The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


How to easily propagate aconites and snowdrops in your garden

Posted in Flowers | 9 comments

How to easily propagate aconites and snowdrops in your garden

The past two dry days have meant that I have donned my thermal suit and my winter decorating outfit. I’ve started work on the outside of a lovely house, set in forty acres. Here I’ve seen a hare snatching the chance to sneak up the drive towards the vegetable garden (the Labradors were out playing golf at the time), blue pheasant nest there and bountiful feeders attract a wide range of birds. By the pond, I spotted my first Jay as I was watching the moorhens silently pick their way into the safety of the rushes. In a few weeks time...

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Flowers from the garden: February 2008

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Flowers from the garden: February 2008

I was thinking about the joy that not buying flowers has given me over the past year. It has forced me to look at the world in an entirely different way. I now treasure the flowers that I grow and enjoy those that are living elsewhere – generally a fleeting glimpse from Jaolpy’s driving seat as we pound towards the job that day. At the moment there are pools of tremulous snowdrops, polyanthus and primroses. The daffodils are opening and it’s only February. Flower spotting on foot is a much more satisfying pursuit. The dogs...

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Wild crocus

Posted in Flowers | 13 comments

Wild crocus

I glanced out of the sitting room window and saw a splash of pale lavender blue in the grass. We are lucky. Wild crocus have naturalised and spread. They were here when I came to the house, large pools of shimmering blue. Just before I bought the cottage I passed its gate in a former Jalopy. There was a wash of the palest blue across the grass. Magical and almost unreal – like an illustration from a 1930’s children’s book. These flowers seem so much more delicate than the standard crocus. They respond to the gentlest breath...

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Miniature daffodils (narcissus)

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Miniature daffodils (narcissus)

For years I used to be a bit sniffy about miniature bulbs until I was given some, maybe six years ago. They blossomed indoors on my kitchen windowsill. This was the start of a short affair. I planted them beside a treasured shrub near the back door and they multiplied. I noticed them very early each spring because they flowered long before the traditional daffodils in the garden. Then, after three years, they vanished. After a while I forgot all about miniature daffodils. After Christmas, I spotted a load of mixed bulbs that I had dug up...

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Naturalised crocus bulbs

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Naturalised crocus bulbs

These little fellows are brightening up a grim corner of the front garden. They pop up each spring and cover the grass with pale blue drifts. My mother called them wild crocuses when she first spotted them and dug some up to take back to her garden in Cambridge. When I mentioned to the Alpine Couple that I had wild crocuses, they shook their heads and explained that there was no such thing. They claimed that they were commercially available and had just naturalised in the garden. I have never seen these for sale. “Normal” crocuses...

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