Tag Archives: hellebore

A Brighter Light

The weather in England is a fickle thing. Two days ago, here in the West County we were shivering at minus 5 deg, the central heating turned up high, and outside in the garden the plants were blackened, laying prone and looking decidedly deceased. Then overnight, it all changed as we basked in temperatures over 12 degs, warm enough (almost) to sit outside and have our coffee. Today, although it started raining heavily at 5:30am, it is currently 13 degs, if overcast, and I’ve just turned the heating off for the day. The garden has recovered too. My hellebores are once again upright and looking fit, the pansies and other plants making a comeback. It feels that Spring has sprung.

All this is in sharp contrast to this day last year. It was the day Dave and I returned from our winter sun holiday. We’d enjoyed Spanish sun in temperatures over 25 degs, some days, hitting 30! But on Feb 16th 2020, our flight was delayed because of fog in Malaga, and in the UK the hatches were battened down as Storm Dennis battered the country with 70 mph winds and lashing rain. Let us hope it’s the last of the cold and frosts and snow this winter, and any further storms are gone but somehow I have a feeling some may return before Easter.

But let’s look on the bright side. Evenings are getting lighter each day, at the moment I’m not closing the blinds or putting the lights on until 5:45pm. A week ago, it was at 5:00pm. Dawn is arriving earlier and earlier. It’s light now long before 7:00am. This time of year is always one of optimism, new starts, new hope, new life. Perhaps more so this year as the Covid jabs are rolling out apace here, cases are falling, and the Government talking of how and when to ease us out of lockdown.

Now, I don’t know about you, but since Dave and I had our first jab, we are feeling a lot more cheerful, if that could be possible. Whilst we are always happy and comfortable in our surroundings, enjoying life and the current situation as best we can, it feels as if a lot of the pressure has been lifted, pressure we hardly realised was there. More noticeable is the fact that we are both sleeping better, more soundly and since the jab, I haven’t had one peculiar or weird dream, nor am I waking up several times during the night. Of course, a good night’s sleep does lead to a less stressful day. Now I’m woken up by the dawn chorus of robins and blackbirds, not by the urgent need to use the bathroom countless times; although Dave does put that down to my age. Cheeky man!

I’m now in the mood to venture out on a daily walk, something I’ve avoided due to the bad weather and you-know-what. I’ve missed ambling around our local park and woods and need to get out there and watch springtime wake up. Before long the bluebells will be out in the woods, and I don’t want to miss them this year. I’m in need of their inspiration.

Yes, folks, there is a light that is getting brighter at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been crawling through this past year. We’re getting there. Things are getting better and I am determined to make it a good one. If we’ve got through all this together, we can get through anything.

Keep on shining, light, we need you.

Kit Domino’s website and blogs

Looking Forward, Not Back

Another year begins. Thank goodness we could say goodbye to 2020, but the less said about that, the better. It’s a time to look forward, not back, and think about what is to come, make a few plans, list a few goals. One of which, is to publish my next novel in the Filton Shield series plus a self-help book.  We have plans to have a new kitchen fitted; mind you, we’ve been planning to do that for the last 5 years! I seriously intend by the end of this year, the kitchen will be upgraded, the long-needed and yearned for eye-level oven installed. Meanwhile, whilst the weather here in the UK is cold and wet, many parts enduring snow, between bouts of writing and painting, housework and reading, I take daily pleasure in watching the birds in the garden and, more importantly, hunting for signs of Spring. And I’ve found some. Hurrah!

Yes, lurking by the front hedge, the snowdrops are up and in flower, patiently waiting for a sunny day when the white flowerheads can open fully and perform their delicate nodding displays. Mixed in with these I spy the first of the crocus (yes, I know the plural is croci, but to me it’s easier to say and people know what I mean) growing the lawn are up, their long purple flowerbuds holding tight until the sun shines on them. They’re a little late arriving this year; most years this particular variety is in flower as early as New Year’s Day. And looking across the lawn, I can see more and more dark green and white striped sword leaves of later crocus poking through the grass, a promise of a colourful display to come next month.

We missed last February’s crocus flush as we were abroad on holiday, likewise the early daffodils, but they too are growing well, their leaves coming through since December. So too are the hyacinths planted in the shelter of the long hedges. And my ever-faithful hellebores are in flower with more to open up as the weeks move along.

