Friday, 23 March 2012

Garden life

I wonder if there are people out there whose house and garden always look the same and who thus don't need to tidy up for visitors.  What a perfect world that would be: the kitchen floor would always be clean, the flower beds would always be weed free and there would never be piles of electrical gubbins on the kitchen table.  I'd love to live like that but in order to achieve it I would have to move house to a small and perfectly formed modern flat, divorce my delightful husband and live meanly by myself, stop having cats and chickens and trying to run two acres of garden, a holiday cottage and numerous outbuildings.  I might be able to manage a small and perfectly formed balcony.  I think I might be saying that in order to achieve it I would have to live someone else's life.

This week Karen and Kate came to visit and it was really lovely to see them.  Did I say I love having visitors?  However as a result I spent days before their arrival weeding, and yes Karen and Kate, I know it didn't look like it.  You should have seen it before is all I can say.  Ian also took the electrical gubbins off the table.

I love spring.  I can feel the energy and warmth which drives green leaves up through the bare soil driving me outside.  And this is a beautiful spring.  The daffodils are crowding around the apple tree and the swing.


When I started planting daffodils up here I was going to be very disciplined: the native Welsh daffodil around the orchard trees (narcissus obvallaris) and Thalia up by the swing.  Since then I discovered that there were some daffodils here already around the quince tree and I changed my mind.   I have rather surprised myself by falling in love with daffodils and buying more and more.  Now I have Jack Snipe by the drive:


 and a lot of February Gold by the swing.


 I have some sweetly scented jonquils, aptly named Sweetness, and some lovely old doubles, Telamonius,  These have been growing in cottage gardens since the early seventeenth century when this house was built.


It seems that daffodils have to be quite small to appeal to me, with a neat flower or swept back petals.  For the first time this year there are enough in the soon to be orchard to spread and dance.  This year I shall colonise the bottom of the field, perhaps with Cedric Morris if I can find it, or Jenny or Pipit.

But the best bit of the garden just now is the side garden where pulmonaria Blue Ensign and Diana Clare sit with tiny Praestans tulips, Fusilier,  side by side in a singing smile of colour.


And the rest of the side garden is beginning to bulk up with the foliage of aquilegia, day lilies, foxgloves and newly emerging geraniums and peonies.


To complete the picture of garden life, here is evidence of the mass break out of hens from our attempt to keep them confined, although confined in a pretty large area of grass and trees.  These two weren't having it and made their presence felt on the wall outside the kitchen door.


And there is quite a lot of stuff in the field which is not daffodils but machinery, waiting to go back into the new barn.


It all depends on where you point the camera!

41 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos. It is amazing, living here in New Zealand, to see how quickly everything is growng over there. The daffodils look delightful.

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    1. Odd to think that you are turning to autumn as we turn to spring!

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  2. Oh, I want your life. Except for the hens. Wouldn't like it if they died.

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    1. I must admit that we have had hens for long enough now for there to have been quite a few losses. At least there is no doubt that they have had a good life!

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  3. You've made me laugh, Elizabeth, with this view of real life, countryside, springtime 2012.

    What you describe sounds and looks pretty wonderful to me!

    xo

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    1. It must be so different from your life in New York Frances but yours too is wonderful in a different way!

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  4. I think it is the same every where, friends just have to take us as they find us, sometimes tidy sometimes not. Your daffodils look lovely. Here we are greening a bit and the stuff in the garden has taken a big gulp of lovely fall from the sky rain instead of out of the hose sprinkles and suddenly it looks lovely. Our autumn and winter can still bring warm days, but at least we know the major heat is past.

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    1. It seems pretty extraordinary that we have a hose pipe already so early in the year in many parts of the UK. We are lucky here in Wales in that we have had much sunshine but no actual drought.

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  5. You have some lovely daffodils, I really like Telamonius and haven't heard of it before. The old cottage plants really appeal to me and I try on the whole to stick to them in my garden - which could do with a good deal of attention at the moment!

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    1. I like the Telamonius a lot too and intend to have more, well more of all sorts of things really.

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  6. Your garden is looking beautiful with all the daffs and other spring flowers. My home is never 'ready' for visitors but they still arrive!

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    1. I don't really care whether it is ready! I do care that people come!

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  7. I barely have a garden, to visit yours, even virtually, is always such a treat. Someone else's life ... I'm not sure, don't all lives have the equivalent of electrical gubbins on the table?

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    1. I hope all lives have their version of electrical gubbins but I do know houses where there is no sign.

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  8. And here I was, thinking your garden always looked like that and was naturally weed-free!!

    It is gorgeous though - and those lovely little species tulips are so jolly - spring personified. I was deeply impressed by the size of your meadow, and particularly by the gorgeous spread of Tenby daffs. I do love spring, and it's particularly good in your garden!

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    1. Thank you! I value that from someone who has a wonderful spring garden of their own. I have been looking back at earlier end of month view posts and finding myself quite encouraged. It is getting there.

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  9. Visitors always give me the kick I need to clean up this family home of ours. I cannot, however, remove all the clutter completely!

    Reading about your different daffodils has been a pleasure. It has also brought me back to my mother's garden in England which was awash with different types of daffies and red tulips when I was little. I always thought of daffodils as Easter trumpets blasting joyful messages to rival the more melodious birdsong.

