Saturday, June 30, 2007

Emails to the Snappy Gardener

A while ago I was emailed from a lady who works for Sears the big American Chain store company. She'd somehow came across my blog, and thought I would be a good person to email about their online games, related to the Items being sold of course.

For the Snappy Gardener it was the Lawn mower game. I was intrigued why they would develop an online game to help sell more lawn mowers.

I have tried it, and will leave the link so you can see it yourself.
I emailed the lady back saying I would mention it on my blog. There you go Mel, I did it.
The link is:

I forgot to say that if you register and play the challenge you can win a Craftsman mower, toolset, or Kenmore Grill. I dont know what any of them are but they sound nice!
I dont think Sears have any shops in England. I like the way she contacted me on my own humble blog.Thanks Mel :)
The other Email was from a guy called Alex who said he had seen my blog and wanted me to try out a Widget on the blog.
To be honest I did not even know what one was.Having checked the email again it is a news bar with links related to whatever keywords you type in. You can adjust it and then paste the code onto your blog!
I will try it to see if it adds to my gardens blog, i guess if it doesnt i can always delete the code.The link is here:
Thats two emails that I have mentioned. Is it good or bad that people email you to try things out, even when they have a commercial reason usually?
The guy who never made it was a South American who left a comment with his website on it, selling T shirts with pictures on them.He wrote in Portugese and I had to use Babel fish to translate his comment.It was not related to gardening at all and i dont know if he even read my blog.
There was another question by email yesterday about Phalaenopsis orchid and their flower spikes. To cut or not to cut?
Im working all day in a few hours. Goodnight blogosphere, sleep well all you Gardeners!

Oriental Stargazer Lilly

It is almost in bloom,I can see the edge of the petal just exposed slightly, the dark pink colour with Raspberry jam spots on it.I hope this flower is scented. What a bud over the stiff upright stem with the shiny stiff green leaves.Even the roots look a colourful lime green colour growing into the soil at the base of the stem.
The other plant never made it, maybe next year.I am excited at this one though.I might buy lots more bulbs for next year.Get a bigger pot and see if i can get multiple flowers on the green leafy stems.
It is a Hybrid lilly grown in 1978 by a guy called Leslie Woodriff. He called it Stargazer because the flower faces the sky. It can be grown in borders, and container pots. It likes full sun, and well drained soil. It usually has four to five blooms per stem :(, mine has one.It naturalises too so it should be easier to increase your stock.The flower itself is Sterile and will not grow from seed.

Gardens Blog Musings

The Mystical looking Indoor greenhouse from the Computer chair looking at the new plant display music cabinet :)

There is Fuchia Candy Pink, Fuschia Alice hoffman, Streptocarpus Unknown name, Aeonium, Geranium Vancouver Centennial, Bouganvillea, Japenses maple, Fuschia Thalia, Star Jasmine, And Geum yellow.

On the Right hand side there is Stephanotis, Aspidistra Elatior, Peace lilly, and in the dark shadow the Ludisia Jewel Orchid.

The only things you can see through the doorway are the Abysinnian Gladiolus (also called Peacock orchids). These have three foot high sword leaves at the moment), and the Verbena Bonarensis from the plant sale.

The Oriental Stargazer Lilly is nearly in Bloom now. I planted two pots with Bulbs from Wilkos. Both grew, but the second Plant dropped every one of it flower buds. Wierdly they both started with four buds, but dropped them. I have seen flower pictures with multiple buds and flowers on single stems. I dont know why mine dropped three or four buds.

However as Long as this one flowers I will be happy

I was reading my book The Heirloom Garden last night, and read there was a plant called the Madonna Lilly which has been grown since 1630! The original settlers brought it with them and it was grown in Puritan gardens. I wander if the plant is still for Sale? A white lilly with golden Anthers I think it said.

I wander if all this plant growing is a positive addiction? Having eighty plus pots growing in the windowsills, and whatever else I can use to position the plants near the light.

There is a richness in Variety, and I like a lot of different plants. A house with no plants is too lifeless for me.

Mum always had houseplants growing, and cutflowers. The garden also supplied some of those. The Kitchen windowsill was a mini greenhouse growing tomato seedlings and cuttings from shrubs outside. I am finally going home at the end of July for a gardening week with Mum who has a new garden. It has been a few years since I went back to Cheltenham.

I dont know if she has seen my Garden Blog either, its seen all across the world judging by the Statcounter World map when I click on it. Its reassuring that its looked at however briefly a hundred times a day on average.

