Monday, 30 April 2012

Welcome back Mr. Sunshine

Ed and Alf
At last the rain has stopped and the sky is a clear blue - the sheep have ventured out from the sheds and all is well with the world, for now anyway.

7.30 p.m.
The sky last night was spectacular - half of it was pitch black, the other half just brightening as the rain cleared.

The blossom from the cherry tree is scattered all over the lawn

and the tulips are looking a bit bedraggled and folorn - but at least it has stopped raining and we have a bit of respite from the battering we have taken over the last few days.  Hello Mr. Sunshine - it's nice to see you again - welcome back!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

It Never Rains But It Pours!

This Polemonium is the latest addition to my garden.  It is a short-lived perennial with cup shaped lilac flowers with yellow stamens.  It prefers a sunny site with well-drained soil and is fully hardy.

This photo was taken on the 22nd April which was the last time we saw a little sun.  Since then it has rained solidly every day non-stop.

I went to check up on my sheep this morning, the rain still lashing down - the field is a complete swamp, the sheeps' feet sinking inches down into the mud.  They have sheds in which to shelter - when they heard me coming in through the gate -they dashed out from their sheds, ate the food I put down for them - and dashed back in.

I feel sorry for all those little lambs out in the fields, snuggling up to their mothers - soaked to the skin.  The horses are all trying to shelter in the hedgerows, backs to the rain - looking miserable.

Not the best April we have ever had!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

End of the Month - April Round-up

April has been pretty disastrous as far as gardening is concerned.  Okay I admit we needed rain and the garden has benefitted from it and I am sure the rivers and reservoirs have filled up nicely, but to be able to get out and do some gardening, has been nigh on impossible.  Especially for a fair-weather gardener like me.  So everything is at the holding stage at the moment, and if needs be, I will just keep potting on till the ground has warmed up a little and dried out sufficiently.  It is all very frustrating.  I have done a slideshow to show how everything is progressing.

Are you braving the weather and managing to get out and do a bit?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

When is a Shrub not a Shrub

I have an area in the garden that I refer to as a shrubbery. In my mind, shrubs are the backbone of the garden.  They give height to the borders - something to plant against and inbetween.  An all year round display of foliage, flowers and branches.  But I got to thinking - what is the difference between a shrub and a bush?  The definition of a bush is a group of small trees, small enough to touch the soil - while a shrub is a bit taller than a bush!!!

Another definition is a little woody plant, similar to a tree, but smaller. 

Berberis Shrub
 Bushes are almost always seen in the wild, whilst a shrub is pruned and taken care of.

Mahonia shrub
 Most often shrubs have denser undergrowth and may have many stems coming out from its base.  A bush is a thicket of small trees.

Generally bush is the technical name for a shrub.  All these definitions of the difference between shrub and bush are conflicting in my eyes - isn't it the case that they are exactly the same but for domestic gardens we call them shrubs.  But then again, we wouldn't call a Lilac a shrub - we say, Lilac bush, Rose bush  and Butterfly Bush. Confused !- so am I.

Lilac Bush
The Berberis and Mahonia are in full flower in the garden at the moment, the Lilac is not far off.
What shrubs/bushes are flowering in your garden ?

Friday, 20 April 2012

An Abundance of Green

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The best rain of course is a cozy rain.  The rain that falls on a day when you'd just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters or read a book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency.
Susan Allen Toth

The Rosebank garden after week long rain

 Dear Beautiful Spring Weather,
I miss you.
Was it something I said?
Kim Corbin

Rain soaked tulips - looking like dying swans
The sky was dark and gloomy,
the air was damp and raw,
the streets were wet and sloppy
Charles Dickens

After all the rain we have been experiencing over the past week or so - everything has grown considerably.  The only colour I can see is green.  Except for the bulbs and pansies, the garden at the moment is just fresh green foliage.
This is on the shadier side of the garden where the odd primula is still in flower, and at the back of the border, the Clematis Alpina is flowering
This is only its second year and it has really put on a lot of growth and looks lovely without any help from me at all.
Under the apple the Aquilegias and Sweet Rocket are burgeoning and I am hopeful for a great display in a few weeks.

