Tag Archives: Spring

'When it's Spring again, I'll bring again tulips from Amsterdam.'

When it’s Spring again I’ll bring again
Tulips from Amsterdam
With a heart that’s true I’ll give to you
Tulips from Amsterdam
I can’t wait until the day you fill
These eager arms of mine
Like the windmill keeps on turning
That’s how my heart keeps on yearning
For the day I know we can
Share these tulips from Amsterdam
Ah……  Max Bygraves knew the way to a woman’s heart!
Tulips…….they herald the spring time  like no other flower – with their beautiful forms and colours, unmistakeable bowl shaped petals and bright primary colours.
These days growers have developed so many varieties the choice is dizzying, and even the ‘not very horticulturally minded’ recognise a tulip! It has become a favourite in English gardens, parks and floral displays up and down the land. Of course, tulips are synonymous with Holland and horticulture there is big business:
A few wikifacts:

  • Holland has a 44% share of the worldwide trade in floricultural products, making it the dominant global supplier of flowers and flower products. Some 77% of all flower bulbs traded worldwide come from the Netherlands, the majority of which are tulips. 40% of the trade in 2015 was cut flowers and flower buds.
  • The sector is the number 1 exporter to the world for live trees, plants, bulbs, roots and cut flowers.
  • The sector is the number 3 exporter in nutritional horticulture products.
  • Of the approximately 1,800 new plant varieties that enter the European market each year, 65% originate in the Netherlands. In addition, Dutch breeders account for more than 35% of all applications for community plant variety rights.
  • The Dutch are one of the world’s largest exporter of seeds: the exports of seeds amounted to € 3.1 billion in 2014.
  • In 2014 the Netherlands was the world’s second largest exporter (in value) of fresh vegetables. The Netherlands exported vegetables with a market value of € 7 billion.


       


The Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands are a paradise for tulip  lovers – as their website boasts: ‘Keukenhof, the best day out among the flowers! There are more than 7 million bulbs in bloom this spring, with a total of 800 varieties of tulips. A unique and unforgettable experience!
Besides the spacious 32 hectares of flowers you can enjoy the spectacular flower shows, surprising inspirational gardens, unique artwork and wonderful events. Do not miss the Tulpomania exhibition in the Juliana Pavilion.’
At Keukenhof they recognise the importance of engaging with the next generation. Their website states:
‘Keukenhof is also one big party for children. They will have a blast with the treasure hunt, petting farm, maze and the playground.’
Who can resist? Don’t forget your camera!




I am a Tree Hugger – but if I could be a tree…….

It’s starting to feel like Spring and what better way to celebrate than getting out into the fresh air to hug some trees! Nature has a way of persuading us to leave the comfort of a warm sofa and brave the elements – the first sighting of Spring lambs, for example – aahhh!! ,

and the promise of some stunning country views and the trees – there they are again – they just seem to weather anything winter throws at them.
     onDiag
roots1  stream2
After Spring comes Summer, for some of us a chance to sit under a shady tree and do a spot of fishing,
   
     

while others prefer to  sit outside  and contemplate the trees in the far distance, or silhouetted against a glorious sunset.

 
 
 
 
treeline


Photography makes you more observant – it’s a fact! You start to see everything in a new light (no pun intended!) – new angles, interesting juxtapositions, the way shadows fall, including your own! and how colours  interact.   Old hands tell you to look carefully, but not just in front of you. No! Look up!  Look down!  Look around! And this is never more important than when you are photographing a tree. Some have exposed roots at your feet, then there’s the lacework of leaves swaying overhead. Some are laden with nuts and some have nests tucked away in the upper branches. I always feel I should be able to identify more trees. Can you identify a tree from its bark? or its shape in the distance?
   
