Thursday, February 25, 2010

Golden Trumpets

I bought these Daffodils from Hampsons last week. Four bunches of cut stems with the flower buds covered by a thin brown layer like onion skin. I placed them in two Vases with some sugar water and a few drops of lemon juice. They immediately perked up and started to grow.

The golden trumpets and surrounding petals are so evocative of warm spring days to come, with a gentle breeze blowing the flowers around. Like golden can can dancers bobbing along on the wind. They are warm to look at, even with our cold and wet winter still being here.

The light illuminates the flowers like church windows. I want to plant loads of bulbs in the new house so I can enjoy the spring when it comes. We finally have the go ahead to start packing boxes. The trials and tribulations are almost over!
The plants need digging up and storing in pots ready for the move. The garden here is awash with the white of the Snowdrops, the purple flowers of the Primulas, and the orange/tiger stripes of Crocuses. The garden Daffodils are growing in earnest, with the odd flower bud shown.
The new house will have a new garden to develop from an almost blank canvas. I can paint the garden with colourful flowers including my favourite Daffodils and Narcissus.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Walk

When we awoke today we found it had snowed overnight, and laid on the ground. The whole street was white in virginal snow. I wanted to go today for a walk around Newmiller Dam. We walked around the long lake, and through the woods. Like the talking dog in Up we shouted "Squirrel!" and took this photo. These two Squirrels were digging up buried food.

Newmiller Dam is surrounded by dense woods. These trees are like giants towering over the dark waters of the Lake. Today the water was frozen in parts, and the trees decked out in snow which melted slowly onto us as we walked around. The Trees bark is visible during the winter months.

Newmiller Dam is famous for its wild water birds. These are some strange looking Ducks with black mohawks slicked back. They dive to the lake bottom to feed. We saw these at Pugneys, and now at Newmiller dam. They fly close to the water with their feet dangling. I wander if these are winter visitors?

The woods are being managed now by cutting down non native trees to clear more space within the densely packed woods. Native species should thrive in the new cleared areas. We saw a few Wrens flying amongst the undergrowth. The trees support more birds, different from the lakeside birds.

This Robin sat nearby in a tree and let me photograph him. The Robins were in evidence all over the Lakeside. They were singing away defending their territories. These are beautiful birds to look at, and they are so unafraid of people.
It was a lovely day for a winter walk. The roast chicken is in the oven now cooking. The cold and the walk has made us hungry..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Golden Glow

The Only other bulb in flower is this Crocus at the front of the house. When we moved in the lawns Crocuses had already flowered. We just had masses of Daffodils.
I have spotted a few Snowdrops, and the masses of Daffodils that are buried along the dividing stone that separates the gardens.
This Crocus has the look of a yellow egg, with a egg yolk inside it.
In Spain they grow these just for the Stamen. Millions of Crocus Sativa are picked to make Saffron. The worlds most expensive spice, used in Spanish cooking..
The weather has been wet, and cold. The allotment day was postponed because of frozen soil. We walked around a frozen Pugneys instead.
Tomorrow we will go to Harlow Carr, to see whats growing in February. Its been a long time since I was in Harrogate.
The camera batteries will be charging overnight ready for our day trip.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The Snowdrops in the right hand border have opened now, and I photographed them today after we came back from town. Three photos of one Snowdrop, showing it from three different angles. I have muddy jeans where I laid on the grass to get the pictures. The first photo shows how they are so simple in form, angelic looking , and for me are harbingers of Springtime being near. These were miniature Snowdrops I think.

The second photo is a worms eye view of under the Snowdrop, showing its ruffled petticoat type flower petals. The flying insects have to look up, into the snowdrops white outer petals, to see where the nectar is.

