Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Fern Fascination

I am a fan of ferns. I love their feathery fronds and the way they carpet the forest floor. That's probably enough alliteration now. They are rather magical, though. At this time of year I think they are at their best.

They are prehistoric creatures, uncoiling every spring like emerging dinosaurs. Having lain dormant all winter, they awaken, making perfect little spirals and unfurling their fronds before your very eyes.

This one is particularly pretty, a delicate fern whose name I've forgotten.

In the early evening light the sun caught its newly unfurled fronds.

It reminds me of delicate green lace or fine crochet.

In the corner of the garden is this graceful creature whose lovely expansive flat fronds spread in a fan-like manner, making a dingy corner rather beautiful.

I think this one is a shuttlecock fern and we have several.

It's tall and strong, taking up the space around it in the most assertive manner. When the light shines through its fronds it's a thing of beauty.

There's a mathematical precision about the arrangement of its blades along the stem, so even and regular (I do like discovering the botanical names of parts of plants).

And yet still it likes to twist into its own idiosyncratic shapes.

We have a hart's tongue fern which is perhaps my favourite. Woods and forests are full of them in the shadiest, dampest places and I love their flat, strap-like fronds which are named after the deer who live in such places.

Another shade-lover is this tiny maidenhair asplenium fern. It grows in nooks, crannies and crevices in walls and between rocks and I am very fond of it indeed. This one is about 13 years old and it's a souvenir from the Lake District. We stayed in a slate cottage which had garden walls which were absolutely covered in hundreds of these sweet little ferns. I fell in love with them in the week we were there and at the end of the week carefully prised a tiny one out from the wall and brought it home. Since then it's been growing happily in this pot just outside our back door. I do love the precision of its tiny fronds and think it's very dainty.

I love having ferns in our garden. They are not the stars of the show and at first sight they blend into the background in shades of green, but they have their own personalities and look especially good in the wild carpeting the ground in a wood or forest.

And they turn the most beautiful shades of russet, orange and brown in the autumn. Something to look forward to, but I love them best in the spring.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

May Flowers

At this time of year in my favourite month of May it's all moving very fast in the garden and countryside, and already some of my favourite flowers have been and gone. My goodness, they were lovely. The hedgerows around us are at their best and I picked this frothy bunch of cow parsley, garlic mustard, plantains and wild catmint on my walk home from the gym last week.

The garden's looking very colourful in places at the moment, and these jolly bellis daisies are brightening up a dull spot under the honeysuckle arch.

Just looking at these sugary coloured pom poms makes me smile.

The softly-scented apple blossom came and went quite quickly, blown off the tree one windy and wet weekend. It was lovely while it lasted, though.

The Spanish bluebells were beautiful, creating large pockets of deep blue around the garden.

Their pink cousins are more dainty, and very pretty indeed. I think I like them better than their relatives.

In the pond (which is half a barrel of water, rocks and water-loving plants) the marsh marigold is as joyously yellow as ever, each flower a reflective little sun.

On my shed the blue clematis was fabulous. I love this plant. Each year I do nothing to it and it rewards me every spring with this delicious display of fabulous purpley-blueness. Wonderful.

This little clematis which I bought from a supermarket for £2 last year flowered very prettily this spring with these lovely mauve flowers. I can't wait for next year as it scrambles up the back of our garage.

The kerria has been as bright as ever and seems happier for the pruning I did last year.

And the cloudy rowan blossom promises lots of berries this summer. The birds will be pleased.

There's more yellow in the garden in the form of this very yellow geum which has just come into flower.

The pretty little blue-eyed grass is a tiny treasure at the moment,

Here's Clover sitting behind it, soaking up the sun.

And the deliciously citrus-scented mock orange has started to bloom. It's smell reminds me of eau-de-Cologne.

I treated myself this year to a lilac, a small variety which is suited to smaller gardens. The common lilac in the front garden needed a big prune last year and as a result had only a couple of blooms on it this year. Lilac is my favourite flower and perfume, so I'm going to grow this one in a container for a while before planting it. 

It does have some lovely flowers on it, and they smell heavenly.

Finally something else that's heavenly is the fabulous blue of the ceanothus in our front garden. We've had it a few years now, and it's a deep blue (it matches the front door!).

It's almost over now, but it has been wonderful.

Well, that's my May round-up of flowers. At this time of year there is so much floral loveliness around I find it hard to keep up - I can't believe that May is almost over, and I'm not quite sure where it went! We're just beginning half term here, so I'm planning to slow down, be creative and enjoy my week off. 
If you're on half term too I hope you have a lovely one and if you know someone who's in the middle of their GCSEs, like D is at the moment, I wish them luck and some time to relax too. I'm looking forward to being in Blogland a bit more this week. I'll leave you with some hedgerow photos, full of lacy cow parsley.
See you very soon x.