P.I.P.s in May.

May is the month for ebullient flowering,  the garden will be overflowing with flowers that are definitely OTT!  The Pips in question are the flamboyant Peonies, Iris and Poppies and they are joined by Rhododendrons and Azaleas, but they will be in a separate post. Some of these flowers don’t last very long, but that doesn’t matter, they add their gorgeousness to the garden when the spring bulbs are dying back and before the summer perennials start flowering  and fill the gap beautifully.

Peony mlokosewitschii

Peony mlokosewitschii

Peony mlokosewitschii is the first of the herbaceous peonies to flower here.

Peony mlokosewitschii

Peony mlokosewitschii

The colour of the petals is such a beautiful pale yellow, they close up to try and protect the pollen from the rain that is falling.

Peony mlokosewitschii

Peony mlokosewitschii

But when the sun comes out, they open up waiting for any passing bee.

Peony mlokosewitschii

Peony mlokosewitschii

I think I need to give Molly the Witch some fertiliser, she had far more flowers last year.

Tree peony

Tree peony

The other peony that is looking beautiful at the moment is a red Tree Peony.

Tree peony

Tree peony

Just bought as a red one, so no name I’m afraid. The colour of the flower is picked up in the leaves.

Tree peony

Tree peony

The bees love to wallow in the pollen. In spite of being called a tree peony, it is only the height of the herbaceous peonies. It’s main stem doesn’t die down in the winter though, it stays all through the winter.

Dwarf bearded Iris

Dwarf bearded Iris

Iris reticulata are the first iris to flower here, usually in January, but now is the turn of the dwarf bearded Iris.

Dwarf bearded Iris

Dwarf bearded Iris

This one was left over at the end of a plant sale at church, so I took pity on it and brought it home.

Dwarf bearded Iris

Dwarf bearded Iris

I’m so glad that I did, it has the most beautiful perfume!

Dwarf bearded Iris

Dwarf bearded Iris

It seems very happy on the alpine scree, so I think I must buy some more for here as the drainage is the best in the garden.

Meconopsis cambrica

Meconopsis cambrica

The only poppy I have flowering at the moment is the Welsh poppy, Meconopsis Cambrica. The Oriental poppies have lovely buds swelling but none are open at the moment, they won’t be long though. These flowers are in the front border by the drive, I sprinkled seed a couple of years ago and at last they have decided that they like it here.

Meconopsis Cambrica

Meconopsis Cambrica

The woodland seems to be the best place for these poppies, there isn’t any problem getting seed to germinate here.

Meconopsis Cambrica

Meconopsis Cambrica

They are also happy to be the understorey in the Rhododendron bed. I will be sprinkling more seed when it is ready. Some people consider the Welsh poppy to be a weed, but I can’t see that happening here, it is only growing where I have sprinkled the seed in previous years, it probably likes a lighter soil than I have. Soon we will have the gorgeous Oriental poppies flaunting all their blowsiness, they will certainly be in part 2!


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A mixed bag for April.

One morning when I got up, the light in the garden was so beautiful, I decided to take some photos from the balcony, before going down to get the breakfast ready.

The side garden.

The side garden.

The grass in the foreground, leads straight on to the circular lawn with the bog garden on the right and the pergola(where the white blossom is and the pink blossom on the large Bramley apple tree)  leading to the fruit and veggies at the top left. If you turn left at the top of the steps…..

Turning left .

Turning left .

…….the lawn sweeps round the back of the dead oak and up the side of the garden next to the fence by the field next door.

Turning right.

Turning right.

If you turn right, the lawn sweeps round to the back garden where the woodland can be seen through the arch way.

Front garden.

Front garden.

This photo of the front garden was taken through the landing window. The Cornus stems are still waiting for me to decide what I’m going to make from them, in the meantime they add a splash of red!



Wandering round this morning, the sunlight was filtering through to the bog garden where Matteuccia struthiopteris is spreading, I must watch it doesn’t spread too far.

Blue and yellow.

Blue and yellow.

I do like blue and yellow together. Here it is Forget-me-not and cowslip looking lovely together at the drier end of the bog garden.

More blue and yellow

More blue and yellow

Just a bit further along, the blue is from the bluebells that are just starting to flower, Hyacinthoides non scripta, the English bluebell, and the yellow is the grass, Bowles golden grass, Milium effusum Aureum.