The third photo is the view underneath the Snowdrop. It has a Rose like complexity with the spashes of khaki green and white. This is the Snowdrops secret. I always like to handle flowers, examine them from all angles, and look into the cup like centres that draw the insects and bees to them.
In town i bought the Onion sets for the allotment (Stuttgarter, and Turbo), and some Primo 2 Cabbage seeds. Along with the Potatoes these will be the three main crops growing at the plot. I will stick to growing few things this year, until the allotment has been developed more.
There is a lot to organise for our new house, garden, and the allotment plot, our last trio of this post.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crocus And Air Miles

The Crocuses continue to grow on beautifully close to the house. The ones that are in the borders are not as developed. Maybe the soil near the house is warmer?
I love the stripey colours of yellow and brown on the Crocus flower buds.
I'm off work for a week now :)
Time to start packing boxes for the house, and potting plants up from the garden. The majority of the plants are sleeping so wont be too shocked at being transplanted.
The David Austin Roses (Lady Emma Hamilton and Gertrude Jekyll) need digging up and placed into large pots. They might spend this year in pots whilst the new garden is prepared. When we went to David Austins in Wolverhampton they had a large selection of potted Rose bushes growing beautifully. So Roses can be stored in pots and still flower okay..
We visited two Nursery's the other day. I bought a scoop for the bird food, and a beautiful white statue of a nude woman. It cost me thirty pounds, but is done in the classical style of ancient Greece or Rome. I need to have a name for the statue. She is stood by the backdoor window between the Rose Wisley, and the random bulbs in a pot.
It is a grey day today with rain, and its cold outside. I hope it drys off this week so I can get to the allotment.
I bought my seed potatoes for this year. A small bag of ten tubers for the Potato gro bags for the garden, and four varieties for the allotments thirty foot rows. They will be staggered between June to September to give us a steady supply of home grown potatoes.
My emails are full of garden ones from the major seed companies selling patio vegetable plants. Carrots, Lettuces, Tomatoes, etc.
They are all tapping into the nations mood for growing fruit and vegetables in our gardens, or in patio containers.
I watched a food program where the reporter travelled around the world to see Veg grown thousands of miles away. Showing how it was grown, harvested, packaged, then shipped to the UK.
Green Beans from Kenya, Winter Potatoes from Egypt (grown amazingly in a desert), and Pineapples from Ghana.
What struck me is that these industries provided jobs, and income for a lot of people in poorer countries. The world economy is all interlinked. The money we pay in the supermarket makes its way to Kenya and Ghana to provide schools, and infrastructure for the communities that grow these Vegetables.
The home grown veg came from people worried about the carbon from long haul flights transporting these perishables to the UK. If you look at the veg labels in a supermarket you can see where the produce comes from, as it has to be labelled "produce of".
I will photograph my new Statue, and the Snowdrops tomorrow. The camera batteries need charging up. I hope its sunny tomorrow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Garden In My Mind

The Witch Hazel flowers are slowly unfurling from their brown flower buds. Like stretching after a good nights sleep under a warm quilt.
The scent has not been released yet, but the whole plant is liberally covered in these brown buds and yellow ribbon flowers.
The sun is shining today casting a warm glow on the garden. The warmth of the sun has melted the frozen ice of the birdbath and birds water bowl. There is even a hint of blue sky behind the clouds.
We went to Hampsons Nursery today and looked around at the shrub plants. On our wish list was Honeysuckles, Eucalyptus , Dogwoods, a Magnolia, a Weeping Willow tree, and a flowering Cherry Tree..
We saw some of these wish list plants. We need to get moved in first before we can go plant shopping. A lot of the Shrubs/Trees will give the new garden some height as it is flat at the moment. These big bushy plants will break up the rectangle feel of the garden, and introduce height.
The birds will have something to fly into before they alight on the feeders. We bought a granite base to put the bird feeder station in. It can be moved around the garden to stop the messy birds seeding a single area of the garden.
I want a herb garden within reach of the Kitchen. Maybe a simple window box under the kitchen window will give us fresh herbs.
The allotment also needs to be finally cleared and all the beds marked out ready for planting in late March/April.
The plot will supply most of our fresh veg this year as the new-house will be able to supply herbs, New Potatoes grown in Gro Bags, Strawberry's in the Herb Bag, and maybe Fresh Peas grown in a little cultivated corner.
The new garden will be pretty to look at, have an area for a table and chairs for sitting outside, be attractive to wildlife and insects, be self sufficient in compost and water, and be functional for growing soft fruit and vegetables. I will also grow my two favourite food plants, Tomatoes and Chilli's.
I'm excited now about the garden in my mind, and how to turn it into a reality.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New Garden Idea's

