The Cottage Smallholder


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Flowers from the garden: February 2008

Human flowers February 2008I 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 are forced to let me stand and gaze occasionally. When we eventually move on, they follow satisfying scents of a doggy nature as I examine the banks for wild flowers and clues for future foraging.

Today we were engulfed with a waft of such sweetness that we all instantly stopped and gazed up. Plum blossom stretched out on a filigree of branches beneath an azure sky. And deep in those branches a bird was singing. Exquisite.

In the human sized vase we have Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia Lynwood Variety), Iris sibiricia, Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn) that has delighted me for months now. There are also branches of Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) and the cool green flowers of the Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus).

Doll's flowers feb 2008The freshness of the doll’s vase is much more appealing. There are purple and white crocuses, two petulant pansies, polyathus, double snowdrops (I didn’t count them Clare!), a bud from the china rose, the first blue scilla and speedwell that I found on my morning walk. I was running late so the name speedwell carried the perfect wish.

I examined the tiny flowers peeping up from the rounded leafy collars when I got home. Quite perfect.


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12 Comments

  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate(uk)

    My mum gave me some of her plant years ago. It’s planted aginst a very dry, sunny wall and loves it there. It took a coupe of years to get going.

  2. Kate(uk)

    Quite- hard frost=few damsons! I am most envious of your Iris sibirica. Every year I promise that I will find a space for one, but this year the squirrels ate my little iris bulbs ( they had had all the other bulbs in the pots, so had no choice…) so a spring without little blue wonders has given me the kick I needed to get organised- once the builders have gone and I get back a garden that I can do soemthing with and iris sibirica is going in!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate(uk)

    I’m just hoping that we don’t get a really hard frost that knocks out the blossom.

  4. I was stopped in my tracks mid-day on Wednesday by the sight and smell of a damson tree in full bloom-white flowers against a pure blue sky and the sweetest perfume.The sun was warm enough to really bring the perfume out. Glorious.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jo

    We will do this but haven’t heard abut it before. Where did you find out about it?

    Hi Sally

    Yes I love the spring flowers too. We have a lot of bluebells and wild garlic in the garden that follow on from the snowdrops and crocuses.

    Hi Par

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Hi Clare

    It’s such good news that you have found a house to buy!

    I have always heard that it is bad luck to chop down holly trees (or bushes). My mum always says that a farmer would never do it. However, in my holly post http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/?p=550 Joanna left a comment about moving a holly hedge to get round the problem.

    I have a self seeded holly tree in the wrong spot in our garden and I plan to move this in a few weeks time to the front of the cottage.

    You could try advertising the shrubs on Freecycle or ringing some local landscape gardeners as mature shrubs are very expensive to buy. They would take care of the problem for you and do all the digging!

    Hi Jo

    I™ll be really interested to see how many people in our village do this tonight!

  6. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hi Sally,

    you’re right about the Big Switch Off next month – I think this is seen as a sort-of ‘dry run’ to gauge enthusiasm.

    Love the idea of doing it on a more regular basis though – & I’m sure like most things, we’d all get used to it!

  7. Lovely flowers indeed! Those crocuses look so crisp and fresh!

    Turning everything off sounds like a great idea, I’ll have to let my friends know they need to join in!!

    Just a quick question, Fiona, you mentioned a while ago that it’s bad luck to cut down a holly tree. Craig and I are in the process of buying our first house and I have grand designs on the garden (veg patch mostly!), but it has 2 heavily pruned hedging hollies which I’m not sure there’s really space for. Can I move them, or can I give them to someone maybe? I don’t want to do anything bad though!!

    I’d be grateful for your thoughts and if anyone in the Birmingham area might want any free shrubs (lilac, cotoneaster, mahonia, laurel), let me know, cos I’ll be digging them up in the next couple of months!!

  8. Jo, I hadn’t heard about that. Maybe if we all do it on the 29th of every month at that time.

    Lovely flowers Fiona!!!

  9. I do miss the British wild flowers. There is something special about a bluebell wood, a primrose bank or the Easter daffodils springing up in unexpected places. We don’t have these in our part of Italy.

    Jo, I shall turn off the lights for 5 minutes tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure the big ‘switch off’ is on 29th March at 8pm – and it’s for 1 Hour! We also did it here last month. Why can’t we all do it weekly?

  10. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Just wondered whether you’re joining in the Big Switch-Off tomorrow evening (29th February 2008 between 19:55 hrs & 20:00 hrs). It’s a global movement to help our planet to breathe – & hopefully get governments to think a bit harder about the way we’re heading ecologically.

    Quite simply, switch off all the lights & as many electrical appliances as possible, for that five minutes. The power saving should be huge if all of us, across the world, do our bit…..

    Gorgeous flowers, BTW – in the dark days of winter they spread such optimistic cheer for better days to come!

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