pansies and violas

I think these are my desert island flowers. So simple but so beautiful and exuberant.


close-up of the violas



and a close-up of the National Velvet red tulips in the background of the first pic

National Velvet red tulips

I didn't notice the buds until today when the shrub is suddenly in bloom.


the entire shrub with all the flowers, and to think this was slow to flower, it's caught up!


Socks in the garden

Socks out in the back garden on a sunny day this week

This pic of Socks shows some of the most numerous plants I have in the garden: green alkanet (with the small blue flowers) - I love it, the iris foetidissima behind the table, the snowberry to the right of that which is proving somewhat invasive and aquilegia to the right which may be easier to see in the pic above. Also more visible in the pic above is a raspberry.

the comfrey has buds almost ready to open

this was one of my unknown seedlings but now looks quite like a hardy geranium

Moving to the front garden, some Little Beauty tulips in bloom

little beauty tulip

little beauty tulip

experiments with Strulch mineralised straw mulch and bees on muscari

the bees have been going mad for the muscari

bee on muscari

bee on muscari

the bees are also loving the snakeshead fritilaries, they go right up into the flower and seemed to be there for ages, there must be a lot of nectar and pollen in there

snakeshead fritilary

below, nigella and pansy have been self-seeding in the cracks between paving stones on the patio next door

I heard about mineralised straw mulch on Gardeners' Question Time a few weeks ago and decided I must try it. By googling I found there was one called Strulch that was available at a nursery in Sandridge, near St Albans, Carpenters Nursery.

3 milk thistles surrounded by Strulch

I bought these milk thistles recently and already the slugs had attacked them so thought surrounding them with Strulch would be the first test. I still don't understand how a thistle could be so attractive to slugs, but it is.

milk thistle with Strulch

two lupins surrounded by Strulch

I grew the one on the left from seed and had been keeping it in a pot to keep it away from the slugs. The one on the right I bought at the nursery with the Strulch.

lupins with Strulch

another auricula in bloom, a more attractive colour, lots of farination


and another auricula



the next 3 pics might not look like much but I'm happy to have 3 hostas coming up this spring - planting them in pots have prevented the slugs from making a meal of them

garden beginning of April

Front Garden

Nothing says spring like a pink hyacinth in full bloom and the tulips in bud and ready to burst into flower.

pink hyacinth

in the same pot, a small exquisite viola


snake's head fritillary

snakeshead fritilary

snakeshead fritilary

I bought two packs of the snake's head fritillary bulbs and put 1 pack in each pot below. Unfortunately I'm not sure which was in each but judging by the questionable quality of other Taylor bulbs I presume that is the pot of only 3  (on the right below) growing out of 10 or 12 that were in the pack. I assume the pot on the left with 10 or 12 bulbs growing is the one from Sainsburys.

snakeshead fritillary

some cheerful pink anemones, an impulse buy at the garden centre recently, one of my many outstanding garden tasks are to dig in those pieces of edging


Back Garden

the green alkanet bloomed today for the first time this spring

green alkanet

the bergenia's been in bloom for a while, Polly Pocket on the table

This is the first auricula in bloom and also the first one I've identified to cull. What a boring colour. If I had more room I would be inclined to keep it but with very limited space I have to keep the colours I love only.


I dug up all the bluebells from this flowerbed last summer. They are not erradicated that easily! All those bulb sprouts below are bluebells I missed.

I was weeding my flower bed near the pond (below), a pre-formed one so it's not very big, when I stood up to removed the pile of weeds and look in the pond hopefully for frogspawn (I've never had any) I was horrified to see a giant worm, about a foot long, slither over the muddy part (to the right of my trowel sticking up from the soil) and into the pond. I've never seen anything like it.

time for auriculas

I went from not having any auriculas to having too many. They are spilling from the shelves on the left to the shelves on the right. All seem to have offshoots that could become new plants, see pics below. I'm no expert on auriculas but I did read online yesterday about removing offshoots. I'm going to be hard though and discard any plants that have flower colours I don't like so I'm awaiting them flowering before doing anything.

auricula bud

in the pic above and below you can just see the buds coming out

I think these stems on the left below are what's called offshoots.

auricula offshoots

This plant has even more.

auricula offshoots

even more muscari

the muscari, end of March


new cat in the neighbourhood

Focus on the pot above filled with self-seeders: in the middle a poppy, silver grey ???, bright green very puckered/textured plant top-half that looks similar to teasel but without any roughness and muscari, of course.

muscari in the sun


muscari looking better every day

I can't stop taking photos of the muscari which seem to be looking better every day. At least *something* is happening this morning as the solar eclipse was a non-event - thick cloud obliterating any solar activity.


I feel like I should know these upright self-seeders but right now I don't. Weeds or desirable plants? I don't know so far.

another plant I don't know (nigella at the bottom, hyacinth bulblets to the left and back)

Polly Pocket and the flowers by the front door

it was a lovely sunny day yesterday and Polly Pocket came outside with me while I was doing some gardening in the front garden

these are some of the bulbs in bloom in the back garden

I just love these tight buds at the top of the muscari flowers.

In the front garden this year the vinca is going mad with more space - space vacated by the bluebells I removed last spring, unfortunately the attractive purple flowers are sparse compared to the greenery.

I seem to have two types of vinca, the one above and the one below has smaller differently shaped darker flowers.

the rosemary continues to look fab, love those purple/blue flowers, I have re-potted it in a larger pot, when it fills this pot I will re-pot it again

when the garden indoors meets the garden outdoors

at this time of year there's some overlap with bulbs indoors and bulbs outdoors

The golden syrup tin on the right and the squirrel planter to the right of that have tete-a-tete daffodils and have been indoors since I planted them up last autumn, none of which are showing any buds whereas the pots to the left and in bloom and looking fabulous have been outside since being planted up with tete-a-tete daffodils last autumn.

Muscari in bloom having been outside since last autumn.


garden coming back to life

crocus surrounded by self-seeded poppy to the left, green alkanet to the right and vinca all around, after removing the invasive bluebells last year, it seems the environment was well-suited to the vinca going mad


the fresh lighter green leaves are new growth on the blackberries, the pink flower is a new bloom on the snapdragon


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