Some Colourful Relief.

With all the terrible weather, gales and floods that the UK has recently experienced,     I hope some spring colour will help to bring some relief.

(Fortunately whilst we live close to Upton upon Severn, currently Upton in Severn, we are away from the floods).

Tulip ‘Johann Strauss’        The label said, flowers March to April.
Crocus ‘Gipsy Girl’.
Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ and Primula ‘Little Queen Red’

Crocus tommasinianus


Here’s wishing for a sunny, dry spring.

Tulips, Pots and Saucers.

The beginning of November saw the planting of pots with, crocus, iris, narcissus and species rock tulips.

Old hanging baskets used to keep the squirrels away.

Two large pots either side of the banana bench were planted with Tulip ‘Abu Hassan’, Siberian Wallflowers and Forget-me-Nots.

When the rain finally eased I managed to complete planting my remaining tulip bulbs.

Those of you who regularly follow my blog will know that I rotate dahlias with tulips in the raised beds edging the patio. Last year I used three bulb saucers for the tulips as an experiment to see if it was any easier, when it came to lifting them in the spring.

I was suitably impressed to use them for all the tulips in these beds this year. I purchased extra ones to have four 30cm ones for each bed. One hundred flaming spring green tulip bulbs were shared out between the eight saucers, four pots of Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Heaven’ saved from last year, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ planted around the edge with Wallflower ‘Vulcan’, grow from seed planted in July, in between the bulbs. Forget-me-Not’s will be added in the spring from self-sown ones from around the garden.

Hopefully they will all be putting on a show for our opening on the 2nd and 3rd of May, in aid of the village church, when we will have a plant stall to raise funds for St Richards Hospice, based in Worcester.

Here’s looking forward to Spring.

Bulbs, Sunshine, Tea and Cake.

The churchyard at Birlingham, Nr Pershore in Worcestershire has long been a pilgrimage for snowdrop lovers in the area. Bulb Teas are held each Saturday and Sunday in February until Sunday 24th February in the Village Hall from 11.00am to 4.00 pm.

The Grade II listed church of St James with its 15C tower, which at one time contained a dovecote, sits in the middle of the village by a small green, with the old school, now a private house, and the village hall.

We visited on Sunday, in glorious sunshine, and with the snowdrops starting to go over, crocus and cyclamen were taking their place.

A Cherry tree just outside the church wall was in full flower with honey bees taking advantage of the  sunshine to gather nectar.

 A colony of bees have made their home in the tower…

In this hole under the old clock face.

The church was open and had been decorated with flower arrangements.

The teas and cakes were proving to be very popular on this beautiful afternoon in this charming Worcestershire village.

Snowdrop Temptation.

We visited the first National Garden Scheme, open garden in Worcestershire on Sunday. The garden, Brockamin, includes Plant Heritage National Collections of Asters and some hardy Geraniums. It opens for Snowdrops in February, Daffodils in March and Asters in September.

The 1.5 acre informal garden contains mixed borders planted with hardy perennials and shrubs, several of which were in flower or adding stem colour.

Lonicera fragrantissima & Iris reticulata

Hellebores, Crocus with an early Narcissi adding to the colour.

N. Bowles Early Sulphur.
Crocus protected from visitors feet.
and swathes of Eranthus Hyemalis

Then of course the snowdrops, all labeled for identification.

Tea and cakes along with plants for sale were there to tempt us. Was I tempted I hear you ask, lets just say I have always been attracted to gold!

Ten February Favourite Blooms.

Chloris at The Blooming Garden encourages us garden bloggers to venture out into the garden in all winds and weathers to take pictures of our favourite ten blooms each month. My ten include the inevitable Snowdrops, of which I have the grand total of three varieties,  (Chloris is the one to visit to enjoy a Galanthus feast), the common Nivalis, its double and the third which I think is Galanthus S. Arnott. This is also Hellebore season, with the orientalis adding their charm and colour to the February garden.

I am very impressed with the Hamamelis in the oriental garden, it has been flowering since December.  I do have a degree of admiration for the variegated ‘Laurel’, which at this time of year lightens up the rear of the oriental garden. It was a rescue, ‘no name’, plant when we were living in our previous house. I could not decide where to plant it therefore it remained in a pot until we developed the garden here. I do like to see an underdog succeed!

This is the beginning of the Crocus season, there are more still to flower in the garden. ‘Gypsy Girl’ is I think a bit special with its brown stripes, it is in pots along with an unknown Iris Reticulata. A favourite Iris this time of year is ‘ Katherine Hodgkin’, I have had it in the garden since Carol Klein sang its praises during a lecture at Pershore College.

In the White and Green garden there is a nod to the seventies when we all grew Conifers and Heathers. The Erica Carnea ‘Whitehall’ thrives due to it not requiring ericaceous soil, it sits below the fragrant flowering Winter Honeysuckle.

A special plant for me is the Lunaria Annua ‘Rosemary Verey’, its dark leaves providing a contrast to the snowdrops. I purchased one plant four years ago and have saved seed each year to raise plants for the garden and to sell at our open days. It has also self sown around the garden, coming true each time even though we have two other varieties here. Rosemary Verey was the first garden designer to influence me, from visiting her garden, at Barnsley, Gloucestershire, experiencing the style of planting within the borders and the pottager. Then through her books, with the plan of her Chelsea garden in 1992 inspiring the original layout of what I now call the blue border. (It has changed somewhat since 2005).

While Christmas now seems a while ago the flowering Hippeastrum was a gift to Irene from a friend. We were very impressed with its three blooms.

These are my ten favourites for February, please visit Chloris to see what she and other bloggers have chosen. Do you have a favourite February flower?