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January 2012
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March 2012

February 2012

Winter flowers, - are they important?

Even though the temperature got above freezing today, - Spring is still a little way off. I know the general consensus at school pickup today was "glad you were out there today, and not me"

But even if you don't get out in your garden much at this time of year, it's still worth having the earliest of blooms to take you from Winter into Spring, - and here's why

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That Bee was having a Ball on this Hellebore. If our bee's come out of hibernation and there's nothing to feed on, then we'll all be in trouble.

Other plants that they'll love at the moment.

Sarcococca confusa, Clematis Cirrhosa, Lonicera purpusii and Galanthus Nivalis (common snowdrops).

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RHS February plants and design show review

It's many years since I last made it to a London RHS show, - well about 7 actually, as I havn't been since William arrived, - but as this years show was happening in Half term, I decided to drag my son up to London, and bribed with the promise of a gift, (Angry birds Ipod cover if you must know) He made his first visit to the RHS halls in London.

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Some things were reassuringly familiar from when I last visited, including this Sea of Ashwood Hellebores.

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But there were more displays of grow it yourself than I remember, including a great display of potatoes from Pennards

As a seven year old, - not everything interested my son, - although he did love the displays in the design hall

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of course when we walked into the hall, I asked what he wanted to see, and he said Lillies, - I told him it was the wrong season, but sure enough, - there they were

These are some of the other things that caught his eye (taken with an ipod camera, not mine)

Williamspics

I only saw 3 other children in the Halls the whole time we were there. As it was Half term, and Children are free, I'm a bit suprised by that, Ok we didn't manage to sit still through a whole talk (about unusual fruit) and if i'd been on my own, I probably would have talked to a few more of the stall holders, rather than dashing around trying to keep up with William, but his attention was held by the different plants and displays for over an hour. His favourite plant was the dark iris, he loved the display of cacti and the tropical plants on Crug Farm Plants stall. - His only negative comment - they havn't got any books for Children, Mummy.


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2012

There's not much out in my garden this month, - 2 doses of snow since the beginning of the month should have meant that there is nothing, - but these Snowdrops go on and on

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They were completely flattened last week, and looking very floppy, but have stood back up in defiance at the February cold. I think that they are probably Galanthus Elwesii.

Also still going strong are the Cyclamen coum

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I've got several patches of these, and i'm hoping that they'll spread themselves.

There are some Hellebores coming out into flower, but they are very disappointing at the moment, unlike the beauties at the RHS plant and design show in London today, so i'm hoping that they will be looking better by next month.

If you want to see what's flowering all over the UK and the world in other garden bloggers gardens, - pop over to May Dream Gardens, - with thanks as always to Carol for rounding them all up.


Romance doesn't have to cover lots of miles

My Hubby and I have been together 20 years. The love is still there, but the Romance is often hidden under family life. We even forgot our anniversary in January. (until our friends and family reminded us with cards).

But one of the main reasons I don't get flowers on a regualar basis, is because I moan incessantly about the air miles they travel. So when this arrived on Friday I was truly grateful

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This is a bunch of UK grown flowers from Wiggly Wigglers.

I Luurve the fact that it has very few greenhouse grown blooms, and is mostly hardy shrub foliage. The best early spring foliage and hardy blooms collected together to make a great bouquet. Eucalyptus. Ferns, Skimmia, Hebe and Hypericum all make for beautiful bunch in very romantic green and reds.

Wiggly Wigglers in Hereford aren't the only ones growing cut flowers for sale in England, I also know of Ben at the Higgledy Garden (Cambridge) , Georgie at Common Farm Flowers (Somerset) and Jane from Snapdragon Garden (Loch Lomand Scotland). I've yet to find anyone in Surrey, although i'll be growing my own supplies this year, at both the Allotment and the School garden for this summer.

Please let me know if you find more UK based cut flower suppliers, - we grow so many wonderful plants for cutting in the UK, I'd love it if I could just encourage one or two more people to think twice before they pick up that bunch of roses that have been flown halfway round the globe.


Wildlife in the garden

This evening, i'm talking to my local WI group about attracting wildlife to even the smallest garden. (Smart move on their part, to have a speaker who's within walking distance for if it snows later)

We're very lucky in this part of the world to live in a semi rural area, with an abundance of wildlife. - I'm not sure how i've managed to do the school run yet this winter without running over a pheasant.

As gardeners though, I truly believe that we have a duty to make sure that our gardens are as hospitable as possible for all kinds of wildlife. Really there is an amazing synergie between gardeners and the creatures that inhabit our trees shrubs and borders.

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This Robin loved me weeding this border under a beech hedge last week. Getting rid of the bindweed and celandine meant he could get to the worms beneath, and there were plenty of empty snail shells around, so I think maybe he'd already been feasting on them.

Of course one of the best things for wildlife is also very good for us gardeners with not that much time on their hands. - Don't make things too tidy. Clearing beds and borders of debris and seed heads just a couple of times a year, and leaving a corner of the garden were things can grow wilder than normal is just fine.

Unfortunately for me, the wildlife has made too much use of the seedheads i've left in my borders, and i'll just have to show the WI ladies photos, of the sunflowers, eryngium, and other stripped bare seed treasures that the birds have found.


When Spring is a long time coming

It may be light after five o'clock now, but i've been feeling a bit bereft the last few days. - Not only has it been too frozen and snowy to do much gardening, but my beloved Mac computer gave up the ghost on me last week.

I've got a new one now, and i'm gradually moving everything across. Today i've been going through some of my thousands of photos.

Obviously looking at summer flowers and baskets of colourful fruit and vegetables could have the ability to make me even more blue, - but then I found this photo

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This was taken 2 years ago this week, and it shows my Vegetable plot looking very, - well Februaryish

The good thing is that I also found these

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taken at the beginning of July 2010

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taken the 1st week of April 2010 and

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taken the 1st week of July

and they prove that within a couple of months, I will be harvesting new season's salads, and my vegetable patch will be groaning with the weight of growing crops, rather than shivering under a layer of snow and frost.

Roll on Spring