Wordless Wednesday – Oh my! Anemone Bordeaux


The fabulous Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’ enjoying a week of sunshine. This flower is at least 10cm across. That’s certainly bigger than last year and a lot of velvety goodness!

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Wordless Wednesday – The reason for the word butterfly?


Brimstone butterfly, Gonepteryx rhamni, on primroses, a typical sight in spring. Brimstones, with their buttery yellow wings, are so obvious as they flutter across the garden, but turn your head and they are gone, settled amongst their selected nectar source. They close their wings whilst they sup and, in stealth mode, they look just like leaves!

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In a vase on Monday – Tolerance and how things grow on a person!


Daffodils, with their large, sunny trumpets, are beaming happy vibes in every direction of our garden right now, making it a perfect pick-me-up place to be. And today, I’ve brought a jug of those bright blooms indoors to share for Cathy’s weekly In-a-vase-on-Monday meme.


Sadly, they are not as pristine as they might be, because they were picked to rescue the large numbers of heads that were beaten to ground in last week’s torrential downpour. Nowadays I tend to go for smaller/shorter/later varieties that avoid this problem, but these Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’ were planted ages ago, in front of a new hedge soon after we moved in. They do well here. They come up in gradually increasing quantities every year, but some are invariably flatten by wind or rain at some stage of their display. So I use their downfall as an opportunity … and cut them for a vase. Then I get a chance to admire them close up … and sample their sweet fragrance (its quite strong).


The tolerance of the title comes in, because I am not a huge fan of yellow flowers. Daffodils are an exception, but even so I tend to stick to creamy whites (except for Tête-à-têtes which I adore). Daffodils are just too hard to resist when planning a cheerful spring display.

Also, I would never willing choose two-toned, double daffodils! However, a while back I bought one of those massive bargain sacks of mixed daffodils and I’ve been living with a few clumps of them ever since. Being rather top heavy, the doubles fared particularly badly last week, so I’ve gather a bunch of them too and mixed them with the ‘Ice Follies’.


So now I have a vase that brings to mind oranges and lemons or maybe lemon meringue pie (it’s the creamy ruffles I think) … and you know what? I quite like it.


In fact, those double daffs are actually rather beautiful. Look at those sunset colours.

And they certainly look stunning against a blue sky:


So, with the Ice Follies to tone them down a bit, maybe I could even get to love them?


What do you think? Are you a fan? Or maybe, could you be?

Thanks to Cathy for hosting as usual 🙂 . Pop across to her blog (Cathy@ramblinginthegarden) to catch up with tons more Spring (and Autumn) vases. Have fun!

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Wordless Wednesday – Fluff and stuff


Bulrush are (unsurprisingly) well established in the new Trumpington Meadow Nature Reserve


Their seeds are bursting those cylindrical, velvety, tight confines now and are drifting far and wide on the wind …

As I walked round the pond I spotted a couple of birds busily helping to strip the downy seeds (apologies for picture quality – it was the best my phone could do). I looked them up later and I think I’ve identified them as Reed Buntings, Emberiza schoeniclus

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Six on Saturday – And still they come


It’s been a bit of a mixed week weather-wise, but Spring is surely advancing. Daffodil displays are in now full swing. In fact, there’s a local daffodil festival in Thriplow next weekend that I will try to get to. I imagine that the festival will be packed, given that they’ve not been able to run it for the last two years. We will see.

Anyhow, it’s time to join Mr Propagator’s popular meme, Six-on-Saturday: Six gardening-related things, shared on a Saturday.

1 Crocuses

This week crocuses have been the best-in-show in our garden. Even the patches of ‘Cream Beauty’ that had been wrecked by pigeons have sent up more flowers and are now looking very pretty in the sunshine. That succession of flowers is one of the brilliant things about crocuses … and still they are coming.


A selection of crocuses from the garden, including from left to right and top to bottom: C. tommasinianus, C. Joan of Arc, C. Yalta, C. Cream Beauty, C. Pickwick, possibly C tricolour, C. Ruby Giant, C. joan of Arc again (they seriously have the biggest glowing goblets ever!) and finally C. Ruby Giant – with giant buff tailed bumblebee.

I am still ‘wasting’ a lot of time staring at their open faces, transfixed by the bees hurtling from one cup to the next.

2) Harvington ‘Pink Speckled’ Hellebore

Hellebore Harvington 'Pink Speckled'

The lost Hellebore Harvington ‘Pink Speckled’

A few weeks back I thought that I had lost this beauty. Well, it turns out that it really had disappeared from the front garden, but it is now growing in the fern bit of the back garden. (In my defense, unless you lift their nodding heads you don’t get to see those speckles and this plant looked identical to several others I’d moved to this section last year.) Once I found it, of course I remembered that when the gas supply was installed last summer I relocated a number of plants along the proposed route of the pipe, for safe keeping. 🤦

3) Early flowering Geum

I’ve been amazed that my ‘Totally Tangerine’ Geum has withstood winter completely intact and is already offering up its lovely, crinkled orange flowers again. It’s obviously a doer!


Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’

4) Violets

I’ve not really got the hang of violet growing … That is, I don’t seem to have any control over where they appear from one year to the next. They creep around the borders as they please, which I don’t mind at all, but they never make much of a show. That seems a shame, especially as I really want to find enough to make Sugared Violets and that is seems unlikely to be the case again this year. If anyone knows the trick to making them settle and bulk up, I’d be grateful to hear it!


Sweet violets – a deliciously scented, edible wild flower

5) First tulips

I may have given up on buying new tulips for our garden, because of the >95% attrition rate before they get to flowering (squirrels, mice, voles), but we have a few that are well-established (presumably they are deep, deep down in the soil) and these come back for us every year. The earliest repeaters are the species tulips like Tulipa turkestanica and Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha. I may not be the biggest fan of yellow flowers, but these put a smile on my face every time I see them splayed wide open, advertising their wares.


