Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mud And Slabs

Cat and me roped her Dad into carrying heavy stone slabs upto the allotment. These are to make the shed base. It started to pour down with rain mid job. We got soaked, and the muddy allotment turned into the Somme.
I slipped and slided around the pathways getting liberally covered in mud.
Its continued to rain since we were at the allotment. The sun is just peeking through the clouds now after five pm.
The weed guard and black covering we layed at the plot has been blown off the grass. I need some dry weather on Thursday to try to cover the grass area back up , and prepare the beds for the Potatoes and Onions. We bought Vegetable plants yesterday from Hampsons.Six Broccoli ,six Cabbage , and six Swede plants. The house move has thwarted my seed sowing plans for March.
The allotment is still a work in progress. The finished allotment is still in my head with all the structures laid down. The reality is a bit more muddy and weedy.
The sunshine made the Daffodils in this garden look stunning. They always cheer me up whatever the weather. I'm back at work tomorrow after my ten days off.
We booked tickets for the Spring Flower Show on April 22nd in Harrogate. I hope the weathers better than today.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lale To Tulip

The Fiery Tulips are still casting their flaming spell on me. They are so bright, and when it is sunny they positively glow giving off their magic. The Sun yesterday caught this flower and made it like a burning torch like the statue of Liberty. The green leaves underpin the whole effect with their calming colour.

Inside the cauldron.. Tulips have an earthy smell with their stamen and pollen. There are nine flowers in bloom that I can see. I planted ten bulbs late last year. Its amazing how quickly you forget where you planted bulbs. Its always good when they grow and flower. You can then see physically where you planted them. These Tulips are miles ahead of any of the others.
Buried somewhere in the borders are ten Blue Parrot Tulips. I bought them especially from the Harrogate Autumn flower show. I need them to flower before we move so i can take them with me (and show me where I planted them!). They are a beautiful pale Blue colour, with frilly petals. Like the Rock stars of the Tulip world.

The Origin of the Tulips seems to be from the Ottoman empire (hence the Persian word Lale in the post title), and was brought back to Europe where it was collected with glee. From those original flowers the Varietys have expanded now to all colours, shapes, and sizes.
I love how they grow from small bulbs a flower that makes people go ooh, as they see masses of them growing. I want to go to Keukenhof one day in Holland, to see over 7 million Tulips in Bloom. It will be colourful and magical. I would use a whole memory card of the Camera.
Untill then I will just to have enjoy the ones that I have planted.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunshine And Roses

There is a second type of Daffodil in flower now. These one have pale petals, and the frilly yellow trumpet. The borders are illuminated by these happy yellow flowers. The sun was shining today, despite the cold wind. It felt like a perfect spring Sunday.

The sunshine shone on my Roses. I finally stopped procrastinating and dug up the Roses ready to be moved. They were placed into pots filled with bought compost, and the magic ingredient of the garden grown compost. As i took it from the green bin (Its called the compost machine on it) loads of worms, woodlice, and centipedes scattered around into the mixture. Natures decomposers have made it their home and turned it into black magic over a period of 9 months.
The large pot on the left has re homed the Lady Emma Hamilton. She has grown beautifully over the three years I have had her. Every part of the branches are festooned in the red/green new growth of leaves and buds. The smaller pot on the right hand side has the Gertrude Jekyll rose. I watered them in with a rain water/rose food mixture. I brought my Xmas present Rose the RHS Wisley and watered it also. My three David Austin Roses ready for moving.
It will take a good few hours to pot up all my plants from the Borders. Cat wants all our plants to come with us. We are getting closer to a completion date now...
The birds are singing outside. The Sun is finally going down. The house smells of Chocolate Chip Muffins that I have baked just, and Roast Chicken for our Sunday dinner.
It has been the perfect end to my week off work. A day of Sunshine, and Roses.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lily Of The Inca's

These flowers were bought from Asda and have bloomed wonderfully. They are Peruvian Lily's or Alstroemeria. They are in two different colours; Apricot, and Pink. They have been artfully arranged by me in Cats red glass vase. With only a handful of Spring Flowers in bloom its a good time of year to brighten the house up with flowers.

These gorgeous flowers were named after a Swedish Baron called Clas Alstromer. A French Botanist (Feullie) took the seeds from South America in 1753.

