In a Vase on Monday: The Dauntless Dandelion

After some showers over the last day or two my garden is suddenly green. And yellow!

The fields around us are planted with oilseed rape this year, and the first flowers are opening there too, so soon we will be enveloped in sunny yellow… unfortunately the windowsills and any other surface outside will also be coated in yellow, but never mind!

I was walking around the garden with Anouk this grey and chilly afternoon, wondering what to pick for a vase so I can contribute to this Monday meme. Why not bring all this bright yellow indoors? 💕

So that is what I have done.

I paused on the doorstep as I came in, picking a red Bellis flower from a little pot outside. And the feathery fennel foliage from last week’s vase is being recycled.

The song of the Dandelion Fairy in Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies book calls them ‘dauntless’ flowers. They certainly are. But terribly cheerful, don’t you think? Give them their botanical name and you could kid yourself they are wild flowers, and not weeds. 😉🤪

Taraxacum officinale

And even robbed of their colour they are quite exquisite flowers…

Thanks go to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme. Do visit her to see what she is sharing today. And have a great week!

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Cheery Tulips and House Martins

This morning, as I was emptying the dishwasher first thing, I noticed the sparrows in the yard (they nest in the garage roof each year) were making even more of a din than usual. When I looked out I immediately knew why…. the house martins are back!

I can’t describe how happy that makes me, except to say that I opened the window with tears in my eyes and a broad grin on my face and called ‘Welcome Back!’ to them as they swooped up and down and around. 😃

Two flew up to the eaves a few times and another two followed. These are the first arrivals and they will wait for the others before moving back in and repairing or rebuilding their nests. I find it a small wonder that these tiny creatures manage to fly the thousands of kilometres from North Africa and then find their way back to where they nested last year, to us. 😊 Here is a link to a short video I made of them all a couple of summers ago:

Wordless Wednesday: House Martins

 

Now to my vase… some lovely spring colours, with tulips, cowslips, narcissi and fennel.

As usual I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme, where she invites us to share a vase of materials from our gardens. It’s a great way of keeping records of what was flowering when, as well as making the most of my flowers when it is too chilly to be outdoors.

The Actaea narcissi are so distinctive and that ‘eye’ goes perfectly with the Apricot Emperor tulips. They grow next to each other in the Herb Bed, by pure chance! 😉 A yellow one planted out from old pots was thrown in, along with the Narcissi ‘Cheerfulness’ and ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’, also growing in the Herb Bed. The feathery fennel foliage is more or less the only foliage I have in abundance as yet, and I love the airy result.

I used my Forsythia vase, which hadn’t been aired for a long time.

Many thanks to Cathy for hosting. And thank you for reading.

Have a great week, and happy gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

The Spring Garden, 2022

It is high time for a garden update as April is now in full swing and the garden is taking off! The month started out very cold and damp, but the last few days have warmed up the soil and everything is coming to life.

The early tulips are here!

This white botanical one, with delicate pointed petals and a rich bluish mauve eye is Tulipa humilis ‘Coerulea Oculata Alba’. It is perfect in the Moon Bed, where it is accompanied by blue and white Anemone blanda…

… and some pretty Narcissi.

This bed has developed into a lovely area for spring flowers. 😃

 

There are lots of Narcissi Cheerfulness in my Herb Bed… they certainly brighten up this area until the herbs start growing. You can see chives in the foreground, already tall enough to cut. 😃

The Herb Bed is also home to a few tulips. These are the first things to catch my eye when coming through our gate – a welcoming sight! They were planted a few years ago so the name is forgotten… maybe ‘Apricot Emperor’.

And here this morning with the Actaea Narcissi.

Apart from a few bulbs, the Herb Bed is still looking rather sparse, so let’s move over to the Oval Bed. There are some other early tulips in flower here, including these deep ruby ones: T. aucheriana. The buttercup yellow centre is such a contrast to the dark petals.

