Thursday, 15 January 2009

Garden Bloom Day January 2009

It’s the 15th of the month. It’s time to browse the garden for flowering plants. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold today and the snow of last night didn’t come to anything. My lunchtime browse was a more like a full blown search… not much out there this January. Mm… the official flower count was a grand total of two and as I don’t do house plants that’s the lot. A few plants did catch my eye… before the rain came on. Oh… but don’t be too disappointed with my offering… read on to the end.

The rhododendron buds I would have expected to see today but I was surprised to see some on the Choiysa. February is usually much colder here so I doubt these buds will last. I was too busy focusing on the buds that I didn’t notice an insect on the leaves.


The gunnera flower spikes have now darkened as have the leaves protecting the crown but they always catch my eye when I walk by. The hellebores in this area were put in just over a year ago but as they were young plants I didn’t expect flowers until this year. However one thought it would get ahead of the game flowering out of season and now sits hanging it head full of seed.

Sedum Carl Forrester looks like its trying to get ahead of the game too but the cold of February will surely set him well and truly back! This skimmia is a bit of a disappointment. It has berries of a sort which are starting here and they will get a lot deeper in colour. Mm… I’m thinking a revamp in this bed beside my Arbour and it could go!

Magnolia buds are unmistakable and always a joy to see – but why do they need to tease us for quite so long? Ah… but the biggest tease for flowers has to be the wisteria. Will it or won’t it flower and what do wisteria flower buds actually look like anyway. Ah… it’s all in the pruning. It can take a few years but it is definitely worth the wait!


Small flowers seem to go unnoticed at this time of year don’t you think? My tiny viola flowers (grown from plug plants) aren’t really lifting their heads up much at all just now. These guys need a little sunshine to bring a smile to their faces – and who doesn’t? This tiny white arabis flower brought a smile to my face today. There were only a couple above the carpet of foliage but hey… it completed my count for today!

This pieris blossom worries me a tad. I really don’t think we should be seeing it and I worry if it does survive February then it may flower early and perhaps the blue tits won’t get any insects from it when they are feeding their chicks. Oh… just in case you missed it… we have roosters (I suspect from different pairs) in both our camera and non-camera nestboxes.

Bulbs popping through my lawn are appearing daily at the moment. Here you can see some narcissi and crocus. My more recently planted ones in a different area may be a little later this year but I will be delighted to say them whenever. The final image above is of polygala. This one, in previous years, has flowered for going on eleven months. But for some reason it seems to be in limbo. For a few months it has been at this stage and I have no idea what it’s up too. They are such beautiful pea like flowers and the bees love the good sized carpets I have.


Ivy flowers are the strangest of things here seen on the variety sulphur heart. The birds apparently will eat them but I’ve never seen them. Usually when I’m out taking my photos for Bloom Day there are some birds about following me. I try to include them in my posting. I bet you are curious what the photo above on the right is about.

The photo with the hand squiggles in it was taken through my window. At lunchtime just before I went out with my camera I spotted something on the fence/post. All I could initially see was a tail. It wasn’t until it moved a little and I saw the shape and pattern I realised what it was. More than half its body was hidden too!

This griselinia is one of my favourite plants of the garden – I brought it from my last garden in a pot. Therefore, I was horrified to see a female Sparrowhawk dive in it for its lunch! In a split second a small bird (don’t know what it was) came ‘flying’ out as shown by the red line. The Sparrowhawk gave chase around my bamboo. The bird dived into the safety of my hedge and the Sparrowhawk continued its chase through there too.

Some of the bird feeders were empty. I considered what to do. The birds were going to risk coming out looking for food if I filled them up or not. In fact they would more than likely be safer getting food than taking longer to search for it. I filled them up and as I was out taking photos now I guessed they’d get a chance to get to it as my presence would deter the Sparrowhawk. That was the theory.

However, as I was taking my last shots of the magnolia before going inside the Sparrowhawk came behind me. I wonder if it was watching me too! As I walked towards the door it swooped down towards my griselinia once again although this time it was a fly by. I’m guessing she didn’t catch the bird earlier. Mm… now wait here Mrs… you are crossing a line here now!!


I stood in the doorway to see if it returned – I might even get a photo. It was deadly silent. Aw… one of things that I always associate my Bloom posting is birdsong as I take my photos. I turned and went inside and someone else caught my eye. Elisa, my daughter’s guinea pig was sitting silently watching me. She didn’t squeak or chatter for food. She didn’t run around to get my attention. She seemed to know it was a quiet time. Camera in hand I took some photos of her. I have decided she can be my favourite ‘flower’ for this posting.

