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. πŸ˜ƒ

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! πŸ˜‰ 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!

🌷🌷🌷

 

In a Vase on Monday: Harebells

This Monday I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme once again.

And it is a special vase today: not only is it my Man of Many Talents’ birthday, but the hare jug I used arrived unexpectedly on Saturday as a gift from my Mum! (And what’s more, we have finally got an electrician to set up the power for the doorbell and gate opener up at our gate. Tradesmen are like gold at the moment here!)

The gorgeous jug is filled with harebells (Campanula patula) and a few moon daisies from the wilder parts of the garden. Here it is a bit closer up.

My Mum sent a card with it that has wild flower seed incorporated into the paper. You just cover the whole card in compost and give it a good watering. πŸ˜ƒ I shall display it a bit longer before trying that though.

The grasses, some clover, sanguisorba and even a buttercup, sneaked in with the harebells too.

Hares galore are exploring our garden at the moment, and it is so lovely to see them. We watched this one the other evening as he ambled through the oval bed and nibbled at Β various plants before moving on. No serious damage as he found the grass tasted better! πŸ˜‰

Here he is again, washing his face… how could I be angry about a few dianthus flowers when I see this!

A big thank you to my Mum, for the vase. And a Happy Birthday and big thanks to my Man of Many Talents too, who helped me with the marathon task of spreading mulch around the whole garden last week. I will show you the results very soon.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and have a great week.

Happy Gardening!

Ten Good Things in 2020

In a few hours this dreadful year will be over. And yet, despite all the worry and stress there were some good things too. The garden flourished, the weather was fabulous, and several projects took place. So before I attempt to be positive about 2021 I have decided to look back at the positive in 2020 and have chosen ten things that were good… Here they are, in no particular order.

1. This mini greenhouse.

It was a devil to put together! But I persevered and my Man of Many Talents helped me out when more than two hands were needed! And it was worth it too. I kept seedlings in it all spring, and then basil and salad during the summer with the doors and lid wide open. The seed trays fit into the frame, or perspex shelves can be inserted.

2. The tomato and zucchini harvest.

Overwhelming but wonderful! I still have some tomato sauce and soup in the freezer. πŸ˜‰ I also still have about half a dozen butternut squash….

 

3.

…and some frozen pesto made with fresh homegrown basil. πŸ˜ƒ I must remember to continually sow basil again next year, and would like to point out that vegan pesto freezes really well, much better than the version with parmesan in it. πŸ˜ƒ

4. The Geraniums. (Well, actually they are Pelargoniums, but you know what I mean).

Colour in the yard all summer. πŸ˜ƒβ˜€οΈπŸ’•

5. The tractor.

Within days of getting the tractor in the spring we wondered how we ever managed without! Tilling two new flower beds, mowing, moving heavy pots, repairing the gravel lane, moving logs etc…

6. The new beds.

The Oval Bed was my big spring lockdown project, and watching it grow from this…

to this…

was sheer joy. πŸ˜ƒ

The Moon Bed has yet to be completed, with some wood chippings to be added as mulch in early spring. I will introduce it properly then. πŸ˜‰

7. The Hares and Gina

I posted some photos of our hares, and they stuck around all year. I even saw some prints in the snow the other day. Our dear little dog, Gina, didn’t see too well and was deaf in her last months, but when it was too hot for a walk in the summer we would spend the evenings going around the perimeters of the garden and she would pick up a scent. Only problem was, what to do if the hare just sat there in front of her?

8. The apple and pear harvest

We hadn’t expected so much, as our trees are still young. The last of the apples were processed into compote just before Christmas.

9. The Housemartins

There were 13 nests on the house and garage which meant that it was never quiet around here. I love the noise they make when flying, but also the chattering they do when in their nests in the evenings.

10. The Lemon Verbena

 

I think this was my most successful year yet. I had four plants in pots in the warmest part of the patio but in the semi shade of the tomatoes. I have harvested enough to last me until next spring. πŸ˜ƒ

 

I hope you can also think of some pleasures and joys your gardens have brought you over the past twelve months. If you could pick just one thing, what would it be?

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

⭐️πŸ₯‚⭐️

Lavender Love and Pretty Pollinators

The lavender has been glorious this summer, flowering just after our heavy rain earlier in the month and with very little rain since.

The dry and hot weather suits these shrubs best. And I am not alone in admiring them either… here are a few of the visitors to my garden who love lavender too…

Vanessa cardui – Painted Lady

Inachis io – Peacock Butterfly

Ochlodes sylvanus – Large skipper

Pieris brassicae – Large cabbage white

Polygonia c-album – Comma

Melanargia galathea – Marbled white

Argynnis paphia – Silver-washed fritillary

Gonepteryx rhamni – Common brimstone

Macroglossum stellatarum – Hummingbird hawk-moth

Bee πŸ™‚

Here is the long view of the south-facing rockery – some of these lavender shrubs are ten years old or more and have been cut down hard at some stage. I try and stagger the cutting back, so that I have plenty of shrubs flowering well every year. The white ones will be cut back this autumn and next spring. Others are cuttings or self-seeded plants.

Do you see any of these pollinators in your garden? And if you grow lavender, what visits it most frequently?

Here is a slideshow of these beautiful creatures. πŸ˜€

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Happy Summer!