End of the month review. Some photos from my garden and thoughts for Ukraine

Early Crocus Tommasinianus and Galanthus nivalis in the front woodland garden

Ukraine is constantly in my thoughts. I will not say much, as I’m sure you have arrived here for gardens, flowers, peace and tranquility – much needed in current times. But rest assured, although I am small and insignificant I am doing all I can in the background to support the people of Ukraine in any way I can. It’s easy to think that we are powerless, but often if many people come together then their efforts can be great. Think of one small thing you could do today to make a difference. We are not helpless- and we are not without hope.

Meanwhile, here’s some photos of my garden today for anyone who needs the restorative power of plants. Here’s Galanthus Madeline at the foot of the willow and hazel trees.

Wild primroses poking through the leafmould path. The scent is honey-like and delicate. The very essence of spring.

Wild daffodils are just emerging too. This one is Narcissus pseudonarcissus. There are drifts of the Welsh wild flower, the Tenby daffodil, in honour of my Welsh grandmother. But the little lobularis daffodil is the first to open.

The winter aconites are just going over now. The are making a nice swathe of colour in the woodland corner at the end of the pergola.

Cyclamen Coum flowers are popping up all over the garden- not necessarily where I planted them. Apparently the seeds have a sticky substance much-loved by ants which then carry the seed far and wide. They must have carried them off into the back fields as there’s a thriving collection of plants on the other side of the fence.

Some of the cyclamen have come up with these bright silvery-leaves. These are worth growing for the foliage alone. Both white and purple flowers are emerging from the leaves.

There’s also Cyclamen persicum flowering in the greenhouse. These have been making a display since last October; really good value long-lasting plants. They are not hardy in my garden, coming from the Eastern Mediterranean region. But they thrive in a greenhouse or cool room, just watering them when they droop – and not before.

While we are in the greenhouse, I’ll show you the citrus trees which have produced the best ever crop of lemons and oranges here. We have had a relatively mild winter and the plants have been kept at 4C in the heated greenhouse. To be honest, the heater has hardly been on. A well insulated cedar-wood greenhouse keeps plants cosy. I’m just starting to water them again and top dressing with fresh compost. They are too big now to be repotted, but topdressing with new compost and adding liquid fertiliser in the watering can will perk them up and bring them into flower again.

And this is what I made with the orange zest; citrus shortbread. The recipe will be in Garden News Magazine next week, and I’ll copy and paste the article here for anyone who would like it. It’s part of my new ‘family favourites’ column for the magazine. Quick recipes anyone can make. There won’t be long lists of ingredients and fancy products you have to search high and low for. It’s mostly about simple ingredients and home grown produce, and all the recipes that have been passed down to me from my mother and my grandparents and friends.

Strawberry scones will feature in the coming weeks too, as I’m talking about bringing my strawberry plants, growing in containers, into the greenhouse to get an early crop. I grow my strawberries in 10” pots and windows boxes. They are easy to pick up and move under cover. Also easy to protect the fruit from birds and slugs as well.

Daphne and the other hens have just started laying again, so there will be plenty of eggs for cooking. The bantams are undercover in a new run, specially made to protect them from the bird flu epidemic. Usually they would be out foraging in the orchard by now, but until we have the all-clear they have to be kept in.

Walking from the hen run, out past the fruit trees and along the perimeter fence, there are more snowdrops. These are double and single types.

The doubles flower just a few weeks before the singles.

These have green tips. I believe they are a variety called Viridapice.

This one is called Walrus. It has elongated, green-marked outer petals.

A small patch of Galanthus Robin Hood.

It’s called Robin Hood because of the crossbow markings on the inner petals.

A small patch of Galanthus Jessica. I bought these because I have a niece called Jessica.

Have you all seen the news about the most expensive snowdrop ever? I think I would have been crying if I’d paid £1,850 for a single bulb of Golden Tears. Pretty as it is, it’s a staggering amount to pay. I saw the above photo on the Alpine Garden Society social media pages.

Here’s the view through the gap in the hedge. The field has been sown with winter wheat. I think the variety is Skyfall which is hardy and disease resistant and therefore requires less spraying.

And finally, just a few steps from my garden gate, here’s the view on the lane, looking across the back fields to ancient Bunny Woods on the horizon. Sometimes we walk across the footpaths to the woods. Today, I’m taking this photo in a welcome gap in the rain, but the clouds still look ominous, so I hurry home for a warming cup of tea. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of my garden and surrounding fields. Take care everyone and keep safe and well. And let me know what spring flowers are emerging in your gardens today.

18 thoughts on “End of the month review. Some photos from my garden and thoughts for Ukraine

  1. Karen your garden is wonderful full of divine flowers. I need the plant repairman: thank you Karen for showing us the magnificent photos of your flowers and your garden. Your collection of snowdrops is fabulous, I love it. Cyclamenes are adorable, I love them. I am pleased with the good citrus harvest in the Greenhouse. Exquisite citrus biscuits and strawberry buns. I’m so glad Daphne and the other hens have started laying eggs again: protect them and Merlin from Avian Flu. The fields around your garden are wonderful and you have fabulous views – I love it. Karen 100% support your approach to the war in Ukraine: we can all do our bit to help. I’m always on the news. In the 21st century there should be no wars. The differences should be resolved in the offices of the leaders of the countries with diplomacy, without going any further. Karen good health, strength, encouragement, hope, lots of love and support for your whole family, Mr B and for you. Take good care of all of you. Give Grace, Meg, Monty, the three Chickens and Merlin pets. Much love and I wish you the best. Very loving greetings from Margarita xxx 😘🙏💚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margarita. Have a good week and keep positive. Sending strength, encouragement and hope in return. Loving greetings. Love from karen and the family xxx 😘


  2. For some reason I couldn’t see most of the photos in this post on my tablet – just a few in the middle – so will try and look later on my laptop. I enjoyed reading all the text though! Good to know you have the space to give your chickens a good-sized covered run.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, our four chickens are all shut in now. Sadly, not laying yet, partly because they’re decorative breeds, and partly because the poor dears are quite old.
    Your spring garden looks fabulous, and those cakes are making me hungry!
    Thanks for the uplifting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Hope your hens start laying too. Mine are bantams so I don’t hold out much hope they will produce too many hens. They are mostly here to keep me company and eat the slugs and snails. I’m going to buy some Black Rocks this spring to boost egg production. I’ve had them before and they are wonderful birds. Thank you for your kind comments,and I’m glad you found the post uplifting. Thanks for reading.


  4. I’ll stick to looking at your glorious photos of whatever is around. Who on earth decides that sort of value for a plant, how and why?

    Good that Daphne is doing her thing. Is she not being kept in as well? Our neighbour’s flock are producing eggs but have to be kept inside. It means they have to supplement their feed with the elements the hens would usually obtain from roaming free.

    I take that Monty is well used to seeing the wingéd side of wild life and is not tempted to chase them when they are out.

    Take care. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, all the hens are in a 30ft covered, secure run and house. No wild birds can get in, and it has a solid roof so bird poop can’t be dropped from wild birds sitting on the top of the run. We built the run specially as the bird flu epidemic was being announced. Perhaps 30ft was a bit excessive for four birds, but they are used to being free range so I wanted them to have space. We’ve put logs and twigs in the run so they have something to sit on and peck at. We have to disinfect our boots if we walk in there, and food is all put indoors. Monty takes everything in his stride. He’s a really laid back cat, and he doesn’t chase anything, thank heavens! Thanks for reading. Take care. Xx


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