Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Photo Medley - January

I often have lots of photos on my camera which don't make it on to the blog for one reason or another, I may take a photo which doesn't fit in to a blog post or I may have taken far too many photos of a subject to include them all in one blog post. I had an idea that I would combine all these odd photos at the end of each month and show them on my blog. When it's come near to the end of January, I've had a look at what I've got and unfortunately, it doesn't amount to much, probably because the weather's been too cold to be out and about with my camera.

As there isn't much else to add to this post, I thought I'd show a few more photos I took at Harlow Carr last Saturday.

One of the borders which was covered in snow but which I'm sure will be beautiful when everything starts blooming again.

The snow still hanging around, but starting to melt. I'm sure it's all gone by now.


Narcissus Romieuxii in the Alpine House.

Roses are still giving a little colour, even in the depths of winter.

I hope to have more photos to include in these posts in future months, I must get out and about more with my camera.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Harlow Carr In January

After renewing my RHS membership at the end of last year, we thought we'd take our first trip of the year to Harlow Carr yesterday. I think we chose the nicest day of the month so far, though it was very cold, the sun was shining.

You wouldn't have thought there was still snow on the ground in Harrogate as it was such a bright day, but much of the garden was still covered in a thin layer of the white stuff.

It was pleasant in the sunshine but was quite bitter when the wind blew so we only spent about an hour there and didn't get to see lots of areas, but I'll show you the bits I managed to photograph.

It's evident by the shoots breaking through the earth that the garden is starting to wake up. I'm sure the snow will have slowed everything down but we can see that there's plenty of things eagerly waiting for spring to arrive.

There's some beautiful witch hazel in the gardens, a wonderful shrub for winter interest and scent, though I didn't catch any of the fragrance yesterday. Apparently, you should breathe on the flowers to warm them up on cold days before they'll release their scent.

I love this leaf bin. As the leaves are held in a teapot, does it make them tea leaves?

I have to confess that my favourite part of Harlow Carr is the Kitchen Garden. It includes raised beds for vegetables, a fruit and herb garden, willow beds and flowers for cutting. Much of this garden was covered in remnants of snow, but you can still see that it's productive in the winter as well as summer months.

There's a large rhubarb patch and many of the plants are being forced with these attractive rhubarb forcers.

This photo doesn't show the trained apple trees very well. I'm sure they'll become more evident once they have leaves again.

Each tree has one of these lovely wooden labels giving its name.

I'm so envious of this greenhouse, isn't it a beauty? The coldframes down the side would come in extremely handy too.

At the moment, the greenhouse is filled with pots of herbs and bulbs. Everything is well labelled.

At the back of a shed are these trained currant bushes. There's both red and white currants and they're being grown in containers. I'm always pleased to see things growing successfully in pots as not everyone has a garden but it doesn't mean they can't grow fruit and veg.

By now, I was getting rather cold so we made our way to the Alpine House. As you can see, it's a beautiful building and a brilliant place to take shelter from the icy wind.

Outside the Alpine House are these wonderful little troughs filled with saxifrage, sempervivum and dianthus.

As we had a break from the chill outside, we admired all these wonderful little plants, some of them flowering in the depths of winter.

Most of the plants are grown in pots so they can be moved about in to the best position and replaced once they've done their thing.

There's even plants in the cracks of the display walls.

As we ventured back outside, I decided that I couldn't take the cold any longer so we decided to call it a day.

I'm sure that the next time we visit, those little shoots will be bigger shoots just waiting to burst in to flower.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

We've Got Snow

I don't like snow. Actually, that's not strictly true. What I should say is that I don't like going out in snow. I don't like the cold, I much prefer to be inside where it's nice and warm. I especially don't like going out in snow at the present time as I was taking Archie for a walk on Monday when it was icy and I took a tumble. I thought I was ok at the time but my leg's quite painful now and I'm a bit nervous of going out again when it's slippery.

Archie had to make do with a quick trip in the garden this morning and he'll get the same this afternoon. Mick will take him for a good walk when he gets in from work to make up for it, though I doubt he'll mind as he doesn't like going out in the snow either.

