Archives for posts with tag: flowers

Suddenly the garden is filled with surprise. Every day I venture out there is something new to delight my childlike heart. Snowdrops garlanded with raindrops. Winter Aconite – Eranthis hyemalis, shines like gold in the morning sun; and Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) in bud…

From the bedroom window, the first dainty blossoms shine like fallen stars, closer inspection reveals delicate, pale blossoms on the slender bough. First hawthorn leaves are bright green in the leafless hedgerow…

 Early crocus (C. tommasinianus) punctuate the lawn as I hurriedly planted in the Autumn, not eaten by the voles but flourishing under  the birch and beech. The first daffodils, their gold petals beginning to burst from their protective capsule. How glorious the Spring garden as winter flees, the warmth and sun returns and the garden takes on colour  once again…


Every day in the garden is filled with wonder

Thanks for stopping by today

Wet, wet, wet!

“What’s that – Scotch mist?” was a frequent exasperated exclamation in the family home, as my mother raised her eyebrows skyward. True; you may not be able to see it but you can feel each minuscule drop seep into every crack and crevice. Taken unaware by the beauty of the fennel fronds illuminated in the fading light, I grabbed the camera to capture the evenings brief beauty.

Bit of a challenge taking hand-held photos in such low light levels but I hope you will agree – worth getting wet for!  😀

The garden, shrouded in mist, each flower garlanded with tiny raindrops, faerie lights in miniature. No grand sunset or panoramic views – just the world made small – causing one to stop and marvel at the beauty. But maybe I’m a simple soul with simple pleasures. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today; what brings you pleasure to treasure on a wet day?


… it may be granted

Wild rose (Rosa canina)

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.”

A Book of Burlesques – H L Menchen

Rosa canina Wild rose

“While summer roses all their glory yield
   To crown the votary of love and joy,
   Misfortune’s victim hails, with many a sigh,
   Thee, scarlet Poppy of the pathless field,
Gaudy, yet wild and lone; no leaf to shield…”
Sonnet: To The Poppy
Anna Seward (1742-1809)
Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Will the last person to leave please turn off the lights?
I’m not a political animal but I try to vote for what is best for my country, my children and possibly even grandchildren. When the polls closed last night a REMAIN vote was predicted but by 2 a.m. the first LEAVE votes were declared. Is that what broke into my sleep or the unusual brightness in the mid-summer sky? As the hours wore on more and more constituencies voted to leave. My better half always sleeps through momentous occasions  -“Coffee and Brexit hun?” “WHAT?”
So we have all been trying to work out what this means for us because from this side of the border it looks like English Independence. Or maybe London will declare independence and relieve itself of the post-industrial wastelands? But for now we watch and reflect – be careful what you wish for…
Enjoy your €10 Outippa!

How contrary the days;

when sunshine warms the ground,

an invitation to laze and listen to the sweet bird song.

And then the snow and rain;

biting wind, stinging hail,

call winter back again…


Driving into town and suddenly the Chestnut trees have burst into leaf, cherry blossoms line the road, Hawthorn hedges adorned in new spring green. Just when it seems that the ground is warm enough to sow outside, winter returns with snow and hail. The swallows huddle in the shed but as soon as the sun returns they are back to repairing last years nest. Goldfinches adorn the cherry tree as the first blossoms burst open. Greenfinches have returned to feed chasing off the chaffinches while robin faces down the poor dunnocks. A pair of blackbirds are busy nest building and searching for food in the garden but I’m quite sure I heard the plaintive cry of their young from the hedge.

All around the small-holding there are new flowers appearing, ferns unraveling, leaves unfolding, shedding their winter capsules. The tiny greenhouse is filled with seedlings needing planted out, seeds sown on Saturday have sprouted already. Time to dodge the rain showers, working from the shelter off the shed or hoeing of the weeds and getting ready to plant out. At dusk the deer pass by, I think the stock-fence deters them though it appears a few plants have been nibbled.

Local showers, bitter April day!

It looks like the perfect spring day, blue sky and sea, white fluffy clouds but it’s frosty and the wind is still biting. Lamlash must be the greenest place on Arran; it seems to rain only on Lamlash!