Tree peony

Tree peony

In the border across the circular lawn, by the dead oak, is my first peony to flower. This tree peony was just bought as “Red”, so I’m afraid no name, in spite of being nameless, she is rather beautiful.

Rhododendron bed

Rhododendron bed

The bog garden gets drier as it gets nearer to the house and this is where the rhododendrons are. They are almost in flower, but not quite. The under planting is quite woodlandy here and where you can see spaces, there are hostas coming through.

Brunnera Jack Frost seedlings

Brunnera Jack Frost seedlings

Continuing round to the back garden I spotted some seedlings of Brunnera Jack Frost. One has come the same as its parent but the other is different, I must pot them on and plant them in the woodland.



Forming part of the hedge that divides the back garden from the woodland was a Cotoneaster, but what has happened, it is dead! How could it suddenly die I ask myself ? There is work here for someone, but I can replant with some camellias that are a bit squashed where they are at the moment.



The primroses this side of the ditch have seeded downhill without any help from me, I hope to get the other sides looking like this.

The woodland

The woodland

The fritillaries are over for another year, I am now waiting to harvest their seed. Now it is forget me nots, cowslips, primroses. claytonia, and honesty that are providing interest at the moment.



I grew the honesty last year from seed, I expected all the flowers to be mauve but half have turned out to be white which is rather nice. When I planted out the plugs, by pure chance they have come with all mauve flowers at the back and all white in front, it would have been better if they had been mixed I think, better next year!

Opposite view of the woodland.

Opposite view of the woodland.

The cowslips and forget me nots are spreading in the woodland, also the little pink Claytonia which is above the cowslips, an eye will have to be kept on them to make sure they don’t over run any little treasures that there are.

Meconopsis Cambrica

Meconopsis Cambrica

My first Welsh poppy to flower in the woodland, I do like the way they seed around without any help from me, but all I need now is to sprinkle some seed among the forget me nots and they would continue the blue and yellow theme for me!

Long view from the back garden through to the side garden.

Long view from the back garden through to the side garden.

The view from the back to the side is getting more colourful each day as more flowers open.

Abbu Hassan

Abu Hassan

In the border just outside the back door is Tulip Abu Hassan looking gorgeous with the sun shining through his petals.

I enjoyed my wander through the garden, no rain so far today, but the garden looks so much better than a week ago, it has really come to life and is now showing so much colour everywhere.

Thanks to Helen for hosting this monthly meme, do pay her a visit to see other gardens from round the world.


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Raindrops on roses.

At long last it is raining!  The garden and I are very happy because we have had at least a month without a drop of rain.

Yes, this is a case of raindrops on roses....but

Yes, this is a case of raindrops on roses….but

but I couldn't find a kitten, so a tulip will have to do instead.

…… I couldn’t find a kitten, so a tulip will have to do instead.

Hemerocallis and Brunnera Jack Frost

Wandering round the garden, between showers, I found raindrops on Hemerocallis with Brunnera Jack Frost

Heuchera collecting raindrops in the centre of the leaf.

Heuchera collecting raindrops in the centre of the leaf.

Euphorbia melliferra

I caught these on Euphorbia melliferra before they could slide off.

Raindrops on the honeysuckle over the arbour in the back garden.

Raindrops on the honeysuckle over the arbour in the back garden.

There is a raindrop hiding in the sedum on the alpine scree.

There is a raindrop hiding in the sedum on the alpine scree.

Raindrops on Aquilegia semiaquilegia on the scree.

Raindrops on Aquilegia semiaquilegia on the scree.

My last photo of a hellebore with raindrops before coming in as it was raining again!

My photo of a hellebore with raindrops before coming in as it was raining again!

What a difference it makes when the grass has just been cut. Everything is looking bright and perky after our rain showers.

What a difference it makes when the grass has just been cut. Everything is looking bright and perky after our showers.

We have more rain promised for tonight, the garden will be very pleased and so will I.  I miss it when we have such a long spell without any rain, most of my plants are ones that like a damp soil, but the last few weeks were so dry, some of then were beginning to look miserable!

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New shoots everywhere!

