I am a great admirer of Dan Pearson’s garden writing and have an email subscription to his online magazine, Dig Delve. Dan unfailing comes up with beautiful words to describe the progress of his garden and Huw Morgan supplies the stunning photographs. Last week’s edition A New Year was no exception. The very first sentence caught my attention: ‘Winter is a time to look.’ And so I did.
The seed head of Echinacea purpurea
Seed heads of Agastache ‘Black Adder’
Seed heads of Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
The flower of Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’
I also managed to do some gardening this week. It was the coldest day of the week and I had some digging to do. I had been smugly admiring the newly cleared plot on the north facing border. It looked lovely but I know that soil can be deceptive and underneath lurk the roots of the very worst of weeds. One end of the plot turned over quite nicely. I only needed to remove the odd blackcurrant root that had been left behind. I gave the dug over patch a mulch of leaf mould and as the toes were tingling I retreated inside for some warmth. The next day I set out to tackle the second half. A different experience unfolded. The weeds were lurking at this end of the plot and as I dug the roots out I remembered the enchanter’s nightshade that loves this corner and then the creeping cinquefoil came to mind. I really don’t like that one. A couple of trugs full of roots were removed and I know I still haven’t got the upper hand.
The first rapid fluttering of a nearby robin’s wings always makes me jump out of my skin but we soon get used to each other and this robin seemed very happy to pose for the occasional photo. In return I turned over a few worms for him.
It’s been cold but beautifully dry here so I’m hoping to finish off my digging this weekend. I’ve then got roses to prune and some perennials to cut back. I’ll be leaving those seed heads standing until the new growth starts to come through. Wishing you all well with your garden jobs. To take a look at what has been occupying fellow SOSs this week stop by at Mr P’s blog and links.
I thought about pulling a ‘dog ate my homework’ one this week. I had a good excuse – the lightning cable has disappeared and downloading the photos looked distinctly unlikely. But I did have six photos on the phone and I know the Prop expects every man to do his duty and so a spare was found. Here’s my six.
The Christmas break offered a few days to explore some culture and a visit to Tate Modern for the Burne-Jones exhibition provided unexpected inspiration for this week’s six. The paintings on display featured many beautifully painted plants: irises, dianthus, lillies, pansies and sweet peas, all with their own significant meanings and truly I was going to give you six insights into flowers and art but I know this will resonate much deeper – Leopard slugs.
These are slithering around the main entrance to the museum. They are by Monster Chetwynd who is fascinated by the idea that ‘light emitting organisms may one day power street lights.’ Now I did not know this, but leopard slugs emit a blue glow when they mate and so Chetwynd’s slugs come adorned with blue LED lights. When you next go late night slug hunting spare a thought for what you may be interrupting!
Back to things that really are in my garden now. My front garden hydrangea continues to give me joy. Yesterday the brown flowers were caught by the late afternoon sun giving them a bronzed look. The photo doesn’t do it justice, you will have to trust me on this one.
The back door pot of thyme also caught my eye in a silvery way.
And more silvery colour came from the lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantina. Tiny signs of new growth are pushing through. Very encouraging.
The Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii is also developing its lime green flower heads. These were one of the first plants to be put into the new border two years ago and they look wonderful now they are reaching their full size.
When I started the hunt for six to feature this Saturday I thought the garden was looking pretty grim. But there is always something to enjoy as plants work their way through their life cycles. The Cotoneaster that was resplendent with berries a few weeks ago is now a skeleton, indeed looking very much like a fish skeleton. The geometric spacing of the branches is worth taking a moment to stop and admire.
Phew! Made it! The first six of the New Year. May 2019 bring us all a bounty of beautiful things in our gardens. To take a look at what is happening in gardens elsewhere call in at The Prop’s place – there’s some LED action going on there too!