The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Snowdrops and aconites

Posted in Flowers | 11 comments

Snowdrops and aconites

A beautiful postcard stands beside my computer, showing drifts of woodland snowdrops. It’s an advertisement for four snowdrop weekends at Chippenham Park. One day I hope that there will be bountiful drifts of snowdrops and aconites in front of our cottage. At the moment there is a patch of grass. The south westerly aspect means sun all afternoon. There have always been small patches of snowdrops in spring, a few aconites and a little later, pale blue crocuses open like stars on bright days. The gravel driveway takes up most of the space...

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Flowers from the garden: January 2008

Posted in Flowers | 10 comments

Flowers from the garden: January 2008

This is the start of the second year of not buying flowers and just picking flowers from the garden. In January 2007 I decided not to buy flowers for the house for a year. Having been a rather extravagant flower buyer for decades, this was a testing challenge. Especially when I passed a flower shop or supermarket display. Danny bought me an occasional bunch but as the months went by I began to prefer the flowers cut from the garden. They have a softness and a charm that is rarely found in commercially produced flowers. Having been an avid...

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Hyacinths

Posted in Flowers | 9 comments

Hyacinths

It’s my T.S. Eliot time of year. Three large blue hyacinths loll beside the laptop on the kitchen table. Their scent is as overwhelming as the weight of their waxy flower heads. My old edition of Eliot’s complete poems is just out of reach. Slim and tempting and almost as worn as the hands that turn the pages. The book now smells musty. I have opened its covers and dived in for nearly thirty years. The long intermittent journey has been more startling and intriguing than most. Hyacinths and The Waste Land are a heady mix. This...

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Flowers from the garden: January

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Flowers from the garden: January

Driving to the supermarket to do the Big Shop on Sunday I worked out that we spend over £500 a year on flowers for the house. A chilling thought as I love flowers. A house without flowers just doesn’t sing. As I squeezed the car into a tight parking space I hoped that an excuse to continue with this magnificent expense would come to me. It didn’t. As I strolled with my trolley, I’d decided that it might be fun to try and find flowers for the house from the garden. This is the first post in a series of twelve, one each month...

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Snowdrops (Gallanthus)

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Snowdrops (Gallanthus)

These are the first snowdrops in our garden. I spotted them near the gate when I was driving out yesterday. As there is so little else in the garden at this time of year, I treasure the snowdrops. When they get into full swing we usually have a few in an eggcup on the kitchen table, ours are all small varieties. Snowdrops are massively popular nowadays. So much so that there is a real danger that all our wild snowdrops are likely to die out. Snowdrop thieves are plundering naturalised sites. This is a real cash crop. A small pot of three...

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