Six on Saturday

It has been a very good year for Narcissus and I am hoping it has something to do with the fact that I feed them with blood, fish & bone meal as they are coming through, before they flower. The botanical theory is that whilst they are pushing this year’s flower through the ground, the bulb is already forming next year’s flower so that is when they need nourishment, not after flowering as some would have you believe. It probably also has a lot to do with the weather, but that’s something we can’t control.

“Weed, feed, mulch” is my March/April mantra and the latter arrived on Wednesday ready for the weekend thanks to those nice people from Earth Cycle https://earthcycle.co.uk/

A large ‘dumpy bag’ is approx 1000 litres and is just enough to cover my important beds and borders with a 30mm layer to prevent annual weeds germinating, conserve moisture and add essential depleted minerals and nutrients to the soil. It works out at 10p a litre delivered to my door which I think is good value. And, I get a free dumpy bag for hedge cuttings and a pallet for my next compost bin!

I have a little colony of white violets which comes back every year and is a charming addition to the beech hedge where it seems to thrive in the leaf litter. It has been invaded by foxglove seedlings this year but I will relocate those tomorrow.

The ‘May flowering’ Narcissus poeticus, or ‘Pheasant Eye’ narcissus, are rather early this year! They are normally the last to flower but are way ahead of schedule. But they are not alone………….

Just a red tulip, nothing special, left in the ground to take their chances, are already flowering at least a month earlier than last year. Odd! They are obviously happy in this front border and get well fed alongside the herbaceous perennials.

Chaenomeles, or Japanese Quince, are a wonderful sight at the moment. Forgotten for the rest of the year, hacked back in August when the hedges are cut, they seem to enjoy their brutal treatment and flower all the better for it.

I love the way some plants adapt to their position. This Iberis sempervirens has decided to fall gracefully over the step, just a year after being released from its pot in the new rose garden. It will flower for weeks and takes no maintenance. Please excuse the mice, they are someone else’s idea of cute!

Have a great weekend

David

Wonderful Winning Weekend

005                                                                                                                                         Despite all the recent meteorological doom and gloom, The Cheltenham Horticultural Society held it’s Spring Flower and Craft Show as planned on Sunday. It was only my second foray into the mysterious world of horticultural shows but buoyed up by last summer’s relatively successful attempt, I entered eight classes including the above attempt at ‘Floral Art’ for novices which was titled “At Breakfast”24032013532.                                    Even with the tray back to front I won first prize and a kind note from the judge! 24032013533              And yes, I did the whole thing myself including the boiled eggs!

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This was followed by a further 1st prize for a vase of 3 yellow un-named Daffodils,  1st prize for a vase of 3 daffodils of any other colour combination (pictured above) and 1st prize for a vase of 1 tulip stem.002

The demure little common Primula vulgaris I entered won 2nd prize for ‘1 container of Primrose or Polyanthus’ beating off stiff competition from loads of garishly coloured and unnatural looking examples of the species. It might have done even better if I hadn’t had to remove the front two leaves due to slug damage!24032013530

My wife, Cathy, swept the board with 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Handicrafts section for ‘An article, hand knitted or crocheted’. Her baby’s jacket, baby blanket and scarf were simply the best. 24032013536

Her Orange Drizzle Cake came second in a class of 12 others and is absolutely delicious!

All in all, a wonderful show in dreadful weather. With over 200 entries and 300 visitors, it was a tribute to the hard work of the organising committee and volunteers.

Roll on August and the Summer Show!