The last few days, we’ve had enough rain to kickstart the process of re-greening the North of England’s meadows, and I started to feel a little celebration of sunshine might not go amiss. Isn’t that the way it always is?
My first is a decidedly strange (for me) shot of roses growing overhead – so high, they ruled out the little dead-heading needed for a conventional shot. At the time I took it, I was half-imagining some form of caption in the top left: a concise one like Dog Days or Wine & Roses. As the end result captures more of their spirit than I expected, I’m leaving it alone. For now. Continue reading
We set off for Harrogate on a whim, inspired by the weather forecast, and booked into a hotel within walking distance from the RHS’s most northerly garden, Harlow Carr, a favourite haunt. The idea was to wake up next morning to find an artistic covering of snow or a hard frost – the added winter garden ingredients only nature can provide.
The forecast had been an exaggeration but, luckily, it turns out that a winter wonderland doesn’t need snow: it can cloak itself just as wonderfully in reds, oranges, browns and greens.
We were too early to see the thousands of snowdrops, cyclamen, irises and eranthis hyemalis that will be at their peak in February and March. A small number of the advance guard could be spotted in flower in the woods, along the Winter Walk or sheltered in the glasshouse, giving a hint of the pleasure to come. But if you find yourself wondering whether a winter garden really has anything much of interest to offer in January, other than peace, you’ll find plant after plant lining up as if to say: ‘You misjudged me. You doubted there would be colour.’
Life is fragile enough for large mammals like us, so what security can these dainty flowers have? Quite a lot actually – these particular ones, that is. And I’m not referring to that attractive looking layer of bark mulch. Continue reading
I nearly missed these beauties during last week’s visit to Harlow Carr. The first is a very neat hybrid with an even coverage of dark purple spots against a lighter background.
This little gem – Erythronium dens canis – grows wild in favoured places across Europe. You might come across them in dappled shade on the edge of UK woods, pushing their way up through leaf litter, but there is probably more chance of finding them in a major garden or a spring plant and bulb catalogue.
Common names include dog’s tooth violet and trout lily. If you were wondering, dog’s tooth refers to the shape of the bulbs (which should be planted pointy side up) and trout to the beautiful, mottled foliage. The leaves look like a trendy, new, mint flavoured chocolate might – thin, of course, to justify the price tag in that inverse way we’ve come to expect; wavy to give the research and development team something to think about; and with a weird ingredient for extra credibility, such as cardamom or Kaffir lime leaves or green tea. Continue reading
I was recently asked what my plans were for the blog in 2017. One wish sprang to mind. I’d like a TARDIS (for people who are not sci-fi fans, that would be a working version of Doctor Who’s time travelling machine). Pretty please!
I’d find it handy for no end of reasons. It would mean I can travel, take pictures, select and edit them, write posts AND publish them seasonally while the plants are still in bloom. I could visit any garden at its absolute peak at the golden hour and be back in time for tea with my sweetheart… (sigh).
Yesterday afternoon we felt very fortunate to be able to preview the flower show that is being held from 10-12th June at the RHS’s lovely Harlow Carr Garden. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that the show is timed during the flowering of their blue poppies (meconopsis).
Northern garden lovers may already be familiar with Harlow Carr. Its long streamside garden is an almost irresistible lure for me when the swathes of candelabra primulas or blue poppies are in flower, but it’s well worth a visit at almost any time of the year. Continue reading
This week’s Discover Challenge asks us to ‘share a series of photos or sketches that focus on different details of a larger scene’. I hope these pictures qualify. I was at RHS Harlow Carr garden recently when I saw these fresh spring blossoms emerging among bare twigs. The yellow lichen helped to create a lovely mix of new and old. Continue reading