Friday, August 31, 2007


From Harlow Carr one leave changing colour. The hedgerows on the long causeway are full of berrys, and the shrubs outside my ward are slowly changing the leaf colour.
It is getting Darker Earlier, and the sun is rising later. The season is changing gradually, and sometimes imperceptibly.
I love Autumn leaves, and golden trees, kicking through leaf piles. The USA calls it Fall, as in the leaves change colour and fall.
I love all seasons but Autumn is always a highlight of the year, especially in places with lots of trees.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Unfurling Petals of the Dahlia

The Dahlia looking more like a proper flower.The white petals were quite tubular, but slowly unfurl.I love the white petals with pink lines on the outer petals.

The pollen in the centre is a delicious yellow colour like honeycomb..

It took me eight goes to upload this photo.Three nights down, four to go...

Next week I have a garden to tidy up and make beautiful with Frans help...will post our ground force efforts. So little time, so many gardens to revamp and beautify...cant wait!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wednesday Rose

A beautiful peach/yellow rose from Harlow Carr.This unfortunately had lost the label of what it was.With all the thousands of plants many were unlabelled.
Even the professional RHS gardeners lose labels. How else can you keep track of what you planted?
I normally forget them after planting them, so the labels are good for my memory.Unless I lose the label.
I tried a notebook..but lost that as well. The purple flowers are good contrast in the background and bring the roses colour out brilliantly. The David Austin competition closes on Sept 17th. I hope my emailed images made it so they can be judged! Fingers crossed....
Five more nights to go now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Echinacea tuesday

I love purple cone flowers. One day I will get the seeds to germinate and grow like this harlow carr beauty. It is very tactile the cone, and optical to look at.
Am back on nights so I will post a photo a day...I finish next monday morning.Seven nights and eight days, from Monday to Monday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My first 2007 Dahlia

The First Dahlia to flower in the flat. Four plants were rescued from being eaten by slugs at Hils garden and brought back to the flat.

Three are growing with no buds, but the fourth plant grew one flower bud which looked like the photo below. Two days later and the bud unfurled.
Its not the most complete Dahlia flower but the magic of seeing a plant flower is always a pleasure. Even with some buds missing.

The Flower buds looked like a watercolour painting with Pink and white petals, with yellow leaves at the top of the ball.
Dahlias are the national flower of Mexico, and have been grown in Europe for 200 years.The original parent plant of all the Dahlias grown since, came from a box of tubers sent to Amsterdam in 1872. Only one plant survived the trip. Dahlia Juarezi with red flowers. Nurserymen crossed this plant with the earlier ones from Mexico. These were grown in a Madrid Botanical Garden and looked after by the Curator Andres Dahl..Who gave the plant his name. Years later there are 50,000 cultivars.
They have been out of fashion, but now they are back in vogue in British Gardens.The most famous one is the Bishop of Llanduff, with its scarlet flowers and smokey foliage.I saw that in Cheltenham lots of them for sale.
These plants will make the trip to the new house in the next few months. They are prone to slug attack though so need protecting if they are grown in a garden. They are not frost hardy either as you'd expect from a Mexican plant.The Tubers can be lifted after they have done flowering and be stored somewhere dry over the winter.
I wander what colours the other three plants flowers are. Will have to see if I have any more Dahlias this year.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Painting with Flowers

A series of photos from the Main Borders at Harlow Carr.As I photographed the flowers I noticed drifts of colour...from single colours to mixture of colours. Heres a Secret place set back from the main Border not visible walking down it towards the Streamside..

Tall grasses catch the sunlight with small Verbenas, and the Alium seedheads..

The bright orange like flaming sunshine, think they are Gazanias?

The garden soil is the Canvas. When its dug over, and organic matter added you have a blank canvas ready for your colours..

The Blue Echinops and red coloured Echinacea's appeal to me here..

Frans Favourite Red/orangey Achillea and the Blue flowers...

