The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Monday, 27 February 2012

The majestic Scots Pine.

I've not posted on my blog for a few weeks, for a couple of reasons, I had a terrible stomach bug which knocked me back for nearly a week. Terrible, I don't want to go through that again. Unfortunately it coincided with my other half, Martin's big birthday but I recovered just as we were due to go away for a few days, which is the second reason why I've not posted for a while. The break was well timed though as we both had a much needed rest. It was a bit of a last minute booking, we decided to go up to Scotland to try and catch the last of the snow, so Martin could do some snowboarding and I could do some walking. So whilst I'm catching up on reading my favourite blogs most of you have been making the most of the mild weather and getting going in the garden and at your plots. However, the mild weather was not good for us and unfortunately the Cairngorm mountains were severely lacking in snow, so no snowboarding for Martin. If we'd have gone the week before we'd have been OK, but the mild weather and the rain has caused most of the snow to melt. But we got out and did some good walks instead. This is the Cairngorm range from Loch Morlich.
We stayed in Aviemore which is in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. I just wanted to share a wonderful place, Loch an Eilein, it is within the Rothiemurchus estate, one of the largest surviving areas of natural forest in Europe. The ancient Caledonian forest used to cover most of Scotland but now only around 1% remains and is home to some specific wildlife not often found elsewhere in the UK. Such as red squirrels, crested tits, crossbills, capercallie, wildcats, pine martens to name but a few. It is largely Scots Pine, Birch, Rowan and Aspen. According to Rothiemurchus website the average age of the majestic Scots Pine trees is over 100 years old and some over 300 years old. Loch an Eilein (loch of the island) is a beautiful loch within the forest, with a 13th century island castle.
You can walk round the whole loch.

But for me the trees are the stars of the show.

The bark at times encrusted in lichens.
Some of them look truly ancient.

A little surprise at the end of the walk.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I think we got off lightly

The snow mostly missed us this weekend, it has been bad in Manchester and bad in Leeds but here in Huddersfield only a thin covering. Shame in a way as I was looking forward to a nice walk in the snow today.
This was the garden this morning, with just Bob the cat's footprints. He hates the snow and has spent most of the day today curled up asleep on the back of the chair next to the radiator.
The cyclamen was peeking through with its vibrant pink, near the lovely foliage of the Arum maculatum and in my front garden the spidery flowers of the Witch Hazel.

I went for a walk to the allotment but I shouldn't have, it looked very bleak, spring seems a long way off today. 
This is at the entrance of the site.
My plot looked very bare.
The kale looks very sorry for itself and I hope my Globe artichokes will survive this cold.

Nearly used all my leeks up now.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Garden dreaming

So cold here in Huddersfield this weekend and its now snowing, so have had a lazy morning reading the paper and catching up with some gardening magazines. Had a good laugh at Alys Fowler's latest column in the Guardian. She talks about trying to pass the winter with a "furtive garden porn habit, locking myself into my office to look at pictures of vegetables, or verdant gardens in full summer sun", very funny and I think I'm with her on that one, looking at glossy pictures of glorious gardens in magazines and books, just about gets me through the winter! Though it doesn't all have to be visual, I love reading about gardening and gardens too. I always think its odd that there are no garden shows on TV over the winter, this is when we need to see gardens to help us plan our plots and gardens for the next season. Maybe its just me....
Anyway I've spent a lovely hour going through some pics of gardens that I have visited over the last few years for some inspiration and to feed my habit.
Inverewe Gardens, in Poolewe on the west coast of Scotland.
This is an amazing Scottish garden, which has an amazing collection of rhododendrons and azaleas and has a kitchen garden on the edge of the sea shore. The garden has the perfect growing conditions of one of may favourite flowers the Blue Himalayan poppy.
The tranquil Japanese garden at Tatton Park.
Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire, recently renovated with garden designer, Tom Stuart-Smith. This picture shows a section of the prairie garden.
A local garden with a fabulous nursery attached, in Halifax, it has sumptuous prairie planting again.
Finally one of my fairly recent garden discoveries and now so far my favourite garden is York Gate on the outskirts of Leeds. Relatively small but packed with ideas and plants grown in different environments, beautiful. Here it is in mid-spring.
Finally an image of summer taken at Scampston Hall in North Yorkshire, the flower which is adored by bees and butterflies, the sunflower.