Thursday, May 31, 2018

Sicilian Honey Garlic

Nectaroscordum siculum 

also know as Sicilian Honey Garlic, Sicilian Honey Lily or Mediterranean Bells.

We have only a vague recollection of buying the bulbs last year  They were planted in a pot last Autumn and left over winter. 

Over a month ago they looked like this.  We were bemused as to what they were.  They had been labelled but the name had smudged in the damp weather and on the other side of the label it said pumpkin! Full marks for recycling the label though. The packet top had either been put somewhere very safe or thrown away.

A few weeks ago one of the spears popped open to reveal the little buds inside.

 Gradually they all opened into buds which then began to open into little dangling bell like flowers.

 How delightful! 
We tried again to read the label and put into google what we thought it said which seemed like gobbledegook but we found its real name quite quickly.

Anyway now we know what they are and they are delightful and most importantly the bees love them.

Here is a - link - to the RHS site to find out more.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Early Morning Walk

Yesterday we were up and out  fairly early in the morning and when we arrived at our usual place to take a walk we were the only people there.

It was so quiet and peaceful under the trees who'd have thought it was the first day of a bank holiday weekend. 

  The woodland birds were singing their little hearts out, pheasants called from nearby fields, buzzards mewled overhead and ducks on the nearby pond sounded as if they were laughing at a coarse joke or two.

 Everything was lush and green.

 Except where it was white.

Lovely dandelion clocks were everywhere all ready for the breeze to catch and distribute their seeds or fairies as we used to call them - in fact still do!

The towpath by the canal was glorious with its soft tones of green and white

 There were many other plants to spot as we walked.  Some of them I can easily identify others I can't without the aid of a reference book.  Where I'm not sure I've put a question mark in brackets.  Any help with identification will be gratefully received.

Yellow Dead Nettle - also Yellow Archangel - thank you Ragged Robin, Mrs Tiggywinkle and John Scurr.

At first I thought 'self heal' but it isn't like the 'self heal' in our garden so now I'm not sure.   Apparently this is called Bugle - thank you John Scurr.

 Wild rhubarb - there must be another name for this but I can't find it.  I assumed the tall flowers were part of the same plant but I'm not sure. I now know that this is butterbur thanks again to John, I think somewhere in the back of my mind I'd found this out before but had completely forgotten.




 Wood Avens

 White Dead Nettle

 Horse Tail 

 growing at the sides of the canal towpath it looks a
very ancient looking plant.

 Ash Keys

Hogweed (?)


The heat of yesterday was cleared by a storm during the night, at one point loud rain and thunder woke me up.  It is cooler and breezier today and as I type this post the rain has started again.  At least the gardens will benefit from it.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Scavenger Photo Hunt - May

Joining in once again with the Scavenger Photo Hunt organised by
by Kate at 'I live, I love, I craft, I am me' blog. The word prompts for May are

Cool, Disaster, Movement, Fence/Fencing, Spiky/Prickly, My Own Choice

Cool - Cooling strawberries and ice cream in the garden on Royal Wedding weekend.

Disaster - in the nearby World of Wedgwood Museum are lots of the pottery designs of ceramic designer, painter, book illustrator and wood engraver Eric Ravilious (1903 -42) who was a designer for Wedgwood from 1936 until 1940.  At the outbreak of war he was made an official war artist but in 1942 disaster struck when he was lost during an air-sea rescue over Iceland.  You have to wonder what further work we would have seen from him had he not perished that day.

Movement - we were lucky to spot this carriage and horses as it passed by the church in the village of Breadsall in Derbyshire.  They were making their way quite briskly down the village street.

Fence/Fencing - not one but two sets of wire fencing guard the herd of deer behind them.

Spiky/Prickly -  cat claws!  Not our cat but one from across the road who decided he was going to sit on my lap in the garden, drool all over me and then knead with those spiky claws!  I took the photo with the camera under my chin pointing downwards.

Your own choice - on a recent visit to Trentham Gardens I was taken with the plants above and wondered what they were.  A couple of weeks ago we watched 'Gardener's World' and Monty Don had them in his garden.   I hoped he would mention them and eventually he did and so I found out that they were called Cammassia.  I'm going to look out for bulbs to plant later this year so I can have some of these lovely blue/mauve flowers in my garden too.

Follow the link below to find other bloggers taking part this month.

Thursday, May 17, 2018



 We've made Wild Garlic and Cashew Nut Pesto with wild garlic from the garden.  The aroma in the kitchen was wonderful.

It was very tasty on tagliatelle for an evening meal with a glass of red grape juice.

Spotted a family of Greylag Geese by the lake at Trentham - there were in fact two families with eight goslings each, I hope they all survive.  Greylags are my favourite geese.