I have started to add Garden Blogs I frequent when im not working.I have left countless comments so im embedded in a fair few blogs. It is quite time Consuming so I will add to it every so often. If you feel left out email me and I will add you to my list!

I am wandering about a horticultural course, doing the RHS advanced certificate. The level 3 looks more advanced and in depth. Somebody wrote a comment saying you missed your vocation. I dont think thats true as I love the Nursing, but I want the more scientific knowledge and the years of gardening experience of the RHS courses. They train the garden designers and professionals of the future.

I am known at work for being garden/plant mad now, and that suits me fine. I have become a gardener because of family history (mum,Nan and Grandad), my education (I loved Biology and Botany), TV (David Bellamy and David Attenborough), the Groundforce team (Alan Titchmarsh,Charlie Dimmock,Tommy Walsh), Magazines and books like Gardeners world, the radio for Gardeners question time... Monty Don too has inspired me, with his love of gardening/agricultural, and his work with the Mental health charity Mind with gardening as therapy.

I still want to see the NBC documentary Healing Gardens of New York.I could not afford to get a TV/DVD player that played North American encoded DVD's or I would have.

Gardens, gardening, plants and flowers have become an Integral part of my life. I have the green fingers, the passion, and I think im good at drawing out of others who might have become jaded or tired of the garden. I can inspire people back into the garden too.

The Gardens Blog is a tapestry of all things from the Natural world from frogs and birds, to spiders and ladybirds, seedlings to full blooms, tree's and shrubs, Sun rises and Sunsets, the places i have been, gardens i have helped on, and musings on anything garden related. I am amazed at how many labels for posts I have accumulated since March. I must blog widely on a variety of subjects.

It started with a plant list, and meandered into why the Blog means a lot to me.I love all the comments too, keep on coming.I generally reply to all of them :)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Blue Grass

My 2,100th posting on Snappys Gardens Blog.I cant imagine how I have posted so much since 2005!
I spent hours trying to rearrange the plants, after I got a nice Corner Cabinet from a lady at work.Its now Sat in the front room with lots of plants on it, and the stereo is on the sofa waiting to be set up.
I have 82 pots/containers growing in the Flat.I dont know how many types of plants I have growing.
Garden plants sit alongside house plants, alongside Exotics plants.The lit side of the flat has a green glow, now the sunlight is hitting the flats opposite.
Pictured is the fabulous Festuca Glauca, or Blue Festue grass.It is a tough dwarf blue/green grass.I got two small pots from the plant sale.
Since Harlow Carr I have been thinking about ornamental grasses differently.With the Black knight and Carex in my wishlist this blue grass will find a spot in my future garden.
It likes sunshine, and drained soil, and prefers it dry.It only needs watering when its being established.It must be propogated by division of clumps, so my two pots came from that method.
It looks good in borders, or in terracotta pots.I have watched mine change colour from brown deathly looking, to a green/blue hazy colour.I will let the pots dry out to see if the grass turns the lovely blue colour in all the garden pictures of it.
I will google an image and post it to show you what it looks like in its blue glory :)

Thursday Morning

Just at the start of the Long Causeway large Horse chestnut tree's, mingle with grasses, and perennial weeds.The Sun rarely seen for two weeks was risen just, and cast a magic light onto the leaves.I love the magic of Diffuse light and the contrast between light and darks.
Its almost like woodland with the shaded areas under the trees packed full of plants.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Repotted Mim's


New Arrivals

Yesterday Hils took me out to look at a Bonsai specialist.After a long drive through flooded roads and diversions we pitched up by the Bonsai nursery.I had my camera ready to go...but discovered it was shut.

We went to Hampsons, the huge plant Nursery with millions of plants.Im terrible for going to these places and never leaved empty handed.

Outside the Nursery centre was a section of FREE plants.That could not be sold.I took pity on some of them and loaded a few more plants that

needed some TLC to make them look good again.

The free plants were:
1)two trays of Mimulus (see the red flowers)

2) three courgette plants (top photo)

The plants I bought were:

1)Passiflora Caerulea: the Brazilian passionflower, ideal for growing as a pot plant untill I get a garden.
2) Stephanotis: The Madagascan Jasmine, also called the Hawian wedding flower.It has big white starshaped flowers with an overpowering smell of Jasmine.It is trained around a hoop, and is what Mum had growing in the kitchen in Cheltenham.Thats what I wanted before for a scented plant (oops i have a Star Jasmine as well!)