All the new shoots bursting out all over the garden are the subject of this month’s Garden Bloggers Foliage Day hosted by Christina at My Hesperides Garden. Everywhere I look, there are wonderful new leaves to grab my attention, so many different colours, shapes, sizes and textures.


Starting with the tall Acer in the back garden, the new leaves are a lovely pleated, bright green which contrast with the little pink flower buds that are showing already. This tree was here before we were, so I don’t know its full name, bu it turns a wonderful orangey/red in the autumn.

Acer Osakazuku

Acer Osakazuki is a little behind and is only just opening its buds where we can see the pink flower buds, the new leaves are all green. This tree turns the most vivid red in the autumn.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Ferns are unfolding, this is Matteuccia struthiopteris, one of a few that I have planted in the ditch.


All the Heucheras are waking up and making new leaves, time to tidy away the old leaves!

Japanese painted fern

The Japanese painted fer, Athyrium niponicum Pictum, contrasts with everything around it, it has such beautiful fronds.

Hose Chestnut

Lovely new leaves of one of our horse chestnuts. The leaves are so thin and vulnerable at this stage, it is such a shame that by July they will have been infested with the moth larva that eats them from within and then they will be green with horrible brown blotches. The experts say it doesn’t damage the tree but each year the trees can’t photosynthesise properly, so I think they might become weaker and weaker, I really hope this isn’t the case. It has been noticed that blue tits are pecking the grubs out from the leaves, hopefully they will teach each other about this wonderful source of protein – a case of nature helping itself.

Pieris Forest Flame

Pieris Forest Flame with lovely red new leaves, who needs flowers when the new growth is as attractive as this?

Actinidinia Kolomikta

A cousin of the kiwi fruit, Actinidia kolomicta had beautifully coloured leaves. As they age they become more pink, they look lovely when both white and pink are on the leaves.


New growth on roses starts the rose season off early, all the new growth is beautiful, but they will soon turn green.


All the berberis bushes in the garden are sporting their new leaves, which look so beautiful with the sun shining through them.

Mahonia seedling

Where has this Mahonia seedling come from? We have a bush  in the front garden, this seedling is about 30ft away in the back garden. It will have to be potted up as there isn’t room for it to develop where it now is.

Cynara cardunculus

The cardoon in the side border by the field (Cynara cardunculus) is growing nicely, getting better and better each year, it is recovering from being swamped by the hedge behind it.

Pittosporum Tom Thumb

Just starting to show new green growth is Pittosporum Tom Thumb. Soon the new growth will be a lot more noticeable before it finally turns dark maroon/brown and blends in with the older leaves.

Candelabra primula

The bog garden is waking up, all the candelabra primulas are starting to grow, it won’t be long before the rainbow of flowers start appearing. In the meantime I can enjoy the leaves getting bigger and bigger each day.


Also in the bog are clumps of our wild iris, Iris pseudacorus variegata. The leaves look lovely before they flower, when they revert to plain green.

Meconopsis Lingholm

This is the only Meconopsis Lingholm that has survived the winter, I don’t know why it is the only one, so I hope this one flowers and provides me with some seed for next year. Only 2 flowers had viable seed last year, all the other flower heads were filled with a very fine dust which is no use at all.


Epimedium have beautiful leaves, starting out with a purple flush to them.

Day lily and Welsh poppy

There are lots of clumps of Hemerocallis foliage, this one is accompanied by the welshpoppy, Meconopsis cambrica.

mixed foliage

Pulmonaria, Dicentra and Gallium odoratum mixing together. I will have to watch the Gallium as it spreads a lot. Somehow it has come to this bed from the woodland where it forms groundcover.

Brunnera Jack Frost

Brunnera Jack Frost is happy mixing with Hemerocallis on the left and Aquilegia on the right. The blue flower is a forget me not and not the Brunnera which has very similar flowers.

Blue conifer and Philadelphus Belle etoille

In the back garden are two contrasting shrubs, a blue conifer on the left and the yellow leaves of Philadelphus  coronarius aurius.


Rearing up like lots of baby cobras are the fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium, the hart’s tongue fern, I love the shapes they make!

Morning sun on the Amelanchier

I will leave you with early morning sun on the Amelanchier. The new leaves emerge bronze before turning green and then back to orange/red before falling in the autumn, my favourite small tree.

