Signs of Spring

Today I allowed myself a little time in the garden, inspite of it being very cold, to take a few photographs and sprinkle eggshells round vulnerable plants to keep off the slugs.

Luckily I have a good view on the garden so I have been able to keep in touch with what has been growing, even if I have stayed indoors.

I am pleased to see that the snowdrops are still holding on and happy to see that the daffodils are finally here. There is also one lonely crocus. back over the other side, near the snowdrops, my Lenten Roses are giving a great show. Well it is Lent!You can see the remains of the Christmas roses at the front.

I am a great admirer of Leanne Cole and especially like her macro photographs of flowers, as that is something I enjoy experimenting with.

Recently she wrote an article suggesting how to edit macro photos using Lightroom – http://leannecole.com.au/5-tips-for-macro-photography-using-lightroom/

Now I don’t have ‘Lightroom’ but I was able to apply some of her ideas to the photograph of the crocus and produced this – What do you think?

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Monthly Montage June

I offered photographs for three of the month’s Photo Challenge subjects: Favourite, Cross and Wave. Normally I try to arrange these photographs next to each other and in sequence but that was too tricky this month but I expect you can see which they were. Monthly montage JuneReally a lot of photographs this month as I also did an update on my garden and five posts about my visit to Dorset, though I have only included two of the photographs here.

Otherwise it was mostly crochet: more Celtic style coasters, some other recent makes and a request for pattern testers for my US version of the Real snowflakes.

Clematis, roses and garlic

Not much to show in the making line this week though I have been working hard.

So I thought I would take the opportunity to fit in another garden update. I am so enjoying my new style garden taking shape.

These photographs have been taken over the last month. All taken and processed rather quickly, just as a record really.

Before I went on holiday I looked at my clematis. The Vagabond is only meant to grow to about four feet but of course it won’t get that high this year. I saw that it had a good crop of blooms The Vagabond clematisbut also realised that it needed spreading over the trellis. Clematis on trellisIn a way it looked better with the flowers closer together but this was for the future!

My clematis on the other side of the garden was in a similar state, though less ready for spreading out. Diana's Delight clematisOdd really given that it was planted first.

After I came back from holiday after all that sun and only a little water, courtesy of my son, the same clematis looked like this. Clematis after hot weatherThe first clematis is still producing the odd flower, now further from the ground and so free of slug damage Single clematis flowerbut the clematis the other side only has seed heads. I wait to see if I will get a second flush later.

At the same time I was pleased to see that the rose bush had plenty of buds. Rose buda and alliumsand the alliums (Christophe – my favourite) were developing their flower heads.

When I came back from holiday the roses were in full bloom and the alliums much bigger Roses and alliumsThey seemed bigger than I remember them but then they are in a much sunnier location now and the ones in this bed, the sunniest, are bigger than those in my herb bed. More recently they are so big and heavy I have had to give them support.

Those extra green floppy leaves either side of the single allium are from my garlic.

I have been growing garlic for a few years now.

I always take a few of the fatter cloves out of the fridge because the garlic cloves for sale in the garden centre cost as much as a whole head of garlic in the greengrocers!

When I started, I read that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest and I have always stuck to this pattern up till now.

I was always a little disappointed that each clove only multiplied itself into four new cloves, so last Autumn I decided to try an experiment and I planted the garlic at the same time as the daffodils.

When the garlic was beginning to flop over and produce flowers I decided that it was time for harvest even if earlier than before. I dug up one first, just to see, and then decided to dig up the rest.

I always plant three or four cloves and here they are when I had just dug up the last three. garlic just dug upAnd here with all of them washed. garlic washedThey gave me six or seven or eight cloves this time so I will be planting them September/October time again this year.

I have a lot less flowers in my garden at present as the first flush of roses is over and the other new plants are small, so of course I have less bees than I used to. Though here is a rather poor photograph of one taken a few weeks ago. bee on alliumI do have a lot of different greens though. green leavesAnd my fuchsia is covered in flowers as always. So there are a few bees there. I was rather pleased with this photograph bee on fuchsiaas normally all you see are their bottoms! bee in fuchsiaA few of the pansies are also hanging on thoughpansies

but I don’t know if bees like them.

