Saturday, 21 March 2009

Look out, look out...

…the hogs are about! Mm… so where’s the connection between hogs and snowdrops? I wonder if you can guess. Yep… this week I made return visit to the Cambo Snowdrops but this time to do a 'spot of shopping'. Oh… but I just had to take my camera again and this time I didn’t go into the woods! Ah… but this posting isn’t just about the stunning snowdrops.




The snowdrop photos above and below were all taken around the main house at Cambo and outside the walled garden. On this visit my camera focused on the specialist snowdrops. If you take time to study the centre ring of petals, the patterns on them and the shapes of the outer petals you will see just how much they vary by quite subtle differences. Now, what about the hogs?


The hungry little chap above is one of thirteen piglets. Helen and Emma are the proud Mums and it appears that next year they may have some competition with Gorgeous Gertie a Gloucester Old Spot. Okay… don’t worry I’ve not turned farmer here! I’m still a gardener and like all gardeners do appreciate any help with pest control in the garden. Have you any clue yet what the connection is between the hogs and the snowdrops?





Let’s take a break from the snowdrops and return to the hogs in my own garden. Hedgehogs are well known as the gardener’s friend. They are out feeding at night on the slugs and snails that are also out feeding at night on the leaves of our plants! Two nights ago I was absolutely thrilled to have seen my first sighting of the year... dining at Hedgehog Manor. Let’s hope we see many more!




My outdoor camera isn’t running all the time so I didn’t spot if this hedgehog came from the sleeping quarters in Hedgehog Manor where we have had a hedgehog hibernating. I had a feeling we were getting dinning guests now as the water, I put out recently, had completely gone. I added crushed peanuts and sultanas to the feeding side of the dish and hoped the new tunnel might be okay for the hogs to use but possibly deter nosey cats and passing squirrels. The hedgehog in the video does look quite small so I am delighted to be able to help get his weight up. More snowdrops?





Now to the burning question of this posting – what is the connection between the snowdrops and the pigs at Cambo? Well… this is another hog that is the gardener’s friend. At least the gardener with a woodland of ivy to clear!



I had really admired the snowdrops growing through the ivy in my previous posting but I never really considered the consequences at all. Of course, too much ground hugging ivy would completely choke out the snowdrops. Can you guess the connection now?

The pigs at Cambo help the volunteers and gardeners to clear the ground of ivy so the snowdrops can continue to flourish. No, oh no… they don’t go out with gardening gloves ;-D The pigs at Cambo feed on the ivy! Now how about that? I should say they don’t roam around all the time. I’m not sure exactly when they do this so I’ve emailed the Estate to ask... and will update this posting when they get back to me. Is that not fascinating? I thought so. I'd love to see this in action. I have a feeling I'll be going back to this garden a few times a year. Oh... let's have some more snowdrops...





Question number two – what did I go shopping at Cambo for? Well, despite all the stunning snowdrops shown above it was the Snowflakes Leucojum vernum (cousin of the Snowdrop) that I went back for. This is a great time to plant Snowdrops/Snowflakes, when they are in the green, and that is why I returned this week. Only when looking for my links did I realise that Cambo run a very successful mail order and online business too.

On this visit, the room set aside for coffee shop and gifts (previously) was transformed with tables and boxes as the snowdrops were being prepared to be sent out. I was tempted to ask to take photos but I didn’t. However, you can see the packing going on in this page of their website. Everyone was so busy and I could just picture the joy on the faces of the recipients of the parcels being prepared. I bought my Snowflakes from the outside sales area.




I planted my Snowflakes in front of a favourite ornamental grass (Carex Fisher’s Form) and behind a ground bird bath so I could see the flowers reflecting in the water. The flower seen above was a plant that was in a pot. The rest were bought 'in the green' with a little moss wrapped around the bulbs. I am so looking forward to seeing what I have here next year!

