Clumber Park Nativity

I thought the roughly cast wooden nativity figures were worth posting. Clumber Park does not acknowledge who is the sculptor.

First ipheion in bloom - Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue'

Ipheion uniflorum 'Wisley Blue'  is the first of the ipheions to flower this year. It has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit though it is more a pale lilac-purple than blue. "Charlotte Bishop" was first up last year and very much earlier. The plants with their onion fragrance are reliable but too untidy if planted in rich soil. I'll have to remember to starve them a little this year. They look best in a mass of colour which as yet is not the case. At this time of year I take what comes so here is the first bloom.

Galanthus "Three Ships", Hellebore "Christmas Carol" and a Christmas morning surprise

I hope you are enjoying a splendid Christmas Day. The weather forecaster as I type speaks of the potential for beating a record dating back almost 100 years with temperatures possibly beating the 15.6C of Killerton in Devon in 1920. I had hoped "Three Ships" would be more fully open for the day. However here it is yesterday with a very dependable hellebore "Christmas Carol" that looks good on my display bench by the kitchen window. Compared with yesterday's snowdrop the seasonally named "Three Ships" seems a giant. It's not. They are to come. But wait, even as I turned off the computer, a "Stop Press". Venturing out this morning to transport the recycling I noticed a miracle. "Three Ships" has sailed and a fourth ship is in harbour.


First snowdrop of the year, and one summer visitor

Storm Barbara is blowing hard though the temperature is mild. My bulbs are certainly not as advanced as last year but here is the first snowdrop to open its bud. Galanthus reginae-olgae subsp. vernalis is a tiny wee thing, looking somewhat lost in a large pot with other less early snowdrops not yet even poking through the soil and gravel. Of course, due to my new macro lens it does appear a big beastie. And let's hear it for the last man standing, Rudbeckia Marmalade, braving the wind and last week's frosts in a sheltered south facing spot.

Renishaw Hall and Gardens, 15th May 2011

Yesterday I featured Brodsworth Hall in 2011 and in the same folder I came across these images of one of my favourite gardens nearby, the home of the Sitwell family, Renishaw Hall and Gardens. The Italianate gardens and particularly the herbaceous borders are a sight to behold in summer but these images are of the less formal bluebells, Welsh poppies, Solomon's seal and sculpture. There's even one of the then recently planted laburnum arch and the old workshop in the grounds by the lake, with its fantastic chimneys. I have also featured elsewhere the house and gardens in 2012.

Brodsworth Hall, Laburnum Arch and Fountain, 5th May 2011

Brodsworth Hall's laburnum arch is something to behold though it was not quite in its full golden glory when I took the photographs five years ago - amazing how time passes so quickly. The centre piece is not actually my wife but the topiary, the fountain and the house itself made from some of the finest stone in the country and quarried very near our home. I'll post a few images from more recent times for if anything the bedding and topiary are even more spectacular. Not bad in 2011 either of course.

Malus huphensis, Hardwick Hall, 26th November 2016

Malus huphensis looks sensational in Spring with its white blossom and pretty darn good in Autumn too. Hardwick Hall has one of its inner gardens devoted to the tree. The photographs were taken before my new lens, about which much later when I've learned how to focus it properly.

Fox and Shakespeare Decorations - Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

Bold as brass and striding out confidently yesterday in the sun. No wonder I don't keep chickens.

Haddon Hall was today's venue where we travelled for their Christmas concert given by The Royal Northern College of Music. It is such a delight seeing and hearing talented young musicians in convivial surroundings. More culture was on offer with the Shakespeare themed decorations of which I particularly liked the use made of various editions. 

The hall and surrounding countryside are of course splendid even on a dull December day.

Galanthus reginae-olgae subsp. vernalis

Plant labels are monstrous things. Wind, blackbirds, clumsiness and grandchildren disturb carefully laid plans, not to mention permanent ink marker pens that aren't, "permanent" that is. Or cheap ebay aluminium labels that are too short to use, too shiny to take ink or pencil and have been consigned to the bin in favour of some newly purchased aluminium labels, matt finished and suitable for that most indispensable tool of the trade, a graphite pencil. I wrote about them here two years ago and have returned to the supplier for more - please.

It's a long-winded introduction to one of the first snowdrops to force its way through the throng and one I had forgotten was there due to the saga of the missing label. Luckily the blog comes in useful. So let me reintroduce you to Galanthus reginae-olgae subsp. vernalis, last seen on 16th December 2015. It is not fully in flower as yet but the raison d'être for the blog is snowdrops ...... I'll add some images when the two blooms emerge - only one last year!

Garden Snapshot, 16th December 2016

Having returned to confront a garden where little is in flower compared to last year, I give you a snapshot of my gardens, rear and front, after clearing the leaves and before I prune the roses.

And remembering .....

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom'