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Thursday, 5 May 2016

NE'ER CAST A CLOUT, TILL MAY IS OUT

Good Morning to you,


'Ne'er Cast A Clout, Till May Is Out'

an English Proverb


When we returned home from the Isle of Wight, we enjoyed some lovely sunny weather and we spent a couple of days tidying up the garden.

.... but during last week, the blue sky disappeared, to be replaced with some very grey skies. 

.... and on one of those grey mornings, I was busy in my sewing room, cutting out fabric, to make a new quilt, when I happened to look out of the window. Were they snow clouds I could see. 

The minutes ticked by.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flicker and when I looked up, there, before me, was a curtain of snow.  Not just a flurry of snow, but big fat snowflakes.... I know there probably isn't such a thing as a big fat snowflake, but on this occasion the words feel right to me. The big fat snowflakes soon turned into a blanket of snow.

So I dashed to the garage, to find the fleece, which only a few days before, we had removed from the plants.  I needed to hurry, as the lemon tree and the olives trees had to be protected from the snow.  I managed to cover them just in time, but I have to tell you, I did not have the time to put my coat on, just my gardening clogs, so when I returned indoors, I was covered in snow, which of course melted in the warmth. I did not look a pretty sight. To be honest, I didn't mind, because I am very proud of my lemon and olive trees. I have nurtured them through so many harsh winters, and it would be such a shame to lose them at the last hurdle. Summer is almost here, and they will be rejuvenated when the warm sunshine arrives.

.... and where was George, whilst I was running around the garden?

Well I have to tell you, he had his own problems. 

The day started out well. George decided to spend a few hours with Sadie. On the way to Sadie's, he stopped to buy a bunch a flowers for her.  He parked the car, bought the flowers, got back into the car, switched the engine on.... and nothing.  He tried again. Nothing. The engine did not respond. The windscreen wipers came on, but not the engine. Now in the old days, George could tinker with the car and usually sort out a simple problem, but nowadays, cars are computerised, so he cannot tinker with them as he used to. George decided to lock the car and sort it out after he had delivered the flowers to Sadie. So while I was running around the garden covering the plants, George was walking to Sadie's, in blizzard conditions, doing his best to carry the bunch of flowers and keep them protected. By the time he arrived at Sadie's he was covered in snow, but he was not cold, as he had his Barbour hat on, his walking jacket and his gloves.... he knows how to dress.... he is from the north and as Sadie always says,

Ne'er cast a clout, till May is out.

Which roughly translates, never, ever, put your winter clothes away, just because the sun shines.  Wait until May has ended and then pack away your winter clothes.

.... and on this occasion she was absolutely right.

When George finally arrived at Sadie's. He gave Sadie the flowers, which had somehow survived the walk and she loved them.   You never need to buy Sadie diamonds or pearls, a bunch of flowers will always make her very happy.

.... but George had to leave Sadie, practically as soon as he had arrived, because he had to sort out the car. George contacted the AA, who were brilliant. They checked to see if they could fix the problem, but because of the computerisation the car needed to be towed to the garage.

The upshot was, the car was in the garage all over the Bank Holiday weekend, but we didn't mind, because the weather was so awful, we stayed indoors. 

.... but it was so nice to have the car back, when we collected it on Tuesday.

Now after all this dreadful weather, you would imagine the plants growing in my garden, would wither away, but no, these are hardy northern plants, they are used to our northern weather

.... and today,


the sun is shining and we have lovely blue skies again.  I have noticed that I often share blue skies with you, but after so many wintry grey skies, seeing the blue sky makes me feel so happy.

So I thought it time to see what was happening in my garden.

.... and this is what I found.


Forget-me-Nots which I had grown from seed.  I noticed that amongst the blue flowers, there were a smattering of white flowers... aren't they lovely. When the seeds have dried I usually scatter them around the garden, so they appear in the most unexpected places. I don't mind, because it is always a lovely surprise the following year to see where they have grown.... and they are also plants for free.


.... and this Saxifrage was nestling amongst the pink geraniums.  The flowers are small, but they are perfect.


I was so pleased to see the Tree Peony in bud. I adore peonies, but the flowers never seem to stay with us for very long.... but I do enjoy them whilst they are with us.


I have two species of Pulmonaria and they are always the first plant to flower in my garden.


This Pulmonaria tends to be a little wild and raggedy, but I keep it, because the bees love this plant.


Underneath the apple tree I have a shady area where I have planted some Cowslips. I planted two and I divide them each year and they appear to be very happy where they are planted.  Do you spot the pesky weed which has seeded itself.  I think its time I did a little bit of hoeing.


The miniature daffodils, Tete-a-Tete, have come to an end and once the green has died back, they will be stored, ready to plant out again in the Autumn. The beautiful yellow pansies (which George loves) are such a vibrant colour, which  certainly cannot be ignored.


This yellow shrub, (I have been racking my brain, but the name escapes me for the moment) was given to me by my brother in law. Along with the Pulmonaria, the flowers appear very early in Spring.


I have three lilac bushes which are planted in the garden and this year, is the first year, they have shown any signs of flowering.  I am so pleased, because these plants are grown from cuttings which I took from Bob's (George's father's) lilac tree, about 5 years ago.  I have another two, in safe keeping for Natasha and Danielle.  One I am training to become a standard and the second is a small bush which I planted in a terracotta pot. This one is waiting to be transported to Danielle.... although she might want the standard lilac.... I had better check to see who wants what.  I might find I will have to grow another standard.

Bob, just like my father, loved lilacs and whilst Bob's grew beautifully in his garden, my father's white lilac bush seemed to flounder.  Many years after Phyllis removed the bush, I realised the reason my father's lilac bush never flowered, it was because each year, Phyllis would cut it back hard.... that is Phyllis' style of gardening, if it gets to big, prune it back very hard, to encourage new growth. We always tease her about her pruning, and I never ask her to prune my plants.  When she offers, I usually make her a cup of tea and suggest she takes the weight of her feet and relaxes in the garden.... this usually works.... I don't think she suspects.


.... and look what was peeking through the bluebells, this pretty Primula. When I lived close to Phyllis, we used to buy different coloured Primula, then divide them, so we each increased our stock.


As you can see my standard olive tree survived the onslaught of the colder weather.  It has a little damage, but nothing to write home about.  I will give it a few more weeks before I trim her up.  As you can see, I really need to get in this part of the garden and tidy up a little.


Daphne is just waiting for her shawl of plants, but they tend to grow a little later in the season. She won't have to wait too long.


.... and finally I am so excited to show you my garlic.

Do you remember way back in October of last year we planted some bulbs of garlic. Well take a look and see how they are growing.  I have another pot which is filled with garlic cloves and it is also looking very healthy.  I am so excited, because this is a first for me.  I spoke to my friend, who advised me not to pull up the garlic until June or July.... ooh I have to wait so long, but I just know the flavour will be wonderful.  It seems of late the garlic I am buying is on the dry side, so to have some big, fat juicy cloves to cook with will be wonderful.

Did you manage to find the time to plant some garlic cloves.  If so, how are you getting on with yours?

The sun is shining at the moment and George is busy mowing the lawn, so I am going out into the garden to enjoy the sunshine and to weed the borders.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always,








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