Tuesday, March 1

Sunshine and flowers - so is it spring now?

Regular visitors may remember that last year I planted up the area close to the house with hellebores. This area is in shade during the summer months as it is under a large magnolia. At this time of year it is ideal for early flowering plants which also provide something beautiful to look at from the house window. After growing the hellebore plants on at little at the plot, last April they were planted in their final positions and looked like this:
Now they are beginning to flower and will hopefully grow to look like their older cousin – the original lone hellebore that was planted here and inspired us to buy more.
But the youngsters are definitely making an effort with lots of buds still to open.
The flowers that are open ones are lovely although many seem shy to lift their faces.

Also straight outside one of our windows is a small bed at the foot of one of our bird baths. And yes I know the bird bath isn’t straight but we never seem to be able to get it just right!

This area gets quite wet during summer as the splashing birds produce daily rain showers and so is planted with ferns and astilbes most of which don’t shoot until later so to bridge the spring gap this bed in planted choc a bloc with spring bulbs. The crocuses (or is it croci) were a bit of a disappointment having been battered by the bad weather and having little sunshine to encourage them to open up fully, (although they haven’t completely given up just yet), but we now have our first miniature daffodil flower which has opened specially to celebrate St David’s day.

And as the magnolia tree is a favourite feeding area for the birds I also have an excuse to include a couple of photos of another bird, long tailed tits, that we seem to have a flock of at the moment. They are spending lots of time chasing one another around but keep still long enough to peck at one of the fat coconuts and allow me to take one or two photos.
 
Sadly after being around almost every minute of the last few days, the siskins seem to have gone - the sunshine must have told them that it was time to move on to their breeding sites! Hope they come back next year!

26 comments:

  1. The Hellebores have certainly come up trumps! I have one or two shady spots in my garden, so I must give them a try.
    I bet it took you a fair while to get a decent photo of the Long-Tailed Tits. I have a flock that visits from time to time, but they are so hyper-active that it's very difficult to photograph them. They always seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere.

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  2. I think the hellebores will be even better once the buds all open.

    You're right about the long tailed tits they are dashing about chasing each other and then the blue tits bomb them when they get too close. The coconut is just outside of our window so I set up the tripod with the remote and just fired off a volley when they landed and hoped for the best. The problem is that the camera keeps going into sleep mode just when I don't want it to.

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  3. Loving the shots of the hellebores and just wish I could grow them successfully! My poor drainage won't allow it but maybe I need to give it another try. Thanks for posting.

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  4. Hi Ong,
    Try incorporating lots of organic matter - ours is a clay soil too but being under the tree and among shrubs helps.

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  5. It definitely looks like spring to me!!! I think that you are about a month ahead of us here.

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  6. What a beautiful collection of hellebores, I haven't had any where near this success with mine. I love the pinky ones they look so exotic x

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  7. Your hellebores have settled in nicely, they'll look gorgeous when they're all open, though they're always shy to show their faces. What a shame the siskins have left, I know you enjoyed them whilst they were here though.

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  8. The hellebores look great, only got one in our garden so I think we need some more for early spring colour.

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  9. Just need it to warm up a bit now Robin and a bit more sunshine!

    FRG all the colours haven't flowered yet - they will look good though when they bulk up a bit

    I knew they wouldn't stay around long Jo as they don't breed in these parts but maybe now they've found us they'll come again next year - just need someone to move in to the bird cam nest now.

    We bought a collection from Gardeners World magazine last year - that way you can buy a number at a reasonable proce - I think most offers are through Hayloft - the hellebores definitely were and were just small plants when we got them

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  10. My hellebores are looking good just now too. I bought 3 very dark ones, one each year when we came here - they seemed too expensive to buy all at once! They have produced seedlings which flower from dark purple through pink, spotted, to cream. Wonderful things. A real highlight of spring. Daffs next!

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  11. The garden is looking great...I am getting a few splashes of colour here and there too which is nice as there certainly hasn't been any sun to brighten up my days.

    It's a pity the Siskins have moved on...hopefully they will return again!!

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  12. Beautiful flower Sue. You are very good at growing bulb flowers. I just order some bulb for autumn planting. Hope siskins will visit your garden again next year.

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  13. That was why we bought a collection VH - snmaller plants but more economical and they were named varieties. Hellebores are promiscuous aren't they our original produces lots of babies but being the only one we didn't get any cross pollination.

    It is a pity Tanya but was expected now just hope we get someone in the nest box cam! Some sun would be good!

    I'm sure you will do really well with bulbs Diana and look forward to seeing what you have bought

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  14. Wow Amazing bliog to follow I would suggest to follow my all friends and family to follow his blog .

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  15. Sorry clean but Blogger spammed you as you had a weblink ad

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  16. I'm sorry, i can think of nothing clever, or even coherent to say, other than: I am envious. It was 17 degrees F today and spring is about three months off. My outdoor time was spent slipping on the ice.

    One bird sghting today: a bald eagle.

    Christine in Alaska, snow and not much else

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  17. Your Spring Magnolia border is beautiful Sue, I love the hellebores. Uncanny, as I too have a border close to the house with a Magnolia, and guess what, I have hellebores under it! Only two, but I'm working on it... Your pics give me something to work towards.

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  18. Hi Christine - that makes our temperatures seem positively tropical! We had -10C in December which is just a little colder than your 17F but that was exceptional. Hope you manage to keep upright!

    That must mean it's a good idea Janet! We also have some hardy cyclamen, ferns, a couple of native primroses (which are well behind those on the plot), some wood anemones, an odd cowslip which is just coming out and the obvious snowdrops planted there too.

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  19. Blooms spring into action, spurting colours all over the garden. Good for you, and enjoy!

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  20. I hope that this is just the start Bangchik

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  21. Yes, certainly beginning to look that way now GL. We are still having frosts here on the coast, I think until they pass, we are not quite there yet.

    I wish it would come soon though, then they can put the hose pipes back on! My water butt is almost empty!

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  22. We had some frost this week too, Craig,red and today is miserable. Are you using your water butt to make your cuppa soup?

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  23. Oh they were gorgeous! I hope they'll be back for you soon.

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  24. I hope so too Mrs B but it won't be 'til next winter now - at least something to look forward too where winter is concerned!

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  25. Shame your siskins have moved on but I'd rather have the Long Tailed Tits. Gorgeous little birds, live in family groups so you'll always see half a dozen or more. Little flying lollipops .....

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  26. Yes we have a little flock BW - I like the flying lollipop description - I think of them as pom-poms

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