Thursday 28 June 2012

Ancient grassland, wild orchids and a charming young man.

 During the autumn last year, a young man in the village opened his garden to the public.    A grower of native wild orchids and many other plants, I was so looking forward to meeting him.   I was his only visitor :(     On arrival we had tea and biscuits.   We sat in his warm cosy kitchen, whilst his wife cooked and his two young boys played happily.  He asked about my garden etc, and knew where I lived.   He suggested I let part of the grass grow to see if there were any secrets trapped beneath the soil.
 I was thrilled last week to see that Fairy Flax had appeared.   It is a marker of ancient, flower rich, unimproved grassland.  So exciting,  this is a project that I know I am going to enjoy.
Anyway, needless to say, I bought several wild orchids from the young man.
He explained that orchids are unpredictable, and sometimes take several years to flower.
I have learned you can imagine how delighted and surprised I was to see the Marsh Helleborine in bloom.
 I planted her in the bog garden last autumn.     One of our most beautiful native plants, she stands out from the rest.  Much less common these days, in fact, in some areas very rare.
A lover of damp meadow,  and wet marshy habitat, I am hoping it will do well here.

I also bought Southern Marsh Orchid, Broad-leaved Helleborine and Ladies Tresses.

Broad-leaved Helleborine has made an appearance but is not in bloom yet.   I am hoping she will in the next few weeks.

Sadly, many of our native wildflowers are disappearing.   Imagine my joy, when the young man told me, when an area is being cleared and wild orchids are cast aside, he drives to the location and rescues as many plants as he can.   I was inspired by his passion for his subject, his love of our native flora, that I left him feeling  totally elated.   Very often, young people get bad press but we never hear about the good ones.   The ones that go the extra mile.
I shall keep in touch with this young man....he has a dream, as I did when I was his age.
I have been blessed to have reached many of my goals, but still have some to conquer.

Unless we dream, then how can they come true??

Monday 25 June 2012

Every garden is different...unique in its own way.

 I like to think this garden is unpretentious, and blends in well with the surrounding countryside.
 I have gardened for most of my life, I used to help my Dad when I was small.
I have followed his ways, chaotic planting was his speciality :)
Sisyrhinchium and Red Campion have self seeded in this border.   I would never have put the two together, but I actually like the combination.   Mother nature oftens does it so much better than we can.

I have found it difficult to get balance in the pond, since I removed the fountain.   I walked the lanes last week and managed to find some Duck Weed, and that seems to be helping.   I will give it time.
Red Campion and Feverfew have taken over the meadow....I shall remove the plants in the Autumn, as they will smother the cyclamen, english primrose and various bulbs.
As I walked the garden last evening I watch moths feeding in the cool night air.
While Nella slept, rabbits grazed and the garden was hushed.
Everything looked so pretty and the perfume drifting through the air was wonderful.    

I leave you with the words of Alfred Austin(1835 - 1913)

A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one's personal history.....interwoven with one's tastes, preferences and character, and constitutes a sort of unwritten autobiography.   Show me your garden, provide it be your own, and I will tell you what you are like.

Have a good week, enjoy your garden.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Sunday safari

 The crab spider took three days to change colour.   She hunts on the surface of the Arum Lily.
 She guards her food store which is kept inside the bloom.   Several small insects are on the menu.
 A long horned beetle arrives..........
 The spider approaches and gives the beetle a warning........
He takes note, and disappears into the nearby vegetation.

Happy Sunday Safari.

Monday 18 June 2012

Roses and Gillian Blades

I think most woman love roses.    I cannot tell you the name of this climber, it was a gift.   It is making its way through the Dogwoods and has reached great heights.    
 Rosa Canina,  is seen along every lane here.   Our native wild rose.   For me, she is the Queen of the Roses.    She adorns the hedgerow in the garden and has found her way to the arches by the house, where she joins wisteria and honeysuckle.    I love her simplicity........and her fluffly golden centre.
Rambling Rector has really put  a spurt on this year and is starting to climb the oak tree at the bottom of the garden.    I love this rose, it has the most wonderful fragrance.