Thank you to Christina at My Hesperides Garden for hosting this monthly meme which encourages us to look more closely at the foliage in the garden, do pay her a visit and see lots of interesting foliage.




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Playing truant!

We escaped for the day, one day last week, the weather was wonderful, hot and sunny, we decided to make the most of it and headed up the M5 motorway and the Devon link road to Knightshayes Court, a  house built in 1896 by John Heathcote Amory who was the then MP for Tiverton Devon.  The interior was designed by John Burgess, although there was a falling out with the family. During the second World War, the house was used as a convalescent home for the US  8th Air Force,  then taken over by the National Trust in 1973.

Knightshayes Court is famous for its woodland garden, which is huge, it makes my woodland garden look so tiny! Before reaching the woodland garden there were the terraces to enjoy and the formal garden. If you would like to join me on my walk through the garden, make yourself a coffee and come with me, we might be some time!

Knightshayes Court . Tulips on the terrace


This beautiful Chaenomeles put mine to shame, it was heaving with buzzing bees, but I couldn’t help wonder if theirs had been flowering non stop since November!

Formal garden

Before reaching the woodland garden, there is the formal garden and I always think this space is so beautiful, understated simplicity, an area of calm before the colourful flowers nearby in other areas.


The terraces were filled with very colourful flowers, including this beautiful Gentian.


Dwarf tulip

There were quite a few special gems in the terrace border, like this tiny little tulip. I think I must order some for the scree as it would be an ideal place for them.

Fritillaria meleagris

At last we arrived at the woodland garden and look what was the first flower to greet me!

Snakeshead fritillaries

The white fritillaries show up much better in the grass than the purple ones, but I was amazed how small they all were. Obviously on a slope they would have good drainage whereas mine are sitting in damp ground all year round, no wonder mine are so huge.

Cyclamen repandum

Cyclamen repandum amongst wood anemones, you will be seeing rather a lot of these.

Cyclamen repandum

Bluebells, Hyacinthoides non scripta

It’s bluebell time once more!


There are some really huge Magnolia trees here but unfortunately they had finished flowering, I had to make do with the newer, smaller ones.


More cyclamen repandum


Yes, on my wish list for this autumn, Trillium.


An Acer looking as colourful as an Azalea, who needs flowers with leaves like this!

Willow sculpture

One of a few willow sculptures we found.


Erythroniums, possibly Pagoda.

Woodland flowers


Pink Erythronium, I don’t think this is the variety Knighthays Pink which I have here, mine is paler than this. These don’t look too happy in the hot sunshine.

Willow badger

I don’t think any of us would want a badger this size in our gardens, it was about 10ft long!

Woodland flowers

Woodland garden



Woodland flowers

The little Claytonia that I have here, is keeping company with Cyclamen repandum.


Another Erythronium, this time a white one, maybe E. White Beauty. I think these flowers look a lot happier in the shade than the previous pink ones  in the sunshine.


White Trillium

White trillium with just a touch of burgundy at the base of the petals, very nice, must add it to the wish list!


This Trillium was beautiful, such a deep burgundy colour.

Knightshayes woodland garden

And more Trillium!



Narcissus on the front lawn

Wending our way back to the house now, there were lovely patches of narcissus on the lawn.

Willow deer

Willow deer on the front lawn.


“They” always say never to photograph flowers in the heat of the mid-day sun, now I know why, the colour is bleached out, the tulips were a much deeper shade than they look here.

Little and large tulips

Little and large tulips in a pot on the terrace.

That is the end of our tour round the gardens at Knightshayes Court. We then went for a super lunch at an old coaching inn which had a Michelin Star Restaurant and what a fantastic lunch it was, absolutely wonderful! The undergardener had also found a nursery on the map, bless him, so that is where we went after lunch and yes,

New plants

…….a few plants jumped into the trolley before I could stop them! They include a pulmonaria, hakonechloa and woodland phlox for the woodland, a few salvias for the border by the field and a couple of dwarf iris for the alpine scree. We had a really fantastic day out and I think playing truant now and again should be compulsory!

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Fritillary Fest!

