Friday, February 29, 2008

Garden Additions

The Polyanthus Blue Shades is growing lovely now, even with todays wind and rain.
I am back on nights for three so the posts will slow down untill Monday.I was very productive yesterday with Cat helping me out. I bought three large 75 litre bags of compost, two bags of Pea gravel stones, and a few more plants to go with the four from Harlow Carr. I wanted to make the African bag gardens with Cats assistance.
The Charity Send A Cow started me thinking about vegetable growing in a container (or Sack) in December. I ordered two kits and they sat waiting for the stones, soil, bottle, and nice weather to be made up.

Take one hessian sack. Line the bottom with stones for drainage. Use a two litre bottle cut at both ends to leave a hollow tube. Fill the bottle with stones in the centre of the sack in a column. Fill around the bottle with soil and cow manure..I used some of the garden compost as no cows were available.
In Lesotho where these bag gardens are used they have a plentiful supply of stones from the mountains, and cow manure.

A bag garden in construction. Each bag took one hundred litres of compost and I found after halfway they are very heavy. They were placed in situ on the pavers. I put some long canes on edges to keep the sides of the sack taut and out of the way of the soil filling. The sticks can be used as stakes to hold the bag in place.

The Snappy Gardener in Action with the Second Bag Garden. Each kit came with seeds to grow vegetables. With names like Purple Power and Rocket Fuel. The finishing touch will be to decorate them with paint and coloured material. A job for when im off from work..

The central stone column is used for watering the Bag garden plants.It runs down the middle of the Sack. I need to cut some V's into the sides of the Bag to grow plants from the side as well as on top. It is heavy too and not movable by me on my own.

After the bag gardens were done I turned my Attention to planting the new additions from Harlow Carr and Hampsons. Two Teasel, One Valerian, one Catnip, two Photinia's, one Thuja Occidentalis Rheinegold, and a Picea Glauca Conica. I moved a few of the plants about to accomodate the newcomers. The garden is in a state of change. I moved the other green bird bowl to by the corner by the Blackberry bush. There are two pools of water now for the garden birds to drink and splash about in.

After Le Tigre et Le Crocodile in Paris here is my version. Two stone statues by the Holly. I watched a video of a healing garden that did Art Therapy in California. It had a collection of Art work around the Garden. This is part one:
and the second part is here:
I saw plenty at Harlow Carr and on this video. I realised I had the plants, and the hard structures but not the fun things like Statues, gnomes, pink lawn flamingoes, or fairys etc. It is the fun twist that puts your personality on your garden. Whatever you like, if you like it...

The Bag Gardens just need a splash of rainbow colour to brighten them up. I have seed potatoes from Marshalls sat in an egg box developing shoots ready to be planted in the two grow bags.I went halfs on Wednesday with Cats dad to buy a patio Herb Planter. A round polythene bag with eight pockets rather like the Victorian strawberry planter. Thats what mine will be used for too :)
Strawberrys and Potatoes will join the African Bag gardens on the Pavers. The Container kitchen garden is growing slowly. I ordered another two Veg planters but they have not arrived yet. I think there is a movement in the UK to grow Organic Vegetables and Fruit, and the experts mention how container gardening can be done on any sized plot.
The benefit for me is that the two borders can grow flowers and soft fruit, and the Vegetables will grow on the pavers. It will be interesting to see how it all grows. The seed packets have been organised into envelopes with coloured names of the bag gardens.

The Mystery red spear growing. I saw some plants at Hampsons that looked like this. I will leave it for a while before saying what I think it is. Blackswamp girl you have already guessed correctly.
Its Febuary 29th too, a leap year! March starts tomorrow and I imagine the growing plants will speed up. So much is going on in the small urban plot of mine that its hard to know what to blog about. I have plenty of topics to write about and photograph.
Hope you all have good weekends and that your gardens keep growing on :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Febuary Colours Third

Just down from the Main Entrance Path was a viewing Area. Two benches and this gorgeously ornate Sundial. I like the weathered look, and the design on it. Another coffee was made her.It had views of the Woods, the Main Borders, The Entrance, and Bettys Tea rooms.

The Main Borders were sparse as the Summer planting was a lot of Grasses and Perennials. Old friends like Giant Aliums, Verbena Bonarensis, Rudbeckia. The post painting with flowers show how brilliant they looked. The grasses and perennials had been cut to the ground. They are asleep under the soil. A few clipped topiary box and carex grasses were all that were visible. New plant labels were stuck in the ground, and their tulips were developing leaves. I will see in a month what has grown here. It was very wind swept and bare. Greens and Browns abound.

Some plants were left to overwinter. They have interesting shapes, textures, and colours. I know some people leave plants to decay so frosts and snows can make architectural elements in an otherwise barren garden. Something to remind you the sun did shine once, and that Spring is approaching. This was a Silver leaved Sage plant I think.