Oh… but wait a minute I have a few more flowers to share. My last posting cleared my camera card but I’ve heaps of video tapes to go through and I have been keeping this one back as a gardener’s ‘pick-me-up’. So many of my garden blogger friends have cold, snow and ice covered gardens. These are for you and anyone else missing flowers.

The videos below were taken back in June 2008 at the Scottish Garden Show ‘Gardening Scotland’ in Edinburgh. Usually I would cut back the sound track of people chattering in the background but this time I thought I’d keep it in so you can all enjoy the buzz of a garden show. I have also let the odd carrier bag of plants come into shot too so you can really feel it all. There is also one silent piece in the first film to simulate stepping out of the hall for a little quiet time… and hot choc and even hotter fresh doughnuts with my daughter!

There are always favs at shows and the second video shows mine. I will always have a soft spot for alpines and rocks as well as the mosses, primulas and blue meconopsis poppies. However, the poppies in the last section of the first video really, really caught my eye too and came a very close second.






Finally, before you leave… two things. Firstly if you’d like to taken part in Bloom Day pop over to Carol’s posting and leave your link there. If you would like to browse all the gardens that have taken part you will get links there too - there's quite a few already. In my last posting I was considering something. I have a quick question for you…

If you were to be stuck on a Desert Island which three plants would you take? Let’s assume there is plenty of food available. Perhaps you’d like to think about it and join me for a posting next Thursday the 22nd of January. A photo would do if you are short on time. I’ll set up ‘Mister Linky’ as Carol does and you can add your posting there. This could be fun… I hope you can join me. Thanks Karen (for requesting three and not one as I originally thought) and Frances for asking about food!

All photos above were taken in my garden on January 15th 2009. The videos were taken in June 2008.

26 comments:

Gail said...

A beautiful post. I love your writng as much as your flowers! Thank you Shirl, gail

Layanee said...

Now that is a Bloom Day! I love those poppies also. I think you like to play with the computer gadgets and we are the beneficiaries.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

The promise of Spring has well and truly arrived in your garden Shirl.
I love the way you describe the Magnolia buds as teasing us, they certainly do.
Desert Island plants!? Well - that is worth thinking about, I will put it in the diary! :)
Lovely post Shirl, thanks.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

PS - How many plants are we allowed on our desert island, just the one? Could we perhaps have ..... 3?

JGH said...

The plants are pretty, but that is one charming little guinea pig you've got there, Shirl.

Frances said...

Hi Shirl, that was very exciting with that sparrowhawk, I'll bet you were ready to do battle to protect the birds! And thanks so much for saving those videos, I loved the second one too, for the primulas, I just love them all and they were so well grown. Only one plant, it would have to be food, right? Or are we assuming there is food for us on the island already? :-)
Frances

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Shirley, what a ride. This was a wonderful post. I too like those alpine plants. I also liked seeing the brief look we got of the bonsai tree.

I bet your daughters little guinea would be a pig if it could get to some of the flowers you showed us.

Happy Bloom Day.

shirl said...

Hi there Gail, Layanee, Karen, JGH, Frances and Lisa :-)

Sorry, I’ve not managed to get round your postings tonight. It’s late now. See you all tomorrow :-D

Gail – Thank-you! I love the writing part of blogging so that means a lot :-D

Layanee – Thank-you! Yes, these poppies and their companion plants were very nice. Yes, I do like to play around with the tech stuff and try to make each video a little different. This one I was going to narrate but the technology let me down. I’m very happy now that I didn’t as it made me play around more ;-)

Karen – Yes, it looks that way doesn’t it. Unfortunately February could change all that! Yes, I thought about that after seeing your posting of a magnolia bud. I considered that mine had been looking the same for ages. Thank-you! Thanks also for your request – I’ve updated it to three now. Frances also asked about food so that’s sorted too – assume there is plenty! I had already picked one so I have a challenge now with my other two. I hope one week is enough time ;-)

JGH – Thank-you, you made my daughter smile with your comment. Charming is a good word to describe her. Elisa has a companion who is more of an explorer :-D

Frances – Yes, it was. I do like to tie stories that happen as I do my GBBD posting but I couldn’t have foreseen this one! Yes, this video footage has marked a fresh start for the videos too. I do have one other piece archive non gardening footage I’d like to post but this one will take a more unusual link in. I’ll say no more. I thought you’d like the primulas. Unfortunately processing takes away a lot of detail but in the whole of the second video and the last two clips of the first one I slowed down the speed to help it. The people walking around are in slowmo. LOL at your food question for the desert island plant – it was a good one too! I never thought of it. I’ve updated my posting – let’s assume there is plenty of food ;-)

Lisa – Thank-you! Yes, there is just something about alpines for me. Maybe it’s their fragile looking appearance clinging in on to rock faces – brave little things ;-) Ah… I too love the bonsai displays. Unfortunately that is the only clip I had. Sometimes lots of people came by when I tried to film. LOL funnily enough the guinea pigs love the stuff we want rid off. Dandelions are the favourites and I always buy the hay mixes with them and herbs in them! They love the fresh stuff though. However, whatever foods are in the dishes when I bring along a handful of grass they go daft for it ;-) Thank-you, and a very Happy Bloom Day to you too. Love the idea behind your posting – will be by again properly tomorrow :-D

Natural Moments said...

