Friday, November 28, 2008

Magic Bulbs

Some fresh colour in the garden. Four Polyanthus plants planted today.Two blue, and two pink.The pink ones are fragrant too which suprised me.
I type with dirty fingers after planting all my Spring bulbs, except twenty Daffodil ones...
I planted Tulips, Daffodils, Narcissus, Hyacinths, a Madonna Lilly, a Fritalaria, white Bluebells, and Winter Aconites.
The Tulips were the dark Queen Of The Night, pink ones called Angelique, Crimson ones with double flowers called Uncle Tom, and the purple, white, and red ones from this year.
The amazing thing is the bulbs were sprouting despite being kept in paper bags indoors.The Hyacinths have developed their green stems with no soil and water.They were so eager to get out of the bulb.
Bulbs are miraculous things when you look at the size of the flowering plant after. How did it all fit into that tiny bulb? They also gave me some of their magic today cheering me up as I waited for a Boiler man who never came...
The female House Sparrow kept an eye on me, and fed as i knelt down to plant the bulbs. It was cold but not wet.
In a few months the icy cold soil will be full of colour and vigour.
I planted 300 spring bulbs last year so how many will return is open to question. I put Daffodils and Tulip bulbs in today into my rectangular planters, to give them a second wind after summer bedding.
Clearing the debris, turning the soil, and planting bulbs into the cold soil has helped me look forward to Spring. I can go outside lots now and see whats growing every day armed with a camera.
I can see the Seasons ever changing within my small garden, and see the birds enjoying the new planting and combinations.
Thats what I thought today... You always plant things that will flower in the future. If you keep planting with the changing seasons there will always be something to look forward to..

Thursday, November 27, 2008

French Marigold

I actually ventured outside today to try and plant some bulbs.That was the plan..
I needed to clear some of the dead and dying back plants to make some room.
That took me most of the afternoon untill the light faded.The rain poured on me too.
I cleaned the pots up, cleared the debris of a frenetic summer, and made some room.
Tomorrow I will plant the spring bulbs and trim the Viburnum back.
I uncovered plants that will grow back next year. Agastache, Verbena Bonarensis, and Sedum, all growing strongly at the base of the plant under the wilted stems.
The Heathers all need replacing.They had got leggy and wooden.The Lavender too has been removed, and the Teasel.
I found two surviving Hellebores that might flower by Xmas, the Christmas Roses.
Gardening jobs always take longer than you might think. I always under estimate how much time it will take me to do the jobs i set myself.
It was nice to get outside and get dirt under my fingernails, after an energy dip with the shorter daylight hours.
I had topped up my sunlight levels so much this year, when it gets cold and dark it must shock the body and spirit.
Growth at the base of plants, the buds on the Lilac Tree and the Raspberry cane, and an early spring bulb protuding means that even though its dark the garden is preparing for next year.The best growing season ever i hope!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A Rose in November is a lovely sight.The rest of the garden is starting to go into the winter slumber.Only the Viburnum Tinus continues with its mixture of flower buds, flowers, and blue/black berrys.
As usual I am late planting the spring bulbs.Its always too enticing to stay indoors and look outside when its bitterly cold.
The dying back garden has a rugged wild charm, and I am loathe to cut it all back just yet.
The seed heads have formed on some plants and they will look stunning when covered with icy frosts or snow.
This Fred Loads has a few more buds on it yet, so this may not be the last Rose of 2008.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hils Flowers

The Chrysanthenums in flower at last, bought by Hils for me from the Autumn flower show. I love the colours that seem to spin outwards from the centre of the flowers.
Its getting dark around 5pm and its been cold with some artic air blasting the UK with cold temperatures and snow.
These are the last flowers from the summer to bloom.They are gorgeous!
The wind and rain have knocked them about in the garden.I bought more bird food to keep the feeders topped up.
I'm off work for a week so I can see what Birds are coming into the garden...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An 1851 Export

I got a comment from Jenn about House Sparrows saying if they ever died out here that we could import them back from the USA.
I did some google research and sure enough the Europeans had introduced them to the USA in 1851 in Brooklyn, New York.
Eight pairs to start (sixteen birds).They can have upto five clutches per year of between two to five eggs.That means the eight pairs could have made two hundred youngsters in the first year. If year on year they continued that prodigous growth rate no wander they have spread like wildfire.
They were also subsequently released in Cincinatti over a period of three years, and across other States including California in 1910. I think they were used as a pest control, but before the understanding of Ecology. They have spread across the United States at the expense of the native Birds.
The House Sparrow (also called English Sparrow to distinguish it from the native American Sparrow) is one of three birds not protected by US law. The other two baddies are the European Starling and Rock Pidgeon, also both introduced from Europe.
The photo is of a female House Sparrow.I have them in the garden most days. Its strange to think these birds that are in decline here in the UK, are thriving across the Atlantic and are the bad guys to American birds.

Friday, November 21, 2008

House Guest

The humble House Sparrow has been in the news here with the story that there numbers are declining around certain parts of the UK.
The experts attribute the fall in numbers due to changes within the gardens here. Modern garden design (think decking and patios), continued urban development, and the loss of Tree's were all mentioned as contributing.
Less green plants mean less insects.
The RSPB thinks that the lack of insects means that the baby House Sparrows do not grow into maturity.
The good news for brown thumbs is that if you're garden is slightly wild and unkempt that you will probably have House Sparrows. Overgrown gardens attract spiders and insects, the House Sparrows baby bird food..
During the Summer I had upto thirty House and Wood Sparrows dive bombing my feeders. I used my Parisian photo of the Notre Dame House Sparrow (thats a big house to live next to!).
I have seen a few today in the garden. I have not cut the privet hedge like the people on either side of me. I reasoned that the birds like some cover to execute their daily raids on my feeders, so they can hide and watch the garden.
I do enjoy the Birds visiting my garden. It is one of the greatest simple pleasures watching them from the kitchen door with a cup of coffee and a camera.

November Colour

The Amaryllis bulb yesterday in the window behind the computer. It has grown a long two foot stem and the flower buds were wrapped up like xmas presents. They have started to split into four seperate buds. The base has another flower packet pushing its way up.

Today it has opened the first flower. The colour is gorgeous red and white, with lime green splashes in the centre around the base of the stamen.
The bulb was bought from the Autumn flower show. It is twice the size of the other bulb, and has flowered first. The woolworths bulb has grown leaves only so far despite being repotted.
In these cold grey November days this flower has cheered me up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Small Things

The colour of the leaves on my Blackberry bush are like a roman mosaic.The colours of this appealed to me today when i looked for a photo to blog.
I have new batterys for the camera but it was too overcast today to get any good photos.
The November days are short, cold, and dark.It is been overcast as well.
As the Trees say farewell to their Autumn leaves my energy levels dip even lower.I have set myself a new challenge of finding something to photograph in the garden every day that I am not working.
There are very few flowers now, so the mind needs retraining to see the small things.
I saw the garden birds today flying into feed.I must remember to keep the bird food stocked up, and fresh water topped up, to keep them coming.
They are small things too, but just as precious as hundreds of brightly coloured flowers.
The garden is a mixture of big and small things, that give us pleasure in them all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Autumn Torch

A late Rose bud in the garden. The Fred Loads Rose got squashed by the African grow bag when it collapsed.
It has grown back with more vigour and has a pair of buds on that will flower in November.
I bought Camera batterys today with Cat, so the Camera will be in use again soon.
I will enjoy photographing the garden, and then revamping it ready for the winter.
Hopefully the birds will start to visit again so i can photograph them.
I will have more photos to post soon, to keep my readers entertained during the dark winter months.
This Rose has a torch like appearance to it, with the orange and copper colours.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hils Flower

The Chrysanthenum in flower taken with the mobile phone.I love the pink petals and concentric red centre.
This was the second flower.The bugs had eaten the first one (or half of it anyway).
I will buy more batterys tomorrow.My camera has been slumbering enough.
The mobile camera cannot capture the dark colour of the Streptocarpus Black Panther...
I have two days to get back into the garden and get the bulbs planted :)
It has been wet and windy, but a few flowers are hanging on in the battered garden.
More photos soon I hope!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kicking Autumn Leaves

