmm. I've just cycled down to the allotment for a sunny afternoon of hoeing and weeding. And I've just returned - the site has been cordoned off with Crime Scene tape, and a nice police lady told me I couldn't go on there, and they weren't sure how long the tape would remain in place.

We were on the plot at around nine this morning, dropping off sweetcorn and French bean plants which I'd grown in the greenhouse. I was planning on planting them out this afternoon. The site next to ours had been taped off at this point, but not ours. SomeBeans took some photos, as we hadn't taken any for a while. I can only surmise that it's something rather more serious than the normal round of pilfering that goes on at our (and most other) allotment sites.
The chickens next door were unconcerned by the hoo-ha and only wanted to be fed worms.

Hopefully we'll be back on the plot before the birds get to these.

UPDATE: All was open this morning, although no-one knows what it was all about - all the police would say was that it was "an incident". I've planted the sweetcorn and beans, and SomeBeans discovered the joy of hoeing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm in love!

The irises I planted last year have flowered for the first time. Meet Iris germanica 'Dutch Chocolate'. For some bizarre reason, growing an iris like this has made me feel very 'grown up'. I've been watching her slowly come into bud over the past few days. One petal was languidly draped out this morning at 06:30, and twelve hours later she has revealed her divine sumptuousness.

Isn't she gorgeous? Her name is delicious and so is she.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Limestone pavements

We had a walk in North Wales at the weekend in the glorious bank holiday weather. I chose this particular walk as it went past Bryn Alyn's limestone pavement. Limestone pavement is relatively uncommon in North Wales, and whilst this area isn't as extensive as some other areas such as the Burren in Ireland and Malham Cove in Yorkshire, it was still exciting to see.

The habitat is very distinctive, with pavement blocks (known as 'clints') being dissected by 'grikes' - the vertical fissures. It was fascinating to see. The limestone pavement has its own flora. Lots of early purple orchids were dotted around the turf surrounding the pavement area. Ordinarily, this post would be accompanied by a plethora of photos. Unfortunately, we had a bit of an equipment failure (the battery ran out!). Here's a picture of the view, though.
The rock garden at RHS Harlow Carr was made from limestone pavement, before the wholesale destruction of this habitat was made illegal.
We will be making a return visit to the site as it was so beautiful. We had fantastic views of buzzards overhead, and sighted a cuckoo. SomeBeans also discovered a wood for sale. Unfortunately at over £400,000, it was a little out of our price range. This time, however, we'll have spare batteries.

Lots more information about limestone pavement can be found here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just remember...

...seeds really do just want to grow. A bit of moisture and some warmth is all they need.

Even when the moisture is from a trip through the washing machine and the warmth is from the airing cupboard. Yes, these kale seeds spent a few days in the dark germinating, before I discovered them in my gardening trousers after having sown most of their little friends at the allotment the week before. Oops. Still, it makes a change from tissues in the pockets.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The blue touch paper has been lit

Purple fireworks are coloured by a mixture of strontium carbonate and copper oxide. All that is needed to make the alliums explode into a thousand scintillating stars is a few more days of sunshine.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Does anyone else ever get the temptation... stick a whacking great hand print right into the middle of prize-winning alpine plants which have taken years to reach rotund perfection?

No? Just me then.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I feel proud and delighted to have won an award for irrelevance to gardening. The anonymous simian, the Garden Monkey, has been running his/her Fork'N Monkey 2009 awards (where all the worthy winners and nominees can be found).

In amongst such illustrious winners as Nigel Colbourn, James Alexander-Sinclair and VP, I won the award for Complete Irrelevance for my celebration of cats and bad poetry (and bad acronyms as it was later pointed out to me). The previous link gives some of the history of the event. Click here for links to all those who were kind/foolish enough to take part.

Thank you to those who remembered this event and voted in the poll - I'm so chuffed about the award that I have (at least temporarily) renamed the blog in honour. And to those who took part in or suffered the LAPCPADPOUB day event - don't worry, I think it was a one off. Probably...