Your garden looks really happy. You must give it lots to eat, residual light from your home, and lots of love. It's in great shape for this time of year.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Good heavens - I didn't think my comment through did I? .... OK 3 it is!
(Desert Island plants that it :) )
K

Nan Ondra said...

Thanks for the tour, Shirl, and for the adventure, too. How interesting to see the 'Sulphur Heart' flowering; I've never seen that happen around here. My favorite shot was Elisa, though; what a sweet, sweet face!

garden girl said...

Hi Shirl, ah, a sight for winter-weary eyes, seeing all that green in your garden, not to mention the buds and blooms!

Your daughter's guinea pig is adorable! They are such sweet pets.

Agnes Stevenson said...

Shirl, I work for Gardening Scotland and I'm also a big fan of your lovely blog. At the Gardening Scotland office we are so busy at the moment making all the arrangements for this year's Show, that it was wonderful to see our video from 2008. It was a very welcome reminder to us of what all our hard work is for.
This year will be our 10th Show and we've got lots of great features lined up. There will be more floral exhibitors than ever, including some nurseries that have never been at the Show before. Garden Designers are queuing up to take part and the Pallet Garden contest looks as if it is going to double in size - that means we will have around 100 mini plots, which is just incredible.
I'm really keen on Binny Plants plans for an Urban New Zealand Cottage Garden within The Dobbies Floral Hall and Primo Pots are going to create a classic Tuscan theme in their Show Garden.
Hopefully there will be lots for you to enjoy and thanks again for sharing your memories.

shirl said...

Hello there Agnes :-)

Well, this was a wonderful surprise to get a comment from someone working on Gardening Scotland 2009! It did make me smile :-)

Funnily enough, you won’t believe it, I did think of getting in touch with the office today to say I had a video if they wanted to see it or show it on their site. I’m delighted it was a reminder for you.

Gosh… I hadn’t realised that this was the 10th year – I can remember going to the first across at Strathcylde Country Park. It’s brilliant we have a show in Scotland and that so many nurseries exhibit and sell plants.

LOL – my daughter has been asking for her and I to do a pallet garden this year. Looking at them I can see they must be pretty tricky working to such a small space. I can see why they are so popular with visitors and people wanting to do them – especially clubs :-D

Ah… Billy at Binny – I always enjoy his gardens. I love the plants he uses and the way he uses them. I have been to his nursery a few times. I can imagine that this will be a very interesting garden. You have me looking forward to it too now! I am certain I will enjoy my visit again this year :-D

Oh just a thought… if your office wants someone to blog for them in the build up and during the show do get back to me – that could be fun :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Bernie, Karen, Nan and Garden girl :-)

Bernie – Its always interesting to hear what you see when you visit. I do have plenty of green at the moment – we’ve yet to get the really cold spells :-)

Karen – LOL… glad you mentioned more – a much bigger challenge now :-D

Nan – You are most welcome! I have to say until a couple of years ago I had never noticed the ivy flower either. There are masses of them but most are quite high up growing over the top of my pergola. Some birds must take them from there you’d think. My daughter is thrilled that Elisa has had a few comments :-D

Garden girl – I’m glad you enjoyed it! We have been very lucky that the garden hasn’t been hit too hard with snow and frost – at the moment anyway. Once again, thanks for your comment on Elisa my daughter is very pleased :-D

Liz said...

Lovely photos Shirl, you must be looking forward to Spring!

I assume there's probably even less in flower in mine right now, not that I ever get to see it at the moment. Although it is light enough now for me to walk home at 4pm woo hoo!

Can't wait for Spring and the bulbs!!!

Nature Nut said...

Seeing the picture of Elisa made me want to run out to make a purchase at the pet store, as if I don't already have enough pets to go around.

Joe said...

Hi Shirl

Wow your garden is so colourful considering its mid-January. Its amazing the number of plants that you have included in this posting.

I loved your 2 videos too. The poppies were fantastic. I don't think I have ever really been to a garden show like that before. I must go to one at some point (it would probably give me some inspiration for my garden too).