In response to some of you lovely people saying that they would like to see more photos of the fritillaries in the woodland, here are a few that have been taken at different times over the last week. The first ones show that I must have let my guard down a few times as there are big chunks taken out of the flowers, I’m sure we know who is to blame!

Damaged fritillary

Damaged fritillary

Damaged fritillary

I think that’s enough of damaged flowers. All the damaged ones are right by the path, the rest haven’t been touched, thank goodness. The pheasant must have been in the woodland while I was out one afternoon, I can’t stand guard all the time!

Fritillary and cowslip

With sprinkling the seed around, we are getting all shades of purples, some very pale like this one, some all white.



The cowslips like the same sort of conditions, nice damp soil. I never thought the heavy clay soil would turn out to be such a bonus, this proves that there are plants for every type of soil, it’s just a question of finding them!

Cowslips and fritillaries



I think I’ll plant some cowslips around this side too as I prefer it when there is a contrast to the purple of the fritillaries.



The sun shining through the petals makes the chequered pattern show up more than normal.


I’ll also save seed from the cowslips this year to increase the numbers in the garden as Mr P has been nipping these flowers off too!


I can extend the area that these plants are in, at the moment it is relatively small, just about 8ft x 10ft, but I could almost double that. Then I can start some new ones off on the other side of the path where a few have already put themselves, although it will be at least a couple of years before they start flowering.  I do like it when I can just give nature a helping hand, sprinkle a lot more seed then sit back and wait and see what happens!

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April Flowers for GBBD.

More and more flowers are opening each day, making the garden very springlike. The weather has been beautiful since Easter, but last weekend was a lot colder, still sunny but colder. Because of the warmer weather, daffodils have been going over quite quickly, but more buds are opening each day extending the season.

St Patrick's Day

Narcissus St. Patrick’s Day was late again, I think he has only been flowering on time once since I bought the bulbs about 10 years ago, it was well into April before the flowers opened.

Narcissus Geranium

Narcissus Geranium shows up well in the border.

Tete a Tete

Narcissus Tete a Tete are on their last legs now, they made a lovely splash of yellow all round the garden.

Narcissus Thalia

Just opening this last week is Narcissus Thalia, a really lovely white Narcissus which I have spread about the garden turning the garden back to white.

N. Sailboat

Also just opening is N. Sailboat which is fairly new to the garden and I think will soon become a firm favourite.

Caltha palustris

Caltha palustris is a large Marsh Marigold planted at the back of the pond. The leaves will end up quite huge after they have stopped flowering, it needs plenty of space.

Primula denticulata

Primula denticulata is the first primula to start flowering in the bog garden. This area is only just waking up, all the candelabra primulas are now showing their leaves, hopefully by next GBBDay I will have a lot more primulas to show you. This clump look as though it needs splitting, another job on the “to do” list!

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica are seeding about happily on the alpine scree, they are increasing year on year.

Miniature narcissus

Also on the scree are a couple of tiny flowered narcissus, such dainty little flowers with rather a lot of leaf!  I think this one is N. Minnow.

N. Division 3, small cupped

This lovely tiny flower is found in Narcissus Division 3, small cupped, but I can’t find its name, so pretty though!

Iris japonica

Iris japonica has such beautiful little flowers, they are much smaller than in the photo. I just wish the foliage wasn’t so messy!

Bergenia Beethoven

Bergenia Beethoven is by the front door, there are quite a few clumps and I’m thinking that some of them could come into the woodland in the autumn.

Cherry tree

Blossom time has arrived in the front garden, the cherry tree has lots of double flowers.

Cherry tree

Lots of bees were making the most of the sunshine, buzzing around all the blossom.


The Berberis by the garage is attracting lots of bees.


Yes, still flowering by the back door is the Chaenomeles which I’ve been showing since November. I think it is almost finished now, but non stop flowering for 6 months is pretty good in my book!

Viburnum Dawn

The same goes for Viburnum Dawn by the field at the side.


And the same goes for the Camellia in the side corner, this still has lots of buds waiting to open. I’ve never known the last 3 shrubs to flower so well all through the winter, we had plenty of frosty nights but never a severe frost, so the blossom wasn’t affected, they deserve a rest now!

Exochorda macrantha The Bride

Exochorda macrantha The Bride is between the pond and the pergola making a nice splash of white at this time of year.