In spite of the cold the ‘wild’ flowers are bursting into flower. Tiny Dog Violets (Viola riviniana) are popping up around the garden, hoping to have enough to make a violet syrup! Honesty (Lunaria annua) is always a delight to the first emergent bees and hoverflies and smells so sweet in the warm sun. You can tell whether it’s purple or white as the former has purple tinged foliage (as purple Foxgloves do too.) Bluebells are just beginning to flower; I used to pull them out of the garden as they were too prolific but now recognise that they are English bluebells and not Spanish squill, so being a bit more lenient. Tiny blue Forget-me-not punctuate the garden with their delicate blooms but if you don’t like too many don’t let them go to seed…

I know men often think that a pristine green sward is the most delightful thing in the garden and every tiny rosette flower should be yanked out post haste. But I like my ‘weeds’, they are so cheerful, Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) also called Pilewort is a useful little herb. (Clue is in the name 😀 ) I love a lawn full of Daisies, traditionally it was used in much the same way we use Arnica now (and it’s local – local herbs for local people!). White honesty looks beautiful beside the purple, the silver seed cases will be gathered later for dried flower arrangements. The fruit trees are just beginning to blossom too, Damson is always first but the cherry and apples will not be far behind…

In the greenhouse there are trays of seedlings waiting to be planted out but they will have to stay until the frosts have passed (June then…) Meantime I keep hoeing off the weeds from the beds. There’s plenty to keep the Hopeful Herbalist busy!

Thanks for stopping by today – what do you most look forward to in the spring garden?

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)

The Secret Garden

Daffodil time

Golden in the morning light,

waving in the gentle breeze,

a trumpet voluntary of  Spring.


Mum's daffs

Often, it is only after something you took for granted is gone that you truly appreciate its worth and beauty. Growing up, every spring was filled with daffodils in varied shades and shapes. They followed where the snowdrops fled, in stands of bright yellows, pale whites, lemon and gold, nodding in the wind. We have filled churches with them for Mother’s Day, festooned vestibules to welcome Brides and gifted them to elderly ladies. Accompanied by a friend from the city to gather flowers for a service; she stood stock still overcome by the sheer bliss and joy of a field of flowers. She couldn’t believe her eyes! Looking at the photo again I realise just how precious it was and I miss the huge variety of flowers our parents grew.

With each spring we discover new and varied blooms within our garden, although the white daffodil I meant to rescue from the composter last year is surprisingly yellow this! With the warmth and sunshine of the last days of March, the daffodils have broken out into yellow cheerfulness, bejewelled with sparkling raindrops as April showers come our way…

New growth is everywhere, from the pink butterbur (Petasites hybridus) pushing through the cold, damp ground, adding new leaves of bright green as the flowers fade. In the past the large leaves were used to wrap butter, and as a remedy for migraines, allergies and nasal congestion. Ground elder has spread everywhere and unfortunately the “gardening girls” don’t seem to enjoy it; maybe I could interest a chef from a fashionable restaurant to serve it as a vegetable? (Another common name is Bishop’s weed as it was traditionally a remedy for gout.) Forget-me-not peeks out amongst the Aquilegia as the fat bumble bee visits the few flowers providing nectar.

Oscar pleads for a walk in the rain-soaked garden, he doesn’t seem to mind standing in the wet as he listens attentively to the rustling of the leaves in the hope that a vole or shrew give away their hiding place. Taking on the air of a Pointer he stands, foot raised, ready to ambush the quivering tussock of grass. Pairs of chaffinch, blue tits, great tits, gold finch seem unperturbed by his presence and come perilously close before darting away.

The grass has had its first cut, seeds are pushing through the soil, new leaves on the whitethorn and blackthorn, as the leaves on the roses unfurl in deep red and green. From the shelter of the pine trees the pheasant calls his harem as a young female breaks cover and runs across the garden. The garden is alive with new growth, birdsong, and the beech leaves swell and fatten on the twig. Very soon the apple and cherry blossom will break too; and I can try that new recipe for cherry blossom syrup!