What are starting to come into flower, and rather early, are our wallflowers, the plants surrounding the drive looking exceedingly verdant and healthy. I don’t think I’ve seen wallflowers plants so vigorous. I’m looking forward to them being in full flower as their perfume is wonderful on warm spring days and fill my heart with joy.

To help us through the dark dismal days of winter we grow many flowering plants and bulbs indoors. Hyacinths, whose intoxicating smell fill the house, the bulbs of which when the flower is finished, we plant outside along the hedges to flower year after year. And we have two cactus plants, a white and a red flowered one. I noticed yesterday my white “thanksgiving” cactus is in bud again after dropping its last flowerhead just before Christmas. Along with these we have a lovely red amaryllis. Usually a single-stemmed plant, this year it has outperformed all others by throwing up three flower stems, each with magnificent scarlet flowers.

And, of course, my orchids. It wouldn’t be the same without these exotic but easy to grow plants around the house, these two magnificent specimens sitting on the mantelpiece.

So yes, Spring is definitely on its way here and there is so much to look forward to and am eager to get outside and start the spring tidy but that must wait at least until late of February. Hopefully, if the world has sorted itself out by the autumn we can plan another trip abroad, a lot depends on many factors, but it is something else to look towards, as are visits to garden centres. But what I’m really looking forward to is the sun and summer. To be able to sit in the garden with my morning coffee or evening cocktail, to feel the warmth on my body, see blue sky and smell the roses. It will all come in time. Simple inexpensive pleasures that fill the heart and swell the soul. Bring it on!

What do you look forward to most this year?

Kit Domino’s website and blogs

Mad March

Well, it’s arrived – March, that is. The sun finally peeking over the backyard fence (note the reference here 😉 ) to flood a corner of the patio for a few hours of a morning. In a few weeks’ time it will fill the area completely. And, with relief on my part, at the end of the month in the UK the clocks move forward. Yay! It’s easy to remember: clocks spring forward in Spring, and fall back in the Fall (although I do wish they would do away with this fiasco).

100_6848Which all means it’s time to get working in the garden again (another Yay!) and start bringing it to life for the summer. Of course, there’s already plenty signs of it out there. We’ve had snowdrops in flower since the start of January, an early flush of daffodils with lots more to come out but the crowning glory is our front lawn, which is a wonderful splash of colour from crocuses.

100_6855Every year my husband puts crocus into pots and planters for spring. Once they’ve gone over, he replants the bulbs in the lawn. Over the years, the display increases, to our utter enjoyment and the delight of many passers by. Even children stop and admire them, smiling and pointing as they all walk past on the way to school.

Meanwhile, over in the back garden, the current delight is the hellebores. I’ve several different types in flower; my favourites being a very dark maroon one, which has been in flower for weeks and a lovely plum coloured one whose flowers face up, instead of down like most. I’ve also a pink tinged white one that is in full bud and about to burst open, and several pure white ones. These light up the otherwise boring borders until the hyacinths, followed by bluebells and everything else  appears.

100_6859100_6857

100_6862I never put the garden to bed for winter. I always leave it as it is once summer’s over, never removing dead plants or stems, no pruning or tidying, much preferring to let nature take its course and look after things itself. I mean, Mother Nature doesn’t prune shrubs and sweep up dead leaves, does she?

I firmly believe leaving everything alone helps plants survive the winter; the long, dead stalks and stems protect the base and roots of plants from the frosts, nipping these first rather than attacking lower down. The birds and insects appreciate things left as they are too. It might all look a bit messy and unkempt, but it is worth it if not just for the many species of birds that visit every day. They’re always hunting and foraging amongst the brittle stems and detritus which provide winter shelter for many insects. Also, starting the regime of hacking and cutting back and clipping now provides me with much needed exercise after being cooped up indoors all winter.

This year, howeve100_6860r, plans have had to alter slightly in that during a recent gale, one of the fence panels was destroyed. The whole fence was only replaced three years ago following wind damage. It belongs to our neighbours but we have taken responsibility for repairs this time because Steve is very ill and his wife, Claire, is far too petite and, let’s be fair, far too concerned over looking after Steve to worry about things such as gardens and fencing. Their garden is tidy, and with no dogs or children to worry about, so it’s not a problem. The trouble is, until the panel is replaced, I can’t really begin putting in new plants and shrubs to replace what was damaged or destroyed because they will only be trampled and crushed during any fence repair, so I’m busy racking my brains what to do with that area for the time being. Any suggestions?