Ah, but what if I were a tree? Autumn would be the season I would enjoy most. Bedecked in that stunning autumn foliage  – it must be like getting ready to go to the ball – and to choose from that palette of  bronzes, gingers, rusts, corals, ochres and russets. I don’t understand those evergreens – they just refuse to get dressed up !

  
leaves
Trees are there for us all – human or not – kids climb them, big cats use them as pantries, small cats stalk along their branches to hunt birds (as if!),  people sit under their shady branches,  lovers etch their initials in the bark, they provide us humans with food, timber to build a house, firewood to keep us warm – and for the animal kingdom it’s much the same – cover, habitat, stores to see them through hibernation.  Quite apart from all that, trees are beautiful to look at at:  whether it’s a solitary oak spreading its branches in the middle of a field or a whole forest, dense and mysterious and a bit scary. Dense forests have been the setting for fairy tales and stories with speaking trees, trees with magic powers, trees that walk and scare us to death! Very often you can look at part of a tree and see in it someone or something – and some are just so old and gnarled they seem to have their life story written into the bark for us to read.
What do you see here?



dragon
 
And so to Winter. Trees make an excellent subject to photograph in winter – the images you capture can be really atmospheric – bare branches, stark against the winter sky. Even a fallen tree has a beauty to it – the way it is slowly but inescapably being reclaimed by lichen, forest ferns and fungus and decomposing back into the soil that once nurtured it.


     P1100783

       
 

    

 
There is such a variety of trees.  Gardeners say there is a tree to suit any garden, whatever climate it is subject to and whatever size it is – so no excuse! we could all have one!
 
And if I were a tree?  Maybe an oak but I can’t really be a tree so I’ll do the next best thing and plant one.

March Sunshine – time to take stock of the garden

15 º !!  The late March sunshine has drawn me outside for a stroll round the garden. Things are coming to life – well, some of them are! My garden is small – just as well, as I think the novelty would soon wear off if I had acres to cope with. What I have in the front garden is a motley collection of shrubs  such as this mahonia – we’ve come to an uneasy truce – it has agreed not to get out of hand if I agree not to try and dig it up – whatever I do to it makes no difference, anyway – it is indestructible – I quite like it really – it provides some winter colour.
mahonia
and this plant – cant remember it’s name, but it’s supposed to smell of chocolate. It doesn’t, but it has nice yellow flowers so it can stay.
chocplant
Along the side which edges the public footpath I have a giant currant bush which deflects errant footballs , litter and the many dogs which come this way on their daily walks. And last autumn I put a few mixed daff bulbs in which have been flowering away for weeks now. daff
But it’s the back garden where I conduct my annual experiments – it’s a bit of a sun trap and secluded enough for me to sit out and read the newspaper or just  admire my horticultural handiwork in the summer. I don’t have much luck with the herbs I grow in pots as you can see :
mint   rosemary   sage
– especially rosemary, but this year it is thriving – look at this – it’s even flowering!

The chives are making a comeback and so is the fennel
fennel
chivesand I can rely on the permanent residents to provide interest whilst the newcomers get established.
To provide some seclusion and added height my son put a sturdy trellis up along one fence, but because the things I grow along it have to be in pots I’ve had varying degrees of success. I’ve tried clematis which I find quite a contrary species – since doing some research I have discovered the best ones to choose for exposed positions are the little bell shaped ones – I have one so I need more of the same.
The rather exquisite Princess Di clematis with waxy red flowers,  bought at a local garden show,  gave up almost straight away, then came back, then disappeared again (seemed as unpredictable as its namesake)  and then there’s the one with glorious white flowers like dinner plates – the plant re emerges every spring but only produces a couple of flowers now – perhaps I need to nurture it more!
I found a local clematis grower with hundreds of varieties like the evergreen winter- flowering armandii, I had great plans for it – was going to let it weave itself up through the plum tree, which it did to be fair, but I discovered it didn’t like exposed, windy conditions and it, too, eventually perished – a shame as it was very different from the rest! These pictures are from previous summers
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   2012EvergreenInFlowerOct10
But back to March. What else is stirring?
It’s exciting walking round my little patch, spying something else just coming back to life – the climbing rose, rose72bought the year before last), the photinia , drastically pruned  last autumn a quarter of its original size, but flourishing,
photFlowers
the honeysuckle  – well, impossible to kill that off , patio pots of aubretia, and the ubiquitous nasturtium,

           aubretia      honeysuckle

 purpleClemTrellis      photinia

And then there’s the prospect of filling my little veg patch with carrots, onions, strawberries, tomatoes and peas.

At the very bottom of my plot there are two fruit trees – a plum and a pear – which always provide me with enough fruit to make jam and pickle for the following winter, but the patch of ground they inhabit is a forgotten bit of land and plants which don’t thrive in the main garden tend to get transplanted down there – and you know what? most of them start to flourish – out of defiance, I think!! such as this euphorbia, which got uprooted when a new fence was put in out the back. Now that’s the sort of plant I like!