Saturday, 24 January 2015

GBFD Spring Promise - Winter Reality!

My post this month  for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (albeit a tad late) is a bit of a mish mash on what's going on in the garden this week.  Apoligies for my tardiness Christina.

It's still cold here, regular frosts for well over a week now.  The lowest temperature at the beginning of the week was a chilly minus 5.  There is no wind, no cloud and yet the bright afternoon sun is barely warm enough to activate a thaw.  However, it's nice to see that the sun is now high enough in the sky to brighten and add warmth to the sunnier side of the garden.  In sunnier spots new growth is apparent on some plants yet on the shadier side of the garden there is very little sign of life.  The odd clump of Galanthus nivalis are only just poking their noses up.  Frost and decaying leaves surround some snowdrops - Spring Promise


Galanthus nivalis
Amongst the crips brown leaves and stems of one of the Clematis, an unopened bud reminds us of those sunnier months.  Winter reality!


The stark contrast between the old and the new on another Clematis, this time in a sunnier spot and much further on in new growth this January.  New shoots begin to unfurl from the buds, Spring Promise!



The Zantedeschia aethiopica had until the other day coped remarkably well with the colder temperatures, now admitting defeat and collapsed in a heap.  I usually protect the crown of this plant with straw but now in it's fourth year, I am hoping it's mature enough to cope without protection. Winter reality!


The Japanese anemone, Anemone x hybrida Andrea Atkinson put up a similar battle but succumb a few days back.  Yet behind her, the buds of Camellia japonica Brushfields Yellow are fattening up.

Winter reality!

Spring promise!

The ferny foliage of Corydalis flexuosa Pere David thawing out and a few skeletal remains of the Hosta needs removing.  Spring Promise!


One of my favourite shrubs in the garden, Cotinus coggygria Dusky Maiden still holding onto a few leaves.  Albeit a bit wind and frost bitten. Autumn remnants!


Popping up through the variegated foliage of Euonymus fortunei Emerald Gaiety a solitary Crocus bub is emergine.  Do please excuse the bird poop. Spring Promise!


Up on the decking, the pots which add a bit of greenery to the area all year round a Chrysanthemum is just about to give up the ghost amongst Ivy, Goldcrest Cypress and Lavender. This display would still look rather fresh had I bothered to cut back the Chrysanthemum but given that was still flowering at Christmas time I could not bring myself to do it. Winter reality!


On the shadier side of the garden, a mushy mound of Primula is quite the sorry sight.  Turn around and it's quite a different story on the sunnier side.  Those new leaves of the drumstick Primula, tightly closed are protecting the forming flower buds within.  Reality and Promise side by side.

The shady evergreen corner, adds a bit of structure and yet those leaves need still need clearing up. Fallen leaves are indeed a winter reality!



The fresh new foliage pokes its way from beneath the surface of this Pulmonaria Blue Ensign.  Spring Promise!

Spring Promise!

Elsewhere in the garden, pretty much all the other Pulmonarias look like this.....Winter Reality!

Winter Reality!

Euphorbia characias Glacier Blue, poised and Euphorbia characias Silver Swan gleaming in the winter sun - Spring Promise!

Euphorbia characias Glacier Blue


Euphorbia characias Silver Swan

I find in my garden Epimedium x perralchicum  Frohnleiten holds up particularly well compared to others in winter.  Pretty soon though those leaves will be cut back to allow those bright yellow blooms to stand tall.

Epimedium x perralchicu Fronhnleiten
Whilst Frohnleiten is billed as evergreen, the semi-evergreen Epimedium warleyense Ellen Willmott keeps tight those gorgeous autumn colours.

Epimedium warleyense Ellen Willott
All around the garden the Aquilegia are coming to life - those new shoots are untouched by the frost.  Spring Promise!


The Leucothoe fontenesiana Whitewater growing round the back of the kitchen extension is really coming into it's own now.  This is its 3rd year in my garden and I'm pleased with my attempts at using it for evergreen fence cover and grateful that it is now tall enough to reach the trellis on the top of the fence.  It is full of buds and should flower beautifully this year - touch wood!  It has only flowered sparsely in previous springs.  Spring Promise!       

Leucothoe fontenesiana Whitewater
It felt odd this week that I was not able to get out into the garden.  I generally try to find something to do when I've nothing else on but this week it was just not practical to get out there, the weather was not conducive to any sort of garden activity.   Other than feed the birds and take some pictures that is.

