April Flowers for GBBD.

This month of April is rushing by without giving me a chance to catch my breath and enjoy all that it has to offer. No sooner does one lot of plants come into flower, than another is pushing forward, trying to be the centre of attention. Trying to appreciate  them all is almost impossible.

I’m starting with a small flowered ground cover, Claytonia virginica, which has almost white flowers, striped with pink. It seeds gently around, all mine seem to be in semi shaded borders where they show up nicely. They have spoon shaped succulent leaves and grow from tiny black tubers. They never seem to come up in the same place twice, I’m always pleased to see wherever they decide to put themselves.


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Who’s looking over our hedge?

Some of you may remember me writing a couple of posts about the land next door, in the grounds of what was the village school,  being sold for development, click here and here if you would like to read  about how I was trying to protect our dormouse habitat. This post is an update on how the building is going.

This is the view taken last August before the building could be seen over the hedge.

This is the view taken last August before the building could be seen over the hedge.

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It’s Blossom Time again.

The garden has been producing wave after wave of flowers, snowdrops, crocus, narcissus and now it’s blossom time once more. Time to lift up our heads and look above head height at all the flowers that are open at the moment.

Cherry tree

By the entrance is a cherry which the previous people planted, it has two seasons when it stands out, now with all its lovely blossom and then later, in the autumn when the leaves turn a delicious orange/red.

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Through the window.

When starting the garden here, many, many years ago, I felt that whichever part we were doing had to look right from inside the house as well as from outside. So many times, I would mark things out, usually with a hosepipe, then rush back inside to see if it looked ok, if not, then back outside, move the markers a bit and try again. Eventually when I was satisfied with the shapes I had marked out, grass could be cut back, (everywhere was just grass to start with, except for a few shrubs) soil improved and planting started.
We’ll start with a view from the landing window, the shape of the border had been decided by the previous people and filled with shrubs. This is how it stayed for a good number of years until I decided to make the front half into the Bee and Butterfly border and the back half  where we have the silver birches and red stemmed Cornus in the winter., something of interest for 12 months of the year.

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The Woodland in March. EOMV.

The white of the snowdrops has changed into the yellow of the narcissus, which means that the woodland looks totally different now that the warm sunshine has finished off the flowers of the snowdrops and crocus. Each day when I come for a wander, I find something new which has opened overnight, but also, looking with a critical eye, I’m thinking of what I can add to make it look more interesting in certain places where all the early flowers have faded.

The first view is the woodland border from the back garden.

Woodland border

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Shhhh…. don’t tell the Pheasant!

I keep hearing the pheasant on the field next to us, I start getting worried when I hear him in the garden, I am really worried when I hear him in the woodland. So far I have chased him 3 times out of the woodland, what a noise he makes then. Why all this bother some of you may be thinking? Last year just as all my snakeshead fritillaries or Fritillaria meleagris, were coming into flower, he decided they would make a very tasty breakfast and started eating them, or just taking a bite out of a few of them. However, this year, so far,  the fritillaries seem to have escaped damage and are now opening and looking as they should, thank goodness!

Snakeshead fritillaries

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St. Patrick, King Alfred and friends.

This year St. Patrick is just a week late, last year he was a whole month late, presumably  because of the ice and snow that we had last March.  St. Patrick has only just started to open, but better late than never. With a sudden drop in the temperature over the last few days, flowers seem to be on hold for the moment, as if they don’t want to open any further, just in case.

St. Patrick

St Patrick has arrived!

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Foliage for March. GBFD.

The beautiful warm sunshine that we have enjoyed for about two weeks has unfortunately gone, the wind has turned from the warm south and is now coming from the icy north! The warm spell has meant that new growth has been popping up everywhere, I hope that it doesn’t regret it when temperatures drop to near freezing at night. I keep reminding myself that at this time last year we had snow and freezing temperatures, so we haven’t done too badly this month with the warm spell that brought an end to all the awful rain which lasted for months.  At last, our garden is drying out and at we have been able to cut the grass and clear away all the dead foliage from last year, what a difference just doing that has made!

Newly emerged foliage of Meconopsis Lingholm, so hairy you could stroke it.

Newly emerged foliage of Meconopsis Lingholm, so hairy you could stroke it.

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March Flowers for GBBD.

For over a week now we have had lovely warm sunshine, it has been wonderful working in the garden without a coat and feeling the sun on my back once more. Bit by bit, all the tidying jobs that we weren’t able to do because of the non stop rain over the winter, are now getting done. I think I can say that half the garden is looking nice and tidy. If the lovely weather continues, then maybe in another week I will have a tidy garden once more! The sunshine has made such a difference to the flowers, lots are now flowering, but most of the snowdrops are now over, they don’t like the hot sun! I will start with G.Baxendales Late, the only one that is still looking bright and perky.

G. Baxendales Late

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Going, going, gone!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that one of our next door neighbour’s oak trees had split during one of our gales, and was now needing attention from a tree surgeon. The first tree surgeon he contacted wanted to charge him £3,000, eventually he found one who would charge£800, a bit of a difference!

Damaged oak tree

Here you can see the oak in the centre, with the branch on the right that has split away.

Damaged oak tree

In the two weeks since it split, while waiting for the tree surgeon, it has split even further. It’s just as well that the split is on the garden side because just over the hedge to the left is the road that runs through the village.

Oak tree minus split.

While working on the tree, the surgeons decided that the whole tree had to come down as they felt that the tree had been weakened, having so much of its trunk removed. This shows the scar left the first day after the right hand fork had been taken out.

Tree surgeon

They all came back the next day and first of all set up traffic control as they were cutting over the road. Next, the electricity was cut off as the wires run through the branches of the trees. Can you see the young man in the centre of the photo, the way they swing around in the tree tops with their chainsaw is amazing.

One more branch to go

More of the crown of the tree has now gone, it was sent whizzing down to a chipping machine in the road below. One more branch on the left is still to be cut down. All this activity was making the squirrels who live in these trees very anxious. We normally only see them jumping from tree to tree in the winter when the leaves have fallen, they weren’t at all happy.

The trunk

Just the trunk remaining now.

All gone

All gone. It took about 150/200 years to grow, all gone in 6 hours. Very sad.

I think the time has come for us to start replacing the trees that have to come down. The squirrels are always burying acorns and conkers in our garden, so as our neighbour also lost one of his chestnut trees last year, I think I will have to pot up any that shoot up in the garden and take them round to him to keep his bit of woodland going.

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