There will be jam, and plum pudding, and cakes….. Mirabelle Ruby. Such a beauty.
If you could see me today you would notice a huge smile. Not only is it the first day of spring- the days are getting noticeably lighter- but it is also my youngest daughter’s birthday.
So for this happy day, I have dashed around the garden picking spring flowers and blossom to fill the house with colour and scent. I always put cherry blossom in every room for my daughter’s special day. There’s little pots of scented violets and wild primroses on all the windowsills. And for the front door I’ve made a willow kokedama bouquet.
The “ingredients” for the kokedama comprise a willow heart I made last winter, a cut down plastic juice bottle, some moss from the garden and some twine. I spotted this idea at Easton Walled Gardens last month. Snowdops wrapped in moss and twine made strikingly beautiful displays. I made a note of how they were put together.
Here’s my ingredients in the potting shed. I used a Robinsons juice bottle cut down to 10cm for a vase and some lime green Nutscene heritage twine.
I made a nest around the vase with wet moss, and simply wrapped back and forth until the moss was secured. It was much easier than I expected, and only took a few minutes to make. The vase was easily tied to the front of the willow heart.
Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. Each week Cathy encourages us to go out into our gardens and find material for In a Vase on Monday. Cathy is celebrating her 5th anniversary of blogging today. She was one of the first people I followed on here, and I’ve really appreciated her helpful support and advice from the start. Finding friends and sharing ideas and information is for me, the best reason for joining in.
Coltsfoot. I always search for this joyful ‘sign of spring in my garden.
Tussilago farfara. Coltsfoot because of the shape of the flower. Traditionally used as an old country remedy for a cough. In fact, tussis is Latin for cough. Not to be recommended, as it is also toxic. Also known as bullsfoot, clay weed, hoofs, sow foot, dove dock, cleats, cough wort, ginge, tushy luck. Belongs to the asteraceae family. Loved by bees and hoverflies. Grows in sunny, bramble strewn, damp, wild meadow part of my garden.
Regular readers will know that I grow flowers for my mother in law Joan. She’s 88 now and not able to visit as often as she would like. A posy of flowers gives Joan a flavour of what’s growing in my garden each week. As well as flowers, I take twiggy sticks with green buds, hazel “lambs tails,” and fluffy grey willow. A taste of spring.
This week there’s plenty of scented Paper White Narcissi- planted in the poly tunnel at Christmas. The blue and white hyacinths were planted last October and grown on in the cool dark potting shed in containers. Blue statice was grown in the veg garden last summer and hung upside down to dry in the potting shed eaves. It was the first time I’d grown statice. Choosing just the right moment to pick the flowers took a bit of practice. Some I left too late and were too far open. Others, picked on a wet day, sadly faded.
Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. Why not go over and see what other people from all over the world are growing in their gardens right now. It’s fascinating to see the variety of plants and flowers and the different ways they are used.
Joining in with Michelle and her new meme celebrating what’s in flower in the garden right now.
It’s been sunny and warm enough on a couple of days to open the summerhouse doors. Grace cat has appreciated the warm weather. I’ve propped up the blue hyacinths with hazel twigs. Catkins are a perfect match for spring bulbs. Tete a tete daffodils were planted in pots in October and put behind the pottingshed out of sight. Luckily I looked the other day, and they were in full flower. A week or two earlier than last year.
This is the current view looking out from the summerhouse. The mini-wood will soon be bursting into leaf. Snowdrops bought at Hodsock Priory are starting to spread. There’s a patch of wild garlic I shall be harvesting soon to make a delicious soup.
It only takes a few years for the patches of snowdrops to bulk up. I will be dividing these in the next week or so. I will dig up a clump, break them into half, put half back in the planting hole and spread the others about, incorporating some grit and leafmould in the planting pockets.
I’m saying goodbye to the aconite flowers for another year. Finally, after years of trying, they have taken off and are spreading across the wild garden. Incorporating lots of leafmould each year seems to be the answer. Plus patience. They really do only grow where they want to. I very nearly gave up to be honest.
Primroses are escaping from the borders and making themselves at home in the lawn. A lovely consequence of giving up on the lawn feed and weed regime. Soon the whole front lawn will be awash with blue scented wild violets. They virtually pop up overnight. Such a wonderful sight to come home to.
