my photo


Also known as Barberry, this evergreen shrub was discovered in South America by Charles Darwin in 1835. If you want colour in your garden at this time of year, this is the shrub to have. It bears masses of small clusters of the brightest orange of flowers, and very often has a second flush in the Autumn.

Mine stands alone, but used as a full hedge its thorniness is a great deterrent, adding security to the garden. It requires careful pruning, as it has spiny holly-like leaves which will tear your hands to shreds if you are not wearing thick leather gardening gloves. This is one occasion when I do wear gloves, people who know me know that I would rather get dirt up my fingernails, although saying that, those latex disposable gloves come in handy for various tasks around the garden!

A great use for the prunings, is to lay them over your freshly dug over beds to keep the neighbours' cats off, don't get me wrong, I love cats, but my garden is not to be used as a WC for all and sundry!


my photo

PULMONARIA - Thou art my life

Also known as lungwort, I believe because of the speckled leaves, although the leaves on mine aren't speckled? These have to be at the top of my list of favourite plants for Spring, one plant which I eventually want more of in the garden. I did originally have two plants, but now only have one, like so often you put in a plant, never to see it again!

This plant seems to like being situated in a dappled shade, semi-woodland position, mine is on a bank facing north, in moist soil.


my photos


Have the happiest of Easters
And the springiest of Springs!

Violet is for faithfulness
Which in me shall abide
Hoping likewise that from your heart
You will not let it hide

The sweet scented and the dog violet are both classed as herbs, so can be used in a salad. Another use is in cordials, preserves and tea, and don't forget crystallised on the top of cakes and chocolates.

Violets can also used for medicinal purposes in the form of poultices to relieve ulcers, a tincture for sore throats, to ease the symptoms of catarrh and to lessen rheumatic pain.

The violet, such a tiny delicate flower with so many uses.

Watchfulness, faithfulness, I'll always be true


my photo

WHITE VIOLETS - Let's take a chance

Since medieval times the violet has represented the month of March in the flower calendar because this was the normal month of its emergence.

I have discovered C W Groves & Son, a nursery in Bridport in Dorset, which specialises in various species of violet. Another place to visit, when we are next down that part of the country.

Another violet post coming soon.

Elaine from Feel My Felt asked if these violets are growing out of paving, and noticed the two other plants in the photo. Yes they are coming through a crack in the paving, they have self-seeded here. The two other plants in the photo, are sedum which will grow just about anywhere, and herb robert, which is a member of the geranium family, practically a weed in my garden. I am forever pulling it up, the whole plant has a very pungent smell!


my photo


You have already seen photos of three of the varieties of hellebore I have in the garden, well this is the fourth.

I was really fortunate, as last year my mother-in-law's neighbour was having an area outside of his house paved, and he needed homes for his well established clumps of hellebores. Well as not to appear greedy, I came home with out five good sized plants!

I potted them on into one litre pots, to let them die down over the winter period, and then this year, once they had started to spring back into growth again, I planted them out in the borders.

I can't wait for next year to see how they have spread?

my photo


This lovely, very feminine Spear & Jackson hand tool set was given to me from two friends at work, along with lots of other gardening goodies, as a leaving present. I am not kidding the bag they gave me was just like a lucky dip, I kept putting my hand in and pulling out more!

Helene and Jackie, you are too kind!


my photo


Sheila from Greenridge Chronicles wants to know what the little mauve plant is, which crept into my shot of the celandine, well it is Aubrieta. Even though I loathe to call any garden plant common, this little rock plant is readily available in our garden centres, although sometimes difficult to find in any colour other than this shade of mauve. My neighbour has it in cerise, which is gorgeous.

These plants thrive in both fairly rich soil and to be quite honest fairly dry soil, I have them planted in both, and they both seem to do equally as well.

They are named after M Aubriet who was a French botanical artist.



Jo from Higglety Pigglety reminded me that today was the day when bloggers from all over the world posted pictures of a door. Well the door above is my dream door, this is my fantasy hideaway, right by the sea. This door belongs to Prospect Cottage, which sits along a stretch of shingle beach in Dungeness, Kent. It is famous as being the garden of Derek Jarman, a painter, theatre designer and film-maker.

One of my ambitions in life is to have a seaside garden, I hope this becomes a reality?

'Charmed by the landscape, we decided to visit the old lighthouse. There's a beautiful fisherman's cottage there, and if ever it was for sale, I think I'd buy it. As we neared the cottage, black varnished with bright yellow window frames, we saw the green and white 'for sale' sign, the improbability of it made the purchase inescapable' - Derek Jarman.