New perennial sweet pea shoots are emerging from the ground, the Viburnum is in bud, and the Pulsatilla are flowering.

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Next, The ‘Edge.

Those red dots are the ‘Showwinner’ Kaufmannia tulips. They are a dwarf tulip, but seem to have unusually short stems. Hopefully the stems will get longer as they do with many other early tulips.

They show up very well against the woodchip mulch and catch the eye even from the house. This is the first Spring for The ‘Edge, and I am going with the flow and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The Miscanthus and Calamagrostis stood there all winter and the red-stemmed Cornus have been lovely since January.

 

The Butterfly Bed succumbed to mice this winter, so I am waiting to see if many tulips have survived. The broom in the middle is wobbling, either due to strong wind or to root damage, but I will wait and see if it flowers before digging it out. The hellebores still look wonderful here.

 

And this Pulmonaria (P. ‘Benediction’) is a striking blue. The bluest I have found yet!

The hellebore below (in the Sunshine Bed) is my favourite at the moment. It turns from creamy yellow to pink and green. (Another one with no label…. where do all these labels disappear to?)

And between all the beds, dandelions!

Still, if they attract wildlife I don’t actually mind them, and they are such valuable plants. As long as they stay in the grass and out of the flower beds. 😉

The hedgerows planted around the perimeter of the garden in 2018 are well established now and the blackthorn opened yesterday. This was a few days later than the ones just down the bottom of the hill, which shows me what a difference it makes being a little higher and more exposed to the elements.

And these buds are about to burst. I wonder if you recognize them….

They are what we call ‘false elder’ as they do not produce the heavenly scented flowers people love to use in syrups and liqueurs. European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is named so for the red berries produced. They start leafing out at about the same time as the scented Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) but flower much earlier.

Finally, one of the new raised planters is looking really promising, with radishes and salad leaves sprouting and some new parsley and chive plants too. If you are sowing  seeds that should only be barely covered with soil, I can recommend covering the surface with a little hay or straw to keep in moisture and to protect from wind, strong sun or cold nights. They will germinate much more quickly. 😉

The other planter will hold my butternuts, but I can see I need even more space for vegetables this year… Plans are being forged, so watch this space! 😉

I wonder if you have any specific garden projects at the moment?

Have a great Easter weekend.

😃

And Happy Gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: For Fear of Being a (helle)Bore….

Yes, it’s Monday again and I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with her lovely meme where we are invited to plonk something from our gardens into a vase to share each week. And, as the title suggests, I am using hellebores AGAIN!

I have tucked them all tightly into my hare jug.

They are starting to fade a little, giving them that shabby vintage look. What’s more, as they age, they last longer in a vase. So fingers crossed….

My various attempts at keeping newly opened hellebores fresh in a vase this winter produced no conclusive result, except that – as is often the case with gardening – it is a matter of luck. 😉

We have had such a nasty cold spell, with heavy frosts. But some warm sunny days are ahead. So it made sense to use the hellebores while they are still looking perky. Today is still chilly, but look at that blue sky in the background. 😃

Do go and visit Cathy’s blog and see what she and others are sharing in their vases today. Why not join in?

Happy gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

In a Vase on Monday: Daffs

This time last week I was bragging about our mini ‘heatwave’… it hit 17°C one day. (For March almost a record!) Well, today we still have snow on the ground after a very icy weekend and 9 degrees of frost last night!

Nonetheless, I managed to find a few small Narcissi for a vase, so that I could join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, along with all the other amazing floral arrangers who contribute to her Monday meme. 😃

I am not sure of all the names, but Hawera is at the front, along with Tête Bouclé, Rip van Winkle, Thalia and a couple more. And a cowslip. 😃

Luckily my freshly sown babyleaf and radishes survived the frost under layers of fleece. But now I hear a storm is on the way! April is living up to its reputation…

I hope you have some nice weather this week, wherever you are.

Happy gardening!