Garden

A Soggy Garden with Confused Plants 

Spurred on with a new lease of life I had an idea that I would post a comparison of what was/is in the garden over the years I have written my blog.   To my surprise I have only a couple of posts from this week in the past and none of them are to do with the garden, so that idea was knocked on the head.   What I did notice was the second/third week in January, since the blog began in 2011, invariably had snow or was very icy, so maybe we will have a cold winter in 2016 before spring arrives. 

An icy  blast is certainly going to shock all the plants that have been fooled by the unseasonably warm weather.  In the front garden the snowdrops are out and the forget me nots have reseeded themselves everywhere! 

  
The tulips and daffodils (tete a tete) are coming through and the day lilies are producing lots of new leaves. 

  
 In order to protect the bulb shoots from the window cleaners, who have no regard to anything in flowerbeds, I have placed some flower supports.  I hope it works, in previous years they have just trampled over everything! 

  
We have had so much rain the back lawn squelches under foot, and the grass continues to grow with little chance of getting the mower out.  The north facing border always ends up with standing water and there is a bare patch of lawn which I have tried, without success, to reseed on a number of occasions.  I have decided not to bother anymore and will turn it part of the flowerbed.   After I took the photo below I spiked the bed with a fork with the hope that it will drain. 

  
The summer jasmine, which sadly didn’t flower last year, is covered in buds (far too early) and I hope that it doesn’t succumb to any impending frosts. It won’t be warm enough however to make the most of the wonderful perfume is exudes on a balmy June evening.  I’ll have to bring some sprigs indoors to enjoy it. 
  Finally, all my spring pots were planted up before Christmas and I moved them so they can be seen from the kitchen window.   There are some very tiny shoots in some of them and one pot is very advanced.  It is the only pot that is not labelled up, (it would be!), but I think they are early narcissi.  Sometimes it’s quite exciting guessing what is growing.

  
We all know that in the winter cold wet days are usually mild, with sunny days bringing cold weather.   We need a bit more sun now with freezing temperatures to kill off the bugs, slugs and snails in the garden and there are very many people in the UK praying that we have no more rain for quite  while.   Maybe my next post will have snowy and ice photos! 

Flowers, Flowers in the Garden, Garden Bloggers Blooms Day, Garden Meme, Photography

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 15 Feb 2015

Two happy things today. The first is that there really are blooms in the garden and second, it is a beautifully sunny day here on the South coast of England. This makes writing a post for Garden Bloggers Bloom day a bit of a treat; I haven’t contributed to this monthly meme hosted by Carol of May Dreams Garden blog for a while.

I had to take my iPad out to take photographs because my laptop has died making my camera pointless as I won’t be able to transfer photos using a memory card. Also I am writing this post on the iPad and anyone trying to write using the WordPress app will know how frustrating it can be.   The iPad actually takes some excellent quality photos so not being able to use my big camera is ok.

Anyway, here goes!

Hellebores
Always lovely to see this time of the year. A bog standard variety and I always promise myself to buy new ones but never get around to it.

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Snowdrops
Like the hellebores, these are a common garden variety but come up every year and are pretty.

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Primroses
There are only a few, the others are still to flower but there is plenty of time.

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Pieris ‘Forest Flame
A shrub that is guaranteed to have something worth photographing at anytime of the year.

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Iris ‘Gordon
Regular readers will probably be fed up with seeing these by now. This early pot is almost over now, but there are some in the other pots that are just about to come out, so more to photograph.

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Hydrangea
Can I get away with dried flowers? I think so!

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Japanese Amenome
Last month I showed my Japanese Anemone which was flowering. Lo and behold it is still flowering, despite the snow and ice. Poor confused little plant.

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Skimmia
Alright, I know that strictly speaking berries are not blooms but they are colourful and nice to include. I get confused with Skimmia, There is a large shrub in the front garden covered in red berries all year round, and in the summer it also produces tiny white flowers. In the back garden I have one that produces clusters of tiny dark berries in the winter. Both, apparently, are Skimmia Japonica. I read the first one is a female plant and the second one is a male. Can anyone shed any further light?

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Narcissi ‘Paperwhite’
My final photo for this GBBD post is a pot of narcissi bulbs that I forgot I had and despite having no soil and being left outside, I unearthed them today and they are in flower. You can’t get the better of nature can you!

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Please pay a visit to May Dreams Garden and take a look at what is in bloom in bloggers gardens around the world.