 

Monthly Montage – May

This last month, photographically, I had four photos for the Monthly Challenge: Bird, Cycle, Stationary and Lost. I also created a lot of ‘flower portraits’ of flowers in my garden. Monthly montage - MayApart from that I put together a tutorial on knitting fair isle and, to stick to knitting for a moment, I showed you some socks I have knitted for my daughter. Crochetwise  I wrote a  post about my search for the perfect Celtic Cross bookmark and another showing how my Celtic plaitwork bookmarks compared to earlier bookmarks in use.

Flower portraits

I find it hard to take good photographs of my flower beds but I do love taking close ups of individual flowers, so I am going to share a few flower ‘portraits’ of some of the current flowers in my garden.

First some landscape portraits in alphabetical order

Allium (this is the Cristophe variety)AlliumThen one of the Clematis, (This is called Lemon Dream.)ClematisLily of the Valley. Lily of the ValleyA Pansy (sold last Autumn as winter pansies.) PansyAnd a Wallflower (also bought last Autumn). WallflowerAnd now a couple of square ones

Apple blossom in full flower. Apple blossomLithodora Diffusa (This variety is called Grace Ward.)Lithodora Diffusa (Grace Ward)Though if anything I prefer the one called ‘Heavenly Blue’ which I also have. Lithodora Diffusa (Heavenly Blue)A slightly more turquoise shade of blue!

And a pansy’s face close up.

Quick garden post!

I couldn’t resist giving you a quick update on changes in the garden.

The wallflowers that I planted to keep the cats off the place where I am going to plant a daphne have come into flower and make a colourful show!            WallflowersThe pansies that equally were planted to keep a spot for some lavender are flowering again though I can see the slugs are having a field day! Pansies and forget-me-notsThe forget-me-nots that I love are flourishing.

The apple tree not only is coming into leaf but has blossom. apple blossomI know I must not let the tree produce apples this year but I will enjoy the blossom.

And finally: the clematis that I showed you in an earlier post (taken last September)clematis last Septemberalready has lots of new buds. clematis buds

Another peak at my garden

I was pleased to find that the primroses at the front of the middle flower bed are now all in flower. PrimrosesHere’s a closer look.   Primroses close upThe same person who gave me the primroses, when she was clearing an area of her garden, also gave me some violets.

They seem to have survived less well. (They were all enmeshed in the primroses when I got them!)

But I was pleased to find that at least one had produced some flowers. VioletsIn the herb bed some of the scilla siberica that were part of my earlier planting seem to have survived the upheaval.Scilla SibericaAnd the taller daffodils are now in flower. DaffodilsBut I am not entirely happy with these as they were sold to me as ‘February Gold’ which I love because of the swept back outer ring of petals that these seem to lack.

As you can see here in a photograph I took of the ones in a pot in the front. February Gold daffodilsAnd my latest addition: some golden sage Golden sageto replace the broad-leaved sage that was getting a bit old and was out of proportion in my tiny garden. Not that my younger daughter considers it a garden to her it is little more than a ‘patio’ and there is some merit in her opinion I suppose.

Garden update

The weather has been fairly wet lately but last Thursday it was bright and sunny and going out into the garden I realised that just everything was springing into life. So I went out and did some necessary pruning and took a few photographs.

Last Autumn I planted a clematis on the right hand side of the garden. It is called Diana’s Delight and as with all the clematis I planted, shouldn’t get much bigger than a couple of metres.0553-clematisI have just pruned it as they say you should and hope to get an even better showing this year.

Before Christmas I planted an apple tree. I bought it mail order as I couldn’t find what I wanted at the local garden centre and it had more branches than I expected but it looks good and sturdy. It is a self-fertile Cox on M27 rooting stock. The same as I had before.

I took this photograph in February after I had pruned it. 0553-apple-treeAnother photograph I took in February was of the Lenten rose I had just planted. 0553-helleboresYou can also see the two Christmas roses I had planted before Christmas that were now dying off.

These are on the left side of the garden in the shady bed. 0553-shady-bedYou can see that the Lenten rose now has more flowers.

At the far end are a couple of clematis I planted before Christmas. I have put eggshells round (as I do) to discourage slugs from having a nibble! One of these should be grapefruit scented. I wait in hope! The bare patch next to them is where I should have lily of the valley later.