My favourite common name for them is Lily Of The Inca's. Indiana Jones would love these ornately decorated flowers in a rainbow of different colours. They are not scented, so good for Cats Asthmatic chest.
We have been shopping today and ordered a six foot by four foot shed for the allotment.The next job is to level the area and lay slabs down ready for the construction of the shed.
I bought some books today and keeping Chickens. Its been an idea for a while, so I thought I would read as many books as possible to educate myself.
I have got some tent pegs too for securing the allotments pathways between the rows of Potatoes and Vegetables. I might try to grow Dahlias, and Peruvian Lily's up at the allotment for cut flowers.
I love the intricate patterns and individual markings on each of the flowers. They are things of Beauty.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The first Daffodil at the back garden is in flower now and has some spring sunshine illuminating its petals and face. The rain has been falling quite often this week and today started off wet.
I had planned to go to the allotment this morning but the damp weather stopped me. It has cleared up now so i may get up there this afternoon.
Cat is relaxing having a Spa day with her Mum. I have walked around the garden, taken photos of some flowers, and watched a program about the Natural History Museum. When I was in London we never managed to get into see it. The Queue was two hours long!! I vowed to go back when it was first open in the winter to try and get in before the hordes of visitors descend.
They have a large selection of pressed plants and flowers, which they can always go back to if they think they have discovered a new species of flower or plant.
I know its warming up because I saw my first Bumble Bee on the grass the day we went to Doncaster. I have seen a small Butterfly as well flying into the Fir Trees.
Daffodils are such beautiful flowers dancing in the spring breeze. They make you smile.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Cat and me drove yesterday to South Yorkshire to a place called Branton. A few miles from Doncaster to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. We were worried we could not see any signs for it until we were nearly there. As we got into the car park (through a livery yard) I saw this sign. The Lions i mentioned yesterday have been rescued from Romania, and brought here to rehabilitate and get veterinarian treatment. They have been nicknamed "The Pride Of Yorkshire".

We spent a few hours walking around the Wildlife Park. It has been open since April 2009. They have a small collection of mostly endangered animals in natural looking enclosures without the thick bars most associated with Zoos of the past. This baby goat (Kid) was only days old and still teetering around the enclosure like a man in high heel shoes.

This is beautiful Red River Hog who with his companion was snuffling their way around the deciduous woodland where they were based. They have a strangely beautiful face and had even managed to get into the gift shop as a plush toy (think Pumba from the Lion King). The woodlands were alive with the singing of birds and flying from tree to tree. It was very peaceful looking at the two Red River Hogs.

The Wallabys and the Lemurs both had enclosures that you could walk through. They were not bothered by the silent visitors walking around their home. This female Wallaby had a leg protruding from her pouch. Suddenly this little Joey stuck his nose out to see what was going on. I spent a year in Australia and never saw a Wallaby with a baby Joey. There was hand gel outside the enclosure to clean your hands afterwards.

This cute Brown Lemur was sat on the keepers hut watching the Black And White Ruffed Lemur getting some grapes. He intently watches whats going on, and you can see him thinking "wheres mine?". The Lemurs slept, groomed, and were playing in their purpose built home. Ropes and nets ran between the Trees to keep them active. Their own natural habitat in Madagascar is being destroyed slowly so they are endangered. They are magnificent animals, and its good that they are being looked after here.

My favourite Lemurs are these Ring Tailed ones. One has just bent down, and the other one is off galloping away. They look so serene sat like stripey tailed Buddhas on their hind legs sunning themselves. They also had the habit of wrapping their tails around their necks like university students with scarves.

Near the main entrance was the MeerKat enclosure. These little animals are hugely popular here with TV series, television advertisements, and even feature films. They have cute faces, and are highly social. The Female gave birth to three pups on the fifth of March. They were running all over yesterday, digging away and looking at us. You can just spend hours watching their natural behaviour.

The park is divided up into named areas like Wallaby Walkabout, Lemur Woods, World Farm, African Plains, Painted Dogs, etc.
The different types of Cattle, Goats, Sheep, Llamas, and Donkeys in the World Farm are all animals that have been domesticated and used in farming. This big Cow was giving the smaller Cow a wash as they were relaxing.

The Geese from the pond walked carefully around the Llamas. The endangered Painted Dogs can be seen behind the fence patrolling their enclosure.

An interested Painted Hunting Dog peers through the fence. We were stood upwind from him so he could smell us. These beautifully coloured animals have been persecuted in their own homeland from poaching and roadkill amongst other things. They have the look of Hyenas, and are highly social animals. These dogs were from Knowsley Safari Park and were part of an endangered species captive breeding program.

This beautiful Maccaw was laughing and vocalising in an area closed off from the Public. He is called George. He wanted to see what was going on away from his house so climbed up the wire fence for a good look. I think it was where the birds are housed when they are not being displayed to the kids and visitors. He moved his head from side to side looking for a good view through the branches. I did the same with my Camera trying to see him and not the tree. He was the most colourful occupant that we saw.