Sorry, this is a bit of a lengthy post and there is just so much more I could add. For the moment I’ll stop now after saying a big thanks to Rob at Our French Garden for leaving a comment in my last posting telling me about a visit Noel Kingsbury made to Cambo at the beginning of the month,

You will find Noel’s blog posting here but in you’ll also be able to read about his visit in the September of Issue of Gardens Illustrated. I am guessing their will be some sensational pics taken of his Snowdrop visit and tour with Catherine Erskine the lady behind the garden at the moment. Noel has also mentioned a new prairie planting for the garden this year. Oh yes… I will be back!



Oh go on then, you’ve twisted my arm – one more snowdrop photo. Oh… I should say that the pigs won’t be roaming around the photos taken for this posting. These snowdrops are in borders. It is the masse snowdrop plantings in the woods that the pigs are helping out. Just one final note for helping out these very important garden helpers the hedgehogs. Perhaps you might want to leave a dish of water out for any that may pass through your garden during the night. You could also leave out a dish of food perhaps too. I have found they love sultanas and peanuts.

Just two very final things… As we have just stepped into a Spring I’d like to wish you all a Happy Spring! It is a great time to be outdoors. I’d also like to wish all the Mums in the UK a very Happy Mother’s Day for tomorrow too. Have a great weekend… oops that’s three things!

The piglet and the close up snowdrop photos were taken at Cambo on the 17th March 2009. The video of the hedgehog was taken in my garden just before midnight on March 19th. My garden Snowflake photos were taken this morning.

19 comments:

Gail said...

Who would have thought that there could be a connection between hogs and snowdrops! I want a few goats to clean out the wayback backyard...maybe I ought to get a few hogs!

The snowdrops are gorgeous and the hogs, are well, they are hogs and I am sure they are gorgeous to someone!

gail

Lisa at Greenbow said...

A lovely post, hogs and all. I can't get enough of the snowdrops.

Midmarsh John said...

A lovely, interesting read Shirl. I was taken by your hedgehog feeding station which has given me food for thought. What a good way to keep the food dry and stop it being blown away and still be able to film your hogs.
I usually have hedgehogs around the garden and last Summer had an adult and two young ones wandering around in daylight.

shirl said...

Hi again John, thank-you, glad you enjoyed it :-)

Ah… this particular feeding station evolved from a previous one. You can browse through previous postings from this posting. You will be able to read about my feeding station experiments from there. It has been great fun and does keep the food dry on wet nights and the hedgehogs do use it regularly.

How wonderful to see sightings during the day in the summer. I've never seen that yet. I am considering continuing to put food out in my feeding station throughout the year, this year, and perhaps we might see them in the daylight hours too.

Oh... I should tell you I put a camera in the sleeping end of Hedgehog Manor. Wouldn't it be fantastic if a Mum came in to have her young there :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Gail and Lisa :-)

Gail – I agree, how fascinating it is isn’t it? LOL… yes pigs would stick to the ground plants but I could imagine goats eating everything above it! Oh yes … beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;-)

Lisa – Thank-you, I loved telling this tale about these very short tailed animals! Ah… the snowdrops… that’s probably your lot from me until next year when I will search out other new places to see them. But hey… one of the many things I didn’t mention about Cambo and their snowdrops is that you can visit/stay on a working holiday as a volunteer at snowdrop time. I bit of a long trek for you perhaps ;-)

Little Brown Job said...

Beautiful pictures of the snowdrops. Only had one or two in our garden this year.

Paul.

garden girl said...

Aw, the hedgehog is so cute Shirl, and he looks very comfortable and happy enjoying his meal in Hedgehog Manor.

The snowdrops are beautiful! Happy spring!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

You are so lucky to live near to such a wonderful place!

As you mention, imagine all the happy recipients of 'Cambo' parcels.

cheers
Rob

Jean said...

Happy Spring Shirl! I loved that little hedgehog. I've never seen one in the flesh so I guess I must get overseas soon!

RainGardener said...

Hi Shirl, This was soooooo interesting, to say the least. Loved watching the Hedgehog. And I do like pigs, or I should say I use to head for the pigpen first at the fair every year because the babies were such a hoot to watch. The Snowdrops are beautiful!