In the forefront are snowdrops and pulmonaria. 0553-snowdrops-and-pulmonariaWhen I lowered the height of the bed I replanted all the snowdrop bulbs I found and replanted any pulmonaria seedlings I found around the garden. (They do seem to seed themselves, even at quite a distance away!)

However with using up the earth I removed from the bed elsewhere, I see that I have a couple of snowdrops show up under the apple tree. 0553-snow-drop-under-apple-treeThe right hand, sunny, side of the garden is beautifully colourful now. 0553-sunny-bedsHere is a closer look at the herb bed. 0553-herb-bedYou can see the rosemary and thyme in the middle and now I have crocus and daffodils. The touch of red on the left is the remains of some winter pansies I put in to avoid having a bare patch where some lavender will be planted.

The best looking crocus are in the other small island bed though. 0553-crocusThere are lots of other things as well.

This is a photo I took when the sun was really bright. 0553-small-bedOn the right you can see the garlic and one of the three Christophe alliums that I am very fond of. 0553-garlic-and-aliumGarlic is about my only culinary crop because it is so easy. Mind you I just take a few cloves out of the fridge and they don’t grow very big.

In the foreground above you can see my patio rose: Dream Lover. It should be bee friendly and scented!0553-patio-roseThe spikes and the slate are to discourage cats from doing you know what!

The middle bed at the back is the least interesting to look at, at this time of year but this is the sedum that I reduced and replanted. 0553-transplanted-sedumI also replanted the primroses that someone gave me last autumn. 0553-primrosesMaybe I should have put them in the other way round. The flowers don’t want to look at me!

And underneath the fuchsia I found that there was still one of the Springtime cyclamen I planted a few years ago. 0553-spring-cyclamen

I hope you enjoyed a little Springtime peak at my garden. I must go out soon and buy the lavender and a daphne I want, as they become available.

 

Photo Challenge – Still

I do find it much easier when the subject of these challenges is a noun. Whenever it is a adjective or another part of speech I struggle.

Of course ‘still’ can be a noun but the first meaning that comes to mind is that of the equipment needed for distilling! so I decided I had to look elsewhere.

Although it is beginning to get much colder I noticed that my fuchsia is ‘still’ flowering and so that is what I chose for a photograph. photo-challenge1648-still

 

Garden Supplement

My 500th Post!

Not having any knitting or crochet to share with you, though there will be something next week, I thought I would show you a few finishing touches I have added to my garden.

Remember this?0473-Ivy and honeysuckleWell I spent a long time thinking about the best way to protect myself from the need to be forever cutting back the honeysuckle and ivy as it forced it’s way through into my garden.

Now it isn’t as bad as it used to be after I did a mega ‘reclaim my space’ exercise.  0473-Ivy and honeysuckle cut backAnd in fact it is even more tamed now as some of the ivy you can see died as it was dependent on ivy that started my side of the fence. And I think some of that ivy was supporting the honeysuckle.

I gave hours of thought as to what I should do and as far as the ivy was concerned even thought of buying some perspex sheet for the far side of the trellis in that corner but in the end settled for garden quality plastic sheet. 0500-Ivy proofingAlthough having the sheet on this side of the fence as well is a little unsightly, it does ensure that the ivy can’t creep under the trellis panel!

I installed the plastic on Saturday and then on Sunday I moved on to some rush screening that you can just see in the above picture.

I removed the trellis panel and attached what was in fact half a 2m x 4m piece of rush screening to the fence post, wall and a plastic pole that you can’t see. 0500-Rush screening upI don’t know if you can see the ties in this photogaph but I went to the garden centre for the pole and some brown string but found something new: a sort of brown plastic tube. Hopefully this is better as I have found that garden string decays after a season or two.0500-TieI used this to attach the trellis in several places where there were cable ties in the wall as well as the posts. Of course I cut the ends down before I replaced the trellis. 0500-Rush barrier finishedAgain I had had several ideas of what to do here but although it may not prove a total barrier, I am pleased with my choice as it looks very natural.

And it does not cut down the light too much as you can see from this shadow. 0500-ShadowAnd then on Monday I gave the render three coats of masonry paint. Phew! glad that is over.