The Golden Rudbeckia Is mass planted for a bright yellow border. Planting a single block of colour contrasts to the drifts of the other planting.
If the Soil is the Canvas, and the flowers are the paint applied to the Canvas does this mean that Gardeners are artists?
It is a constantly changing painting, with weather, seasons, weeds, and bugs effecting the natural artwork.
I think they did a good job of the main borders.They looked good even in August.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Whale and Mermaid Border Revisited

The Pirate theme day was inspired by the willow pirate ship in the Whale and Mermaid border.The directly sown annuals have grown three or four foot high. Blues and pinks on the left handside, yellow flowers on the right.

The website said field poppies, corncockles, cornflower, california poppys, corn marigold were planted. Last month it had a few odd plants growing. A month later and the annual Seas were blowing in the wind and the sunshine.

Doric Column Folly

The Doric columns in a black and white photo...

Nestled away in the Harlow Carr woods are the Six Doric Columns from the Cheltenham Spa Concert hall in Harrogate originally. These were donated in the 1960's from the Yorkshire Archaeology society. Apparently it was the main entrance to Harlow Carr before.

Giant tree's grow around the columns and the stone lions. Two Aslan like felines, from the lion, witch, and the wardrobe.....One lion was severely weathered on the face.

It was tucked in a glade at the far end of the woods.We had previously not seen them somehow.The sun was shining and they were illuminated six giants, with the two lions keeping guard at the base.

The trees grew around them creating a folly, amongst the Green and shady glade..

Sub Tropical Border

A new addition that I never noticed before was the Sub Tropical border between the main entrance steps and the Roses border, opposite the famous Bettys tea room. Cannas, Salvias, Abulitons, Melainthus Major, Ferns, palms, and banana leaf plants, sat on the edge of one tributary of the Harlow Beck. The skeleton was related to the pirates day treasure trail..
The Website says it is an experimental garden to see what can grow in the Yorkshire Climate.The frost tender ones will be removed and over wintered.I think it was a lush looking display with many interesting leaf shape and sizes.There was an Australian Eucalyptus tree with its blue leaves (reminded me of Sydneys Blue Mountains which glow blue from the trees when seen from a distance).
Joe Swift from Gardeners world would love this with the varied Palms, Elephant ears, T Rex monster plant, and Banana plants.
The Dahlias fitted in well with the Sub Tropical theme.

Return to Rose Revolution

The Rose revolution borders flanking the main path.The Purple coloured drifts are Verbena Bonarensis. I have seen these everywhere from Tatton Park show gardens, to Cheltenham, to Hils plant stall, to Harlow Carr.They give height and the flowers are airy.

Rose Sheperdess with some nice contrasting purple daisys..

Rose Harlow Carr, just need smells for computers so you can smell it..

The Delicate Rose Wild Eve, a pink/white cross..

Rose Mary Rose, named after Henry VIII's Flagship that sank after it was launched...

The Red/purple rose Falstaff, its my favourite colour. Pure Romance Red Roses, and it had a nice fragrance.
Rose Lady Emma Hamilton, the most outstanding strongly fragranced rose we saw.I could smell it for hours to try and discern what it smelt of :)

Rose Falstaff looking more crimson in this picture. The Verbena Bonarensis is out of focus behind it..

Rose Brother Cadfael, A fictional detective character I think... This is a selection of the David Austin Roses in the main rose revolution border at Harlow Carr.I sent off my fifteen best photos to their competion. Fingers crossed. These are some of the not selected ones. Even in August they look sumptuous, and smelled divine.
My favourite Fragrant rose was Lady Emma Hamilton, Nelsons mistress, and my Namesake.It was strongly scented, and a beautiful peach colour. If i win some vouchers that rose will be on my shopping list.
They have been in flower from June to August, the Shrub roses. The Verbena Bonarensis, and Cottinus were counterplanted, along with Echinacea's and grasses.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Butterfly on the Buddleja

The first thing I saw Yesterday was the Butterflys, flying around the Buddleja on the curved border by the main entrance building. Tens of them flitting about, diving in the pollen, and sunbathing on the floor.
Back to work for me so more Harlow Carr posts tonight....
Ps Added on Sunday: Kylee made me do a google search. This butterfly is a Small Tortoise shell.Its still pretty! The first photo has a Peacock Butterfly and a small Tortoise shell in it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Four Pig Woodland Regeneration

One of the Emmerdale pigs takes a stroll from his afternoon siesta. There were four pigs in the enclosure brought on holiday to devour some weeds by rooting up the ground, with their snouts I presume. They have been named after the four RHS gardens (Harlow Carr, Wisley, Rosemoor, and Hyde Hall).
Unlike the nursery rhyme these were large pigs, three slept in the enclosure, dozing in the sunshine with only their ears twitching.
The four Saddleback pigs have been brought in to work the land above the Queen Mothers Lake in preparation for Trees for life Scheme planting two and a half acres of Woodland.
They will plant 3000 tree's in the Autumn. It will be an area of sustainable woodland, which Harlow Carr has a lot of already started off many years ago.
I cannot find much information on the use of pigs to help root out weeds. I read they are naturally woodland orientated and use their snouts to forage for tasty roots. The only information was academic studys of wild pigs in California Oak forests. The places in Europe that have wild boars have better selection of Oak tree's. The foraging habit somehow makes the woodland more vibrant. Britain probably hunted its wildboars to extinction.
Its funny how the further forward we go the more we look back in time.I will see how the woodland develops, and whether they put some pig statues in it to remind them of who cleared the land prior to the planting!

Pirates and Pigs

The Sun was shining all day at Harlow Carr. The Gardens had made it a pirates day, inspired by the Whale and Mermaid borders pirate ship. Lots of head scarfs, eye patches, and cutlasses were in evidence. The tail end of two family weeks, for families with children. They moved around the gardens today on a treasure hunt.
It was a Beautiful English summers day after three months of rain almost constantly. Its the first time we have been too hot there :)
The third time visit brought more suprises, discovering new hidden features, and restful places within the gardens.
The Pigs from Emmerdale (A quintessential British soap opera set in a Fictitious Yorkshire village) have been brough to Harlow Carr on holiday. They are being used as living weeding animals to clear the ground for a new tree plantation. They will eat all the weeds and roots. It is an old method of clearing an area prior to development.
They were basking fitfully in the sun in their enclosure, at the top end of Harlow Carr previously closed off by barriers.
I took my rose pictures for the David Austin competition.Now need to decide which ones to enter and which ones to Blog.
I said I would not take many photos...oops my will power crumbled and i took 238 :)
More posts soon...

Harlow Carr Bound

After two long days at work I have today off.It sunny at the moment with a blue sky.I am getting Hils to drive us to Harrogate.

The camera is loaded with newly charged batterys. I have been offered another garden to do up from someone at work. I will go to see what needs doing there soon.

The Itinerant gardener travels far and wide to indulge the passion of gardening, spreading a little joy and magic as he goes.
Pictured is the Clary, Salvia Viridis. I love the purple and blue leaves growing from the main stem. I think they would be great border plants. They grow in shades of purple, white, and pink.
I only have the one plant that is on the windowsill. How much better would it look in a garden with its roots in soil?
I got some photos yesterday from Snapfish. Online developers of digital images.I wanted to see the large 10x8 print size. I picked nine photos to be enlarged, and they were all lovely. A guy wanted some prints of my blog photos. I think that size is quite good for printing and framing.
Has Anyone ever had requests for a blogged photo for prints?

I have some target plants today to photograph for a photography competition.The prizes are £100 in vouchers (to buy plants off course).
Snappys garden blog is sending me to new places, enabling me to meet people from all over the world, which is totally unexpected from when it started two years ago.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Red Angel

I tried tyo upload this picture at 6am but blogger had other ideas. After a fourteen hour day here is my angelic Red Lobelia in flower again. You can nearly see the wings!

Am going to Harlow Carr on Thursday my favourite Garden to see whats growing.I will try to limit my photos to the flowers.

Looking at the blogs post list by keyword Harlow Carr has fifty plus :)

I actually have a plan of what to photograph this time. One specific flower species to win some vouchers...will blog that later.

Walking back from work I was struck by how dark it was.Now i know summer is drawing to a close as the light fades earlier. The leaves are all green in the tree's but it was overcast and quite windy. A slight chill in the air.The seasons here are gradual changes, slow and imperceptible.