I love the colours of Autumn.It is like a daily changing painting that uses many colours, that gradually change before they drop off.
I worked the weekend and the greatest fun was kicking my way through leaves that had been blown into a pile by the wind, on the way to work.
As you slide your feet through the crisp pile the leaves fly up like mini leaf fountains.
The sound and feel of wading through leaves is to go back in time to childhood.
I needed my sleep today. I still need to venture out for the garden clear up. When its pouring with rain, and the air is cold then staying indoors on the computer and reading flower catalogues seems more appealing.
The Black Panther Streptocarpus is nearly open, I will photograph that once I have some batterys for the camera. It is having a holiday untill I can get some!
As Autumn changes the leaves colour and the daylight hours lessen, so my blog posts seems to be further apart.
I dont know any one who posts every day. It will be interesting to see how close to 365 I am by New Years Eve, ie a post every day of the year. I hope people continue to enjoy them when they are published.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Goldfinch Dreams

This is my RSPB Goldfinch that I bought at the Carr Gate garden centre with Hils the other day. When you squeeze his back he sings like a real Goldfinch.
I have not seen any real ones in the garden for months.I keep looking to the orange Fir Trees but have not seen any flying about.
Maybe they are hiding, nesting, or migrating. I hung up the Black Thistle seed in a feeder, and have left the Teasel seedheads drying off nicely.
I may stand at the door squeezing Cargates back to make him sing, to try to entice the real birds to visit.
The combi boiler has corroded away I found out today.I am sat with a thick wolf fleece on as I wait for the estate agents to sort out a replacement because the house has no heating still. Why do boilers only break when its cold?
I am totally out of camera battery now untill I get to Argos for some rechargeable ones.The garden looks tired now, with plants flopping over, and leaves wilting then dropping.
I did see some Garden Birds today. A pair of Blue Tits, and a House Sparrow. As winter draws in they will come to visit. Once I have cleared the summers debris and cleared some soil the ground feeders will be hopping around between the plants.
I have a full weekend at work before I can do any gardening or allotment work. I hope my local Goldfinches are going to visit my garden.
I have not had the dreams I had before about masses of Goldfinches hanging off my feeders. A toy one will have to do for the moment...

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I'm going back to work today after nearly two weeks off.I have been recharging my own batterys after a year of gardening, allotment, and normal work.
I went to the Carr Gate garden centre yesterday but amazingly came back with no plants.
I got some niger seed for the birds, and a singing RSPB fluffy toy Goldfinch.
The leaves on the trees are starting to discolour now and drop off onto the ground.
The leave photographed is off my Blackberry plant growing in the corner of the garden.The patterns are almost mosaic like.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


A suprise flower in the garden today.The camera batterys lasted to take a few more photos.
This Dahlia is such a beautiful colour, a jewel in the green frost bitten garden.
The Fuschias are flowering away madly still in the hanging baskets.I am visiting a nursery tomorrow with Hils..
Any excuse to go plant shopping is good for me... I stopped smoking eight days ago, and have therefore saved fourty pounds already...
The big garden clear up has not started yet, the grey days do not inspire me to brave the cold and wet conditions, maybe tomorrow!
I need some new rechargeable batterys for the camera.The poor light is making bad conditions for photographing flowers.

Monday, November 03, 2008

November Jobs

I'm back after a weeks holiday away from work and spent mostly at Cats. The garden needs some work on clearing the fading plants in my collapsed borders.
These Evening Primrose are holding on to their flowers.The Dahlias have been blackened and killed by the frosts.
Why does frost burn plants? One of lifes mysterys....
I put more bird food out today, and heard the Blackbirds singing in the Privet.
The Viburnum needs trimming and soil cleared for the spring bulbs to be planted,
The temperature continues to fall slowly, and the daylight hours shorten too.Its getting chilly in the garden now.
The Chrysanthenums are full of plump red flower buds, and will hopefully flower for me.How quick does time fly when you are having fun.Its two days untill Bonfire night, and a week untill Remembrance Sunday..
November days are very short, so i must remember to admire the garden when i can see it like the pretty yellow of the Evening Primrose..