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Showing posts from May, 2012

Columbine - A Plant with Old-Fashioned Style

I have often thought that if heaven had given me a choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden.  No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.  Such a variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of one harvest a continued one through the year.  Under a total want of demand except for our family table, I am still devoted to the garden.  But though an old man, I am but a young gardener. - Thomas Jefferson

Each plant has its time in the garden - the Aquilegia's  (Columbine, Granny's Bonnet) time is now.  Surely this must be the quintessential cottage garden plant.

The columbines will self-seed too, often putting themselves in places that you would never have thought of yourself.  You can learn from that.  Sometimes, you m…

Seasonal Splendours - The Late Spring Garden

Before I begin this post I will just mention that it is one year since Ramblings from Rosebank was created.  I can hardly believe a year has passed and that I have written over 200 posts. Many thanks to all those who have shown interest in my garden and written such lovely comments.  I like to think I have made a few blogging friends along the way.  At times I have felt like giving up but your encouragement in the form of your comments has kept me going - here's to another year.

I have never seen such lush, verdant growth in my garden as I have this spring.  All the rain has worked wonders, and although the flowers are still a little scarce, the foliage well makes up for it.

As you can see from the photos the borders are full to the brim  and within a couple of weeks (probably whilst we are on holiday) they should be in flower.  I'd better remember to get extra batteries for the camera as I have a feeling I shall be snapping away to catch everything at its best.

Plants that n…

Summer Container Deliberations

It will soon be time to plant up the summer containers.  The spring plantings are now looking really scruffy with the tulip leaves flopping about and the pansies all leggy and going to seed.  Each year when the pots are emptied I rush round the garden centres trying to decide how to fill them to the best effect.

Do I plant them with a riot of colour, cottage garden style, or an arrangement that is a little more sophisticated.  To add another problem to the mix - I also want the plants to be bee and insect-friendly.
This year I am thinking of a white and silver theme for the patio pots - I usually opt for a pink/purple theme, but I think a change is due.  For the containers at the side of the greenhouse, it is a little shadier, so that is something else to take into consideration, and opens up a whole new can of worms. 
I have fifteen containers to fill, and that means quite a lot of plants.  I am growing quite a few from seed in the greenhouse, but due to their slow growth because o…

The Song of the Skylark

This morning I heard a Skylark his song soaring high in the clear blue sky - below is a passage from someone who can describe it far better than me.
Today through the window-pane I see a lark high up against the grey cloud, and hear his song.  I cannot walk about and arrange with the buds and gorse-bloom; how does he know it is the time for him to sing?

 Without my book and pencil and observing eye, how does he understand that the hour has come?  To sing high in the air, to chase his mate over the low stone wall of the ploughed field, to battle with his high-crested rival, to balance himself on his trembling wings outspread a few yards above the earth and utter that sweet little loving hiss, as it were, of song - oh happy, happy days!  So beautiful to watch as if he were my own, and I felt it all!

written by Richard Jeffreys

When Pruning Pays Off

When we moved to this house nearly three decades ago, one of the first shrubs I planted was a Kolwitzia amabilis.  This delightful shrub is from Western China - its common name is Beauty Bush.  It belongs to the honeysuckle family and was named after Richard Kolwitz, a botanist in Berlin around 1900; amabilis means lovely.  It grows to about 10 feet in height with arching branches which are covered in pale pink flowers in June.

  Mine had outgrown its space and become very woody and definitely needed a haircut.  So last August after it had finished flowering I decided to give it a good prune to try and rejuvenate it.
  I cut it down to about 5 feet and removed all the old wood - and prayed that it would come back good as you can see from the above photo - it now looks vigorous and fresh. I am not sure if it will flower this year - I think possibly not but next year it should look a treat.     

Subtle Colour

  Normally I don't like anything too garish or bold in the garden. This ornamental cherry is inherited and a little too brash for my liking but it certainly adds a splash of colour on a dull grey morning.
I prefer a little subtlety like the blossom of the apple tree
Or these pale pink tulips
You would hardly know the Soloman's Seal was there it is so subtle
A lovely combination of Forget-me-nots  scrambling through the Lavender bush
These little pockets of colour from Honesty
and the bleeding hearts
Here and there pale lemon Cowslips puncutate the lilacs and pinks
  A self-seeded Garlic Mustard plant with tiny white flowers and pungent leaves.
All the above plants subtley blend in amongst the lush foliage which is just how I like it.

The Merry Month of May

Well, here we go, another month has begun - what will it hold.

Folklore states that nettle leaves should be picked before May Day because after that the Devil uses the leaves to make his shirts.
 While some people believed that elder protected them against witchcraft (especially on May Day when the leaves were particularly powerful) and were happy to have it in the gardens, other thought it was a wicked plant (it was known as the 'Devil's wood' in Derbyshire) and wanted nothing to do with it.

Traditionally, a day of great celebration and festivities, including Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and Maypole dancing.  Seeding had been completed by this date so it was convenient to give farm workers the day off.

Mead was drunk, this is a potent alcoholic drink made by fermenting honey and water, and all over the   world people have been getting drunk on it for centuries.