Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Winter Garden at Dunham Massey

500 years and still going strong, the oldest oak tree at Dunham Massey
In 2007 the National Trust commenced transforming Dunham Massey's 7 acre wilderness of thicket and brambles into a spectacular winter garden underneath the towering beech and oak trees. The season must be milder than our Yorkshire garden for the plants were two weeks more advanced. I'd taken my new Sony Macro Lens for the close-up work but was tempted to use it for all the shots. Here's the results and I can recommend the lens, and garden.

The dwarf iris was the first test for the lens
Beech, Birch and Beauty
Camellia 'High Hat' looking far too exotic for the winter garden
Hellebore, Ashwin Garden Hybrid

 Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty (Honeysuckle) makes up for its diminutive flower with the size of its perfume



Snowdrops in profusion   
Hamamelis (witch hazel)   

Monday, 14 January 2019

Galanthus "Llo "n" Green" - first of the lost labels

Flowering rather earlier than last year though sadly with only one flowering shoot, Galanthus "Llo "n" Green" is a smasher for reasons other than its petite beauty. In April last year we heard a crash in the house during a storm and, on venturing outside, I was mortified to discover my two new display benches collapsed in an unholy mess on the back patio. I had lashed them together for added strength only for the one to bring down the other. The combined effect of heavy, sodden clay pots, poor workmanship and storm conditions had done for my plants. Pots were broken, labels blown all over the place and bulbs luckily cushioned by the soil. One bulb looks very much like any other so for for a sizeable part of my collection I've had to start from scratch. New benches, far more plastic pots and, from hereon in, vigilance, as I attempt to name unnamed varieties. "Llo "n" Green" is the first. So it may well be that others of the same variety are still to disclose themselves. So then, one of the survivors.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Galanthus 'Green Bush'

Galanthus 'Green Bush' is a robust snowdrop, reasonably priced too and it has certainly flourished  here. I could not claim it is the most elegant of flowers, more coal than diamond nugget and the broad, Elwesii foliage is a little too broad for my tastes, more cabbage than lettuce leaf, so to speak. But on a day when powerful winds rip through the garden rendering photography of the daintier varieties impossible 'Green Bush' seems solid as oak.


Monday, 7 January 2019

Galanthus elwesii "Godfrey Owen" flowering early

'Godfrey Owen' flowered early last year, but this is very early, a testament to a particularly mild winter so far. I wrote about this perfect snowdrop in a previous blog and I have nothing substantial to add, save that unlike yesterday's offering, Godfrey is very fertile and I have given his offspring to friends and family. Collectors' snowdrops make a good present! The first photograph shows the more usual view of the flowers, the six splayed petals very characteristic and attractive. I then lay on the patio to obtain an ant's eyes view, followed by a close-up.




Sunday, 6 January 2019

Galanthus elwesii 'Mrs McNamara' - a lady of considerable charm but modest ambition

Galanthus elwesii 'Mrs McNamara' has been featured every January since I commenced the blog. She's ultra-dependable, tall and elegant in the early snowdrop display garden. She's also a lady who keeps her charms to herself if her reluctance to breed new Mrs McNamaras is anything to go by. In January 2nd 2015 I had three flowers, a number I've never exceeded, and this year two although there are shoots to suggest future scope. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the position, the soil or the feeding. Other nearby snowdrops flourish. One of life's little mysteries and shared with other growers I understand. I think I'll have either to move one of the small clumps or twin scale her. The lady has presence. She has been in flower for the past two weeks, her dependability in this respect one of her many virtues.


Sunday, 30 December 2018

Hodsock Priory Snowdrop Week, Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th February 2019

We had feared that Hodsock was closing down its gardens to the public and were delighted to discover that though they will not be open for their customary month, they are having a 'back to basics' week from Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th February 2019. The photograph below was taken at one of their evening events, Saturday February 17th. This year's 'basics' is a counterpoint to last year's extravagance perhaps. My grandchildren, towards the right, enjoyed the merry fun, tramping through the trees following the thespians. Max got carried away engaging in conversation the guy swinging through the trees having imbibed rather too much of the festive wine.

Galanthus in bloom now

Well, well, well. I scour the garden for those first named varieties to pop up and totally unexpectedly discover this lot amongst the fallen beech leaves at the bottom of the garden. The weather has been so mild of late the bulbs are soaring towards the light. It gladdens the heart.