    Dear Elizabeth did you get my e-mail? Your giveaway parcel has returned sadly to my address and I cannot retried your mail in which you sent me your details. I would simply like to dispatch it to your little corner of paradise as quickly as possible...

    Sigh. The postal service here in France does not live up to my expectations.

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I have emailed you as didnt get yours. I don't think there is any way in which all clutter can be removed. We specialise here in putting it into tidy piles!

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  10. Oh dear. That was meant to read 'I cannot retrieve your mail'. I'm sure you knew that though.

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  11. It was a lovely visit Elizabeth, and your garden was looking delicious - I was (as you know) particularly enchanted by the side garden - the blue of the pulmonaria and the red of the small tulips is a joy.

    I was also quite taken with February gold, for a daffodil it is charming. You and Kate have both given me food for thought with regards to gardens in Spring!
    K
    xx

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    1. "For a daffodil"?! what do you mean "for a daffodil"! It is just plain charming!

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  12. It all looks so beautiful - I envy you. I have no idea why you should feel outclassed by me (your recent blog comment) - it all looks perfect and is exactly what I lust for - a spot with views, some land and a couple stunning period cottages.

    Love the mix of the tulips and lungwort - pretty patriotic too consider all the national events this year.

    Where you are shouldn't be manicured and perfect, it just wouldn't be right and I shouldnt love your garden so much if it got too tidy!

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    1. I agree about the not being too manicured, fortunately since it never is! I am just in awe of how much you and Kevin achieve and how ambitious you are when you remodel or go for an allotment - mindboggling!

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  13. I love visitors especially the unannounced ones who don't have to warned about falling over the wellies by the door and don't mind the assorted junk on the kitchen table. The pre-planned visits are equally welcome, eventhough it means I have to do some housework.
    I have a bad dose of daffodil fever, I bought 6 new dwarf varieties last autumn (particularly pleased with Narcissus canaliculatus). I also grow bublicodium ( and others)in pots and now have enough to plant some outside. They naturalise beautifully and it will be interesting to see if they'll tolerate my soil.

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    1. Mmm, haven't come across canaliculatus - off for a look!

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  14. We have a distant cousin arriving from Australia on Wednesday. I fear my garden won't look as primped and pretty as yours!

    Blue and red has always been one of my favourite combinations. Must ponder on that one re all my blue pots this year...

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    1. Oddly blue and red wouldn't occur to me in the rest of the year but it is totally perfect now. Maybe I should ponder some summer combinations!

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    2. They're arriving tomorrow! :o

      I've had to resort to my top tip for getting ready in a hurry - sweep the patio. It looks a lot better despite the remains of 2 conifers I've yet to shred. If they can ignore a 5ft high pile of branches and a ginormous cube of shredded material, everything will be fine ;)

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  15. You are so far ahead of us!
    I don't think that one can plant too many daffodils. After the long, dreary, wet and grey winter I crave that particular yellow and would be happy to have the daffs last for months instead of weeks.
    I am the sort of person who has to do massive clean-up and weeding before company. We just don't live tidily! When I come over, shall we meet somewhere far from home (much as I'd love to see your garden) so as not to cause stress? I get it, completely!

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    1. No, no, I want you to come here if it fits at all with your schedule! I don't care if I have to weed all summer. If it doesn't fit though I am happy to drive and find you.

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  16. My horticulture college tutor once gave me a lift home and came out to see the garden, which was very nerve-racking. Especially because my shed and storage area were in a real state. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to garden and be tidy!

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    1. A horticulture tutor is a real challenge to the sang froid! I would hate one to see my shed!

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  17. My horticulture college tutor once gave me a lift home and came out to see the garden, which was very nerve-racking. Especially because my shed and storage area were in a real state. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to garden and be tidy!

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    1. Doubtless I am revealing my UKness but what on earth is buk?

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  19. Home or garden, would hate others to see how I really live ;) That side garden filling out beautifully in red and blue. Like you, prefer Daffs to be demure

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  20. Home or garden, would hate others to see how I really live ;) That side garden filling out beautifully in red and blue. Like you, prefer Daffs to be demure

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    1. There is something wholly delightful about demure daffodils and wholly too in your face about the big ones, for me anyway!

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  21. I look at your lovely colourful garden with hope and expectation, - I would say we are at least two weeks behind you, - maybe three. Time will tell. Our first daffodils are just beginning to plump out, but the Daphne is in bloom.

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  22. My daphne is blooming too and smelling fabulous. It's a great time of year!

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  23. Sounds like the perfect life to me! I live a similar life as best I can in the middle of Cheltenham - though we've a very big garden (for town), and allotment too. Must be my Welsh roots that can't be tamed (I grew up in a large garden above Harlech). Before we were married, husband and I lived in a little flat. Needless to say, our balcony was the most colourful and exciting - what we managed to wedge up there still surprises me!
    Long live the chaos, I say. A perfect, pristine front lawn, and ditto kitchen table would be ever so boring!

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I really love to know what you think and to have the chance to start a conversation. I always try to respond (although sometimes it might take me a day or two to get to you) either here or by visiting you.