Garden

Not My Front Garden

I live on the ground floor of a Victorian conversion. I bought it fourteen years ago this month, not only because of its good size and lovely high ceilings, but it came with the delight of a self-contained back garden just the right size for me to maintain. So many conversions have split back gardens with little or no privacy which it certainly not, in my opinion, ideal. The downside to owning the back garden is that the front garden belongs to the flat upstairs and my lounge looks out on to it.

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When I moved in it was just a patch covered in black plastic, topped with bark clippings. The whole area was a public toilet to every cat in the neighbourhood. The only saving grace was the colourful Skimmia and the Lilac tree in the corner. A year later the upstairs people put their flat up for sale and were astute enough to grass the front and make a path around the edge to my back gate.

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The subsequent owners were not gardeners or at all interested in the garden and kindly allowed me to tend to its care. After tidying up the Skimmia I discovered a hydrangea and, much to my delight, I also unearthed snowdrops.

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Several years ago, when the flat was on the market again I overheard, to my horror, the estate agent saying to a prospective buyer, “as you can see a lot of people have turned their front gardens into parking areas”. No way was I going to have someone else’s car, or God forbid, a Transit van parked up against my lounge window. Fortunately, working for a solicitor, I shot downstairs to the conveyancing department and investigated buying the freehold and was lucky enough that the freeholder was happy to sell. At least that guaranteed no one would ever be able to turn the front garden into a parking lot, not while I was the freeholder!

The flat was bought as a Buy to Let, (which has its own issues) and there has been a regular turnover of tenants in the last 9 years. Fortunately none of them have been interested in gardening and I have been able to continue as the ‘resident gardener’. I did try to buy the front garden but the owner was advised against it by his solicitor. That was disappointing and a little annoying but understandable as it would affect his lease.

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Yes, that’s right, you do see a For Let sign. The present tenant, after 2 years, is moving out. As usual the flat is advertised as a rental with a front garden and I have started the minor panic I experience every time I see this horrid board, hoping that the new tenants are not gardeners either. Selfish, I know! It means when I introduce myself I have to find a pleasant way of asking if they like gardening, if not would it be ok for me to continue to look after the garden. So far the tenants have been quite happy to relinquish the care. Although there was one lady who dabbled for a few weeks and pulled up all the Forget me Nots thinking they were weeds. I have to be honest I didn’t handle it too well and although I know she had the right to do whatever she wanted I did point out that they were not weeds, but she didn’t do any more ‘gardening’ after that!

Fully aware it is not my property, I don’t spend very much money, if any, on the front garden, taking cuttings and moving bits and pieces from the back garden. There are however lots of bulbs I have put in over the years. It is always so heartwarming to walk through the front gate and see these in the spring.

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This morning I was out there having a general tidy up before the new tenants move in, and contemplating if I was going to move the beautiful Day Lilies that I planted a few years ago, (one of the few plants it did buy for the front). The jury is still out on that one, mainly because I’m not sure this is the right time of the year to move plants.

I hope the new tenants don’t pick the tulips when they come through or cut down the pretty white rose by the front door. It can only go two ways, either they don’t like gardening and let me get on with it, or they do like to garden, care for it and I have something pretty to look at without the work.

That’s me trying to be positive, and I hope the little Robin who followed me around this morning thinks the same thing.

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Garden blogging

We Have Snow!

Here in the South of England on the Sussex Coast, we may get snow for a few days during the winter months.   The last heavy snow that hung around for days was in 2010.   Today, true to the forecasted weather (which we often take with a pinch of salt), it started to snow earlier this morning and now, mid-day, it is quite deep – for us anyway.  I suspect it is about 3 to 4 inches deep at the moment and it’s still snowing.

Fortunately I have the day off work, although my original plans have been scuppered.  It has meant though an opportunity to take some snow photos.  I didn’t take too many as  the camera was getting wet and I was getting very cold.

I love the way that snow changes the shape of things.  For example the bamboo cloches now look like little snow domes.

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The garden looks very pretty in its white snowy overcoat.

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Wallflowers:

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Skimmia berries:

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And of course, there has to be snowdrops:

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Whilst snow is great if you don’t have to get anywhere, I will enjoy it this weekend, but hope that it has cleared a bit before trying to get to work on Monday.   The problem is not during the time the snow falls, it is afterwards when it becomes slushy and then freezes, making it dangerous to get around.

However, I hope to be able to take some more snow photos soon, especially if the sun shines.  There is nothing more beautiful than a snowy landscape set against a blue sky.

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