Euphorbia melliferra

Euphorbia melliferra has started to pump out its wonderful honeyed perfume in the back garden. With the wind in the right direction this can travel 200ft+.

Euphorbia melliferra

The flowers are a bit strange and I’ve noticed that it is pollinated by flies and not by bees, I wonder why when it has such a super perfume. It must like life here with us as I pot up seedlings all the time to give away at plant sales. It is more shrub like than other euphorbia and can grow to 5 ft x 6 ft, it is evergreen so has a good presence all year round.

Ranunculus Brazen Hussy

Ranunculus Brazen Hussy seeds about like the wild celandine, but more is allowed to stay in the garden. The yellow flowers contrast beautifully with the chocolate coloured leaves!

Erythronium Knightshayes Pink

Opening just too late to be included in my post about the woodland ephemerals, is Erythronium Knightshayes Pink, named after one of our local National Trust Houses.

Erythroneum White Beauty

Also just opening is Erythronium White Beauty, this is almost hidden under a Rhododendron so I must move it when it finishes flowering, then it will save me having to get down on my knees to photograph it!

Erythronium Pagoda

Erythronium Pagoda is increasing nicely, this one is at the top of the bank to the ditch, I could maybe find a better place for it as other plants around it have grown so much.

Camellia Juries Yellow

Camellia Jury’s Yellow is covered in beautiful flowers at the moment. This shrub is in the woodland, there are a few more camellias there but none of the others are flowering yet.

Muscari Valerie Finnis

Muscari Valerie Finnis is on the alpine scree and is increasing nicely, more lovely pale spikes emerge each year, it isn’t seeding around but must be increasing by making new bulbs.


I must sow some more seed from my cowslips if the pheasant is going to take his share of the flowers! Imagine a cowslip with bright red flowers, I had one a few years ago and moved it to a bed far away from the wild ones. The other day I found it was almost flowering, I thought just one more day, then I would photograph it. I went to photograph it for this post and what did I find, the flower had been picked and tossed aside!!!

Japanese Azalea

My Japanese Azalea is gearing up ready to flower, there are so many buds, I think the foliage will be almost invisible when they are all out.

Tulipa sylvestris

The Tulipa sylvestris flowers are now standing straight up in the woodland and the flowers are opening in the sunshine.

Long view woodland

Having just written a post about all the woodland ephemerals, I will end with just a couple of long shots of the woodland, rather than go through them all again.

Long view - woodland.

I’m not going to mention the purple flowers in the left foreground as my next post will be all about them!

Long view back garden

Yesterday was a misty moisty morning, we had to wait a while for the sun to burn the mist away. The rest of the garden is now waking up, up till now the emphasis has been on the woodland, but the bog garden and the front border will be the next areas to flaunt their flowers along with the above, the alpine scree and the border round it in the back garden.

Border behind alpine scree

A splash of white from Narcissus Thalia brings the border at the back to life once more. These will be followed by lots more bulbs, mainly alliums, which stand to attention like exclamation marks!

Scree and rock border

Looking from the back through to the side garden, the alpine scree is where the variegated Yucca is. This used to be the pond before we relocated all the plants and amphibians to a natural pond at the top of the garden.

Thanks must go to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for holding this meme each month, do pay her a visit to see flowers from around the world.


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Woodland ephemerals.

When we bought this house 25 years ago, I had no idea how important the little bit of woodland would become to me as I made a garden here. To start with we had the ancient trees with lots of brambles and nettles, bit by bit I managed to reclaim the woodland floor and as the years went by, more and more bulbs and spring flowers were added. I was aiming for a tapestry of flowers and leaves that would cover the soil and make it more interesting as the months of the year went by. Little spring ephemerals are plants that creep around on the woodland floor, flowers that come and go, they grow, flower and set seed before the leaves come onto the oaks, ash and chestnuts and make the woodland too dark for flowers to shine.

Anemone sylvestris

I think one of the first plants I bought was Anemone sylvestris, the wood anemone. This is now spreading nicely among the snowdrops in the leaf mouldy soil that I have built up over the years. You would think that after a couple of hundred years of leaves falling in the woodland that the soil would have been beautiful, but no, the same heavy clay as in the rest of the garden. I don’t know if the previous people had used the soil from here in the couple of beds that they made in the rest of the garden, but I spread leaf mould as a mulch every year and the soil is becoming nice and friable now.

