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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

May your tatties.....!

One of the things I most enjoy about my greenhouse is the garden wildlife that takes shelter there. Last Summer, one of my constant companions was Esmerelda. I loved watching her slide effortlessly and with grace down the silken threads of her web. She wasn't afraid of me one little bit and my entrance into the greenhouse didn't affect her activities at all.

All Summer I looked forward to greeting her every day until the cold days of late Autumn arrived along with Esmerelda's departure. I really missed her! But life has to go on and go on it did. In Spring, the first photo shows the sight that greeted me one morning...... a newly-hatched brood of Esmerelda's babies! For a few days they clung together, venturing only a few inches away each time, until a week or so later when they had dispersed to various parts of the greenhouse. It was an amazing sight and, by far, the highlight of my gardening year. God bless Esmerelda!

From the highlight of my gardening year, I'd like to
offer you a toast for the coming one

May your
tatties always chit well
and never get the blight.
May your roses shun the blackspot
always blooming big and bright.
May the beasties in your garden
never feed upon your greens
and may the compost in your bin
for'er be fit for kings and queens.
I raise to you all a cup of good cheer
for happy gardening days throughout the New Year!
(by Lesley)
Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Can you feel it?!

'The seed is hope; the flower is joy'.- Author Unknown

If there’s anything calculated to get my adrenaline rising faster than you can say photosynthesis, it’s seed-sowing time! This begins proper in February, but there are some that can be started off in the greenhouse in January….. And that’s only a few days away. Yay!
Here are the seeds I will be setting away in the coming week:
* Lobelia
* Petunia
* Alchemilla mollis
* Tomato (red cherry)
* Garlic Chives

I enjoy most elements of gardening, but filling up the seed trays, carefully covering the seeds with compost (or not as the case may be), spraying the trays gently with tepid water…. until, as if by magic, tiny green shoots appear just above the soil level is one of the best ever joys I will never tire of. I suppose it's not magic, but a never-ceasing miracle. Even comparing the form and shape of seeds is fascinating….. look at the difference between a nasturtium seed and a poppy seed!
The photograph was taken in my greenhouse a couple of months ago. It's full of plants I'd set away last Summer and Autumn. Many of them will be going into the coldframe to make space for this year's 'babies'.
This author says it all:

'Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising that the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof. Take that Poppy seed, for instance: it lies in your palm, the merest atom of matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin's point in bulk, but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty ineffable, which will break its bonds and emerge from the dark ground and blossom in a splendor so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description'.- Celia Thaxter This is an excellent website on probably everything you may need to know about seeds!

'The seed has no idea of being some particular plant, but it has its own form and is in perfect harmony with the ground, with its surroundings ... and there is no trouble. This is what we mean by naturalness'.- Shrunyu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Friday, December 26, 2008

When do you do it?

.....prune your roses I mean! Some gardeners do theirs in November, others wait until about February just before the new growth begins. I leave mine until February. I'd like to say it's because the U.K. tends to get more rain at the end of the year and it would cause harm to the newly-pruned roses, but really it's because I don't like squelching about in the wet! Now that December is almost over, we often get some cold but bright sunshiny days..... perfect for pottering around in the garden.
The rose in the photograph (taken last Summer) is 'Handel', my favourite climbing rose. The ivory petals are fringed with pink and the centre fades to a soft peach. In the clear light of day it is a joy to behold but at dusk it seems to become lucent and is breathtakingly beautiful. Looking at this image of 'Handel' makes the cold Winter days easier to bear, knowing it will soon be in bloom once more.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

What better day to begin a blog than Christmas day. I suppose any day is a good one, but Christmas day seems special and a good starting point.

It's been a warm day with some sunshine so I took my camera out into the garden to see if there was anything pretty to photograph. There was an orange primula in flower but it had been pooped on, courtesy of the birds we feed several times a day. So I took some photos of mosses on a stone trough. Did you know that there are over 12,000 species of moss? Neither did I; I've just googled it. lol It's amazing, I usually think of moss as a small fluffy green plant..... I had no idea there were so many different kinds!
So Christmas 2008 is almost over and I hope the little wren that was in our greenhouse earlier has made its exit. Don't worry, we left the door open slightly and I shouldn't think it will like the smell of paraffin!