Clematis 'Gillian Blades' (which is supposed to be white) has started to scramble through
Rambling Rector, I think given time they will make a lovely combination :)

Saturday 16 June 2012

Sunday safari

 The juvenile Green Woodpecker visits most days.     This is the second year they have raised their young here.
 Many bees......they enjoy feeding on the wildflowers.
 False Oil Beetles look creepy but are harmless.     They are liquid feeders (nectar) and are common in meadows and flower rich gardens.

 The four spotted chaser has been hunting in the borders.   She is a fascinating and beautiful creature.
Yes there is much life in the garden, but I ask myself, where have all the butterflies gone ??

The sun is back.....Happy Sunday Safari.

Monday 11 June 2012

Rainy days and Mondays don't get me down :)

 I look from the window, once again the rain is beating down.   My mind wanders and thoughts of yesterday come to me.    I spent the day with Mr P, my daughter and the grandchildren.    In pouring rain, two old cars, lovingly restored by my  husband, took to the road for the  London to Brighton classic car run.   It was a wonderful day, with a stop for lunch en route.    Arriving at Brighton in torrential rain we left the cars and headed for a cafe.   I looked at Riley and Poppi, they had behaved so well and I knew the last thing they wanted was to be sitting down once again.
"Come on lets go throw pebbles in the sea."     We waved the adults a cheery goodbye and headed for the beach.     The 30 minutes we spent together were me, they do not worry about getting wet.   We laughed and chatted and just had fun.     Soaking wet but happy we headed back to the cafe and met the others........time to head for home.
 Back home, I notice the bog garden is looking lovely.    The Easter Lily are in bloom......also called Lily of the Nile.     They do well here, I intend to add more at some point.   
 A particular favourite of mine is the Candelabra Primula.      She has her feet in plenty of water, so is looking particularly happy this year.
 I love this image, if you look closely there is a reflection of a bloom in the pretty.
And finally, I have removed the fountain from the pond.   I know that water lillies do not like movement and have found this to be true.   Whilst she always bloomed, never quite as much as I  liked.    This year there are lots and lots of buds, so the fountain will not be going back :)   

Happy Monday to you all.........

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Seeing things more clearly....

 Removing many of the plants that struggled here,  seems to have been the best thing, for me and the garden.
 I have selected plants carefully, taking this damp environment into consideration.  Adding more ferns hosta and solomons seal was the perfect thing to do.
 So far, so good, all seem to be doing very well.
Aruncus Dioicus (Goatsbeard) is a graceful woodland plant that suits damp shade.
Viburnum Opulus (guelder rose) with its lovely flat heads of showy white flowers, followed by large bundles of berries, a food source for birds.
Lupins are a favourite of mine, for one reason, their lovely peppery scent.   I could sit amongst a bed of lupins and never tire of their perfume.
Foxgloves, bumblebee bedrooms, as Piet Oudolf once said :)
Clematis grow in most of the borders.   Cheap supermarket buys.....they scramble up any plant that takes their fancy.   I have added more to the beds.   They seem to take a while to adapt but get there in the end.

Rain for the last four days has left me feeling a tad dispirited.   With the longest day waiting in the wings, I feel that summer has not really arrived yet.    The forecast is a trifle grim, rain, rain and more rain.   The moisture loving plants should thrive in these conditions.    I think I probably will to :)                                                                                                                                                              

Saturday 2 June 2012

Sunday safari

 Angelica or Root of the Holy Ghost (Angelica archangelica), is a tall, dramatic herb.
 It has bright green, ferny leaves and huge umbellate inflorescences.
 Every part of the plant has a clean sweet scent, which I love.
 It is also an insect magnet.
 Bringing in all manner of bugs from miles around, well perhaps not quite that far, but you understand what I am saying :)
 It will self seed if it is happy.
It is a wonderful plant for wildlife :)

Happy Sunday safari.  

Today I celebrate the marriage of my eldest neice.    A family wedding, a coming together.
We will take lunch, over one hundred of us.  

We will not forget our Queen, who has carried out her duties with dignity and poise.

Happy Diamond Jubilee Ma'am.   God bless you.