Also at Trentham the wisteria on the old sculpture gallery is in bloom.  It looks wonderful against the flaking paint on the old building. 

Yesterday we met with friends, one of whom was celebrating a birthday, at the Blubell Dairy Ice Cream Farm at Spondon near Derby. The drive over to Spondon was wonderful.  The road sides and verges were full of Joie de Vivre with Cow Parsley and Hawthorn both in frothy, white bloom whilst lilacs blossomed over garden fences and Wisteria dangled lazily over gates and door fronts swaying gently in the breeze.  Even though chilly first thing the light and colour en route was glorious.

We had a lovely lunch - mine was Cheese and Onion Quiche and Salad.  After a walk around the farm and a look at the animals we returned to the cafe for an ice cream. Two scoops each and I chose Pear and Elderflower sorbet and Rhubarb Ripple ice cream - both delicious. The rhubarb ripple was creamy and fruity and the sorbet had a delicate flavour which would be so refreshing on a red hot summer's day.
We then made our way to the nearby village of Dale Abbey where we discovered more joys in a meadow of buttercups.
 We all agreed it was idyllic

 Below are what remains of St Mary's Abbey - the imposing arch of the East window.

 A priory was originally founded here c 1150 by the Augustinian Canons from Calke Abbey. Around 1200 Premonstratensian cannons from an order founded by St Norbert in Premontre in  France took over and the Abbey flourished until the Dissolution c1538.  Stone from the Abbey ruins can be found in many buildings in and around the village.

 A view of the arch from the nearby churchyard.
 The church of All Saints is accessed through private land and is only the part of the building seen to the left in the photo above,  the gabled part on the right is now a private house.  As we arrived the owner was leaving in her car and informed us that the key to the church was held in the next village so unfortunately we didn't see the interior.  Inside the church is tiny around 25ft by 26ft.
 Parts of the church date from c 1150.  According to the village information board pre 1754 couples could be married quickly here without banns.  Apparently the Abbey infirmary was built onto the church and people on stretchers were able to see the altar from the upstairs gallery.  This infirmary later became the Bluebell Inn and the connecting door was said to lead from 'salvation to damnation'  it is now the private house next to the little church.
All too soon it was time to go our separate ways and make our way home.  We had a lovely afternoon with dear friends and thoughts of friendship, ice cream and buttercups are still fresh in my mind.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

In the Garden

I thought I'd keep a photographic record of things appearing in and around the garden over the last few days.

 Bright orange/yellow tulips, we bought and planted the bulbs in autumn last year.  

 The cat from across the road.  He knew he looked good posing near the Forget-me-nots which exactly matched the colour of his collar.

A swarm of bees!  They were heard coming up the street such a loud noise!  Running inside,  doors were shut and windows closed.  I took this photo through the landing window they stayed a while around next door and then moved away.  I've no idea where they came from or where they went toThere are some allotments not too far away perhaps someone has hives on one of those?

The morning after the bees had visited I heard a loud hissing noise and was just in time to see a balloon drop behind the trees at the top of the garden.  I grabbed my camera to capture it as it came up again but it stayed where it was and then moved away.  I never saw it  up over the trees again.  Perhaps it went the same way as the bees?

Foxy is a regular visitor to the garden.  She appears early morning and early evening when she seems to take a break from caring for her cubs.  I guess her cubs must be getting larger as she is looking a little careworn and dishevelled at the moment.

Next door's cat is also a regular visitor to the garden.  She would dearly love to catch up with a wood pigeon but even though they aren't very smart birds they have the measure of her.

The Clematis Montana is absolutely covered in buds and some are just beginning to open.  It's going to look wonderful this year.

The wild garlic is in flower next to the pathway near the shed.  The aroma as you pass by to the compost bins behind the shed is wonderful.  Each year we say we will try making soup or pesto from the leaves, perhaps we might manage it this year.

Rhododendron 'Dreamland' at the top of the garden.

The Aquilegia plants have spread so much this year and seem to have taken over various parts of the garden. You can see some London Pride growing by the Aquilegia another plant that spreads quite a bit.  I remember my grandmother's garden borders were full of it.

We may have to lose a few to stop them strangling the other plants but for the moment they remain.  I love their little bonnet shaped flowers.

Geums too are spreading and probably need splitting at some point.  Geums, Aquilegia and Hardy Geraniums seem to have taken over most of the beds at the moment.

The peony looks ready to burst forth in colour any time now.

The Pieris we moved from the back garden, where is was being overtaken by hardy geraniums, to the front garden is picking up and seems to be doing well in  its new home.

Wallflowers have seeded themselves against the wall of the house.  Below the Azalea we bought last year is in full colour after the warm bank holiday weekend.