3) Sea Holly: Eryngium Varifolium.The label reads "A clump forming evergreen perennial with rosettes of drak green leaves mrabled with white veins.Stiff branched stems bear cylindrical umbels of grey blue to pale blue flowers with longer sharply pointed silvery white bracts".
It can grow in well drained or dry soil in Sun, with protection from wet.It looks thistly but is not sharp the leafs are soft.
The Indoor greenhouse is bursting at the Seams now with plants, summer bulbs, seedlings of Pansy Rippling water, and common garden mint.I have potted up Amaryllis Bella for Autumn Flowers.The Stargazer lilly flower bud is changing colour and is of good size now.
The passion flower has multiple flower buds, and has some new sticks to grow up as it totally over ran the two hoops it has got already.
The Mimulus look perky now after new soil and a watering yesterday.Their flowers are like works of art.
Believe it or not this is my one hundredth post in June.Thats about four a day :) I never knew I had posted so much.I have also upgraded to the new Blogger Templates because I will have fun trying to change how the blog looks.This new look will do to start.
Hope you all like the new look, but there will be more to come, once I work out the changes I can make with the new editing.

Blog Frog

Fran found me a New Froggy at the Car boot Sale on Sunday whilst I was working.Monty is a cool green frog, with a large smile, big black eyes, and a penchant for posing by my plants.
He is pictured by a Verbena Bonarensis, Peperomia, Aeonium, and the Gorgeous Irish Honeysuckle.
I love frogs.I have lost most of my collection so i think I will start again :)

Rain, Rain

A rare break in the clouds, in the morning.It rained torrentially all day monday, and flooded parts of Wakefield. Closed roads, flooded villages.
More rain fell in a few hours I think than all of June normally.It started when we went to Harlow Carr and has rained ever since for nearly two and a half weeks. Mondays rain was like a monsoon and the chaos of closed roads, diversions, and rivers bursting their banks.
All over parts of Britain but especially Yorkshire was hit hardest in places.
I was out today and saw several areas still swamped by water. A lone tree had fallen over as the waterlogged ground had given way.It lay across a grass verge horizontally.
Strange times these for Abnormal weather.Todays daytime temperature was only 14 degrees C.Very chilly for June.
The flowers were still trying to put on their coloured faces, even through the wind and rain.The Deluge has stopped now.Need some warmer weather to dry up the flooded areas.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Phalaenopsis New growth

Moth Orchid

The Phalaenopsis I rescued from Homebase, with new growth coming between the upper two leaves.Its roots are growing out of the bark/moss mix that it was supplied with. It came in a plastic pot with holes in the bottom, and was sold in a square glass vase.
At the base of the plant there is also a rounded point growing out. The leaves grow Alternately and it says as a new leave grows on, one of the lower ones drops off. On Average they have four active leaves.
It is placed in a saucer of water to maintain the Humidity, in the Light but not directly sunlit windowsill. It is watered with tepid water when the bark mix is dry to touch. I let the water run over the leaves, down the bark mix and through the roots out of the plastic pot.
I need to buy a bigger pots made of clear plastic, with holes in the bottom. The bark/moss mix is moulded to fit the pot but should be packed so you can lift the plant out without the mix falling apart.
The clear pot keeps the light shining through onto the roots, which are slim and green.They have green growing tips which is a sign of root growth.
These Asian Moth Orchids are some of the easiest to care for, if you mimic their tree dwelling home. They are Epiphytes, living on tree's, so never have their roots in contact with soil. They must catch the rain water before it falls to the ground.
I hope it can be made to flower.My problem is trying to find a clear plastic pot to repot it, and also where to find a Bark/moss mix suitable for packing the roots in the bigger pot.I will keep looking and it might be mail order.
Does anyone know of UK suppliers of Orchid pots, and potting mix?
I am going back to work again for a long day.I will get wet feet as it is pouring with rain outside again.The Phalaenopsis is chilling inside the flat :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nicotiana Domino

Sunday morning.Time for me to go to work long day today and tomorrow.Enjoy all your sundays, and your gardens.More posts soon :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


A final photo of the Chimaphila flowers on the Tile. They are amazingly detailed representations of the two plants mentioned.
Cheima is greek for winter, and Philos for lover. There are five species of this evergreen plant of which Umbrellata is found in the Northern Hemisphere.
They are now classed in the family Ericacea, instead of Pyrolaceae.
Pipsisewa is Cree for breaks into small pieces, so i guess the plant is delicate.

