Six for Saturday – 3/2/2019

I’ve started re-engaging with blogs again and I came across a meme hosted by The Propagator; called Six for Saturday.  The premise is simply  just to post six photos relating to your garden in some way on a Saturday and link back to The Propagator. One of the reasons I didn’t blog much last year was because I was finding it difficult to find anything new to say; I think I was just burnt out. However, with a new year I am feeling much more engaged with the garden and starting to blog more and I think this will be a useful prompt.   So here goes with my first Six for Saturday post.

1. Hellebores are a real feature in my garden in January/February.   I have added a few each year, mainly from Ashwoods.   The dark purple hellebore is one of the first ones I bought and it grows along the top of the wall where I can see it from the living room window. Being on top of the wall means the drooping flowerheads are at just the right level for me to see inside the flower and take a photograph. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten about this in recent years which means that the newer hellebores are harder to photograph unless I lie down on the ground to see up into the flowers.

2 – Snowdrops are as prolific in the garden as hellebores.  I started with some ordinary Galanthus nivalis probably about 10 years ago and they have slowly spread around the garden.  Through my encounters with various plants people and groups I have found myself drawn into the irrational world of collecting snowdrops.  I probably have nearly 20 special named snowdrops in the garden now.  Sadly, the labels have disappeared, probably thanks to the local bird population.  I am determined to draw up a plan with those I can name marked on and replace the labels.

3 – Iris – I have a weakness for all sort of Iris. Iris reticulata have always challenged me.  I can get them to flower in pots in the first year and sometimes a second year.  But I seem incapable of getting them to grow in the border, aside from this one tiny group of Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’ which has appeared for the last couple of years and are very slowly bulking up. Any tips would be appreciated.

4. Sunshine – after days of grey wintery skies it was a delight to see the sun today

5 Snow – but despite the sun in some parts of the garden the snow has remained since Friday which I suppose just shows the garden still has some shade despite my neighbours both clearing the trees and shrubs along their fence lines.

To find more Six for Saturday posts follow this link and look in the comment box




After the Snow

and we certainly had snow, about 20cm deep in less than 24 hours just over a week ago.  Whilst we have had heavy snow in the past, some four or five years ago, we haven’t had so much snow in such a short period of time.

And it was the best of snow; soft, fluffy, powdery.  So much of it weighing down branches, flattening the fragile grass stems, crystallising the Fatsia flower heads causing them to snap off.

It was so still, so quiet, nothing moved for hours not even a wind to waft the snow off the allium seed head.

Now on the shortest day of the year the snow has gone and I’m on leave and I finally have the opportunity to see the garden in the daylight and discover unexpected delights.  The first hellebore is flowering and a healthy clump of snowdrops are pushing their snouts upwards – possibly Mrs McNamara.

Removing broken stems and fallen leaves revealed so many fresh new bulb shoots – so much promise for the new year.




Boxing Day Flower Count 2016

Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’
Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’

Curiously the mild winter we are having hasn’t resulted in lots of flowers in the garden this Boxing Day.  Last year I had a bumper count at 35 and I put this down to last year’s mild winter but presumably it is more subtle than that. I do believe that some plants need a cold snap to help them start flower but that’s just wild guess work on my part.

Mahonia 'Media Charity'
Mahonia ‘Media Charity’

My Mahonia has finally forgiven me for being lopped probably 3 years ago.  I wanted to avoid a shrub with just one stem so I chopped it down to the ground and then spent a year, almost, anxiously watching to see if anything would appear.  Finally new shoots reluctantly put in an appearance and the shrub now has 3 stems and is producing good size flowers.

Grevillea victoriae
Grevillea victoriae

Grevillea victoriae is my favourite shrub at the moment. It is one of two Grevilleas I have – the second being Grevillea Canberra Gem – and I adore them both.  To be fair the Grevillea victoriae flowers haven’t really opened yet but any excuse to include a photo of it.

Jasminum nudi-florum
Jasminum nudi-florum

A bit of colour on the retaining wall courtesy of Jasminum nudi-florum.  Last year I removed the clematis that also grew in this space and the Jasminum seems to have improved.  I suspect the increased flowering is because I can prune it better without the clematis – I must investigate when I should be pruning the plant as I have a habit of pruning when I think of it.

Euphorbia rigida
Euphorbia rigida

In recent years I have developed a bit of a weakness for Euphorbias and Euphorbia rigida is the first to start flowering although I don’t think the other will be far behind.


Even the number of primulas in flower this year are less than last year but I can always rely on this lilac, or is it pink, primula to be flowering at Christmas.


The first snowdrop is about to pop open its flowers.  I can’t for the life of me remember which variety this is and the label seems to have gone missing.  I will have to do some research on the blog to see if it has featured at this time of the year in the past.

Cyclamen cyprium
Cyclamen cyprium

In the greenhouse this little Cyclamen is flowering, I may have to keep a magnifying glass in the greenhouse just so I can see the flowers.


Although the number of plants flowering this Boxing Day is significantly down on last year, at a mere 12 compared to 35 last year and 17 the year before there are buds a plenty.  The hellebore above will be flowering soon and other are hot on its heels; last year some were already in flower which was rather early.