This has to be one of my favourite books. Derek Jarman's Garden is the last book he ever wrote. It is his own record of how the garden evolved and life in Dungeness. Against all odds, Jarman made a breathtakingly beautiful garden in the most inhospitable of places.

I really love the photography in this book taken by Howard Sooley, he captures every season of the year from all angles.

Jo has asked if I have visited. Yes I have seen Prospect Cottage, J drove me down a year or so back and we drove past in the car. Properties down there are few and far between and I must say some look in disrepair. Some may say the area is pretty bleak, maybe so, but I definitely feel I have some connection to the place.


my photos


Along with Spring comes blue, and I would say the colour blue in flowers is probably my favourite. Along with green, blue is the most agreeable of colours in the garden. It is always fascinating to watch these little scilla poking their heads through the soil all at different intervals, first the strappy leaves, and then the tiny blue heads appear, in my eyes a truly remarkable little bulb, which every years seems so full of energy. Of course these can be planted straight into the soil, but I keep mine in little pots, storing them away in the shed, with their pot, after flowering, and then introducing them back outside in time to flower again late winter, early spring.

Scillas were regarded by William Robinson as indispensable garden flowers. They bloomed in winter and on into the spring.


my photo

CELANDINE - Future joy

To the Small Celandine
William Wordsworth

Pansies, lilies, kingcups, daisies
Let them live upon their praises
Long as there’s sun that sets
Primroses will have their glory
Long as there are violets
They will have a place in story
There’s a flower that shall be mine
‘Tis the little Celandine

'Ere a leaf is on a bush
In the time before the thrush
Has a thought about her nest
Thou wilt come with half a call
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal
Telling tales about the sun
When we’ve little warmth, or none

I am sure in a book, I have seen this beautiful little plant classed as a weed?


my photos


For interest in the garden during the winter season, I would definitely recommend planting winter-flowering Clematis. They are ideal for climbing up and over any structure, and do seem very reliable. These photos were taken about a week or so ago of two of the four varieties I have, cirrhosa Jingle Bells, Wada's Primrose, cirrhosa Balearica (I chose this one as it reminds me of my grandpa, who lives in Mallorca) and Early Sensation.

I wouldn’t say a record fast grower, but after a few years you may find it starts to thicken up, but don’t worry, we gave ours a quite severe haircut in the summer and afterwards it was looking pretty sorry for itself, but now, well it has grown back beautifully and has flowers in abundance.



Today on Mothers Day, whilst visiting my very much missed mum's plot at the crematorium, I was lucky enough to see long-tailed tits, not unusual for some of you, but for me as far as I can remember, this is only the second time I have ever seen them, as much as I would love them to, they don't frequent my garden.

I was so excited about this experience that I needed to know more about these endearing little birds, so when back home I had a quick look on a couple of websites. Before I knew nothing, I now know that the long-tailed tit is the only insect eating bird to overwinter here, other species would sooner migrate thousands of miles down to places like South Africa. During the winter they hang around in social groups and around February time will separate into pairs, competing for their favourite mate. The pair will then build an elaborate nest made out of lichen, stuck together with spiders webs, and line the nest with down from their own chests, how sweet is that! Next the eggs are laid, and any pairs from the social group who fail to breed themselves, come along and will help find food for the young and even feed the exhausted mum herself, acting as aunties and uncles. By staying in this group is essential for their survival, a lesson we could learn from?

Well after reading this, how can you fail to love them. Long-tailed tits have shot up to the top of my list of favourite birds!


my photo


Do you step out into your garden, full of good intentions of getting lots done, but instead spend more time taking photos than you do getting your hands dirty? Well since starting my garden blog, this is definitely the case for me. It suddenly came to me, as today is the 1st of March, that my Jan/Feb poll would have closed. I asked everyone, which was their favourite spring bulb, well the little beauties above are the winner.

Yes, the snowdrop received 51% of the votes, daffodil came in second with 25%, third bluebell with 16%, and last and definitely not least, the crocus with 6%.

There are approximately 100 different species and cultivars of snowdrop, the two most common being galanthus nivalis which flowers from January to March, and galanthus nivalis floro pleno, a double variety which easily naturalises.

I only have two clumps of snowdrop in my garden, I lost one clump last year. This year I am going to divide the clumps into small sections, and replant. My longterm plan is to have drifts, may have to wait though! This is best done immediately after the plant has flowered and while 'in the green'. Snowdrop bulbs are fiddly and unreliable, so division is the way forward. To increase my stocks I may be lucky enough to get a few clumps off my Dad, he has lots coming up through the lawn, they look beautiful.

Do you know that snowdrop enthusiasts are known as galanthropiles!