And finally, the pottingshed windowsill has pots of tiny tete a tete daffodils and single snowdrops. You can just see the blue hyacinths and matching daffodils inside the shed where the scent is intoxicating- mixed with smells of petrol for the mower and compost on the potting bench!
I hope you have enjoyed my whistle-stop tour of the garden today. Thank you to Michelle for hosting this new meme. Why don’t you go over and see what’s looking good today in Michelle’s garden on www.http://vegplotting.blogspot.co.uk . Join in- all welcome!
After the storm- there’s always hope.
From my garden gate I can see this willow. The tree had five massive branches, all toppled by high winds last year. Now there’s new shoots from the fallen branches. Willows were seen as trees of celebration in Biblical times. At church,when I was little, I remember willow branches being used instead of palms to celebrate Palm Sunday.
Willows are often associated with sadness and mourning. As a young teenager I read Shakespeare’s Hamlet at school and can vividly recall the scene where Ophelia drowns beside a willow tree. A sad and lonely vision that stayed with me for some time. I was always too inclined to dwell on injustice and wrongs. But then, at that time, I still thought I had the power to change the world. On my bedroom wall I had a poster of the famous 1850s Ophelia by Millais.
Instead of sadness, I associate willows with catkins and the first signs of spring. Today is the Meteorological first day of spring. But in the Old Farmer’s Almanac spring doesn’t start until March 20th. I will be cutting back our willows today to make plant supports and arches. And the grey catkins will be a happy addition to my flower arrangements.
I’ve spent too much time online looking at snowdrop gardens – and wishing I had a helicopter to whizz me from Scotland to Cornwall.
They are all so tempting. But work, family commitments and lack of funds mean the grand tour will have to wait.
When a friend told me about a garden that’s practically on my doorstep- Holme Pierrepont Hall, in Nottingham- I hardly had time to grab my coat. I was out of my pottingshed like a rocket.
The south wall was demolished in the Georgian period to create parkland around the side of the house. The East Garden was abandoned after the First World War, and reclaimed in the 1970s.
There are some glorious planting combinations. Silver stems of Rubus Golden Vale stand out against the dark yew background, with snowdrops as groundcover. Everywhere there’s yew and box hedges and topiary.
There’s some wonderfully gnarled trees in the garden. It’s still very much a family home- as well as a wedding and conference venue. We smiled at the evidence of children everywhere. There were swings in many trees and a home made zip wire in the woods.
We followed the arrows back to the house and wandered through this doorway, which leads to a pretty enclosed walled courtyard. We bought tickets for a tour around the house which meant we could look through the windows down onto the parterre. Photos can’t be taken in the house, which is understandable. It is a family home, after all. But I asked permission to take photos through the windows, which was allowed.
Looking down on the box parterre which is filled with lavender, pulmonaria and spring bulbs. The boundary wall of the garden, and the house wall have a sort of unusual covered cloister walkway which contained potted camellia plants.
We had another walk round the East Garden before heading for home. This Prunus mume Beni-chidori was looking spectacular underplanted with snowdrops. The scent, reminiscent of fruit salad, wafts around the whole garden. Quite strong for such a tiny flower.
Holme Pierrepont Hall is open Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays in February and March 2-5pm. Also Sundays in April -apart from Easter Sunday. There’s a special Shakespeare in the Garden performance on Thursday 15th June.
I’m glad I’ve found Holme Pierrepont Hall -especially as it’s only 25 minutes drive from home. It makes me wonder how many other places are right on my doorstep, just waiting to be discovered. Perhaps I don’t need that helicopter after all.
Have you “found” any gardens right on your doorstep?
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Potted bulbs planted in October have burst into bloom this week. The scent is just wonderful!
Delph Blue hyacinths, tete-a-tete mini daffodils white Carnegie Hyacinths, and creamy white Jacob hellebore. On the other side of the table, out of sight, is my seed sowing station. It’s lovely to be enveloped in spring scents. Much nicer than (the usual) lawnmower engine oil and compost!
Have your spring flowers burst into bloom yet, or are you still waiting for that wonderful moment?