This Donkey came to see Cat and got his nose stroked. They were beautiful and quite passive. They have good memories so when we go back they should remember us.
I enjoyed our trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It is much smaller than other places like London Zoo, but it shows visitors and children wildlife close up. The only wildlife that we did not see was the African Plains display. The animals decided to walk as far away from the viewing area as possible. Also there is a huge amount of work going to build the new lions enclosures. Once all that work is done it should be much better.
The Lions are apparently doing much better now. Their health is improving with their new Lion diet and warmed enclosures. I did not hear them roaring yesterday. Me and Cat tried to guess where they were being quarantined on the site.
The Pride of Yorkshire have landed on their feet by being rescued by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. They do lavish due care and attention on their animals. I hope that the revenue the Lions generate can help finish the Wildlife Park off to a high standard. The national media has been following the story since it began.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Parks website is: http://www.wix.com/supportsimon/ywpl

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blue Star

Flowering under the Tulips is this pale lilac Chionodoxa, or Glory Of The Snow. These were already in the garden when we moved here. It has missed the snow by about a month. Where these are native in Turkey they must bloom through the mountain snow.
We went shopping yesterday and found lots of black tarpaulin covering for the allotment, and the black path material. A job this week will be to take up all the nice goodies.
I bought a wildlife book today in the works by Chris Packham. The guy from the Really Wild Show, and the Spring/Autumn watch programmes on BBC 2. It shows how to spot wildlife around your house and garden, without traveling miles.
We are going to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park today if the weather holds, near Doncaster.They have been in the news recently having rescued some neglected Lions from a Romanian Zoo. The wildlife park raised the £250,000 needed to bring them back to Yorkshire and to build an enclosure for them. We wont see them today :( because they are still in quarantine.
I moved the Bird feeder station closer to the house yesterday. I'm waiting to see if the birds can find it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

Springtime, perfect for having picnics, wearing shorts and admiring the Cherry Blossom in DC. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an two-week (per annum) event that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan.

DC Attractions include multiple festivals, museums, monuments, and more. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization that coordinates, produces, and supports creative and diverse activities promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and the environment, and community spirit and youth education. It's also begins peak season for an influx of tourists to Washington, also brought in by the thousands of historical landmarks, museums, and other buildings, The National Museum of Crime & Punishment, located in Washington, D.C. is one of those such buildings, with excellent depictions of historically famous crime scenes along detailed information concerning past wars, forensics, organized crime, and more.

Colours Of Spring

I'm back online finally. We had our internet box replaced as it broke the other day. I had blog withdrawel symptoms. The weather has been getting warmer and Spring is finally here. My first outside Daffodil has partially opened today. The cold weather has delayed the mass opening of Daffodils by a month. In the Lake District the tourists are lost clutching Wordsworth poems with not a single Daffodil in sight.. Hopefully they will not have to wait much longer for one of Springs most beautiful sights.

These Tulips have bloomed before the Daffodils. They are such brilliant colours. Like emergency flares they glow in the green garden. I spotted them from the kitchen window.

The colours are so vivid. These super early Tulips are flowering to the right of the Pergola. I have lost the names of the variety I planted, so these can be called Super Fiery Tulips..

The front of the house has a fifty feet strip of Daffodils between our garden and the neighbours. The Narcissus have flowered along the edge of the Daffodils. They are pretty minature Daffodils but these are not scented. These Daffodils will look spectacular once they all flower. Yellow faces nodding in the wind.

A close up of the Narcissus. I am off work for a week now. I have plans for the allotment. I will post a Cherry Blossom festival next. It is part of the Washington D.C museum of Crime and Punishment. They celebrate every spring with Cherry Blossom trees. I saw one tree today with a hint of Pink Blossoms on it.
I love the excitement of Springtime. The Daffodils, the Lambs, the singing birds in the garden. Life begins to renew itself ready for a new growing season. The flowers invigorate me and make me want to venture outside to breath in fresh spring air, and feel the sunshine on my face again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wild Flowers And Seeds

When I was up at the allotment I photographed this little Blue Speedwell flower. A common weed but it has beautiful colours. I kept walking over them and treaded them into the muddy earth. Preserving the lovely blue of the flower like pressing it. I enjoyed my wildflower find.
You can walk around and see beauty in wild flowers. Growing on grass verges, on disused grounds, and wild areas of gardens. The farmers fields here become a sea of blood red Poppies in the summer. The red swathes across the fields can be seen for miles around. Their is complexity too as well as beauty in Wildflowers. How many of our garden flowers have been grown from crossing wild flowers? The Wild Viola looks like a smaller version of Johnny Jump Up Heartsease with the purple and yellow faces..
There is still no news of when we can move into the new house. I have put some Potatoes on the kitchen windowsill to chit. Ready to grow in the grow bags that have supplied our new potatoes for the past two years. The Potatoes are early ones called Catriona, a Scottish heirloom variety. The others I have just got out of the greenhouse to start chitting indoors are called Annabelle. I hope they taste nice.
I will sow some Cabbage seeds today in pots to start off my Summer allotment vegetables. I managed before to grow all my Veg plants from seeds which I was quite proud off. This year I may have to give in and buy Veg plants from garden centres.
The imminent move is curtailing my seed sowing. I always get carried away and end up sowing hundreds of pots. There is a Jack and the Beanstalk magic to sowing pots with tiny seeds, and seeing them grow into beautiful flowers in the garden.
The Sun is shining today and the Blackbirds have been in the garden hopping around looking for worms. A young Juvenile with a bright orange beak. He was drawing lots of worms out of the ground for his dinner. I still get captivated watching the garden birds doing what they do naturally. Lots of people are completely unaware of the wildlife in their gardens, and streets.
Spring must be near with Sunshine, Blackbirds, chitting Potatoes, and sowing seeds. The growing season will start again now the soil is warming up.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