Another Long day tomorrow before Harlow Carr on Thursday.Cant wait :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seven Random Things

I was Tagged by Michelle from my Grandpa's garden ( ) over a month ago about Seven Random things, that have been criss crossing the world between bloggers when they agree to participate in them.

Seven Random facts about me probably not related to gardening but we'll see...

1) I love Frogs, real ones, and collecting ornaments and garden decorations.These two beautys were given to me by Hils. My collection has dissapeared so I am starting it again.If my new house when I get it has a big enough garden I want a pond that will attract some Frogs.I met a frog last year in my garden as he was hopping through the grass.There was no water there so he was just passing.The sudden movement of him jumping from the grass gave me a fright!

2) Snappycroc is one of my old nicknames, for being grouchy when tired.I have tried to mellow out now though as life is too short...My other nickname is Dids short for Didakoi.An old slang for gypsy and one of the books I read at school. I dont remember why the teacher thought I was gypsy like but it stuck. I thought Snappys Gardens Blog was a unique name.I would not change it now as the name Snappy is easy to remember.

3) I have moved around the Country a lot, and have lived in a wide variety of towns and citys. My Dad was in the Army so the pattern of moving was set early.I was born in Swindon (maternity hospital but left soon after), consider Cheltenham my home town as I lived there the longest period of time for 10 years. I have lived in Hendon, Woolwich, Aldershot, Barlby, Gloucester twice, Cheltenham, Bristol, York, Aberdeen, Castleford, and Wakefield now.My accent is very BBC, as nowhere has effected my speech for long enough.Most people think its a London accent..

4) My family have come from two areas of outstanding Beauty in England.My Dads Family came from Yorkshire, Pickering and Whitby. They were cliff top miners, using explosives to mine some stone from sheer cliff walls.I have a picture from Nans house of Bluebell woods and a stonehouse farm cottage.This was where my Nan grew up with all her sisters in Pickering.

Mums Family were all from Gloucestershire. Heart of the Cotswolds, with beautiful cotswold stonewall, beautiful planting of flowers, and the countryside, a rural heartland.

The wild rugged beauty of Yorkshire, and the Countryside of Gloucestershire may have shaped me in my green fingered passion. Gardening must run through my blood and genes!

5) My Favourite drink is Coffee.I drink gallons of the stuff.It is what keeps the NHS running, especially through nightshifts. Coffea Arabica is the main plant grown. I am waiting for a friend to send me some coffee beans through the post to try and grow a coffee plant. Not for the beans though (its not high enough altitude here), but for the hell of trying to grow it :)

6) One of my posts was about that iconic piece of American Kitch the plastic Pink Flamingo. My late Grandparents took me to Flamingo world in North Yorkshire. I have a Flamingo ornament I bought from London zoo. It is sat by my computer now as I write. I love their colour, and seeing tens of thousands in East African salt lakes is truly a wanderful site to see. Would love to go one day to see wild Flamingoes!

7) Since I have been gardenless I have been reading more books about gardening, and magsines than before. I sometimes used to buy the gardeners world magasine and watch the tv on friday night for the programme gardeners world.I have a TV which sits switched off all the time.I would much rather be outside in the sunshine/rain/wind/snow than indoors.When i am finally in my new garden I will be more outside than in. Untill then I will keep reading and help in other peoples gardens just to feel the soil on my hands. Keeping my gardening blood flowing sap like through my veins.

There you have Seven Random things about me.I will think about who to Tag next.I will pick smaller blogs. Some people were quite anti Memes and lists.They are quite harmless and fun, and I guess if you dont want to do them you will ignore it.

The blogosphere needs the community building that memes create. Like spiders webs stretching from coast to coast and country to country.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lilac Memorys

Sundays...Days of Roast dinners, reading newspapers, visiting family and friends, a church day if you are religeous, a good day to relax and watch the garden.

I listened to BBC Gardeners Question time on the BBC website. A million listeners sit down at 3pm on Sunday and listen to the questions.

For about fifty years the changing panel of horticultural experts and professional gardeners sit and answer the questions.

They only hear the question when they are asked and have to answer from their expert knowledge.