Cyclamen repandum

Cyclamen repandum is a fairly recent introduction, the ants are spreading the seeds of this the same as C. coum and  C.hederifolium. They have beautifully patterned leaves creating interest when the flowers are over.

Euphorbia robbiae

Euphorbia robbiae is on the banks to the ditch, I’m just so pleased that something will grow in the soil which is full of tree roots, yes it spreads, but so far is quite well behaved.


The wild primrose is very much at home in the woodland, this plant has now been completely stripped of all its flowers, like a lot more of them in the garden, thanks to Mr P! I have managed to save my fritillaries but  at the cost of lots of my primroses!


A tiny Veronica is happy amongst the ivy which I should really pull out.

Pulmonaria longifolia

Pulmonaria longifolia needs rescuing from the campanula before it gets strangled! The leaves are long and thin and the flowers a beautiful blue.

Forget me not

Forget me nots, Myosotis, are now spreading nicely and filling any gaps in the planting.


Pachyphragma is at the far end of the woodland on the slope, in previous years it has spread quite a way, but this year the patch is much smaller, I wonder why?


Claytonia is a tiny little creeping plant, but it never seems to come up in the same place twice! Little pink/white flowers are so pretty, this year they are edging the woodland path, the leaf is nice and shiny too.


The wild celandine is ruthlessly weeded out in the garden but a few are allowed to remain in the woodland where the flowers twinkle against the dark ivy leaves.


Erythronium Pagoda is looking beautiful at the moment. I always say, don’t go on holiday at this time of year or you will miss it! The flowers are over very quickly, but they are so beautiful, just like miniature lilies.

Anemone sylvestris William Robinson

Anemone William Robinson is a blue form of the woodland anemone and is gently increasing amongst the snowdrops.


Honesty which I grew from seed, has come up in white and lilac, which was a very pleasant surprise as I thought they would all be lilac.

Tulip sylvestris

Tulip sylvestris, a species tulip, which I thought had to be a woodland flower with “sylvestris” in it’s name, apparently not, it will grow in the sun, but mine seem happy here. They start out with their heads bent over but straighten eventually. They also send out long runners underground and you find the odd tulip about 6 ft away, they are all welcome!

Maidenhair fern

Adiantum venustum, the hardy maidenhair fern, is a fern which creeps about on the woodland floor, looking so delicate in the sunshine. All the new growth is coming through in a pinky brown colour, they will all soon turn green and make  a weed suppressing mat for the rest of the year.

Anemone blanda

Oh no, Mr P is attacking my tiny Anemone blanda! It seems nothing is safe from his great big beak!

Pink violet

As well as the usual wild violets, we seem to have aquired a pink one and…

Pale blue violet

…….a pale blue one. I don’t mind the nibbles on the leaves as once I found that violets were the larval food for the Orange Tip butterfly, they are welcome to eat them!

Viola labradorica

I have planted Viola labradorica in the woodland and it is spreading it’s seed about, the pale green foliage in front is from Meconopsis cambrica, the yellow Welsh poppy which will be flowering soon, adding more yellow to the woodland and other borders.

Corydalis solida

Corydalis solida is on the side of the ditch with its lilac coloured flowers……

Corydalis solida seedlings

……but these are the seedlings from it. The one on the left has come true, the one on the right looks like C. Beth Evans and the one in the centre could be like C. George Baker. These seedlings will be potted up for putting elsewhere in the woodland in the autumn.

The main period for flowers in the woodland are Jan/Feb/March/April for snowdrops, crocus, hellebores and narcissus, then March/April for the fritillaries, soon there will be foxgloves flowering, but all the while there are tiny little flowers flowering in between the main flowers adding extra interest right down at floor level before it becomes too dark. Reading Beth Chatto’s books “The Green Tapestry” and “The Woodland Garden” has been such a help in deciding which little treasures would be happy on the woodland floor.

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Easter Monday sunshine.

The sunshine on Easter Monday tempted us out to our first garden visit of the year. Having looked at the National Garden Scheme website for Devon, we soon found a garden the other side of Exeter which appealed with Magnolias, Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas in bloom.

Haldon Grange

A bit of history about the place. Originally Haldon House was built in 1735 by Sir George Chudleigh,  it was built in the style of Buckingham House in St. James’ Park -now Buckingham Palace – and had 36 bedrooms. The grounds were designed by Lancelot Capability Brown.

Haldon Grange

After a lot of family misfortune, the house was put up for sale but due to the lack of a buyer, most of the house was demolished in 1925. The north wing survived and is now the Lord Haldon Hotel.

Haldon Grange camellia

The pleasure garden of the old Haldon House is now where the present Haldon Grange was built and the gardens are open each spring for the National Garden Scheme -the Yellow Book.

Haldon Grange

The garden is laid out on the side of a sheltered valley, a bit uneven under foot, but we managed to walk round most of it. There was colour everywhere from all the shrubs and trees, a feast for the eyes at every corner.

Haldon Grange

The weather was perfect, brilliant sunshine and a bright blue sky, no coats were needed, the birds were singing and bees and butterflies were everywhere. We kept seeing a yellow Brimstone butterfly, was it 4 or 5 different ones or was it the same one each time?!

Camellia at Haldon Grange

Some of the camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons were such huge shrubs, almost trees.

Lakeside at Haldon Grange

The lakeside was fed by a stream with numerous pools, tumbling down the hillside. The Gunnera are just beginning to start their growth where they will form huge umbrella like leaves.

Fritillaria at Haldon Grange

When I saw the sign with an arrow pointing to Fritillaries I’m sure you would understand that I got quite excited, but they were all white – do they get rid of any with purple flowers?

Fritillaries at Haldon Grange

I only saw about 5 purple fritillaries, so was a little disappointed. I know if buying the bulbs, the white ones cost quite a bit more than the purple ones, but I think the two colours look so nice together, also you can see the chequered pattern on the purple ones but it doesn’t show up on the white ones. By scattering my seed, I get a few white ones in amongst the purple, so that keeps me happy.

Haldon Grange

The present day Haldon Grange has a wonderful setting, benefitting from the wonderful garden that was left after the original house was demolished.

Magnolia Haldon  Grange

Seeing so many gorgeous Magnolias has made me determined to squeeze one in here somewhere. Having so many huge trees here, it will be a problem where to put one, but I’m sure I can find a spot somewhere.

Haldon Grange memorial

We had a lovely cup of tea at the side of the lily pond, but no cake because we had a super piece of Easter cake before we left and had no room for more! The memorial remembers the members of staff who went off to the First World War and unfortunately didn’t return.

We had a wonderful afternoon out in glorious sunshine – it was perfect!

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Temptation was too great!

Looking at all the snakeshead fritillaries which are opening each day in the woodland, I couldn’t hold back any more, the temptation to photograph them was too strong!

Fritillaria meleagris

To start with there was just a couple,

Snakeshead fritillaries

…then a few more.

snakeshead fritillaries

Each day more and more are opening.

Snakeshead fritillaries

Lots more purple ones coming from the seeds that I have sprinkled over the years.

Fritillaria meleagris

This clump of  Leucojum aestivum beside the fritillaries is amazing, twice as tall as the rest of them in the woodland, they are at least 4 ft tall and have so many flowers along each stem. This part of the woodland is in a dip so the soil always stays damp, the plants here certainly love the conditions.


A couple of white ones have popped up among the purple…

Snakeshead fritillaries

There is a clump of flowers that can’t decide what colour they are – part white and part purple.

Snakeshead fritillaries

But this is the first year that I have had one with two flowers on one stem,

Fritillaria meleagris

Do you think if I save seeds from this one, its offspring will come up double headed?

Double Fritillary

I’ve just found another so maybe they’re not so different after all!


A couple have jumped over the path in the woodland, I seem to recall that seed was blown everywhere one year, there was so much wind when I was sprinkling it. I’ll try sowing more here and maybe we can start off a drift this side too.

Fritillaria meleagris

So far I have managed to keep my fritillaries “pheasant free”, I can’t see that he has managed to bite or chew any of the flowers, I think he has changed to primroses instead! I will finish with a view from the end of the woodland, I do love my woodland garden at this time of year.  I wish you all a very Happy Easter and hope that you and your garden have a wonderful time together!

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