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Monday, April 26, 2010

Benji, Beatrix Potter and naughty seedlings!

This is my mini 'Beatrix Potter' garden. New additions are the houseleeks and sedum in the watering-can and some lovely Saxifrage (Arendsii pink) just beneath it. The canes are ready to support the Runner Beans when they're big enough to plant out. This little part of the garden isn't doing too badly considering the treatment it gets from the dogs, which you can see in the photograph below.

Benji Bigfoot chilling out. Does he think he's under an umbrella? The clown!

Aquilegia McKana, one of my favourite garden flowers. I love everything about them.... the ferny delicacy of the leaves, the pretty nodding flowers and the pastel shades are a dream.

Another of my favourite garden plants is the herb Angelica. It's a statuesque plant that can grow up to 6 feet or more. It produces many umbels of tiny frothy creamy-white flowers and the leaves are large and lush. It also is generous in self-seeding and sometimes the seedlings turn up in the funniest of places........


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Match made in Heaven

When Emily, our female cockatiel died, poor Edmund (her partner) was inconsolable. We wanted to see how he would settle on his own, as we hadn't planned on getting any more pets, but as the week went on he became more distraught. It was heartbreaking (and ear-shattering!) listening to his anxious shouting from morning till night. He even looked depressed... or at least what I imagine a depressed bird to look like. Afraid that he couldn't go on for much longer in his vulnerable emotional state, we made up our minds that Edmund needed a new wife...... and soon!

Edmund (right) ~ Crystal (left)

...... and here is the happy couple. Edmund's new wife is called Crystal. She's gorgeous with large bright eyes and rich orange cheeks, she's healthy and robust, cheeky and curious.

Advertisements in local papers and internet searches yielded no results so, in a panic, I went running to a friend of ours who acquires abandoned and poorly animals. She's well-known to the RSPCA who frequently ask her to foster animals. I should have gone to Hilda first.... she had not only one cockatiel, but three! Good old Hilda! After selecting the one she thought would most suit Edmund, we got to bring Crystal home and...... it was love at first sight. As soon as Edmund sensed the presence of a female, his depression disappeared and a renewed interest in life came to the fore..... and when he saw her he thought he'd died and gone to Heaven! I have to admit that some hanky panky took place that very first day.

Crystal, sporting a sassy Jedward hairsyle

John and Edward aka Jedward

Eleanor's advice, from Cockatiel Cottage, was that if we got another bird to put it in quarantine for a month. My apologies to Eleanor for not following this instruction but we were unsure if Edmund would physically last that long and Hilda assured us that Crystal was healthy, so we had to take a chance on it. Thankfully, Edmund and Crystal appear to be happy together and peace in the household has been restored.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Goodnight Emily

About 7 years ago hubby took some rubbish to the local council tip. Someone had left 6 cockatiels in a dirty old cage; four of them were so poorly they had to be humanely destroyed and hubby brought home the remaining two. Daughter named them Emily (left) and Edmund (right). This photograph was taken a few of months after they came to live with us; they're both looking much better than they had done and have a gleaming new cage.

Sadly Emily died today after being ill for the last two days. She'd never been a particularly bonny or robust bird. Where Edmund's eyes are large and bright, Emily's were small and bleary and her orange 'cheeks' weren't as pronounced as Edmund's. I guessed that poor Emily would go before Edmund but it's still very sad that she's gone, especially as she was eating and drinking well up until two days ago. That's the thing with birds..... once they succumb to an illness, it takes them very quickly.

Although Em wasn't very pretty, she gave us many laughs and she stood no nonsense from Edmund. Quite often, when he got frisky, she'd give him a good clout with her beak and he'd scuttle off to the other end of the perch. The funniest thing was their first Christmas with us..... they musn't ever have seen Christmas tree lights and when we switched ours on, the crests on their heads shot up and the look of amazement on their little faces was priceless. :O)

I'm feeling sad tonight but no doubt my attention will be on Edmund tomorrow when he starts looking for Emily again.

Our animal companions bring so much pleasure but it's so hard to bear when they leave us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Horticultural rarities

Lucky for me my husband is acquainted with someone in the plant breeding business. This person works for a large firm of garden bulb suppliers and it's his job, along with his colleagues, to develop new and novel Spring bulbs. Hubby managed to get some bulbs for me, three in all. They're still being trialed and, therefore, not on sale to the public yet so hubby had to pay a fair bit for them, though not as much as he would have had to if it wasn't for his friend. I was given these bulbs last Autumn on my birthday and have been tending them with all the loving care I could muster. I'm thrilled to bits with the results. They're very beautiful, as you can see.

Narcissus spiral nebula pink bobby dazzler

This is absolutely gorgeous. I especially like the blue frill round the corona (the trumpet-shaped cup in the middle of the flower). Although I've got this planted in the garden, it's well protected with a home-made wire cage; I'd be in floods of tears if the dogs were to tread on it, especially Benji Big Foot! Hubby paid £75 for this bulb so I wasn't taking any chances of inciting his wrath.

Galanthus cosmic constellation pink perfection

This is my favourite. I've always loved the delicacy of snowdrops and the introduction of pink seems to set it off for me. It's a truly feminine flower, but I'm sure it will be a hit with all the gentlemen too. As you can see from the photograph, it really stands out amongst its white relations and you can imagine how it would look in a snow-covered landscape. Hubby paid £50 for this bulb and a real bargain too!

Crocus megacosm galactic cluster pink starburst

What a cracker! Because of its frailty this one is safely tucked away in the greenhouse, unheated of course as I don't want the petals to fall like a dud firework after waiting so long to see the bloom. I can imagine that when the trials are over, this crocus will become really popular and will well and truly live up to its name as it graces lawns in pink starbursts of megacosmic glory! Another snatch at £50 for the bulb. I wonder what they will cost when they go on the market.

So I'm a happy little Easter bunny just now and I just had to share these horticultural treasures with you........ but don't spread it around in case hubby gets into serious trouble and his friend would no doubt lose his job.

Benji Big Foot