Good morning, my fine feathered friends!

The title is an homage to one of my favourite children’s books, Quentin Blake’s Cockatoos. Each morning Professor Dupont, a dapper chap, jumps out of bed, takes a shower, cleans his teeth, gets dressed, ties his tie, adjusts his spectacles and goes downstairs.  He goes into his conservatory and there are all his cockatoos.  He throws wide…

The Ugly Duckling Becomes a Beautiful Swan

For the last couple of weeks I have been bud-watching.  You can see these posts here: first Early Birds, and then The Dawn Chorus and Bursting Buds. On Friday evening, this is how Stevie and I inspected the trees, accompanied by evening sun, a glass of wine each, and the smell of the barbecue.  It was the…

A Perfect Day at Great Dixter

I’ve always felt that in any one year, there is one perfect ice-cream.  Usually near the start of summer, or even late spring, often the first really warm day.  You find the ice-cream van at just the right time, and its Mr Whippy is just the right consistency, and the 99 flake is just the…

BURN!

Could there be a happier place than right now, in the British Isles, on Thursday 19th April 2018?  Never mind what else is going on in the world, it is 28˚c.  In April. By twist of fate, I happened to have taken today off as annual leave – yippee!  So at 8am this morning, I…

Opening to the Sun!

Something magical happened on Saturday: the sun came out!  And stayed out! You could hear gardeners around the country stampeding to their back doors to get their wellies on! But once I’d had a little potter around, a bit of weeding here and there, I decided I just had to sit in the sun.  Here,…

The Dawn Chorus and Bursting Buds

A week ago, I wrote a post called ‘Early Birds’ about listening to the dawn chorus.  Well this morning I had the foresight to take my phone with me so that I could record it. Here is an excerpt.  The soloist could be a thrush, given the tendency to repeat the same line two or three times,…

Unripe Tulips

These last few days have been like the big climb on a rollercoaster, where it goes really really slowly, slower, slower…almost stops…you can see the whole theme park below you… You know any second now, it’s all going to happen, and your breath is going to be taken away, and you will feel the most…

Meadow Update! Seedballs!

So if you remember, I had one of my ideas back in February (always a dangerous time).  For a wildflower meadow.  The digging was quite hard-going, and I got about a square metre in, and decided I only wanted a very little meadow anyway. Well, I planted my plugs.  It snowed.  It snowed again.  But guess…

Euphorbia euphoria

Sorry for that title.  But it does reflect the way I feel about euphorbia in the sun.  No other plant has such luminscence, such effervescence in its inflorescence, such zingety zang, such pizazz! There is a Euphorbia (or spurge) to suit any location in the garden.  My favourite for dry shade (under trees) is this one, Euphorbia…

In a vase on Monday: recovered gems

I so loved the arrangement by Cathy, Words and Herbs last week, so I thought I would do something similar with glass bottles and jars. There is Hyacinth ‘Woodstock’ (the deeper purple), ‘Jan Bos’ (the pink), a rogue little tulip ‘Passionale’ who escaped by excavations in the raised bed last year, Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (‘Mrs Robb’s Bonnet’), Crocus…

Peeling back the layers at Great Dixter

On Saturday it was the Great Dixter plant sale.  I have never visited Dixter so early in the season, generally visiting for the tulips in late spring, and again in the summer, for the dahlias and annuals. Great Dixter (in East Sussex but near the border with Kent) was the home of the late Christopher…

Early Birds

This morning I woke up with the dawn chorus.  I am naturally an early bird, and at this time of year, I wake at exactly the right time to witness this spring wonder.  I decided to go out into the garden in my dressing gown for ten minutes or so, just so I could listen…