Diplotaxis Muralis is called Wall Rocket. I found it on the plants for a future database. Its leaves can be eaten as a peppery salad leaf, or they can be used as a condiment, or added to cooked food. Hence Wall Mustard. It must have be found commonly growing under the shelter of walls.
It has been naturalised in Southern Britain. It flowers from June to September.
The question for me is how did they end up on a kithen windowill in a flat in Wakefield? The previous occupants or the handyman have painted over the windowsill with the paint that formed a layer of protection.....
Guess What I managed to Track down? The set that these two hidden beautys came from.
There are a Set of Six Botanical pictures: Alchemilla vulgaris, Chimapila umbelata, Veronica anagallis aquatica, Diplotaxis muralis, and Rumex conglomeratus. $54 for six six inch tiles with the Ceramic Design kilned onto the tile permenantly.
The Mystery deepens. Two tiles out of a set of Six. I wander if the other four were Broken or are they beneath the painted tiles that surround the sink?
I cant find any UK supplier of the six designs from Artontiles.Im happy I found them beneath the covering paint.
Leave a comment if you have the set of six, and where you bought them from.

The Final Secret Tile

I looked along the windowsill, and did a little more scratching to see if any more works of art were beneath the White/orange paint.I thought it was like Brown flowers.

I used a butter knife this time to uncover Another Botanical tile. Once uncovered it was named Chimapila Umbellata:

It says it is commonly called Pippisewa, or Princes pine, and is a flavouring used in candy and Root beer.

Here are the details of the flowers.It says the flowers are usually pink or white.
These look Chocolate coloured to me :)

The Roots, leaves, and Botanical name! Two strangely exotic plants hand painted on kitchen tiles, then painted over.

Waiting for me to knock off some paint to realise there was something beneath worth uncovering.

I am still researching both plants on google. Do you know any of them at all? Why were these plants used and not common garden herbs or vegetables?

Secrets Beneath The Paint 2

Secrets beneath the paint

The kitchen windowsill was covered with a horrible white paint that was orange underneath.It has been flaking away over the past six months with the many pots of plants being rotated, brought into the windowsill. Away from the windowsill.

It had a slight pattern on one like yellow-ish flowers.I thought it was the painted surface was coming away.

After a day of tidying up the flat, watering the plants, and checking all the plants for health I decided to clean the Windosill.

I took all the pots off and cleaned...Strangely I discovered underneath the white/orange paint on the tile was a botanical picture.Using my now blunt fingernails I scraped the white paint away..

Lo, and behold Underneath was a Diplotaxis Muralis.

With pretty yellow flowers and long green peas in pods?

On Wikipedia its called wallrocket or wall mustard.

Friday, June 22, 2007

For Alameda Claires Aunt Helen

Two photos of the Harlow Carr Passionflower for sale. I guess photographing it was not quite as good as buying it. I have the image now of it though. It is on my wish list now too.
The First passionflower I saw was on an Alameda garden blog.
I just checked out the Web address and it was a memorial post for Claires Aunt Helen, who gave her the love of Passionflowers, Cannas,poor mans orchids and cherry tree's..

My Sister's Passionflower

Growing up a garden fence in Rochester. Jawsy sent me her mobile phone picture before which was quite small.This is better size for the Blog!
I love passion flowers for the uniqueness of the flower and the legends behind it.I am suprised they can grow in Britain but they must be quite hardy.
I will also post another Passiflora that was for Sale at the Harlow Carr garden centre.I took a photo so I could remember it.
The Rochester Passionflower have a peppermint green colour, with a blue, white, and yellow.I will compare them later.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Star Jasmine

After the scented garden I wanted to buy a plant with scented flowers.I think the only plant growing with a scent is the Oriental Stargazer lilly, and that only has one flower bud left growing.

I went to Homebase and looked for Jasmine.I bought this Star Jasmine, a leafy evergreen plant with star shaped fragrant white flowers.

It is awaiting a new pot and A cane frame to be trained around.I was thinking of a Stephanopsis with its flowers on a willow frame.I did not find one.
Its long winded full name is Trachelospernum Jasminoides.It can grow a massive six metres high and can be grown up a house or a wall.It needs well drained, fertile soil. It needs a sheltered sunny location.
It flowers all summer and the scent is Jasmine. It is also called Confederate Jasmine, did it grow in the deep south of the USA?

Irish Honeysuckle

Sent Airmail from Ireland from Salixtree, a gorgeous Honeysuckle cutting.It was put into a ziplock bag, into a South African teabag box, and into a padded envelope.