The Snowdrops in the right hand border are still flowering away beautifully. I never realised they were so intricate with the inner markings beneath the big petals. I have enjoyed where clumps of Snowdrops have flowered. they definitely look more impressive grouped together rather than singly.
I spent four hours at the allotment on Thursday. My muscles ached all yesterday at work! The digging and kneeling hurt my legs more than i knew. The winter lay off between Xmas and the Snows has made me forget how hard it is to clear weed/grass infested soil.
I have a mental picture now of where everything will grow. What areas to clear, and what areas to cover up.
The house move will limit the amount of time we have to do the allotment. This year will be a basic clearing, building, and planting a few staple crops like Potatoes and Onions.
I caught the sun on my face at the allotment. It was good to be outside again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Singing Bird

I'm back blogging at last. Its been five days since my birthday. Alice in Wanderland was amazing in 3D with Johnny Depp.Go and see it!
This bird was singing like crazy the other day. I know Spring is near because I have watched the Magpies nest building, and heard lots of bird song singing for territory and mates. This bird kept singing even when i was photographing him.
The house move is close but we do not have a completion date. I have not been doing anything in this garden because we are leaving it soon.
I will go to the allotment tomorrow to dig over the plot ready for our Onions and Potatoes. I have not sowed any Cabbage seeds yet. The more pots I make the more there is to carry to the new house, so for once in my life im being restrained.
The shops are full of Vegetable packs, seeds, pots, watering cans, and every manner of gardening sundrys. Tempting you back into the garden. Today the sun was shining and with the Crocuses glowing like coloured sweets, and the green of the grass it looked like Spring.
I have been watching Lambing Live over the past few nights with Kate Humble and Adam Henson from Countryfile. They are broadcasting from a Welsh farm in the middle of the Lambing season. There are over three hundred Ewes on that farm, and they were all giving birth on the TV.
Lambs galloping around lush green fields is part of the British countryside for hundreds of years.
The only flower that has not been showing is the garden Daffodils. the very cold winter has delayed them flowering. Our front garden has hundreds just bursting with flower buds and leaves but no flowers.
Thanks for all the Happy Birthday wishes.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Birthday, Books, and Roses

Its my Birthday today. I have got five cards and two books. Ivington Diaries from Hils, and My Roots, a decade in Gardening from Cat. Both were written by Monty Don.
The photo is of my Spider Plant flower. These plants started me off into the beauty and magic of plants about twelve years ago. Dr Hessayan Houseplant books started my green education about caring for them so they thrive. The passion grew exponentially from a simple Spider plant.
The Spider plant hangs on the light fitting trailing down from a white pot. Last time I had photographed one in flower on the blog, nobody knew that they could flower! This is my second post to prove that they can flower if they are happy. It also has five baby plants hanging down so I should be able to propagate them for family and friends.
The sun is shining outside making the garden look inviting. It is still chilly though in the cold wind. My grasses are dancing around merrily. I hope it warms up soon. Cat got me a gift voucher from David Austin Roses. I must peruse their catalogue to decide which Roses to buy for the new garden once we are moved :)
We are going to see Alice in Wonderland at the cinema later (the Tim Burton film), followed by a Chicken dinner at Nandos. A perfect birthday day of Gardening Books, cinema film, and my most favourite tea.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Crocus Colours

The Crocuses outside are flowering en masse now. They are like beautiful jewels growing in the grass. The colour of the flowers draws your eyes to them. From our front window they form a colourful line on our side of the grass. The brilliant orange/yellow flowers stand out..

These look like Eggs that have been split open, with the yellow yoke like stamen inside..

The last flower has a gorgeous purple velvet colour. It has not quite opened yet. The sun has been shining, and the sky has been blue. Its been cold though. I needed my scarf to walk around Newmiller Dam today with Cat.
I have been relaxing between work shifts. I want it to warm up a bit so I can get to the allotment. Its my birthday tomorrow the fifth of March..
We are still waiting for a completion date on the new house. I cannot make any garden plans untill we are moved in.
I will blog lots from the new garden as we may have new internet so more than one computer!