Monday, May 18, 2009

A world in a drop

After yesterday's post, we noticed that the photograph of the raindrop on the allium bud showed the opposite border upside down.

Here it is right way up. A world reflected in miniature. Or at least a small border in that world. And you can see the beautiful blue sky that lasted for around half an hour before the next torrential downpour. April showers a month late.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

After the rain...

...comes sun. And a million sparkling drops.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gnome man is an island

I was this chap at Malvern, and thought immediately of the Garden Monkey.

Sorry, GM x

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Malvern show gardens

Several people have already put up photos of the show gardens at Malvern, including Patient Gardener, VP and Arabella Sock. I have to say that, to my untutored eye, the gardens seemed of better quality than I have seen in previous years. And there were more, too. Having the creative imagination of a gnat, I can only admire the way that the designers can think up a concept and then bring it to life with living material.

Debs at Beholder's eye won a silver medal with her imaginative and romantic Lola

Having forgotten which other gardens are which by now, these photos hopefully show some of the exuberance of spring.

Sarracenia surrounding a circular pool were eye-catching.

Beyond here be dragons...

Alliums featured in a lot of the gardens, which is A Good Thing as far as I'm concerned.

Sorry Joe Swift - there weren't many gardens which concentrated on the colour green.
And just for Arabella, who missed out on a hug...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

James Alexander-Sinclair demonstrates new Acme™ Rapid omelette-making device

"Just gently press on the back of the device, whilst whispering gentle words of encouragement"
"And voilĂ !"
"Oops. Just don't forget to place a bowl beneath the device before activating it".

Monday, May 11, 2009

Malvern - the floral marquee

SomeBeans has banned me from buying any more seeds this year. He didn't, however, mention anything about not buying plants. So, it was with itchy fingers that I entered the floral marquee on Saturday.

It's always the first place we go, to try and avoid the huge crowds later in the day. And what a wonderful sight to the plant lover. Such variety, such care taken over the displays. So many great plants that I wanted.

I'm not a huge fan of bonsai, but this hawthorn was eye-catching.
I'm also not a fan of auriculas, but another great display. I can see why people get obsessed with the different flower colours, the doubles, the farina, even if I can't understand it myself.
This peony, on the other hand, is so delicious I could have eaten it.

From peonies to pleiones - I wish I was brave enough to try and grow them.
This angelica looked stunning against the canvas of the marquee.
And finally, to continue my obsession this year with tulips, I loved the light coming through these petals.
I didn't actually buy any of the plants above, though. I bought...

Astrantia 'Hapsden Blood', Geum 'Borissii', and Centaurea montana 'Alba', each of which I've been able to split. Very restrained of me, I think you'll agree.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Celebrity gardener threatens to eat chick unless audience buys new book shocker!*"Go on... what's 15 quid compared to the priceless life of a small chick?"*

*No - not really. Joe was overcoming his chicken phobia. I can report that he is most definitely a Very Nice Man.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The other Malvern spring flower show

What a weekend. I'll write lots on the Malvern spring garden show tomorrow when I'm back home, including which garden designer was upstaged by an egg-laying chicken. However, just in case anyone is thinking of going to the Malvern Show tomorrow and wants to round off a great day out with something even more spectacular, I'd recommend a trip to Cowleigh Woods in West Malvern.

And here's why...

And then we had a quick trip to Welland Village Hall, where there are these beautiful green-winged orchids.


Monday, May 04, 2009

A walk on the wild side

There really is nothing better than a hedgerow in May. The flora of North Wales was enjoying early May sunshine on Sunday.

I wonder if Arabella Sock can use her new found tracking skills to work out the direction of the prevailing wind?


"Fwinging" ferns


Dog violet

Wood anemones

Fresh leaves!

Marsh marigolds
Bluebells - spring summed up in sight and smell.