Tag Archive | crocus

Hellebores and other Spring beauties

The last month has been less than perfect, as I have had a nasty bout of ‘flu, and haven’t been well enough to get out in the garden much. Once the worst was over, I went visiting friends and family around the country for a week, while I got my strength back. I managed to visit a fair few garden centres and nurseries while away, so returned with a boot full of delicious plants. This unusual striped hellebore was one of my finds – it is bred by Hilliers as part of their Spring Promise range, and is called ‘Lily’.

 

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I had a quick look at the other hellebores they were selling, not expecting to find anything else, but then I found yet another stunner – this time a double purple so dark it looks black, but with a softer purple showing around the edges.

 

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This is ‘Double Ellen Purple’, a superb addition to my little hellebore grove along the woodland path.

The garden is awash with Spring bulbs, all doing their best to stand up against the Spring storms. The crocuses struggle, but some have survived.

 

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My current favourite among the daffodils is this mid-sized one with swept back petals, and a rich orange trumpet. it really stands out amongst all the yellow and white varieties.

 

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This little corner bed at the end of our drive was just full of weeds, so in the winter I planted a little conifer which was swathed with fairy lights for Christmas, and added a few clumps of mini daffs that needed moving from elsewhere. Now I just need to add a little something else in front of the conifer for summer colour.

 

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We have had to add an extra layer of wire mesh around the base of our potager, as we found that the rabbits were chewing holes in our plastic deer fencing, even there is nothing inside yet for them to eat!

 

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That should stop them. The first plants have now gone in – summer and autumn-fruiting raspberries. They don’t look much at the moment, but should grow away well, helped by lots of homemade compost. I am really looking forward the the first crop.

 

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Now I need some mild, dry weather so that I can get out there and get gardening, but as it is currently raining I shall have to make do with admiring my bowl of hellebores.

 

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A garden of surprises

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Our garden is full of surprises at the moment, delighting us with something new every week. We still have masses of daffodils of many types, and they are standing up to the weather now, so I don’t have to go round and rescue the flattened ones. I am still picking a bunch for the kitchen though, as there are just so many that the garden won’t miss them. I have found a clump of pretty peachy trumpets.

 

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And on the front lawn is one clump of double daffs – not my favourite type, but it is good to have the variety

 

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The crocuses are also doing really well with the improvement in the weather.

 

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Some of our mystery deciduous shrubs have burst into bloom. One small shrub with a very elegant, delicate shape has shown itself to be a Corylopsis, and is covered in creamy bells. Beautiful!

 

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Another large shrub has revealed itself as a flowering currant, which is a shrub that I always like to have in a garden, so that is great news. The flowers are still not fully open, but are a superb colour.

 

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We have added yet another mammal to our garden list, as a badger ran across in front of the car the other evening, and up our steps into the garden. It was exciting, as I can count on one hand the number of badgers I have ever seen, but it is a mixed blessing as they can be destructive, and I don’t really need anything else digging holes in the garden! The rabbits are bad enough – this is supposed to be my herb bed, right  by the kitchen door, and a big fat doe dug a massive burrow before we could stop her…

 

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We have filled it in. Grrr. There is also signs of nibbling on one of my new plants, so I have caged it with twigs, and will see if that deters them.

 

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I have finally seen the deer in the garden during daylight, with a herd of seven grazing on the lawn late one afternoon. I have excellent views, but by the time I had fetched the camera they had boinged over the fence and were staring at me from next doors field.

 

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I still have many bulbs yet to flower, and shrubs whose identities I cannot decipher from their twigs, so the garden has plenty more surprises for us to discover. What will tomorrow bring?

 

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Quarterly report

Yes, we have been living here now for three months, and three wet and windy months they were too. Looking back to what the house and garden were like when we moved in on the 1st December, I can see that we have made progress, but I can also see how much there is still left to do.

I have spent most of the time just cutting back and tidying up, so that all the thousands of spring bulbs can come up and shine.

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The woodland path is lined with daffodils now.

 

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I seem to have many different varieties in various combinations of yellow, white and orange, but these are my favourites so far. Neither tall and brash like the yellow trumpets, nor tiny like the ‘Tete a tete’, they have elegant flowers with slightly reflexed yellow petals and a darker, orange trumpet.

 

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Some crocuses have been appearing, but they don’t cope well with the strong winds and rain, so don’t last long. Maybe if spring had been later, they might have emerged after the worst of the weather, but everything is so early this year that the flowers are encountering weather they are just not prepared for! I have the odd clump of Dutch crocuses in purple, yellow, and striped blue.

 

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I also have a scattering of the delicate lilac species Crocus tommasinianus.

 

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Today I planted up another patch of garden, this time the bare area where the old rose pergola stood.

 

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I have put in a large flowered shocking pink Cistus which will grow and spread to cover a large area over time, and a Convulvulus cneorum with its lovely silver leaves and white flowers as a bonus really. The three small plants are Lithodora, blue-flowered rockery plants, and I have transplanted some of the little daffodils from somewhere where they were at risk of being trodden on. It doesn’t look much yet, but they should cover the ground nicely in a couple of years.

The other big improvement which has only just been fitted in our first quarter, is a new garage door – one that actually locks…

 

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The old door was pale blue-green to match the windows, and I was worried that the new one (available in lots of colours, none of them blue/green) would look wrong. I am pleasantly surprised – the cream matches the window ledges and the other, rendered side of the house, and looks like it was always there. We have also painted our two little wooden tubs  – I think they look very smart by the front door.

So, after three months, we are feeling very at home here. I have joined the gardening club and the walking club. I volunteer in the community shop. We attended the village quiz night, and have dined in the local pub.

Life is a little different to before. Our daily chores now involve re-laying the fire in the log-burner, refreshing the flower vases, and re-filling the bird feeders. Our weekend walks have included the beaches, the coast path, the banks of the estuaries, the rocky headlands and the woods. We have explored Ilfracombe, Braunton, Barnstaple and Bideford.

But we still haven’t explored Exmoor, which is something we want to spend time doing, and we haven’t yet ventured to Exeter, our nearest city. So much to do, so little time…

I have also written thirty nine blog posts! Goodness me, I hope you are enjoying reading them, and do please feel free to leave me a comment below. Thank you.