Interesting to here of your Sparrowhawk. I must admit that I haven't seen one for a while now although they have probably visited during the day when I am at school.

Joe

Carol said...

Great post, and I loved the two videos especially. How fun to get a comment from the show! This is a very memorable bloom day post. Thanks again for sharing with us "all the way from Scotland".

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Frances, said...

Hi again Shirl, just checking back to get it all sorted about the January 22 posting of the deserted island plant list. I am thinking and working on it now and wanted to make sure it was still a go! :-)

Frances

Frances said...

Oops, blogger took my sign in in the above comment. It should have the link to wordpress instead!
Frances

Anna said...

Shirl,I really enjoyed seeing your January count of flowers, as well as walking round a gardening show from the comfort of my armchair. Which hemisphere will the desert island be in or can we choose ?

shirl said...

Hi there Liz, Nature Nut, Joe, Carol, Frances and Anna :-)

Liz – Yes, I am but I am not usually in a hurry for it either. I don’t mind this year too much – except for the snow and ice when I have to drive in it! Yes, its great to see the evenings that bit lighter. Oh... yes I am looking forward to seeing all the Spring bulbs :-D

Nature Nut – Thank-you, my daughter smiled broadly at your comment! Elisa has a very cute companion too but even we look at other guinea pigs in pet stores ;-) Mm... we have decided that as this two get on so well we don’t want to upset that. They are getting big too ;-D

Joe – Thank-you, it’s all white and green this morning! As you have shown with your recent posting, there is often plants out there in the garden when we don’t expect them. Yes, a closer look is all that’s needed. So glad you enjoyed the videos and I am thrilled that you may go to a show now for inspiration! There’s often little bits of a few displays that you could use for ideas! Ah… the Sparrowhawk, its visits vary a great deal in time. They also increase later in the day if she hasn’t been successful :-(

Carol – Thank-you, glad you enjoyed the videos and yes I was thrilled to get a comment from someone working at the show. Thank-you! I do enjoy taking part – blooms or not :-D

Frances – Thanks, for getting back in touch about Thursday. Got the details up in a posting now – hope I’m not too late and have messed up your plans. Great to hear you are thinking on this one. I am trying at the same time to guess which blogger will choose which plants ;-)

Anna – Great, it is great fun to be able to share visits like this. Ah… there is absolutely no restriction whatsoever in hemisphere! Any plant will grow! Looking forward to seeing what plants you choose :-D

Kerri said...

What a nice treat to 'walk' around your garden with you for a little Bloom Day tour on this snowy January day. It's very white outside here in upstate NY today, with a gentle snow falling.
Amazing to see the ivy flowers! You have lots of winter interest there.
Our birds were scarce for a couple of very cold days Friday and Saturday, and we thought perhaps a hawk was lurking nearby. I saw a big one last Wednesday..probably a redtail. Hubby thinks he saw a Sparrow hawk at the top of our maple on Saturday.
It's that motherly instinct to want to protect our little bird friends, I think :)
Loved the videos too, Shirl, especially those blue poppies..and the reds too. Wonderful treat! Thank you!
And you daughter's guinea pig...such a face! :)

puddlemonster said...

What a great blog, I'm so glad I found you. It's good to know there are other Scottish gardeners out there blogging and sharing their knowledge and experience with others. I am quite new to the whole thing so it's really helpful for me to read your blog and learn more about the plants and flowers and how they fare in our climate. In addition to my 2 raised veg beds I have now created and additional bed solely for flowers and am hoping it will attract wildlife and offer some privacy to our wee garden. I look forward to reading more.

shirl said...

Hi again Kerri and Hello puddlemontster :-)

Kerri – Thank-you and so sorry for taking so long to reply, I missed this one. I see you have some wonderful flowers for March GBBD. I’ve never seen flowers on a parlour palm now that is a treat to see! Thanks. Oh… of course I did love your snowdrops too. I know what you mean about feeling protective of the birds that visit your garden when birds of prey pop through for take-away! Delighted to hear you enjoyed my video as I’ve another for March GBBD. Ah yes… that sweet guinea pig won’t be appearing in any more postings – sadly she died yesterday :-(

puddlemontster – Thank-you, Ah… I see you are in Glasgow. Great stuff and you are just starting out with your garden. Garden blogs can be a great resource and most bloggers will answer any queries you may have or be able to refer you to some who can help you. Perhaps you might like to join Blotanical. There are so many blogs you will be able to browse from there and you may find others in Scotland too. Great stuff your looking at veggies too. I can’t help with that but there are quite a few who could. Some bloggers have allotments where they grow veg. I do hope you enjoy future visits and I’ll be by to see how you are getting on too! Thanks so much for adding my links :-D