Birds flew around Harlow Carr singing away. This Robin must be related to my cheeky garden one. He sat on the Russet leaved hedge singing away oblivious to me walking around to get his photo. His feathers are ruffled a bit trying to keep warm.I seem to attract birds when I go anywhere, even walking to work.

A Mahonia in Flower. I had only sen Mums poorly specimin in Cheltenham.I never realised they flowered :)

These were in a display between the Outside Cafe and the Scented garden. They are a funny version of a Bluebell, a Scilla of somekind? The white/blue flowers are lovely against the bright green leaves.

The Sky and the Tree's took it in turn to dominate the view. The Light and Dark are almost Paris like.

A Cherry Blossom tree, some kind of Prunus. I love thes Flowers against the backdrop of other bare tree's. I would like one of these in a container in my garden. A visit to someone elses garden can inspire you, and make your wish list of plants/trees/statues grow longer.I always find something that excites me. Cat looked through my photos and commented you have a unique view of things, meaning what I had chosen to photograph.I have never analysed it much my subject matters for blog posts.

More Febuary Colour in the Foliage garden, a Yellow and Green tree glowing in the Sunlight.I think these colours remind us of Spring and Summer Sunshine. They stand out in a day of black, muted greens, and browns.
The Little Boy and the Duckling. I saw a black outline looking down the main borders to the left side. It is bipassed as people head for the terraced beds or to the Rose revolution borders. Quiet planting with a small stream running towards the Beck. Its quite Symbolic of how much we hold nature in our hands. I had not seen it before either..

Winter Colours illuminate the Winding Path. I love paths in gardens, especially twisty ones that lead to new scenes and plants. The Dogwoods are spectacular when planted en masse. There was colour in Febuary but you had to look for it. When you found it it was Iris like, many colours of the rainbow. The Thirty Sixth and Final image from yesterday. Cats Mum bought these spectacular Primulas for their front window border. The Rainbow colours of HC must have inspired them to buy these ten plants.
I actually had a garden to buy for yesterday :)
Snappy went home with a Catnip Six Giant Hills, two Teasel plants to hopefully entice the Goldfinches down, a Valerian plant for the butterfly/cottage garden, and three bunches of Daffodils for the Front room. Hil's bought me a milk chocolate mouse too.My usual purchase from Bettys Tea room.
My garden was a busy place today. Tomorrows post will be about today!

Febuary Colours Second

From the Queen Mothers lake its a short walk into the Woods. The tree's have been here for years and some from when it was first made into an RHS garden. Hidden amongst the Tree's were the Jewel Like Rhodadendrons. I need to go back in a month to see the woods ablaze with them in flower. I spotted three early flowering Rhodies. The flower buds are like jewels and open up many cupped flowers. These were high in the air though. To smell the flower you needed to lower the branch a little. There are lots of different varieties here in their collection..

Some Narcissus were in Flower above the leaf covered floor of the woods. There were tens of thousands of Daffodils planted, not in Flower. Another reason to go back in a month..

Gods Fingers..Sun Rays came through the trees canopy and illuminated the floor. Making snowdrops start to flower, soon to be followed by Bluebells, and Daffodils.
You can appreciate the size difference between a Tree and the Snowdrop nestled under its barked trunk.

I wanted a Woods floor view of the Snowdrops.The floor was wet from previous rain so I crouched down.

Another Rhodadendron Flower, in soft petaled pink with the red centres. I had to go into the Trees away from the Path. The eyes were alert to flashes of colours that were not green or brown. Hil's thought there were not any in flower as we were too early.

I walked past this once on the way to make a coffee from a flask of hot water.I took the coffee, sugar,milk, and hot water. The red Rhodie from Earlier..

By the Study centre was this beautiful yellow Fir Tree. I think Yellow is a Winter/Spring colour of Daffodils, Narcissus, Forsythia..
Who said there'd be no colour at HC in Febuary?

Crocuses. All more advanced than my garden ones. These were planted under tree's, in this display by the study centre, and along the pathways. You had to watch your feet to make sure you were not trampling on any plants. Tread Lightly like the Birds I kept thinking..They come and go leaving where they have been unchanged. A Native American saying?

Snowdrops. These were planted along the Path that ran parallell to the Streamside. The Lake had a waterfall that Fed into the Stream. Harlow Beck.

Just one Photo of the Streamside. HC has the Longest streamside Garden of any public garden in the UK. I love flowing water, and the light reflecting off it.

Some unknown white flowers. The Heavy winds had reaked havoc the day before felling tree's, knocking birdboxes off, and benches blown over. Some parts were cordoned off. I wanted to see if the pigs were at the top of the Valley, the 3000 new trees planted for trees for life, and the new Bird hide. Maybe next time..

The Last image of this second post is the Metal Flower, like a daisy. It reflects the Light and Sky. Throughout HC there was metal sculptures, Mesh figures filled with leaves (like the Bear hugging the tree, and the Teapot.) Giant Flys, Butterflys, and Birds stand in borders and by pathways.
I liked the Giant spade with the Bird sat on top of it overlooking the streamside. I saw a sundial by a bench, and a black statue of a little boy holding a duckling..
One more post to go about HC! Hope its okay for you all!