My little pond is covered in ice and snow.

The spring bulbs which I planted in containers are managing to poke through the snow. It seems that nothing holds them back once they've made up their mind to grow.

It's still snowing now, we're forecast light snow all day. I hope it doesn't hang around.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Big Garden Birdwatch 2015

Next weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch where the RSPB ask us to count the number of birds and other wildlife in our garden. The results help to give a snapshot of our garden bird population and shows which species are thriving and which are in decline. The more people take part, the more that can be learned.

All you have to do is spend an hour of your choice counting the birds in your garden. How easy is that.

If you register before the day, you will be sent an information pack and a £5 discount off your next RSPB purchase. I shall be using mine to stock up on bird treats to entice lots of our feathered friends to visit my garden. On the day, you spend an hour counting the birds in your garden, or nearby green space. Afterwards, you can submit your results live from your device, or by mail if you'd rather fill in a paper form.

I've marked the 24-25 January 2015 in my diary so that I don't forget. Have you?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Back in December I wrote a post, A Foray Into Fungi, in which I told you about a mushroom kit I'd bought from the pound shop. I said I'd let you know how I got on with it.

The kit came with spawned mushroom compost and growing medium. The instructions said to empty the bag of growing medium  over the spawned compost and add water. This was to be placed back inside the box to create a dark environment and put in a warm, dry place (20-24C) for approximately six days. After six days a white, fluffy growth (mycelium) should appear on the surface of the casing layer.

After six days, I could just see this starting to grow so I left it another couple of days before I followed the next instructions.

Remove from the box and place in a cool, dark area (16-20C) out of any draughts. Check contents daily and keep damp using a mist spray. Mushrooms should begin to appear after several days.

Unfortunately, I've left it considerably longer than several days and no mushrooms have appeared. Zilch.

I'm not going to give up. This kit was only a pound and I think it worth trying again if I see them for sale at this price again. I know the amount of mushrooms this kit would produce could probably be bought cheaper at the greengrocers, but it's not half as fun as trying to grow them yourself.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Colour In January

You may remember that a couple of years ago back in 2013, I treated myself to a new plant each month. I purposely bought each plant in flower, the idea being that I should then have something blooming in the garden every month of the year. This was actually one of the late Geoff Hamilton's tips.

In January 2013, I treated myself to five cyclamen, three were pink, one red and one white. They were advertised by the nursery as outdoor types, though I know nothing about the different varieties myself so I don't know which variety they are. This is the red one, still blooming away in my garden now.

Unfortunately, I've lost three of the plants. I wonder if all five were the same variety as their leaves differed. I'm not sure if the different types have different leaves or not. This is the photo I took of them when I bought them, you can see what I mean here.

There is another survivor but it hasn't flowered this year, I'm not sure which colour it is but its leaves are very different to the red one.

At least there's a little splash of colour in my garden in the depths of winter.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A Gift To Myself

I've treated myself to a little gift. My RHS subscription expired a few years ago, Archie had come to live with us in the meantime and as dogs aren't allowed in RHS gardens, I didn't bother renewing my membership. I've missed visiting Harlow Carr so I decided that I'd treat myself to a new subscription for this year.

I used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to purchase it, £17 worth of vouchers buys a one year membership. They also have a gift subscription for the same price but with this option, you also get a couple of packets of seeds, a free RHS tote bag and a £5 voucher to spend in the RHS shops. It was a no brainer, I bought myself the gift subscription, it's a little gift from me to me.

The membership allows free entry to RHS gardens to a family guest as well as myself and also gives me free entry to RHS partner gardens. It looks as though I'll be garden visiting again this year.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

Taken at Roundhay Park on Boxing Day before the snow started falling.

Wishing you all a happy new year and all the very best for 2015, hope it's a good year for us all.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Garden Visiting In 2014

We've had some lovely days out this year, visiting a garden each month. Some were better than others, but on the whole, there was something to take away from each of the gardens.

I thought it would be helpful to list each of the gardens we visited with a link to the post about them.