 Thanks for stopping by; enjoy the changing season, whether it is to new life or winters sleep.

Waiting is never easy, waiting for the garden to return to life after winters bleakness; waiting for a phone call or test results, waiting for a parcel to be delivered; we are just not cut out for waiting. Unusually, we have just experienced a busier than usual Holy Week. Each night as we closed the front door, Oscar sat bemused and looking a little reproachful, no fire to curl up beside, no one to chase or plead hunger with; an empty house, again. An evening of waiting. After the promise of spring last week, cold wet weather has returned and I feel a little vexed for the bride and groom today and hope for an hour respite from the wind and rain. And we wait for Katy to storm over our Isle.

What to do with the day between “Good Friday” (Or Black or Bad Friday as some of my continental friends refer to it) and Easter Sunday? For us non-conformists it is a strange day, some sort of – nothingness, we don’t hold Easter vigils, but will stand on the windswept beach in the morning, in the stinging rain and celebrate Easter Morning. Maybe empty Saturday, that time “between Good Friday and Easter Day confirms the reality of Jesus’ death. …He genuinely lies in the grave, dead.” (Jane Williams ‘Approaching Easter.”)


Working in the garden over this past week, weeding, clearing, raking out the moss, I discovered that already many seedlings are breaking through the soil having lain dead in the ground for a season. There is hope and a promise. Snowdrops that have cheered our wintered souls, now tattered and tinged with brown, fade and die as spring returns. Now the garden is festooned in bright yellow as the daffodils take their place. Tiny lesser celandine light up the mossy grass, turning their cheerful faces to the sun.

Daisies open, tracking the sun throughout the day, Hellebore holds her flowers in shades of palest greens and red. Bright crimson flowers of the Japanese Quince and the flowering currant attract the first bees, while the first butterflies flit across the garden. We have all been waiting. Spring has come and with it new life, Easter lambs gambol in the fields, birds adorn the cherry tree and sing, nest building begins…

Moss detail

Even the tiniest plants put on growth. We wait in hope, in peacefulness, in the assurance that all will return to life. Be still and wait…

 Thanks for stopping by today – Happy Easter !

An Easter Gift

On Holy Saturday I do my best to live in that place, that wax-crayon place of trust and waiting. Of accepting what I cannot know.

Of mourning what needs to be mourned. Of accepting what needs to be accepted. Of hoping for what seems impossible.”

Jerusalem Jackson Greer

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.
–  Gertrude S. Wister

Snowdrops have flowered through the wet and windy days, now tattered and mud-spattered, still they evoke such joy in wintered hearts. Hidden in cooler frost pockets, some are only just beginning to bud, extending the joy for a few days more. All over the garden bulbs are pushing through the cold ground, Leucojum, crocus, bluebell, daffodil, grape hyacinth and Allium – assuring the gardener of a colourful Spring..

Lenten Rose The Lenten Rose (Helebore niger) break into flower, as the first primrose flowers in palest yellow, blooms in the sheltered hedgerows.

Glowing sunset

Late evening; the setting sun washes the bare branches in rich hue as tiny buds begin to green upon the bough…

Sunset song

Sunset; as already the sun has journeyed North, a welcome glow in the Western sky…

Moon rise behind the trees

And the silver moon looms large behind the trees, garden filled with light and touched with frost. Finally the moon sets in the early morning above the sea, which just a few hours previously hosted the sun…

Sing off - Robin & Chaffinch

The moon declines in brightening sky, robin and chaffinch sharing the same tree sing across the garden, welcoming the new day.

Afternoon sunshine

We all cherish the strengthening sun, its warmth and light, blue skies, blue sea, suddenly everything comes to life again after winters sleep…

Gardening girls at dusk

“A gardener must not feel sorry for himself, even in winter, no matter how great the cause”

Henry Mitchell

The Essential Earthman (1981)

We got enthusiastic in the garden, planting up, potting on, hoeing off the weeds and now my back protest-eth much! This too will pass!

Thanks for stopping by today – remember to limber up before plunging into the garden! 🙂