Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bursting into Life

I do love this time of year, a few sunny days and everything bursts into life.  Today I noticed that one of my Cedric Morris irises - Benton Deirdre had opened. If you're watching or visiting the Chelsea Flower Show next week look out for them as they are appearing there for the first time in many years.

All the aquilegias have opened this week too, mainly self sown and I tend to leave them where they chose to be unless they're really in the way.

and some more clematis have opened too, the one on the left is called Vino, the one on the right is some kind of montana that was here when I moved in.

Two roses have opened this week, the single chinensis rose 'Mutabilis'

and Abraham Darby.

There's still a lot of blue around as the ceanothus has opened (sadly I think it'll have to come out when it's finished flowering as it's leaning across the path and I have to scramble under it to get past)

But I'll leave you with a photo not taken in my garden but at Arger Fen, a Suffolk Wildlife reserve which I called into after work one day last week.

And I heard a cuckoo, black caps and willow warblers as well as seeing the bluebells :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lots of Blue and White

There's a lot of blue and white around at the moment, both in the sky and in the garden.

First of all, the whites:

clematis avalanche

dicentra spectabilis alba


variegated white honesty 

white lilac
Next, the blues: lots and lots of forget-me-nots



iris bud

It's not all blue and white though, the sky sometimes goes dark dark grey and the garden has splashes of other colours too.

Cerinthe self sows all over my front garden, and in the back there's more dicentra

dicentra spectabilis
 and the late flowering narcissus tresamble.

narcissus tresamble
But before I go, I must just share with you a tulip, now fully opened and all frayed and pretty -

Tulip Huis Ten Bosch

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I do so love tulips and this week they are looking their best.  There are reds and yellows,

 top L - unknown double, top R Golden Artist, bottom L - Bright Parrot, bottom R - unknown/forgotten

and pinks and whites
All unknown except bottom right - Huis Ten Bocsh

Doll's Minuet


Also flowering today is this pasque flower, I love the hairiness of it,

and this delightful little plant, which I think is a wood anemone, but I have no recollection of planting it, although I must have done.

It's very pretty!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Is Late

It's official, spring is late! How do I know? Well Facebook very kindly showed me this photo yesterday, taken exactly a year ago, with the exochorda in flower amongst tulips and dicentra.

And this was the same view yesterday -

no flowers on the exochorda yet, tulips still in tight bud and the dicentra has only just poked its head above ground level.

But even with this lateness spring is evident in the garden

and I hope that with a few more warm days, as is predicted, the rest will catch up too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Little Detour

After a day of cleaning and gardening at my parents' yesterday I took a little detour on the way home and went to Castle Acre.

The views from the top were impressive, but all the time I kept thinking that it wasn't how I remembered it from visiting as a child.

I had a good wander round, it was nice but I was puzzled as to where all the arches were that I knew had been there before.

I wandered back to the car and saw a sign to 'The Priory' and the penny dropped - that was where I'd been as a child not the castle! As I walked out of the village the priory came into view across the fields.

It's managed by English Heritage and when I got to the entrance there was only 20mins left until they closed so I didn't pay the £6.90 to go in, instead I wandered around the perimeter on a footpath.

 Now I could see the arches that I remembered.  Arches from the cloisters,

and from windows long missing their glass.

I will go back and pay to go in as I'd love to get up close to those arches and see the re-created herb garden showing the herbs that the monks used to use for medicinal purposes.

But even from a distance it was a lovely end to the day - a day where I found this gorgeous cloche hat in mum's cupboard, bought and worn by me in the 80s!

Hope you all had good Easter weekends too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Taking Something Old....

Back in April I bought a little, tatty, unloved footstool from eBay for £15.98.  I'd been looking at new ones and they were all either:
  1. too big,
  2. too expensive or
  3. both of the the above
It arrived and sat looking sad in my conservatory until this week when I finally had time to tackle it.

First off all I removed the green cover and found another pink one underneath, so that came off too.

The padding/wadding seemed in good condition do I left that on and sanded the nasty brown varnish off the legs.  At this point it hailed so progress halted!

Today I removed the legs and waxed them, found some fabric in my ever increasing stash and armed with a staple gun set about re-covering it.  

I didn't really know what I was doing but I'm pretty pleased with those corners!  Then I put the legs back on and voila! I think it looks good alongside the free chair I obtained 18months ago.

I did some digging in the veg garden today and was supervised by this little chap and his mate; I don't know where they're nesting but they were certainly busy collecting grubs.

On my way inside I noticed the euphorbia fireglow has emerged - such vivid colours.

I also picked some hyacinth blooms on my way back up the garden and they're now filling the house with a heady scent.

Now if you'll excuse me I'll just put my feet up for a few minutes :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Question - what is the connection between Mr and Mrs Andrews, a military orchid and a zeppelin raid in Suffolk? Don't know? No nor did I until a couple of weeks ago.  I'll explain.

Mr and Mrs Andrews, above as painted by Thomas Gainsborough, had a son, Joseph. Joseph was a botanist and an apothecary and his preserved plant and herbarium is the oldest in existence and is now housed in the Natural History Museum in London. Within that collection is the military orchid.

Military orchids are extremely rare and are only found in two areas of the UK including this part of Suffolk.  They grow on chalk.

Now I've lived in this areas for 22 years and I wouldn't have associated it with chalk.  What I did know though was that there are some very steep and out of character 'cliffs' throughout Sudbury and a couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to hear a fascinating talk about the chalk pits of Sudbury which explained it all!

The speaker explained how there had been 11 chalk pits in Sudbury and Great Cornard. Most of the pits had kilns to burn the chalk to produce lime and at one time the railway had sidings going into the pits to transport the chalk.  There were tales of possible tunnels between the pits too and of a zeppelin raid due to the glow from the kilns causing the pilot to think it was a far bigger town that it really was!

Today I walked a footpath between 2 of the pits, I wonder how many of the residents of this housing estate realise that they're living in an old quarry.  See the chimneys at the top of the picture? That house is on the original ground level.

On the other side of the footpath I could see the measures put in by Sainsbury's to hold up the cliff edge behind their store, which was build in a neighbouring pit, that's the roof of the store in the foreground.

Apparently if you go back in time far enough Sudbury was a coastal area and the cliffs would have resembled those of Dover.

As I was walking back from the footpath I saw this beautiful blossom - a real sign of spring :-)