Tag Archive | primrose

Snow in March

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For the second time this year, we have laying snow here in North Devon, and very pretty it is too. Thick enough to completely cover the grass on the unmown, shaggy lawns, it has turned the garden into a winter wonderland.

 

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Icicles drip from every overhang, and the sheltered side of every tree trunk is plastered with layer of snow.

 

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The poor spring bulbs have had a bit of a shock…

 

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The larger daffodil varieties are looking particularly sad, but the small ones such as Tete a Tete are coping better, poking bravely through the snow.

 

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My big drift of snake’s head fritillaries was about to burst into flower, and it will be interesting to see how they respond to being snow-covered.

 

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The camellia is still flowering profusely, but the current crop of flowers may well go soft and mushy when they defrost. They do best when sheltered from the morning sun from the east…if the flowers defrost slowly, they are less likely to suffer.

 

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This Corylopsis is looking particularly fine, with the snow as a backdrop.

 

 

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Many shrubs have started to produce their spring leaves, such as this red-leaved Spirea. I hope they don’t get too cold!

 

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Some native flowers will cope fine, such as this little primrose, tucked on the sheltered side of the garden wall.

 

 

 

 

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And the gorse on the hill is flowering well, as it does all year round.

 

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The spring catkins will also be unconcerned by a bit of snow.

 

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Last summer’s seedheads look particularly fine against a white carpet.

 

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So it may be cold, and difficult to drive around, but there is no better time to go explore the garden!

 

 

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An unusual egg hunt

With the family staying for Easter, we set off along the coast path from Mortehoe to Rockham Beach.

 

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This is a secluded beach on the north coast of North Devon, reached by a decent walk and a huge set of steps, so it is usually pretty quiet.

 

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We explored the rockpools and found some eggs – not Easter eggs, unfortunately, but fish eggcases, which is much more interesting (if a lot less tasty!).

 

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This long one with the tendrils attached to the four corners (and some seaweed as well) is a Nursehound eggcase – a spotty dogfish.

 

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Whereas this squarer one with the long horns is some sort of Ray, I believe. Apparently the size helps with the identification, and we didn’t measure it, so I am not sure what species it is. It was good to see them though – proof that these fish are alive and breeding in local waters. There are remains of a very rusted old wreck on the beach – must look it up and see what ship it was.

 

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After the long climb back up the steps, we continued round the coast path towards Bull Point, enjoying the strong scent of coconut coming from the gorse flowers.

 

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Coast paths are rarely level, especially in Devon, so there were plenty more steps…

 

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Once past the point we turned inland up a gentle valley, with grassy fields dotted with primroses.

 

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Birds such as wrens, chiffchaffs and a garden warbler were singing in the trees.

 

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At the end of a valley full of spring flowers, with celandines and bluebells carpeting the floor, the path wound up back to the roads above, and we returned to Mortehoe.

 

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Putting in the paths

The only paths we have inherited in our acre and a quarter garden are the straight one that runs along the bottom edge through the wood, and a curved one through the large sloping border behind the house.

 

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The curved path starts on the patio, curves up a set of steps through the main flowerbed on the bank behind the house, and then curves back down these steps pictured above to the lawn at the front of the garden. You lose all the height you gain by going up the steps, and as there is a continuous row of shrubs on the far side of the path, you cannot access the upper lawn areas and the orchard.

 

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So we have started a little stone path that zigzags off the top of the path onto the lawn by the orchard. We are using the stones we have dug up around the garden, but it is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle fitting them into a stepped path. I think it will look lovely and rustic when it is finished, and the first of many paths to come.

One of the first things I did in the winter was to cut down a very scraggy shrubby honeysuckle just beyond the path, and lo and behold there is a view right to the far end of the garden. So finally we have now dug out the roots, so that we can have another path leading through the shrubbery and beyond.You can see the two major stumps awaiting carrying to the bonfire.

 

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I have also been out and wrestled with our new mower, and started to define the grassy paths through the ‘meadow’ that the far end of the garden will become. It is far too large an area to mow all of it, and it will be interesting to have areas of long grass.

 

 

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I have started by mowing the routes that we already walk, and will gradually add in some more mown strips to create a pleasing network of gently sloping paths by which one can explore the whole garden.

 

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I can also start to plant shrubs and trees in the curved corners of the paths, to help define the routes. It is great to see these ideas starting to show on the ground, even if we have a lot of hard work to do before they become reality.

This afternoon I tackled the ‘rockery’, a stony bank above the wall bordering the drive. I cleared away some of the weeds and ivy, and planted six aubrieta along the front edge to trail down the wall. Well, at least I hope they will, as it is a north facing wall, so not as sunny as is ideal.

 

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The front lawn continues to be a delight, covered as it is with fritillaries, primroses, daffodils, anemones, and grape hyacinths. At least one area of the garden is already a riot of colour!

 

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Happy Easter from Devon!

Today has been a typical Spring day of sunshine and showers. Ok, so the showers were hail, but the wind was from the South, and it wasn’t too cold. This morning I treated myself to a ride on the beach on my latest riding school horse, Bernadette, AKA Bernie, who is a 16hh ish coloured cob, all hair and mud stains, but with a heart of gold. There were eight of us on the ride, and we all had a fab time with several really fast gallops along the beach. Shame about the hail stinging on our faces!!

This afternoon we gardened in between the showers. The shed is now finished, and looking very smart.

 

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We also finished digging out the Rosa rugosa roots, and raked over the big bare patch. Now to wait for it to regrow from all the bits of broken root…

The garden is still full of daffodils and other Spring bulbs

 

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The woodland path is just stunning, and I really need to plant some colour for later in the year, as it is going to look quite plain once these are gone. I have relocated our new birdbath to the front of our main flowerbed, and it looks great there. The robins have been bathing regularly. They seem to like to bathe in the nesting season, possibly to help control the parasites that can be a problem in their nests.

 

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We have a very special flower coming up in the front lawn

 

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See all the little nodding purple flowers? They are snake’s head fritillaries, and the lawn is covered with them.

 

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They come in a white form too, but I like the purple, with it’s fancy chequerboard pattern. Along with the blue anemones, the daffs and the hundreds of primroses, the front is quite a picture!

 

 

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