ShySongbird said...

Lovely post as always Shirl. Fascinating about the pigs keeping the ivy down and I just loved seeing the Hedgehog drinking, my goodness it was enjoying that!

Pam Kersting said...

Pigs and snowdrops! Who would have thunk it. Nice post, Shirl. Happy Spring.

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,

Great posting, and I loved the hedgehog video- great stuff. The snowdrops are a bit of a theme for you at the moment! They are such pretty flowers. Nice photos of those to.

Daffodil Planter said...

Shirl! Perfect post for me--snowdrops and hedgehogs (I have Mrs. Tiggywinkle plates hanging in my laundry room). I will show my grandkids the video of the hedgehog. You're the best!

Patsi said...

Love the dainty snowdrops.

Mom's birthday was always celebrated on the first day of spring...didn't realize Mothering Day was around the same time.
Happy Spring Shirl !

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Still a long way from snowdrops here in Nova Scotia, Shirl, since we had yet another drop of snow (of the other kind) yesterday and today...sigh....

shirl said...

Hi there Paul, Gardengirl, Rob, Jean, RainGardener, ShySongbird, Pam, Joe, DP, Patsi and Jodi :-)

Paul – They are such pretty flowers aren’t they? I should grow more myself :-D

Gardengirl – Oh yes… I do love to see the hedgehog wandering about. Unfortunately the reputation of Hedgehog Manor is spreading and I will have to make some alterations! I wonder if you can guess who else has been coming to dine there?

Rob – Yes, I am and I had no idea about this garden before my recent visits. I had heard the name but that was all. I am so glad I discovered it. Yes, I know how I felt unwrapping mine and mine were only loosely wrapped in bags :-D

Jean – Thank-you and a Happy Spring to you too! Wonderful, I am glad you enjoyed seeing the hedgehog. Unfortunately you are not guaranteed to always see this wonderful creature around here in the UK and there are worries about its decline in numbers. On the other side there is always a chance :-D

RainGardener – Thank-you, I always worry when I make postings longer but I couldn’t stop chatting with this one! LOL… yes they are fun to watch and oh yes the snowdrops are sp pretty aren’t they :-D

ShySongbird – Thank-you, I’ll do some shorter ones soon! It really was fascinating to hear about the pigs and I’ve a few more facts about them now too but I’ll keep them for another time :-D

Pam – Yep… just who would? I certainly didn’t. Thank-you and a Happy Spring to you too :-D

Joe –Thank-you, yes it is definitely ‘great stuff’ to be seeing the hedgehogs visiting again at night. Yep, snowdrops and other bulbs are on my mind at the moment. I have another interesting bulb story for you soon. Good luck with your studies – hope all is going well. My daughter is heading for her first main exams this year too. All the best :-D

DP – Oops… I meant to drop by and tell you just in case you missed this. Glad you caught it – didn’t know you were a hedgehog fan too! Hope your grandchildren enjoyed seeing them and I hope I will have much more footage to share this year ;-) Aw… thank-you – you are most welcome :-D

Patsi – Yes they are, and I think it’s because they are so dainty that I love them. It must be a lovely time to think of your Mum. Yes… pre blogging I never thought of Mothering Sunday being on different dates around the world. Thank-you, and a very Happy Spring to you too :-D

Jodi – Gosh… I’ve just looked at your snow scenes. Oh… hopefully you’ll be able to see your daffodils properly soon. It just takes just a little temperature change doesn’t it? Hope your garden is bright and sunny sometime soon :-D

The Early Birder said...

Careful Shirl you might become a 'Galanthafile'. Lovely series of pics & glad I popped by again. Pleased to see another lover of Leucojum. Do you grow any of the taller L. aestivum as mine are bulking up nicely year on year. Cheers Frank.

The Itinerant Gardener said...

Hi Shirl, the snowdrops are lovely - which variety is it that has the small green patch on the outer petals? Cheers, Sam.