In an attempt to cheer myself up this afternoon I took myself out for a spot of lunch and a bit of retail therapy.  Garden related retail therapy of course!  I spent the last of my Christmas vouchers on some spring pretties for the garden, more on those in a later post.  Where ever you are, I hope you are able to enjoy your garden this weekend.

38 comments:

  1. Hi Angie,

    Lots of promise there for you, I notice the snowdrops are behind here which I'm surprised about as we've been hit twice with snow now which has hung around for a week the first time, then last week it lasted 3/4 days and still remains on our tier - the bark - but appears to have melted from the borders.
    I must go check on our clematis; I do hope they're too producing buds now! I have no signs of Crocus, at all. Which actually I'm a little concerned about. As normally I'd at least have some peeping through and they are coming up at my parent's.
    I've been to Dobbies today for the first time in over a year, and desperately wanted to bring home a witchhazel or two... or three, but I'll try to be good and wait until (if) I move. I might actually buy one, pretend it's for me, but give it to my parents... Plant it at theirs... :) sneaky way to get it in and I'm sure my mum will use them in winter arrangements.

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    1. I wonder if a pesky wee critter has got to your bulbs Liz. Was reading only yesterday about the trouble the Royal Botantic Gardens here in Edinburgh are having difficulty with badgers and crocus bulbs. Here's a link if you want a read.
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/badgers-triumph-in-sett-to-with-edinburgh-botanics-1-3669426
      I'm sure your mum will make full use of the witch hazel....go on, you know you want too!

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  2. It is the low point of the year I think, especially when we can't get outside because the weather is so bad. I meant to get a Euphorbia Silver Swan last year, yours seems to be sailing through winter with no trouble at all. And we always have the early bulbs!

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    1. Jessica, it is a low point in the year and when it's so cold it doesn't help!
      I actually went shopping for more ESS but the only plant I could source as huge and at £32.99 for a large pot, there was no way on earth I was paying that kind of money. So 2 x EGB came home with me instead. They are similar enough to do the job I want them too. The Euphorbias do well providing it's not too wet, which up until now it hasn't been.

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  3. Great news, Angie: vernal signs in your garden!
    Happy belated birthday to you too!

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    1. Thanks you Nadezda. Indeed vernal signs - each and every one of them is as welcome as the next.

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  4. Great post.It's so exciting seeing the new foliage peeping through. I'm going out to rake away the leaves and see what's going on in my garden now the snow's gone.

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    1. I'll bet you'll be full of anticipation as you are raking those leaves away - it's a nice surprise to see what's been going on under the winter debris, isn't it?

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  5. I always find garden climate comparisons between northern North America and the U.K. fascinating--particularly from late January through early May. We are always way behind you when it comes to early spring blooms, and then about late April/early May we catch up. Everything happens all at once here in late spring. I rather like your situation better--when you can see springtime slowly unfurl. You have plenty of time to savor it! Beautiful post!

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    1. Fascinating indeed Beth - our gardens slowly creep towards spring yet gardens over the pond take a huge leap all in one go!

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  6. It looks as though spring is definitely just around the corner Angie. That's true here too - I see small signs here and there. If you were here, you'd probably think it was actually summer - our temperatures got near 80F (26.7C) today and are expected to go higher tomorrow before coming back down.

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    1. Your garden will always be like summer to me Kris - for obvious reasons. We rarely get summer temps as high as 26. I am not embarrassed to admit I get a tad jealous :)

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  7. It is nice to see a few things poking through. For over 2 months now, I have been in Victoria B.C. which has a mild climate (camellias are just about at their best right now). But Friday it is back to Ontario where gardens are under at least a foot of snow - good time for planning!

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    1. I must be great to escape those harsh conditions in winter Alain but nice to come home too. My brother used to live in Asia and as much as I loved visiting, particularly in the colder seasons, it was nice to come home to witness the seasons changing.

