Monday 27 April 2015

Spring frost

The gorgeous sunny days we've had recently have lulled us into a false security. Over the weekend I was tidying up the greenhouse ready for planting the tomatoes in a couple of weeks. So I dragged the big pots of potatoes outside. They looked pretty sturdy and I thought they might benefit from fresh air and maybe a drop of rain. I put out a fuchsia too.
Well, the inevitable - a frost last night zapped the potatoes, not too much, and devastated the poor fuchsia. Hopefully it will survive. It was donated by a neighbour who told me it was hardy and she always left it outside all winter.
The magnolia, which this year had escaped the usual "toasting" by spring frosts and has been glorious, definitely has a brown tinge.
However, the potatoes from the conservatory in pots just outside by the house were unaffected.
Undeterred, and with the promise of rain this evening, I planted out 50 beetroot seedlings in the "leek bed" (where we don't grow leeks anymore because of the allium leaf miner).

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Shiny red tulips

Most of the daffodils have faded and their colourful display is being replaced by tulips. We have several clumps just outside the kitchen window. When the sun is out the red tulips shine with what seems like an inner radiance. It's quite difficult to photograph them. The camera picks up the sheen as bright yellow or white, whereas the human eye just sees a plain, even-toned red. Maybe it's to attract the bees which have different colour sensitivity to humans. Plenty of bees buzzing around this morning. Some seem to have set up home in the UPVC door frame of the utility room, where the cover for the hole in the plastic for fixing is missing.

Bright red tulips with a yellow glow picked up by the camera

Red and yellow tulips outside our kitchen window

Tuesday 14 April 2015

April flowers

Over Easter and the week after the weather has been brilliant - warm sunny days with just occasional cold wind and showers. Great for the flowers and trees which are starting to blossom. Birds are singing and starting to nest - a proper Spring!

It's been so lovely I've spent a lot of time in the garden - planting potatoes and beans, sowing salad and chard, potting up primroses that have seeded in the lawn - and not much time blogging.

The snowdrops have all gone over but there are hundreds of daffodils of different colours and flower-shapes growing in the beds and the lawn (great excuse for putting off the mowing!).

Some of the spring flowers are so lovely and delicate like these Erythroniums - or dogs tooth violets - growing in our front garden. They're not violets at all. Apparently the "dogs tooth" refers to the shape of the bulb.

Eythroniums or dogs tooth violets
Erythroniums or dogs tooth violets

Also Snakes Head Fritillaries which increase every year and  whose bell-shaped flowers come in a variety of colours between deep purple and cream all with their distinctive check pattern..

Snakes head fritillaries
Snakes head fritillaries

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Garden tools and machines

Well, it's April - well into the gardening year now! Still lots of tidying up and digging over to do.
I'm not a great fan of tools and gizmos but my son and hubby reckon gardening is an excuse for getting out the toys (sorry - tools) like hedge-cutters, rotovators, lawn-mowers etc. I occasionally get slightly excited about secateurs and loppers but really enjoy digging with the old heavy spage and yanking at weeds with my bare, muddy, hands.

But if mechanisation is where you're at try this link to Garden tools and stuff from Amazon and have a look around. (I get tuppence per cent from anything you buy - so go for the really, really expensive machines!)