Safely Home

A member of one of our groups returned a few days ago from the ends of the Earth – literally, and just in time before the international gates started clanging shut.  So, to remind us that there still are some exotic lands out there, here are some of her images.  These are from Kuala Lumpur.

This is the hotel lobby.

Glynis's Kuala Lumpur hotel lobby orange trees A

A little welcoming treat in the room – dragon fruit

Glynis's Kuala Lumpur hotel room dragon fruit A

Here’s the hotel

Glynis's Kuala Lumpur hotel A

Beautiful building, part of the Museum of Islamic Art

Glynis's Kuala Lumpur A

And a mystery plant!  Does anyone know what this is?

Glynis's mystery A

Thanks for sharing these…

The Primrose Path

Primroses could be said to have a dual personality.  They are beautiful harbingers of Spring, and yet they are also symbols of sinful pleasure.  Shakespeare told us all about it in Macbeth, and also in Hamlet.


I shall the effect of this good lesson keep, as watchman to my heart.  But, good my brother, Do not, as some ungrateful pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven; Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own rede.

It was the favourite flower of statesman and prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, and the anniversary of his death in 1881 is marked by Primrose Day, April 19th.

So, let’s dare to tread the primrose path, and look at some lovely pictures sent to me by a group member.

And here’s an invitation.  Let’s have a Primrose Day on 19th April 2020.

Hugh 's double primula from Hayloft A


Hugh 's red primula A


Hugh's double primula from Hayloft 2 A

This one looks like a Jack-in-the-Green, which has a ruff of small green leaves immediately beneath the flower.


Tuesday Treats – what a difference a week makes.

So, the Government has announced that we’re all to be locked up.  No-one is arguing that decision – no-one in their right mind, that is – but in the first week of spring, it’s pretty depressing.  My gardening groups have been denied their last week of term, and we may well not meet again face-to-face until the autumn.

So, let’s have a treat – thank goodness for gardens!

One of our members sent me some images, and a week later, sent some more of the same plant.  Let’s take a look.

Here’s Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’, last week.

Glynis's Apple Blossom Clematis armandii 15 March A

And again, from last week:

Glynis's Clematis armandii Apple Blossom 15 March A

Definitely looking lovely.

But, a week later, despite frosts and biting winds:

Glynis Clematis armandii Apple Blossom A

And again:

Glynis Apple Blossom Clematis armandii A

What a wonderful thing Spring is!

And another note of Spring:

Glynis's camellia A

There are lots of things to enjoy during our incarceration…

Six on Saturday

You could be forgiven for thinking that Spring has Sprung, looking at the weather today.  Even this far north, we’re promised temperatures of around 15C.  So, let’s see what the gardening groups have come up with – I think it’s a lovely little haul of images.

1   AlnmouthGlynis's driftwood on Alnmouth beach A

This gardener had a brief break away – and look at this super piece of driftwood washed up on Alnmouth beach.

2  Ready for Spring

Glynis's Plastic labels from contact lens fluid bottle A

A bit of recycling here – these labels have been made from the bottles containing contact lens fluid.

3  It isn’t Spring without snowdrops

Glynis's Sam Arnott snowdrops 2 AGlynis's Sam Arnott snowdrops A

And while cutting up those bottles, here was something nice to look at – lovely snowdrops.  At the top, Sam Arnott bulking up nicely from  a few newly planted bulbs.

4  More signs of Spring

It’s so nice to see plants that are harbingers of Spring, and here are a few from another gardener, taken just this week.

Julie's double hellebore A

Julie's Hebe A

Julie's Helleborus niger AJulie's Primula AJulie's viola A

5   On holiday again!

One of our gardeners has just come back from a well-earned break in Madeira, and here are some images.

Rob's Bougainvillea in Madeira A

Bougainvillea outside the hotel

Rob's Cycad from Monte Place gardens Madeira A

A cycad in the Monte Palace Gardens, Madeira.

Rob's cymbidiums from Monte Place Madeira A

Cymbidiums in the Monte Palace Gardens, Madeira.

Rob's Pyrostegia venusta - probably A

We think this is Pyrostegia venusta, the orange trumpet vine.  It’s definitely singing its own praises!

6  Spring isn’t just for people

Julie's Miguel A 2Julie's Paco A

Bandits by name and bandits by nature, these two pretty kittens are at the stage where the favourite game is to see how fast they can get round the room without touching the floor.  Perhaps they can now work off their excess energy in the garden!

Thanks to the contributors for sharing!

If you, too want to join in with Six on Saturday, go here for instructions – or guidelines, really:




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.