January - Wentworth Garden Centre Gardens
February - Roundhay Park Gardens
March - Manor Heath Park, Halifax Part One
              Manor Heath Park, Halifax Part Two
April - Lister Park, Bradford Part One
            Lister Park, Bradford Part Two
May - Cannon Hall Part One
           Cannon Hall Part Two
June - Golden Acre Park Gardens Part One
           Golden Acre Park Gardens Part Two
July - Temple Newsam Walled Garden Part One
          Temple Newsam Walled Garden Part Two
August - Yorkshire Lavender
September - Thornes Park, Wakefield
October - Oakwell Hall Part One
                Oakwell Hall Part Two
November - York Museum Gardens
December - Temple Newsam Gardens

I think my favourite garden of the ones visited this year was Cannon Hall. The walled garden was beautifully kept and had some wonderful, well labelled, plants and trees. We visited this garden in May but I'd like to go back a bit later in 2015 to see the apple and pear trees dripping in fruit and the vegetables ready to harvest.

Other gardens I would recommend visiting are Wentworth Garden Centre Gardens, Roundhay Park Gardens, Golden Acre Park Gardens and Temple Newsam Gardens, though all the ones I visited this year have something to offer.

I think it would be a nice idea to visit the gardens again in a different month as they can look so different at various times of the year when other plants are blooming.

I hope you've enjoyed my garden visits as much as I have.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014


...you all a very merry Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Garden Visiting In December

There was a bit of a false start to my garden visit for December. Knowing there wouldn't be many plants around at this time of year, I'd decided that I'd cheat and visit Tropical World where the greenhouses hold the UK's largest collection of tropical plants outside of Kew Gardens. What I didn't bargain for was that Tropical World was going to close in December for refurbishment.

With that idea shelved, I had a scout about on the internet and came up with The Red House Museum. The house itself is an 1830's cloth merchant's home with Bronte connections but it was the gardens I was interested in. Apparently, they're restored to the 1830's period with scented old roses, borders of old fashioned flowers, an ornamental rose pillar, flower basket beds and a serpentine walk. It sounds lovely, doesn't it? In reality, there's one smallish area with not very much to see at this time of year.

I had to come up with something else, so it was to my trusted old friend, Temple Newsam, that I turned. I showed you around the walled garden in my Garden Visiting In July - Part One and Garden Visiting In July - Part Two posts, so this time, I'd like to show you around the gardens in the grounds.

It's not the best time of year to visit gardens if you're expecting to see an abundance of plants at their best, but there's still plenty of interest of other sorts. Take trees, for example, some are still clothed in their vibrant green leaves, whereas the shape which is usually hidden can now be seen from the ones which have shed their leaves. I think this particular one would look lovely at this time of year with a few lights twinkling amongst the leaves.

This one too.

This tree reminds me of a huge bonsai, a contradiction in terms.

Look how twisted this tree has grown, it has such a dramatic effect as it overhangs the lake.

The grass is still looking very green but it has a backdrop of bare plants and trees.

The borders are looking very bare.

There are lots of signs of life waiting to burst forth though. Temple Newsam has a beautiful rhododendron walk, it's a riot of colour in May and June. The buds are formed already and are sure to give an outstanding display next year.

There's a small grass garden by the side of the lake.

Most of the grasses have now been cut down.

There's different types of bamboo planted here, I stood and listened to the wind swishing through it.

Not all the grasses have been cut down, some are very tall indeed.

I love how the sun catches the plumes of this pampas grass.

We paused for a while by the side of the lake to watch a couple of Jays. You might just be able to make one out in the centre of this photo, I could have done with my longer lens with me.

The lake looks beautiful summer or winter. The gardens in Temple Newsam were landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and I think the lakes and the planting around them are striking.

The willow has just about dropped all of its leaves now. The few it has held on to will, no doubt, have been shed in the wind we've experienced over the last few days.

I'm sure you'll agree that there's plenty of enjoyment to get from visiting a garden, even this late in the year. There may not be lots of flowering plants around but there's still so much interest.

I thought it was going to be challenging finding a garden with enough interest in it to visit in December but I was wrong. An added bonus was that Archie got a walk in his favourite place.