Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

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Photo Friday : Echinacea Mistral

August 31, 2012

For a year where we had a hosepipe ban for much of the summer, we’ve had a lot of rain. Some of my veggies really suffered; the courgettes have been a complete failure this year and the peas and french beans were stunted. The runner beans are doing really well though and the tomatoes, while still mostly green, are looking as though they will be good — if we have any left after Baby D has got at them. He knows he shouldn’t pick them; he goes up to them, looks at me and says “no no no!” and then picks them anyway with a big grin.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the rain, the garden is actually looking quite smashing this year. We’ve had enough sweet peas from a few plants mixed in with the beans to have a vase on the table for the last six weeks or so, and these Echinacea are my new favourite things. The bees love them too.

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Photo Friday : Tulips

February 10, 2012

I bought myself some flowers! Actually, J’s parents bought me some flowers — one of my Christmas presents was a pretty envelope containing a five pound note and a little card reading “buy yourself some flowers”. How nice an idea is that?

It snowed again last night and I tried to photograph some snowdrops in the snow while Baby D was napping this morning. Ziggy was convinced I was bending down to play with him though, and no matter what I did I ended up with photographs full of cat-tail.

I’m currently knitting myself a lace scarf which I’ll show you when it’s finished. I’m using a kind of muddy-green yarn and it isn’t very photogenic at the moment. I wish I’d chosen a cheerier colour — although I think it’ll look nicer once it’s blocked. I’m itching to get on to a more colourful project. I have many in mind!

Happy Friday!

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Goings on in the garden

May 18, 2010

I love May. The weather’s warming up and things are really starting to go on in the garden. Each day brings noticeable changes — a leaf unfurling, a new shoot appearing, a flower blooming or a seedling pushing up through the soil.

Today saw the first flowers on our potted strawberries…

…the Campanula covered in star-shaped buds, ready to burst into bloom…

…the Rudbeckia seedlings putting on a growth spurt, nearly ready for pricking out into pots…

…these Aquilegia plants from the Malvern Spring Gardening Show which we planted out at the weekend, making a much needed splash of colour at the bottom of the garden…

…and there’s all kinds of growing going on in the greenhouse.

But strangest of all is the bees.

A few weeks ago we bought a small hydrangea plant. J dug up some turf to make a new flowerbed and we planted the hydrangea, watered it in well and thought nothing much more about it. Within a day or two the bees had arrived. There aren’t any flowers on the plant yet — it’s too little and young for that — but it’s not the plant itself they seem interested in. It’s the ground below it.

I didn’t manage to get any particularly good photos but I’m sure you will see here what I mean.

Funny little wild-looking, burrowing bees.

Lots of them — going back and forth between my hydrangea and who knows where? Digging in the ground and then buzzing away again.

A quick Google tells me that they are probably solitary/mining bees — possibly tawny mining bees or maybe these red mason bees. What a nice surprise visitor! I was worried at first that they might damage the plant, but if I’ve identified them correctly they’re unlikely to do much damage and are an excellent pollinator — and they can’t sting humans. Welcome, little bees!

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Malvern Spring Gardening Show

May 13, 2010

One of the things I look forward to with eager anticipation every year is the Malvern Spring Gardening Show. While it’s quite a journey for us to get there it’s well worth the long drive. It’s a snip compared with the price of tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show and it’s always a great day out in such beautiful surroundings.

One of the first things you see when you arrive are the plant stalls and it’s quite an overload for the senses. It’s difficult not to buy one of everything before you’ve barely arrived at the show.

There are rather a lot of the “Wellies & Wind chimes” types of stalls too, more than I really care for, but they all seemed to be doing a great trade so maybe I’m in the minority with that one.

The show gardens this year were great — I liked the emphasis on recycling/upcycling in some of them — there were great ideas like converting drinks bottles into plant hangers, or this cute little path made from the bottoms of water bottles.

The huge floral marquee stalls offered an amazing choice of beautiful plants from some specialist nurseries, in varieties that you just don’t seem to find anywhere else. And lots of the plants from the displays are on sale here too, if you can wait until 4pm on the Sunday.

For me personally, one of the most exciting things to see were the vast displays of auriculas. I have never dreamed of so many varieties — I may have brought one of these home with me, along with a packet of seeds which are now quietly chilling in the fridge before I plant them, to simulate the snowy Alpine conditions they would grow in.

Aren’t they beautiful?

We came home loaded with plants which are mostly now hiding from any late frosts in my greenhouse, waiting for the right time to be planted outside. Maybe another week or so before we risk it. The garden still looks a little bit bare, especially now the daffodils have died off, so I can’t wait to get a bit of colour out there.

I’m looking forward to next year’s show already, but think that maybe we should take a few days to explore the Malvern Hills while we’re visiting for the show. Make a little holiday of it in the lovely countryside rather than spending so many hours driving in one day. Yes, I’m looking forward to it already!

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March winds and April showers

April 1, 2010

It’s almost a month already since our mammoth greenhouse-building session. I’ve been pottering in the garden almost every day since then — if only for a few minutes after work — planting seeds, watering the pots sparingly and checking to see if there have been any developments — signs of life — since the last time I impatiently checked.

After a couple of slow weeks where nothing much seemed to change, things are starting to happen in flurries. Of the three different varieties of tomatoes I planted, two keen tumbling tom seedlings are racing ahead to show the others the way.

The sweet peas (seeds I got free with the BBC Gardeners’ World magazine last month) are doing rather well — I’ve never had much luck with growing sweet peas from seed in the past. Five of the eight are poking their heads up for air and hopefully the rest will join in a few days.

The carrots are looking particularly keen — much more so than the ones planted outside in the little metre-square veg bed we’ve built. That’s also got garlic planted, and radishes, spinach and lettuce seeds sown but there’s precious little life there to show you of that yet.

Keenest of all, inside the greenhouse at least, is the mixed salad, which took less than a week to produce shoots, giving it a full week’s head start on anything else.

Also on the go — nasturtiums (sown from seeds saved from last year), beetroot, marigolds, cosmos (on the kitchen window sill), geraniums, and also on the kitchen window sill there is a tray of aubrieta seedlings, another one grow from last year’s collected seed.

But it’s still cold outisde. Or rather, the coldness has returned. And it’s still wet. So just for a bit of instant gratification while everything else is pushing up seeds — some pretty potted primulas. Voila!

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Spring bulbs

March 10, 2010

All this talk of gardening and greenhouses and I almost forgot. Some of the prettiest things are growing inside at this time of year.

These are on my piano, cheering up the house no end. And if you hold your nose right up close to the screen, you might just be able to smell them, all the way from here. They’re that potently fragrant!

Mmmm. Spring is really on its way!