The program was from the Isle of Wight, in a Botanical garden. Gardening is a mixture of knowledge and experimentation. I got a book with a selection of the repetitive questions asked over the fifty years.

Plants for different types of soil and aspect, plant diseases, pests, how to grow fruit, pruning shrubs and roses, why plants have not flowered etc. Some of the questions were more personal like what were the panels childhood gardening memories.

The Panel reminisced...Eating gooseberry's on a coal shed and throwing a glider....picking limes with galls off a tree and putting them in a bottle....the memories of walking in Southern woods with the smells of common plants.

My nans twin Hazel says I used to stand in front of her Lilac Tree in Pickering. I cant remember that but I love lilac tree with the sweetly scented flowers. Maybe the Scent takes me back to being 3 years old...

The Weather seems to have turned again, the nights are getting cooler. The rain continues to fall often.

I will start looking this week for a house, preferably with gardens at front and back. Even an overgrown weed mess would be good.

The Flat has grown lots of plants, but the damp conditions and light have proved fatal to a lot of them.The difference between plants grown in a greenhouse with light from all sides, and here with light from one side is amazing.

All the plants will have to be boxed up soon and moved.That will be a lot of Boxes! Then Snappys Gardens blog can be about my garden. I am sure there will be room for a Syringa Vulgaris, a Lilac tree!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Seedling plant

Fran brought me this Spider plant back from her holiday at the Caravan in Skipsey. Chlorophytum Comosum, the original Spider plant.
When I was much younger the first plant I looked after and grew was a spider plant.I cant remember who we got it off but the plants were grown from the hanging baby plants that it produces.
Chloros is greek for green (like Chlorophyll, the green pigments within leaves) and Phytos is greek for plant.
They have narrow leaves with cream and yellow stripes, and are good for cleaning air pollution.
They like Sun or partial shade, but like occasional misting. They grow quick and may need repotting a few times a year. Overwatering will kill them so they like the soil to dry out between times.
They like being fed once a week from spring to late summer. Mine has a lot of brown tips to its leaves at the moment.
From Spider plants I moved on at university to other plants, getting the Doctor A.G.Hessayon book about house plants, still a classic textbook for houseplant care.
I moved from houseplants to helping Mum do her garden up, watched TV, read books, and started my obsession with gardens.
The seedling plant refers to my starting steps to green fingers and the love of the natural world. I have now come full circle with the Spider plant now on top of the Stereo in the front room.
What is your seedling plant or flower? The first memory of gardens that set you off on the road to gardening and blogging.
I hope this plant grows and develops the baby plants So I can propogate them and spread them to friends and work mates.

Secret Garden

Reading Augusts Gardeners World there was an Article by Monty Don about a garden needing an area of privacy away from the neighbours eyes and not visible from the gardeners own house.
A quiet Corner enclosed by either trees, shrubs, or willow fencing. Set back slightly from the main garden.
Like A flower covered Arbour to relax and meditate, on the wind blowing the plants and the insects buzzing around.
Monty was photographed under the pink climbing rose (Madame Gregoire Staechelin) covered arbour in the Berryfields fruit garden.
He wrote that the front garden is public, whereas the back Gardens are not usually visible from the front. The erection of hedging, covering trees, or fencing can break up the long corridor into a series of spaces. Even the smallest garden can be made to look bigger, by not having all areas visible from one spot
Dividing large spaces up can add to the gardens charm, and make exploring the bits you cant see more exciting. The spaces within a space can transform the normal into the magical.
He writes "I love gardens that are like russian dolls- A series of spaces within spaces, each revealing new pleasures and each containing realms of privacy".
A honeysuckle or Rose covered seat which is set back, under shady trees is my ideal Secret garden. A space within the garden for solitude or for conversation.
I do not have a garden so I googled the Image from an artists website. My key word was secret garden
After all the hard work of digging, weeding, mowing the grass, watering, deadheading, sowing, tending, and need to relax and sit.
Just to observe what you have done, and think of what else you can do. Even a short time of reflection can recharge your batterys after a days labour and stresses.
Thats what I miss about being gardenless my own secret garden... Where do Garden Bloggers retreat to in their own garden? Where is your gardens quiet place?
The words in marks are from Augusts Gardeners World: