Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all!

Christmas basket

One of my lovely groups gave me this really pretty basket – thank you, guys, it was much appreciated.  And don’t worry – it doesn’t live outside! Photograph, flat surface, good light, no shadow, you know the thing…  It’s doing well.  And, at the back here, the Spathyphyllum wallisii ‘Bellini’ is putting up loads of new green-tipped white spathes.

Thanks again!

See you in the new term.


Six on Saturday

At least it isn’t raining!  Perhaps that’s why I have a wonderful crop of pictures from the gardening groups for this Six on Saturday.

1  Wreaths

Glynis's Hydrangea wreath 1.jpg

This is the first wreath of hydrangea heads made by our super-artistic gardener.  Brilliant!

Glynis's cemetery wreath A

And here, from the same gardener, a gorgeous home-made wreath to take to the cemetery.

2  Cakes!

Just to show that the gardening groups are multi-talented folk, just look at these Christmas cakes!  Yum

Glynis's cake 1a


Glynis's cake 2a

3  Hangers-on

I was checking out these late-hanging apples – they don’t usually stay on the tree as late as this – when I saw a different sort of hanger-on.  A cheeky blackbird!  Now, why did he want to wrestle with a fruit still on the tree, when there are still many, many on the ground around the other trees?

Cheeky blackbird

4  Bulbs

These are Dutch Iris ‘Blue Magic’, only planted at the end of September.  They’re certainly getting a move on.  The white label in the centre is held in place by a ground staple, my new go-to kit to stop cheeky blackbirds from tossing the labels around.

Dutch iris Blue Magic in December

5  Rose ‘Lichfield Angel’

The rabbits have started destroying my new David Austin roses again, so they’ve all been caged again (the roses, not the rabbits which would at least be good for rabbit stew).  Some of them, the unrabbited ones, are still full of buds.  This is pale peachy pink ‘Lichfield Angel’, still with a hint of fragrance.  In summer, it’s much paler than this – almost creamy white.

Rose Lichfield Angel

6  More from Chatsworth House

Here are a couple more images from Christmas at Chatsworth.  The theme this year is travel and faraway lands.

Glynis's Chatsworth 1b

This room is Spain.

Glynis's Chatsworth 2b

This room is Japan.

Thanks for sending in the images – keep them coming!

If you want to take part in Six on Saturday, go to the guy who initiated this idea:



Looking Forward

When I set up this blog, it was for a number of reasons.  I tutor two gardening groups, and most of us, it has to be said, aren’t as young as we used to be.  And some of us aren’t as au fait with technology as we might be.  That includes me, because most of the time I’m hanging on by my fingernails.  Still, most of us (except me), have these phone thingies that do everything except make your toast in the morning, and will certainly take photographs.

Taking photographs of gardens, and things in the garden, gives you a different perspective, and I hoped that was one thing that would happen, if group members started taking photos for the blog.  I also hoped that it would introduce people to the online communities of other gardeners, as well as helping members explore parts of their technology that they hadn’t so far reached.

Today’s entry is a celebration of that last part.

The member who has sent me today’s images loves photography, but has struggled to reduce the file size to make pictures more e-mailable.  We’ve cracked that (thanks to Windows Paint – the old version, not the 3D one, which seems to me to have no redeeming features), so here are some of his images.

They are a retrospective of a garden visit in the Spring of this year, and, as we come up to the Winter Solstice, a foretaste of what waits for us on the other side.

The pictures are from Caerhays, with wonderful, informal woodland gardens.  The gardens were begun by JC Williams, who sponsored Ernest Wilson and George Forrest on their plant hunting expeditions to China.  It has wonderful collections, including a National Collection of Magnolias.

Hugh's camelliaCamellia

Hugh's Magnolia 2Magnolia

Hugh's MagnoliaMagnolia

Hugh's rhododendronRhododendron

Hugh's tulip.jpgTulip

Hugh's narcissus BerlinNarcissus ‘Berlin’

At least I can identify the Narcissus with some confidence, since I’ve got it myself, and it’s very distinctive!

So, in the deepest, darkest depths of winter, we’ve got these spring beauties to look forward to.

A Retrospective

We need to be cheered up.  The weather has been appalling recently.  This part of the world has flooded.  There was a point when we thought that the only place with more water than us was Venice (and they’ve had a bad time, too.

For the 47-day period from 22 September to 7 November, we had half our average annual rainfall.  Eat your heart out, Noah.

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been on the wrong side of the jet stream again, and the temperature has plummeted to January averages.  And it’s still raining and foggy and dank.

So, we definitely need cheering up.  One of our gardeners has sent me some images from his holiday in September and October, which included garden visits.  Let’s have a look at those.

Rob's Hutton in the Forest Penrith Lobelia A.jpg

This is Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith, Cumbria.  Those lovely red lobelias give a whole new meaning to the idea of container growing.

Rob's Ballyrobert Garden Rudbeckia A.jpg

Next stop was Ballyrobert Gardens in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, with this colourful display of Rudbeckia.


Rob's Palm House Belfast Botanic Garden A.jpg

Then, the Belfast Botanic Garden.  This is the Palm House, with a lovely display of Aechmea fasciata – and it looks like more Rudbeckia outside.

Rob's Mount Stewart Giant Bolivian Salvia Salvia dombeyi A.jpg

This gorgeous Salvia is in the Mount Stewart Gardens, and it’s Salvia dombeyi, The Giant Bolivian Slavia.

Rob's Chelsea Physic Garden Euonymus alatus A.jpg

And it’s back across the Irish Sea and onto London for the Chelsea Physic Garden, putting on its autumn party frock.

Rob's gladioli A.jpg

This was home before the holiday, with gladioli and agapanthus.

Rob's seasonal dahlias A.jpg

And with those autumn stars, Dahlias.

Thanks to our group member who has really brought a bit of warmth and colour into this awful grey day.

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