Tuesday, 29 May 2012

In a woodland garden.......

 Rhododendron often get a bad press in the UK.     Personally, I do not understand why.     I was so pleased that they were used in one of the show gardens at Chelsea this year.
I keep my collection of Rhododendron and Acers along the woodland walk.   A post on Acers to follow.
 I seem to have the perfect conditions for the plants, humus rich soil, and shelter.
Each autumn I dress them with leaf mould.....and that is it.   They really seem to take care of themselves.
For those of you, who are not Rhododendron lovers, tell me you do not like this :)
I leave you with my absolute favourite.....a gift from Mr P.    She is ten years old this year and I love her.    She is delicate and fragile, and her baby pink blooms enchant me......

I am a 'Rhodi' girl......

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sunday safari

During the night I hear them croaking.......I drift into a very peaceful sleep.    The pond is full of frog spawn.
 A lone damselfly sits quietly and I wonder..........
 Moths hide, waiting patiently for the darkness of night to fall, time for them to feed from the wildflowers in the garden.
 There is no shortage of food for the ladybirds, there is plenty of greenfly to share with the Bluetits.
 Mason bees are filling the new units quickly.........I love to watch them work.
 Sparrowhawks are feeding their young.   A male blackbird was the unfortunate victim today.    I heard his cries as he was taken.     Nature can be cruel, something I have learnt to accept.
 A garden should give up its secrets slowly........
 Where is heaven? Is it not, just a friendly garden plot........The words of Bliss Carman often spring to mind as I walk the garden each day.
For this is my little piece of heaven, right here on earth :)

Happy Sunday safari.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Walking in sunshine

 The temperature has risen and the sun is at last shining.   I decided I would spend an hour playing with my camera.
 My camera and I are friends now.....it has been a long journey but at last we understand each other :)
 One can do so much with a camera these days.
 The detail you can capture is amazing.
 I love columbine.......my Nannie used to let them seed everywhere, I do the same.
 Trollius is captivating.........such an exquisite flower.
There is so much to do in the garden, I really don't know where to start.   Hopefully we will have a few more days of sunshine to give me time to catch up :)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sunday safari on Saturday

 I love it when Doves visit the garden.    They bring a sense of peace with them........
 A crab spider hides beneath the bloom of Rosa Rugosa, waiting for its next victim.
Gold at the end of the rainbow..........a ball of tiny spiders, springing into life.
A caterpillar on pendulous sedge.   No id as yet, unless you can help??
 I removed every Coreopsis  during February, the rabbits loved them a little too much and they never did particularly well.    This is the replacement :)    Trollius chinensis 'Golden Queen'   She should do well here.   A lover of cooler conditions and moist soil she should fit in happily.
I have planted drifts of them through the damp borders and in the bog garden.    I am hoping with time they will make a statement.     
The best thing about this plant is :     rabbits do not like them, and for me, that has become quite an issue.    At the moment they appear to be leaving them alone :)

I have been very careful with the changes I have made here and am looking forward to showing you the results.    I love Trollius, and will at some point plant our native 'europaeus'
You might wonder why I did not do that initially.   The reason is that the bloom of our native is very pale, and I wanted something that was just a little bit bolder :)

Happy Sunday safari.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A chill in the air......

 I decided to walk Nella this morning.    Although it was sunny, the temperature here was only 4.5C     It felt more like mid March than mid May.    It didn't seem to worry Nella too much.     I was warm in my coat, scarf and gloves :(
 There is still a lot of water lying around and the large ponds and ditches are full.
 One of my favourite occupations when walking Nella is looking at the wildflowers.   I always hope I will find something special and most of the time I do !   I can never resist taking a photograph of a dandelion clock :)
  To find wild orchids growing near your home is wonderful.    I think this is the common spotted orchird, I cannot say I am totally sure but that is my guess.   If anyone can confirm that or otherwise I would be grateful.
I found this pretty bloom growing beneath the hedgerow at the fishing lakes.   I am not sure what this is.   Any ideas??
Note:   After some research have found out that this is the flower of Grando Violetto, an italian heritage broad bean.     When the seeds are ready I may just take one pod to grow this variety in the garden next year.    Apparently slugs love this plant so it may disappear before I can do that.

I enjoyed my walk with Nella.....we got home before it started raining again..........

The cold wet weather seems endless.    The occasional day of warmth and sunshine is such a tease, it would be wonderful to have a full week of blue skies and sunshine.    I live in hope :)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sunday safari

I'll tell you how the sun rose
A ribbon at a time
The steeples swam in amethyst
The news like squirrels ran.
The hills untied their bonnets
The bobolinks begun
Then I said softly to myself
That must have been the sun!

I'll tell you how the sun rose....
Emily Dickinson.

The female blackbird looks as surprised as I am to see the sun two mornings in a row.
Rain is forecast for tomorrow but today I am going to enjoy every moment of blue skies and sunshine.

Happy Sunday Safari.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

It's not always about flowers....

The wind has turned to the South.    It is damp and warm, well warmer than it has been 15C.
Walking the garden today I realised that I rarely write about the trees, that I have planted during my ten years at the farmhouse.
Do you remember Poppi and I planting the bareroot silver birch a few years ago.   Well, this is her tree.     I helped her dig the hole but left her to do the rest.    I remember her tiny hands struggling to keep everything under control.....it took her best part of an hour but she did it.....do you know it is the tallest birch in the garden :)      I am sure Poppi's blessing helped the tree on her way.
Silver birch are such dainty trees, and the hardiest of all broadleaves.    The trees affinity with water encourages the growth of many forms of fungi.
 I chose the Swamp Cypress for it's distinctive bark.    It lives happily in clay soils and enjoys the high water table the garden offers.
 One of my favourite non native trees is this beautiful Redwood.    I can remember buying this tree.  It was tiny and cost far more than I had intended to spend .     Another lover of heavy clay, I hoped it would do well and sure enough it has.    It stands at 3 metres now  and is planted well away from the house, as this one day will be a very large  tree.    I never tire of it....I am drawn to it like a magnet.
For me, a garden would not be complete without Beech.   I nip the top out each Spring and most stand at around 2 1/2 metres.    I love the fact they retain their leaves during the winter and they rustle on windy days.     Beech leaves are very sensitive to light and always twist their stalks to face the sun.
Oh joy, a butterfly, the Speckled Wood.      How delightful to see you ...........
I have missed working in the garden each day.....you see I was born to garden.
My parents and brother have been tracing our family tree.     Father's side shows a Horticulturist, and Mother's shows farm workers, hence my love of soil........
By chance yesterday I saw my neighbour, she keeps horses.
I think you know what's coming......I now have a lovely pile of manure behind the garage......it should be ready for the garden in a few months.     Happy days :)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sunday safari

I have brought the auriculas inside where I can appreciate their lovely scent.   The continous rain will ruin the blooms....they are fragile.
April was an awful month, cold, wet and dull.   It would seem that May will be a repeat.
Camassia seem to like the conditions and are looking beautiful.   
 Bugle is one of my favourite common wildflowers.     It grows  freely here.
Borage with its deep blue, star shaped flowers life the spirits.     During medieval times they were used on salads.....I use them on my plate also :)

Mason bees have left the units.   There are few this year.    The wet, cold weather will do them no favours.   Fruit blossom lay on the grass, a soggy mass.

I found this little bee working its way through the Borage flowers.   One little bee gives
me hope........that the weather pattern will break, if only for a short while and bring a little
sunshine back into our lives.    Bless the bees.      Happy Sunday safari.