The Crocuses are growing on nicely now in the garden. They have not been chewed by any mice yet like last years in Trilby street. The Snowdrops are flowering now too around the right hand border. Daffodils, Tulips, and Alium's have started growing their leaves in earnest.
I have been working nights so the blog has been having a rest. I'm off today before more work tomorrow.
The new house is ours now, subject to all the bureaucracy of financing it.
I'm looking at our garden and working out what ideas or plants to take from it.
I have been writing down a plant wish list to furnish the new garden.
I like the Honeysuckles that grow up the Pergola, and up the left hand fence. It has lovely fragrant flowers and the birds love flying into it.
Another fence plant we have growing here is Pyrocanthus. It has lovely red berrys that the blackbirds like to eat in the Autumn.
I love the two Dogwoods that give colour in the winter with their brightly coloured barks of red, and an orange. Their leaves are quite colourful too in the autumn.
Hopefully by the end of March we will have moved into the new house, and have our new garden. It can take the best ideas from here, and have new ideas I have not thought of yet.
It will be organic, with compost bins, water butts, a greenhouse, and be wildlife friendly. Cat can help me plan and make the garden perfect.
We just need to start packing the house up into boxes ready for the move.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Blue Flower and Boxes

We were looking at houses yesterday throughout the day. It was getting colder, and greyer as the day went on. In the afternoon it snowed again and has settled on the ground. The first house we saw had a nice front garden with a privet hedge, and a medium sized back garden with a decking area, grass, and a few shrubbed areas. After viewing four others we decided the first house was perfect and so today we put an offer on it.
This Primula has just a brilliant blue colour with the yellow eye, and almost a pearl in the dead centre of the flower. The other Primulas are only just growing flower buds from the centre of their leaves. This plant is flashy, and the colour is lovely on a misty and cold winters day.

The garden is misty like London by gaslight, hanging over the light dusting of snow from yesterday. The snow is melting away slowly, dripping off the Conifers, and bare branches of the other trees.
The Blackbird was flying into the Sunflower hearts feeder to knock it into a pendulum motion so it dropped hearts on the ground. He is a young juvenile Blackbird, but is extremely clever to work out how to get food out from a suspended feeder.
Our offer has been accepted on the house so we can start to get the boxes ready to move in a month or so.
The Lilac Tree, and Apple Tree will look lovely planted in the ground. They will finally be able to root themselves into the ground and escape the confines of the pots they are in.
I am already working out what will need transporting to the new house. Water butts, compost bins, the Greenhouse, and the rose bench are definitely coming. Our new garden will hopefully become self sufficient for water and compost.
I saw a lot of Birds flying around when we saw the house yesterday so I know there is a local population to attract to our feeders. John (Cats son) saw a Squirrel on a nearby tree yesterday too.
The new house's garden is smaller than here but it will be ours to develop and nurture. Cat is excited..

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Raindrops And Snowdrops

This is the first Snowdrop that is growing in our right hand side border. It has been a miserable wet day, with grey clouds.
The birds have been resting in their tree top perches sheltering from the rain. The only birds who were out and about were a solitary male Blackbird, and a Robin who was flying upto the Sunflower hearts before flying down to eat them.
You can see the raindrops that have are balancing on the flower bud.
We now know that the house we are living in will be put up for sale. We have started looking for a dream house, with a garden on our budget.
The bulbs will keep flowering regardless. I think most will be left behind for the next owners.I will put Snowdrops on my wishlist.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Secreted Scent

These small buds are growing on the Witch hazel growing in the right border. They will open soon to reveal their little scented yellow flowers.
Its been very cold recently so I think the buds are not opening sooner. The other Witch Hazel says it flowers between December to February.
The Witch Hazel plant I bought is still in its pot. I hope that it will be planted in the new house whenever we find one.
I've been looking at Cameras, as my Fuji Finepix has a broken wheel, and is temperamental focusing on smaller details.
It gets used an awful lot, so no wander its falling apart. There are so many cameras on which one to buy??
I have spent the day nipping into and out of the garden. Tidying up, and examining plants and growing bulbs. I watched the birds from the dining room table.
I saw two Wagtails yesterday for the first time. Little black and white birds with bobbing tails. They flew up into the arbors Honeysuckle.
Its the first of February already. Time seems to be flying by. Soon the garden will begin to wake from its winter slumber.