The plant survived the trip, was repotted in some new soil, and is happily growing away on the windowsill.

I wanted Honeysuckle for ages, and used to walk past a florist that was selling small plants for

Ten pounds.
I think Salixtree took cuttings last summer and has let them grow roots in the winter and spring.
It had good roots, nice patterned leaves, and now lots of new growth.
The RHS book says they grow well in fertile, well drained soil, in full sun, or partial shade. They only need pruning of woody bits after flowering, or to restrict growth as they can be vigerous.I have some honeysuckle now for my garden when I move from here :)

This is the second of the new arrivals...

Streptocarpus Nerys

The Beautiful flowered Streptocarpus Nerys bought at Harlow Carr.This was how pretty it looked when I bought it.Since then all the flowers have dropped off.I guess that Dibleys does something to force these plants to flower en masse for sale.

Coming back to the indoor greenhouse has shocked it a bit. I love the colours of the flowers, purple/pink/orange stipes on long tubular flowers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Faces in the flowers

The Bleeding heart flowers in their prime on Saturday.They look glowering in their intensity.
I know Pansys can have faces in their glorious coloured petals.Happy ones, sad ones, mysterious ones.
The front cover of the Orchid Thief has the most striking Orchid face.Susan Orleans wrote that she began to see faces amongst the thousands of orchids she looked at.
The garden spirits must live temporarily within flower faces, and make us humanise our flowers.Click on the photo to see the Bleeding heart brothers.Eyes and long nose, very alien looking :)

Hanging onto a Dicentra

In the cool light of the flat a little wee beastie hangs on his web.I have had a lot of small black flys recently buzzing around the flat.

He was hanging on the New Dicentra Spectabalis or red bleeding heart.I already photographed the flowers.

It is in the kitchen now with lots of new growth.I hope it lasts longer than the white Dicentra which never recovered from the nursery induced shock, and weakened its immune system.

I love finding new subjects to photograph. I think a garden full of ladybirds, earthworms, slugs, snails, hedgehogs, frogs, common garden birds, beetles, butterflies, and Bee's is a wander of nature.
It also means they like the environment you have created.
I have already blogged once about Robert the Bruce's encounter with a spider in a wood in Scotland. That story has been in my head for years after reading it. My spider pictures always bring me back to that.
There is beauty in even the commonplace if we look through new eyes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

White flower needs a name :)

A beautiful flower with white lace like petals edged with lime green tips.The centre of the flower almost looked jeweled!

From Harlow Carr of course.What is it?I need a note book next time to identify what i photograph.

I think we will be going back on the 6th July so I can see the rest, and revisit the places I saw again.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Alpine House Last Photos

The final set of Harlow Carr pictures.Those boots were made for walking...untill the Sempervivums moved in.
They look like they were made to last the boots!

Its not all flowers :) here is the beautiful Ophiopogon Planiscarpis Nigrescens.A dwarf growing plant that has purple leaves, but when its exposed to drained soil and full sun they turn black.
Its also called Black dragon, or Ebony knight.I loved this darkness in the green/red/brightness of the other Alpine house plants.
This is a Blackswamp girl kind of plant.Its also on my wishlist now..

The gorgeous flowers of an unknown succulent with yellow crowns at the centre.

Alpine House photomix 2

The only plant I know the name of.This beauty is Calceolaria John Innes.I know because i photographed the name.
Calceolaria is latin for shoemaker.I thought it was a ladys slipper.
This one is from the slipperwort family.Its quite dainty, and very shoe shaped.

Spikey punk rock flower in the Alpine house.Its called Phyteuma Orbiculare, the Round headed Rampion.I think Sid Vicous would be a better name!

The beautiful flower on this reminds me of a chinese lantern. I need help naming this as well. With such a profusion of plants all close together labels get lost, moved, or stolen!
I thought it was nice all the plants were open along the shelves. As i left the Alpine house it said CCTV is in operation due to plant theft!
You can imagine it in florida (The Ghost Orchids etc) but not in Harrogate!

Alpine house photomix 1

Geranium Lawrence Flatman,look at the colours on this one!

A sempervivum in flower.Im used to the red and yellow flowers on the houseleeks in the alpine pot i had.These are like pink/white delicate blossoms, masses of them.

Another Sempervivum, a red one with the spiders web between the leaves.When i first saw the spider-ish ones I thought they had been left in a room for six months.It never occured to me that they would put fake cobwebs on.
Somebody scientific would explain what is the purpose of this on a house leek?