Tulipa clusiana var chrysantha

6) Euphorbia wulfenii

This was the view that greeted me when I entered the walled garden at work on Thursday. Great isn’t it?


Euphorbia wulfenii

I have this euphorbia in my own garden too, but it doesn’t catch the light in the same way, let alone have the lovely wall and espalier backdrop.

Well, that is me done! There are heaps more Sixes to see if you click through to Jonathon’s blog.


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Wordless Wednesday – Crocus Yalta


This is the first time I’ve grown Crocus Yalta and it’s a real darling! It has silvery-violet outer petals which open to reveal three beautiful purple inner petals. It seems completely appropriate that it is showing its fortitude and resilience right now.

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In a vase on Monday – #StandWithUkraine


Spring flowers in a vase in support of the people of Ukraine

I just read that the Queen posed with Justin Trudeau in front of a massive vase of blue and yellow flowers as a gesture of support for Ukraine. Well, my blue and yellow vase for today’s In a Vase on Monday meme, regularly hosted by Cathy@ramblinginthegarden, is tiny in comparison, but is honestly meant nevertheless.

The flowers are a simple mixture of :

Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’
Pulmonaria officinalis (common lungwort)
and an Eryngium spike, which was preserved for its dusty blue colour, from a lovely flower arrangement sent by my sister when we lost our dog, Sadie, before Christmas.


Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’


Pulmonaria officinalis


Wild primroses, forming the bottom tier

To see more bouquets, do take the opportunity to hop over to Cathy’s blog and check the links in the comment section.

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Wordless Wednesday – Burls and surprising inner beauty


I took shelter under this tree earlier this week and, having climbed up the buttress roots, managed to take a close look at it’s trunk burl.


Burls are usually formed as a result of some kind of damage, be that environmental, insect, fungal or storm. This burl has formed an intricate knot of complex growth, including many leafing spurs. Apart from those growth points, it looks rather like a viscous lava flow.


It’s fascinating, both ugly and wonderful at the same time. Indeed, these kinds of growth are highly sought after by wood turners/carvers as they can produce spectacularly beautiful bowls and art work. I wonder what this one would look like inside?

Example of turning a piece of burl wood

Like this perhaps? Image is courtesy the instructables website: Example shows lovely markings being revealed as a piece of burl wood is turned.

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Wordless Wednesday – A glimpse of Wimpole Hall in February

wimpole in February

Wimpole Hall and daffodils in February


Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ (foreground) and Crocus tommasinianus (background) in the Walled Garden

wimpole stable

View of Wimpole Stable Block from the new Hardwick Gate entrance, with the Hall largely hidden by the trees to the left.


Iris reticulata in the Orchard meadow

Wimpole church

Teasing view of Wimpole Hall across the graveyard of St Andrews Church


Cherry Blossom in the Pleasure Grounds

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Six on Saturday – Spring, at an angle


In spite of being on the edge of the second red alert zone for debris flying winds yesterday, we luckily escaped any real damage from Storm Eunice. Probably the losses of old fruit trees, dodgy branches and fences over the last three years had actually put us in a good position to ride out that rather nasty storm. Not so lucky were Cambridge Botanics, who lost their Newton Apple tree at the Brooklands Avenue garden entrance and Wimpole Estate, who lost their ~300yr Horse chestnut at the Pleasure Garden entrance in the double whammy of recent storms.

My own garden inspection this morning revealed a few things at dramatic angles, like the cloud-pruned rosemary on the patio, but mostly I ended up being distracted by the generosity of flowers on the beautiful hellebores, primulas and spring bulbs.

Here are my six for Mr Propagator’s gardening #SixonSaturday.

1) Hellebores

Our hellebores are looking good this year. I seem to have lost my pink speckled Harvington in the front garden, but the yellow seedling a friend gave me last year has improved the colour range overall and is making me very happy.


2) Lace Primulas

This little patch of lace primulas grows in a narrow border that runs along the leeward side of the house. It always flowers a good month earlier than the clumps growing down the driveway border and, even better, it provides annual offsets to move on elsewhere. Wins all round!


3) Crocus

I add a range of bulbs to the wild meadow area each year to try to bulk up the spring display. Some times I lose the lot to squirrels, but if I can get them passed their first year, they mostly seem to be ignored. This year the crocus tommasinianus I planted in the rough grass were overlooked in favour of new ones added to the island bed around the old damson tree stump. I probably prefer seeing them grow through grass to be fair!


4) Daffodils are starting to flower …

Right in time to be knocked over by the storms, of course. In fact I tend to grow shorter varieties for this very reason. It is so sad to see their cheerful yellow faces rubbed in mud. As expected, this morning I found that the tête-à-têtes were looking fine, but others had not fared as well.


5) Iris reticulata

I am slowly increasing the range of irises I grow. Below are Iris reticulata ‘Painted Lady’, which were bought in early January in an end of season sale. My ‘end of season’ bulb purchases necessarily get planted in pots, until I can see where there is space in the garden, because you can bet that if I can put my trowel through an existing bulb, then I will!

iris painted lady

6) Wendy’s Gold

Will I ever get more than one flower? For the last four years I have had only one flower on my Wendy’s Gold pot grown snowdrop. It was fed last year, after flowering. This year I will re-pot it and see if that helps. Any ideas? Please free to reveal how I can get this cutie to multiply.



Well, that’s it for this week. It’s just stopped raining, so I am off outside to start some sweet peas.

Have fun gardening … and don’t forget to follow the link to Jonathon’s blog and the cache ‘Six on Saturday’ posts.

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