Febuary Colours

After a day in my own garden I thought I would try to capture the essence of Harlow Carr. The RHS's most northerly garden. A beautiful silver Birch sits opposite the main entrance. The blue sky and clouds are behind it. The woods of Harlow Carr are in the foreground.

Rose Revolution border in Febuary. They pretty much look like mine, planted bare root, and only a few leaves appearing now. The Robin was about two foot from the gardener inspecting the ground for bugs. The Perennials were all cut down to the ground. That left some lone grasses between the bare rose stems. Good for birds to eat though soil...

The Vegetable Garden. I loved their raised beds here. The only thing growing were some leeks and some parsley. I liked the arched frames with the willow between the metal. The sun was shining for a while.

A lovely combination of a Holly hedge under planted with Pink Flowering Cyclamen. It led to the Gardens Through Time display, and the Queen Mothers Lake.

A little Greenhouse had masses of Plants and I loved this Iris. Cool Blue with the White, yellow, and black colours. There were masses of Irises, Crocuses, Narcissus. Its like a plant holding bay before they get moved out. The view of the lake was perfect too.

How to get Winter colour.. Plant Dogwoods, and grasses. They were brightly coloured in the sunlight when it peeked from behind the clouds. I need to buy a few more dogwoods as I have one in the garden.

Some leaves glowing in the Sunlight, part of the gardens through time. I loved the architectural quality of the plants and the stone mulch below.

Some fluffy grass heads. These were so soft, and billowy in the gentle breeze. The curator of HC is a big fan I think of grasses. They are in use in the main borders, pathside borders, around the Queen Mothers Lake, and Streamside.

Still Waters echoing the Sky with the Trees, grasses, and plants around the Queen Mothers lake. Reflections where the Sky and Earth touch in the middle.

The First Dozen pictures of Harlow Carr. Colours, Light, and Water. There are two more posts to come tonight. I had a hard time choosing a few photos to blog, and ended up selecting thirty six images from yesterday. I loved the visit again. The weather and light have been different on every visit as has whats been in flower. It is a truly spectacular Garden. The garden of a thousand photos and views..
( I actually have taken now 1100 photos of Harlow Carr gardens.My camera button is a bit wobbly now from usage.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Harlow Carr Prelude

Two opening images from Harlow Carr. I think its one of my most popular tags on the blog. The photo album is marked Harlow Carr 4.
I have been dying to go back, and today Hil's drove me there with Cat, and we met her parents at Harlow. The BBC forecast sunshine, light westerly winds, and sunshine. It was cloudy and rained a bit, but the sun occasionally shone through.
I went on ahead of the others to get walking around my Favourite RHS garden.
I love the Valley, the exposed site, the boggy ground and chilly temperatures, the Beck that runs through the centre of the Valley into the lake, and the woodlands that run across half of it. There is so much to see. Many paths lead around corners to new areas and plants not seen before, or newly added. Not as many flowers as in the height of summer but enough for me to take 235 photos!
The First shows the Wuthering heights type weather, sunshine, then dark rain clouds. This illuminated the plants and tree's.
The Second shows the terraced bed by the main entrance, masses of brightly coloured Heathers and my favourite metal bird sculpture. I found a lot of Art today surrounded by the Gardens plants, shrubs, grasses, and tree's.
I want to go back in a month or so to catch the full Springtime flower show of masses of bulbs, Rhodadendrons, and Magnolias.
I found a suprising amount of colour today. Hils took five photos. I took over two hundred.I had dirty knees from kneeling down to get a plants eyed view.
Every visit is like a new painting, with the strong structures being the Frame.The Winter garden is still as beautiful, but in a different way from the fireworks of Summer.
More posts tomorrow after a good nights sleep. I need to choose which photos to blog...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday Photo Mix

The two robins in the garden by the newly trimmed viburnum tinus. The red asparagus spears are growing on. Hope they grow so I can identify what they are.

The Head Gardener inspecting the newly light soil beneath the Viburnum.He flew down a few minutes after I went indoors. He likes the newly exposed branches where he can survey the garden in protective cover of the Viburnum leaves.

Crocus, Hellebore Niger, and Some white Heather are some of my late winter colour in the garden.

The Sparkly Cape Primrose flower inside the kitchen cabinet with the overhead lights to illuminate your wine glasses.

the Split plant in situ. I never noticed the flower spike for ages. I did not expect it to flower this early in the year. The glass front must maintain the temperature and the lights give the plant its energy needs.

The Late Winter flowering Polyanthus Blue shades. It looks more Purple to me, but the weather has been unkind to the developing flower buds. Lilac or Lavender coloured now.
I am off to Harlow Carr again tomorrow. I hope the weather holds. The camera batterys are charging now ready to photograph the plants, tree's, and flowers. It should be great!