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  8. Dear Angie, what a contrast between the new emerging leaves of plants and the leaves that just have succumbed to your longer period of frost. It is hard to believe that this is all happening in the same garden, at the same time. Also the difference between the shady and the sunny parts of your garden is quite remarkable.
    I really love the gray-blue foliage of euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue', gorgeous plant.
    Can't wait to see the result of your shopping therapy. I know that you have come back with some lovely plants!
    Wishing you a nice rest of the weekend!
    Christina

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    1. It always amazes me and just how differently plants behave when you consider they are only a few metres apart.
      I will try to get a post together this week and you can see what wee beauties I've bought :)

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  9. I love those unexpected colours - the cotinus and the autumnal epimedium leaves. And baby aquilegia leaves are very endearing; I'm hoping to try some (fairly) well-adapted types here eventually... Wishing you plenty of spring in due time, Angie :) Really enjoyed the post!

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    1. I think you are wise to choose those that are proven to do well there Amy. I could save a lot of heartache, time and effort - not to mention the money!

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  10. You have a garden of two halves, one half has woken up and looking very spring like. I'm sure your shady side will catch up when the weather is a bit warmer. Seeing all the bulbs starting to sprout makes us think that Spring is just around the corner, I hope it doesn't suddenly turn cold again! Seeing your clematis make me think I'd better go and check on mine, I don't normally cut them back in January!

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    1. I was quite surprised to see how far on the Clematis were Pauline mines are usually left for a while longer but it the continue to put on growth I'll have to get them done sooner rather than later I think.

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  11. So lovely to see the signs of spring just emerging. As expected you are a little ahead of us up in Aberdeen, so always brings hope to see things starting down there.
    I don't think I have been able to do anything in the garden since Christmas -I can't wait to get started again.

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    1. Thanks Annette, I'm sure you'll see things moving before too long. I've done very little outdoors myself but managed a couple of hours today as it was nice.

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  12. I always love to see the first signs of spring - especially when it still feels so wintery. It's so cheery and hopeful.

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    1. It's a special time in the year isn't it? I think second only to the nights drawing out.

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  13. I am also desparately looking forward to spring and literally looking new growth outof the ground. We too had some frosty days and the Zantedeschia aethiopica which is in my greenhouse! looks same as yours......

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    1. Janneke, I'm sure your Zantedeschia will sail through winter especially since you have it in the greenhouse. This is the first year I've offered no protection, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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  14. It feels much colder outdoors here than the temperature suggests, Our snowdrops are at about the sane stage as yours.

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    1. You are right Sue. Especially at the beginning of the week, the air was so still the chill lingered.

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  15. Lovely optimistic signs of spring, Angie. I am impressed by your Cotinus coggygria Dusky Maiden, which I had not heard of but have just Googled and think I may add to my shopping list (which grows and grows every time I read another gardening blog post!). And your earlier comment has reminded me that I must get to the Botanics to see their snowdrops.

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    1. One of the hazards of blogging and reading blogs Jo - those shopping lists just get longer and longer!
      I've neve been to the Botanics to see their Snowdrop displays, I should perhaps put that on my list to do this year.

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  16. How lovely to see all these signs of Spring in the garden. It is such an exciting time. Longer days and birds singing their hearts out. Wonderful.I love watching the garden come to life bit by bit. I am jealous of those lovely euphorbias.

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    1. It sure is nice to see those signs Chloris. Glad you like the Euphorbias. They can be a bit of a hit or miss here due to the wet. Another plant that I never seem to learn my lesson with!

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  17. It does sound cold in your neck of the woods Angie. I chuckled at your spring promise, winter reality theme. I'm wondering where my pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign' has got to. No signs of it a couple of days ago. Retail therapy sounds like a positive course of action for this time of year. I have garden vouchers to spend so may follow in your footsteps soon:) I look forward to hearing all about your new "spring pretties."

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  18. What an interesting post Angie, thank you so much for joining in with GBFD this month. I love how everyone brings their own ideas to the subject. New shoots are certainly one of the gardener's favourite signs so a very good example of the pleasure that kind of foliage brings!

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  19. In spite of the Winter Angie, you have plenty Spring promise to look forward to. Surprised to see Cotinus still holding on to some leaves. Zantedeschia, struggled to survive in Aberdeen, I had one potted up and overwintered it in the greenhouse. I did take it with me, I think I will plant it in the border this year, after seeing yours.

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  20. You have plenty of spring promise in your garden, Angie. The Dusky Maiden looks very attractive for the time of year!

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  21. It's been unseasonably warm, so I've started the cutting back project. Always surprises me to see new growth coming up at the base of dead flower stalks. Signs of spring within the reality of winter.

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  22. Angie you have lots of spring promise, Frances

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