Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Galanthus plicatus "Three Ships"

On a bright and mild Christmas Eve it is lovely to see the ships come sailing into harbour.

Galanthus "Three Ships" 

Galanthus 'Three Ships' is a most reliable bulb. Christmas arrives and it's nice to have those little rituals: panicking over last minute shopping, gifts, tidiness, visitors, waistline. Then the eyes sweep the garden noting the lawn edges ruined by encroaching summer plants, the mud, the  dead twigs. We note the shoots promising so much but not at the moment...... to alight on flowers at their very height. In tune with the season. 'Three Ships'  is a must have for every garden. It was discovered in Suffolk's Henham Park way back in 1984 by John Morley, he of North Green Snowdrops fame, who brought us 'Comet', 'Trump', 'Remember Remember' and 'Mother Goose' - a snowdrop that is encouragingly clumping out in the garden for February flowering.

I have many new varieties this season. However the older ones are hard to beat. Happy Christmas.


Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens 'Freckles' from underneath!

Photographs tell lies. Have a look at this beauty photographed on the one quiet point in a dreadfully windy and wet day.

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens 'Freckles' looks a million dollars at any time of year but in December and January it's priceless particularly as it has been festooned in delicate clusters of flowers for weeks, with the occasional one showing all through the year. However before you run off to purchase one, and let me say that it would be a good buy, make sure you have a position from where you can look up to admire the flowers. I had to gaze upwards with the camera to take this shot.

I have another winter flowering clematis with a flawed beauty to consider in a few weeks when all the buds burst into flower.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Northern Spain and Wild Flowers, 6th June 2019


Our early summer trip to Northern Spain was enjoyable. A long way from the beaches or the sophisticated cities, the cable car from the foot of Fuente De to the top of the Picos Massif was spectacular, if icy cold at the summit. But it was the wildly beautiful wild flowers that so impressed. When we returned from the top one of the 'gardeners' had scythed through flowers just like these by the cable platform. We were lucky to get down. The wind had struck up and the cable cars were terminated as high winds settled for the week. You can hear the wind in this short clip.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Galanthus 'Remember Remember'

First post of the season and it's the first showing of the year albeit in December rather than the preferred November. 'Remember Remember' has clumped out dramatically since last year but only two of the shoots are in flower. The snowdrops have been in bud for well over a week and this morning the temperature rose to 14°C and, hey presto, the flowers opened out. I've been experimenting with cameras. This was taken with my smart phone, a Samsung S9+ with a little darkening of the background to highlight the white flowers. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll take the same shot with a rather more specialist camera and expensive lens to see if it's worth it or has Samsung rendered my equipment redundant.



Sunday, 24 February 2019

Plants to savour at Felley Priory

Felley Priory in North Nottinghamshire is just off the M1 motorway and we pass there at least every fortnight.  It has a lovely cafe and garden centre, plus the most amazing gardens packed out with plants in immaculate condition and presided over by gardeners who know their stuff. I always end up buying something. Not the following however, plants for my wish list, and yours perhaps.

The Japanese flowering apricot,  Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori' is first, a stunning sight this early, still in winter. Its deep pink blossom stands out like a beacon among the muted colours.

Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori'
Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori'
 Hamamelis x intermedia 'Spanish Spider' was only a young specimen and a comparatively unknown variety. I'm not sure about the similarity to Iberian spiders but I do feel even those suffering from arachnophobia would like this particular arthropod.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Spanish Spider'
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Spanish Spider'
Two snowdrop clumps that captured my attention are ones I have in our garden if not in such quantity. One, 'Edith', is new to me.

Galanthus 'Trumps'

Galanthus 'Primrose Warburg'

Galanthus 'Edith'

 Finally there is always the fine house and topiary to admire.





Monday, 18 February 2019

Doddington Hall: Crocus Heaven

Doddington Hall has just got better and better. They must realise it too for they are open all week. Crocus heaven? so why have I commenced with a Japanese Pink Pussy Willow, Salix gracilistyla 'Mount Aso'? My wife liked it. I liked it. I ordered it.



Doddington has the most wonderful cafe. We got there at 10.30am, the cafe having only opened at 10.00. The restaurant was full, the cafe full and we just snatched a table in the cycle cafe. There's also a recently extended farm shop. I digress. Here's the main course.

Crocuses galore, of varying colours too. All the natural forms in profusion, bees mad for them. Crocus Thomasianus as I have never seen them before.





The Sweet Chestnuts are ancient, blissfully swathed in bulbs right through to early summer.


The combination of late winter or early spring flowers is a remarkable thing.





I also have, of course, to feature one of the the witch-hazels. I noticed they had added new varieties. This specimen was huge.


And in case any reader has not visited, here is the house itself, completed in 1600 and occupied by the same family ever since.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Galanthus 'Midas', 'Phil Cornish', 'South Hayes' & 'Trymming' - sought-after varieties

Galanthus 'Midas' has not disappointed, just appearing this afternoon and pictured against an artistic dark background, that happens to be our fountain although I wouldn't have known. Developed by Avon Bulbs, 'Midas' was their star attraction for the season and one can see why. The mirror reflection is indeed a second flower, whilst if the thickening growth is anything to go by there will be quite a flourish next year. Indeed already a small offshoot has developed, for swaps!


'Phil Cornish' pictured is one I placed in a small pot last year and forgot about. The main planting is just coming into flower in a shaded section of the garden. One of my favourites.

'South Hayes' has formed a large clump. These spotted or striped forms are all similar. They do attract attention in a border.

Galanthus 'Trymming' is another beauty, again placed in a small pot. I've tried to safeguard my finer forms in case of catastrophe. Of these, I've had a few, as the song says. The photograph I use for my blog heading is of this variety.



And remembering .....

Sicily's Mimosa Trees, 31st March 2016