40 days

If this rain goes on for much longer I’ll be expecting to see the big wooden boat come floating past.  However last weekend was delightfully sunny and spring like, I had to keep reminding myself it was not quite mid August.

It's cold today

It’s cold today


Here’s the mountain, not so long ago,  in its extreme winter garb






Hellebores and galanthus are coming on in a rush now, I compulsively check each plant regularly, lifting the hellebore faces to admire their interior decoration —  you can see that I rather like the blacks!

Hellebore ring

But there are others like this dramatically veined charmer,

Red veined hellebore

and this little beautifully stippled fat bell

Cerise stippled hellebore

I compulsively read the  faded names on the galanthus labels, trying to lock the charming details of the particular snowdrop in front of me together with the name on the label in my mind. Some of the snowdrops are delightfully individual while others merge together in a crowd of very similar pretty pendant white petals, see the small sample from the garden below;

G. alpinus bortkewitschianus, ‘Galatea’,  ‘Essie Huxley’ and ‘Imbolc’

Alpinus, Galatea, Essie, Imbolc 1

G. ‘John Gray’, ‘Brenda Troyle’, ‘Trymlet’ and ‘Warham’

John Gray, Brenda T, Trymlet, Warham 5

G. ‘Maidwell’, ‘Megan’, ‘Sam Arnott’ and ‘Sibbertoft White

Maidwell, Megan, Sam Arnott, Sibbertoft 1

And of course they look perfectly charming in the garden, especially accompanied by that pinkly perfect little cyclamen





Roses are waving their long armoured branches at me while I consider it remarkable that after 40 years of gardening I still approach the rose pruning process with a slight lack of confidence, which branch to cut, how much off etc.  Some like the lovely single Mrs. Oakley Fisher are still contributing a welcome  pop of colour with gleaming hips, they will be left til last!

In the meantime I have decided that the birds have had ample time to forage in the perennial seed heads and spent a productive afternoon making huge piles of sedum, salvia and sibirica iris stalks. A small (two foot high) tree was moved and suitable growth-inducing incantations muttered over its head while a much taller, (8 foot) so-called damson  that proved to be a thorny cherry plum after 5 years of growth was sliced down with the big loppers.

Clematis have been carefully pruned back with their delicate shoots corralled in the right direction and I have tried to cut the hydrangeas back to the first two fat buds. That always sounds so simple but so rarely do my plants display two fat buds together. So I umm and ah and probably cut away too much stalk before forcing myself to discard all that promising cutting material — there is a limit to how many hydrangeas I can fit in. Since then I’ve actually done some research and realised I may well have just finished pruning off the next seasons blooms!

Narcissus 'Glenbrook Ta-Julia Group'

Narcissus ‘Glenbrook Ta-Julia Group’

While trying to keep track of snowdrops and hellebores, there have also been the tiny bulbous delights to watch for, the bulbocodiums from the  ‘Glenbrook Ta-Julia Group

Narcissus 'The Dansant'

Glenbrook’s Narcissus ‘The Dansant’





The sparky little Narcissus ‘The Dansant’







Narcissus 'Canaliculatus'

Narcissus ‘Canaliculatus’

Not the greatest photo , but one of my favourites, the diminutive, delightfully scented and tongue-twistingly named Narcissus Canaliculatus.






Finally, the Spotted dog doing what he does best in winter

Wake me up in Spring

Wake me up in Spring please


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2 Responses to 40 days

  1. wildcygnet says:

    Susan, how lovely. I think my favourite hellebore is the stippled plump number, modestly blushing. 😌
    Is it the photo, or does Essie’s snowdrop have primrose-tinged tepals?
    Gorgeous gorgeous snowdrops. Some of the markings are extraordinary. And the forms.
    Thank you for the little holiday…


    • Susan says:

      Come, come, come see them now! No, there were no primrose tints there, must have been the light — a couple of primrose tints in the next instalment 🙂


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