The Chives in the raised bed, which I split and re-planted are doing well around the edges, together with the Garlic and California Poppies.

And the ground cover Strawberries have put on a lot of new leaf growth and are looking very healthy.  So although it has been depressing being stuck indoors not able to do anything - the garden seems to be doing its own thing quite nicely.

The good rain,
like the bad preacher,
does not know when to leave off.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Rain scatters plum petals
Weeping stains the earth
One can only take shelter
And wait for clearing
Deng Ming Dao

Friday, 13 April 2012

Scrambling About Under Hedges

Why is it that the worst of the weeds grow under the hedges and places where you can't reach them easily?  I hate getting on my knees trying to reach them with the shrubs tangling in my hair and ripping at my coat.  The wet weather has helped the garden but also has caused a profusion of 'goosegrass' as well,  all happily growing in inaccessible places.  There's me trying not to step on the little seedlings that have set themselves about, carefully tiptoeing inbetween my precious plants, whilst the 'goosegrass' is waving its sticky arms in the air going 'na na ne na na', you can't catch me!

A lonely branch seemingly not attached to anything
Whilst going through this performance I noticed some white blossom that was nowhere near the damson tree which is in the same border. The branch was stuck out on its own seemingly not attached to anything.  Further investigation was needed.
And what did I find?  Right in the middle of the Mock Orange shrub there were two suckers from the Damson - straight as a ramrod - and about 7ft. high with branches going straight up full of blossom.

Two damson suckers in the middle of the Mock Orange shrub

This must be the first year it has bloomed, 'cos I swear it wasn't there before.  I am not sure what to do about it - it is right in the middle of the shrub, well in fact, there are two suckers very close together.  Do I leave it alone or chop it down possibly causing damage to the Orange Blossom shrub as it is so close ?  Because the branches are so high and straight I would never be able to reach the fruit anyway.  I hate the thought of destroying something which is so healthy-looking.  Do you reckon it would hurt to leave it to grow?  You can bet that if I chopped them down a whole new load of suckers would emerge in their place.

Ramrod straight branches heading for the sky
That is the only problem with the plum family- they do tend to throw suckers out wherever they please . Now I'm in a quandary - what would you do?

On a happier note - here are one or two of the latest batch of tulips to show their pretty faces
Tulipa Tarda

The patio apple tree is just starting to blossom

And a double tulip that has plonked itself in the apple tree container

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

What's Happening in the Rosebank Garden

On the Friday before Easter we had a fine day, the only one for the whole of the break - I took a few photos of what was happening in my garden on that day.  Since then I have been sowing seed in the greenhouse as it was too wet to do any gardening.  So I suppose all was not lost.  I think I am going to have to get all my seed packets out again to make sure I haven't overlooked anything.  I wish I was more organized.  I seem to fumble through the seed-sowing process every year, starting off with a plan - then letting me enthusiasm overcome it - and ending up not sure what I have done and what needs to be done.

Today has been beautiful - lots of sunshine - but there is no warmth in it just a chilly breeze, but at least it's not raining - so that's something.

The chives have put a spurt of growth on after all the rain - I have chives all over the garden used as edging - they are easily dug up and split and re-root very easily.
I love the shiney bronze new foliage on the rose trees

and the fresh new growth on the raspberry canes

the Dicentra is just coming into bud

and this shrub which I can't remember the name of - Bridal something - does anyone out there know what it is called

and finally the wonderful Wallflowers are just starting to show their colours - isn't Spring grand.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Happy Easter

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via pinterest
Hoping that everyone has a rewarding and restful Easter break - I intend to get out in the garden as much as the weather will allow - still lots of tasks to get through in readiness for the growing season. 

Happy gardening!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sweet Violets

Vioa Odorata
I have little patches of Sweet Violets all over the garden.  Where did they come from?  No one knows.  They just arrive and spread.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. - Mark Twain

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via pinterest
The splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.  If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loeliness. - Therese of Lisieux

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via pinterest
Each violet peeps from its dwelling to gaze at the bright start above - Heinrich Heine
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via pinterest

A violet by a mossy stone
Half-hidden from the eye
Fair as a star - when only one
Is shining in the sky