Bluebells in February?

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These plants are growing outside in a box and my husband bought them in to show me as my cold is no better and I haven’t been outside because I feel too poorly.

What are they? They look like bluebells but they are not curved over like British ones. They might be Spanish bluebells which grow upright, with thicker stems. But bluebells don’t normally flower till April or May? Also the flowers are sticking out sideways. I guess they are actually a form of hyacinth? They don’t have many bells on them but they do smell like hyacinths. On the other hand they are not like the ones we had on the windowsill and are nothing like grape hyacinths that we sometimes grow in the spring.

So my question is to any gardeners out there…. What are they?

Looking out

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When a cat wants to look out of the window they don’t care what’s in the way. A few days ago I found one of my cats with their back half on the box of bird food and their front paws on the window ledge. The bird activity at the moment is quite busy because of the warm weather we have been having. It was 18 degrees Celsius yesterday in this area and has been 19 degrees in the Midlands today. The highest temperature in the country today was 20 degrees the hottest since records began for a February day. The normal temperature is about 5 to 8 degrees at this time of year. Last year when the beast from the east was here we were getting lows of minus 5 degrees.

Part of the reason for all this is the fact that Britain is in a temperate area. We have winds that arrive from all directions, and depending on the direction we get lots of varied weather. At the moment we have had a high pressure area situated over us so we are in a quite stable situation. There is a big dip in the jet stream so warm air is being pulled up from the south. We are actually in warmer air than in Greece at the moment. The pressure is due to reduce and we are expecting cooler air and some rain later in the week.

Anyway I was talking about birds but got distracted.  My husband bought a woven birds nest yesterday that wrens can nest in. We are expecting blue tits to nest in the garden this year and we also get blackbirds that nest in the hedge and the ivy on the house. The only problem is this warmth is bringing insects out but their food plants are not flowering yet. We need it to be cooler for at least another month .

The cats enjoy watching the birds, chattering at pigeons and sparrows. I’m glad we don’t let them out in the garden. But we have many cats that visit so we try and keep the vegitation cut enough but leave some cover for birds to hide in.

Anyway I’m feeling pretty bad at the moment with tonsillitis so I think I will just leave this ramble here.

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Winter trees

Branches and limbs thinning and curving

Straggling twigs like fly away hair.

Skeletal, swooping and sweeping

Black trunk against white clouds.

Old birds nest up high

A roost for a crow?

Like an old venous or arterial system

Your juices are not flowing now

Sclerotic and tired

Can you be rejuvenated

Will your sap rise again?

Are buds hidden,

Waiting to burst-

Stay a while and see

Wait out the winter

Then explode like a firework blooming in light.

Look again

When you visit somewhere it’s always interesting to look at odd little views, like the cupola seen through a broken window of a derelict green house, or mirrors placed under helibores so you can see their open flowers that usually hang down and hide their beauty. Smoke coming out if the little gift shop chimney (the shop had a warm wood fire burning in the hearth) a picture of a small pool. The fountain was not running. A sculpture of a jumping fish, a grey handle on a grey background. Light through the clouds and a curved turf covered roof to some sort of culvert.

Why not look at those odd sights and take a picture, they may not make a perdect composition but they may spark some thought.

Relax

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That’s all I want to do, relax and sleep. Resting and recuperating while I get over this cold. I want to go outside and do a bit of gardening but I am not up to it. I tried putting some tulips in a vase earlier and ended up tired out.

This Buddha figure is out in our garden, it will be surrounded in flowers in the summer, but looks a little subdued at this time of year.

I’ve got to plant up the hanging baskets we normally have. And I intend to have some honey suckle and clematis growing on the fence. This time of year its good to plan ahead …

Garden Centre blues

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Inside the garden centre cafe, looking out over the Trent valley. A little patch of blue amid the grey clouds. The cafe lights reflected on the window are causing the two white patches.

We walked round and bought bird food a planter and some seeds for chrysanthemums, geraniums and other flowers to put in later in the year.

Most of the outside area was taped off with striped tape, a bit like a massive crime scene. This was a concrete area covered in ice and snow.

After a hot chocolate and a coffee we came back out into the freezing cold air and a low sun slanting it’s brilliant rays through the trees. You have to be an optimist if you do gardening. Looking forward to growth and new life. Thinking about opportunities for trying to grow new plants and exotic fruits.

I’m back home in the warm now. But going back out in the cold soon……

 

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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