Red and Green

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I took this today and noticed how much bright red was in it and subtle greens to compliment it. Even the plant food and bits of the labels on the washing up liquid are red. Splashes of colour lift this photo, making it zing. I was going to crop it, but I also like the door handle on the left side mimicking the curve of the tulip stems. The green leaves and sponge and washing up liquid are complementary. Even the cloth on the cupboard helps to hold it together. More if a still life than a photo. Objects can just spring out at you. Especially when you get a bit of sunshine to enhance the shapes of the vase and tulip flowers.

Rode Hall snow drop walk.

Gallanthus, the Latin name for Snowdrops. They are out in force at Rode Hall gardens near Scholar Green, on the North Staffordshire/ Cheshire border. It’s off the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton. The snowdrops are in flower right now and you can buy little bags of them (in the green) wjuch means you get bulbs with the leaves and flowers and you plant them directly into the ground under trees so they can spread out. They have many different sorts of the flowers that brighten the grounds of the hall. The snowdrop walks are on till March 3rd? And open till 4pm.

We walked through the grounds and gardens of the hall. Winding paths lead through bushes and trees, up and down little hills and slopes, past pools and woven willow sculptures down to the lake at the end of the longest path. There you can see a wooded island where Herons are starting to nest. I got blurry shots of four herons flying around the tree tops.

Back up past the hall we had a meal and coffee at the cafe and then on to an old barn to see an Exhibition by three local art groups that is on till the start of March.

It’s great to get out into the world and see it changing. The snowdrops were in such great clumps on the ground that it truly did look like they were patches of snow under the bare trees. It’s a great place to explore.

 

Tulips

Joyful tulips. Gentle flowers.

Mixed with some white flowers that look a bit like roses, but are something else. These were my valentines day present. They are keeping well. I love the way they open up. The stems bend and buckle depending on how much water they have. When the water level falls they droop. I’ve given them a bit of plant food to keep them going

I was thinking about why a lot of my flowers in my garden had kept flowering late into November and December last year. Then yesterday I heard a report that about 40% of the world’s insect population has disappeared in the last few years. Could it be that they are not around to pollinate my garden flowers. And if they are not here for flowers what about fruit and crops.

Recent bans on nicotinoid pesticides may be lifted although they have been implicated in the death of bees.

The world’s ecology must come first. Otherwise the life of all plants that need pollenation by insects may be seriously at risk.

Happy valentines day

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Another marketing ploy or a chance to show your love for someone?

I don’t know how many other countries celebrate St Valentines day (no not the massacre). But we celebrate it in Britain. Suddenly the shops are full of red and pink. Specially packaged wine, chocolates and flowers. Lots of glitter and gleaming red ribbons.

There ar cards to all sorts of partners, or anonymous ones for people you might not know as well. I once had a yellow rose, from a garden across the road, left on my front doorstep. I don’t know to this day who it was from.

I guess it’s here to stay like Christmas or Easter. If you are celebrating it have a lovely and romantic time. I guess sometimes people hope for a card but don’t get one. I hope you get your wishes on 14th February

Can’t wait for summer flowers.

Every year I get some hanging baskets from a local nursery. They create beautiful collections of flowers and you can specify what plants you have in them. I love combinations of lobelia, begonias, fushias and pelagoniums amongst others. I’m planning to get out in the garden soon to tidy it up for the spring. The old baskets get recycled and replanted to save some of the cost.

Looking at these sunny colours has bought me a bit of joy in cold January. I hope they have for you too.

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Amaryllis

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I have 4 Amaryllis flowers growing this year. The bulb sends out a long shoot after it starts to grow leaves. This flower spike will grow rapidly as long as it gets plenty of water. There can usually be 1 to 4 flower buds. All my Amaryllis plants have deep red flowers but they do come in other colours.

We got another plant in a deep glass vase which was in flower. Now the flower stem has gone over (died back) but its putting out leaves. I have two more plants that I have kept for years. One still has a long leaf on it from last year. Both are responding to being watered by starting to come into leaf again.

A tip, Amaryllis go dormant for a while from autumn. You need to start watering again mid winter to get them to start to grow. If you need to repot them only go up one size. They like to be quite tight in their pots. Use a good house compost, maybe a bit sandy to stop them getting waterlogged. Then sit back and enjoy the amazing flowers.