You can access previous Boxing Day flower count posts here

Boxing Day 2015
Boxing Day 2014

Boxing Day 2013
Boxing Day 2012
Boxing Day 2011

Surprises and Expectations

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What a surprise! 5th December and the first snowdrop is flowering in my garden.  Even more surprising is that it isn’t Galanthus Ding Dong which I know I have and thought was my earliest snowdrop.  I can’t find a label with it and I have been very careful in labelling snowdrops with substantial black labels which will stand out but there is nothing here at all.  I am completely mystified as to what it is.  I will have to wait until the flower opens properly and then maybe someone can id it for me.  I will also do some rummaging through my label box to see if there are any clues there.

Primula palinuri
Primula palinuri

I am not completely inept when it comes to labels and plant names.  I know that this is Primula palinuri grown from AGS seed probably 3 years ago.  It flowered for the first time last year in time for the Boxing Day Flower Count but then it was living in the greenhouse cosseted and pampered.  It has spent the summer out on the patio amongst the various pots and for some reason was overlooked when I moved all the tenders back under cover but it seems to be doing very well despite the buffeting it has received in recent days.

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This out of focus photo represents expectations.  It shows one of three emerging flower heads on my Edgeworthia.  I am very hopeful that this year, year 2, there will be good flowers.  It is planted within sight of my living room window so hopefully it will be something to cheer me through the winter.

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And adding to my expectations of a floriferous spring is this unknown Camellia.  It is positively groaning with flower buds given its size and I have noticed that the rhododendrons and, very exciting, the witch hazel are full of flower buds which I think is as a result of the mild and damp summer we have had.

Whatever the reason it gives you something to look forward to in the New Year, which is always good.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons


The theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is Changing Seasons.  I thought this photograph taken last February was very apt as to me it shows Spring symbolised by the snowdrops emerging from Winter symbolised by the snow

Spring is my favourite season – so much promise, freshness and excitement in the garden.

GBBD – January 2012

Looking back I didn’t bother to do a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post last year which I am assuming is because we had so much snow for so many weeks that I was quite disengaged with the garden and there probably wasn’t anything to show anyway.

How different it is 12 months later.  Today I spotted my first snowdrops almost in flower.   There has been lots on twitter and the blogasphere about snowdrops opening early and I was beginning to wonder if mine were going to flower but I needn’t have worried here they are on time, even a little early.  There aren’t as many showing as I would expect but I did move a lot of snowdrops last spring so I am hoping they are just delayed a little.

The winter jasmine is still flowering its socks off.  I am really pleased as it had a very thorough prune in the summer and is probably only a third of its former self but I think there are more flowers in relation to stems than there was before.

This Vinca (major I think) creeps under the fence from next door.  It is a very welcome addition at this time of year and I have learnt that the flowers appear on the new shoots not the long sinuous ones so I am trying to cut it back to have more young fresh green growth and flowers.

The primulas are starting to flowering.  I love primulas and will be adding to them this year.  Also hoping they might become one of the key plants in my planned online shop if I get my act together.

A pretty Primula denticulata already flowering.  I grew these from seed a few years back and they are bulking up nicely now.  Maybe they will be bulky enough for me to divide soon.

The Cyclamen hederifolium is still flowering – its been flowering for a couple of months now.  When the flowers first appeared there were no leaves but now the leaves are appearing and I think they are lovely, such a nice shape and a welcome change the rounded indoor cyclamen leaves.  As I bought this as a large corm I have never seen it in leaf so this is quite exciting – well sort off.  Also I like the way the plant has decided to grow through the branches that edge the bed – I couldn’t have done better if I had tried.

Just as I was pleased to see the first snowdrops appear I was equally thrilled to smell the flowers of the Sarcococca confusa (Sweet Box).  At first I wasn’t sure where the smell was coming from especially as it was dark at the time.  But this morning my suspicions were confirmed and it was the Sarcococca.  I have had the plant a couple of years and like so many plants in my garden it was very small, and therefore cheap, when I bought it.  This is the first year it has had more than a handful of flowers and therefore scent.  It has put on so much growth in the last year that I have cut a small bunch of stems and the flowers are making the living room quite heady with their scent.Finally there are Hellebores nearly ready to flower – as you can see it has been pretty frosty.  Hopefully next month’s GBBD post will have lots of Hellebores featured.

Also lurking in the garden but beginning to go over are flowers of Mahonia, Abelia and Ceanothus.

For more GBBD posts visit May Dream Gardens

Snowdrop Peeping


Well today I was supposed to be going snowdrop peeping with VP at Painswick Rocco Garden

Snowdrop peeping is a term we had made up along the lines of leaf peeping alla New England.  I thought it was quite an apt term giving the size of snowdrops.

Sadly I had 5″ of snow overnight so there was no way I could get down to Gloucester or for that matter out of the end of our road so there was no snowdrop peeping for me.  VP also missed out as NAH wouldn’t be persuaded to go with her even when she tried cake bribery.  So no snowdrop peeping for us.

However, in my backgarden I discovered this snowdrop peeping through the snow so I did at least see a snowdrop today.