I obviously hope you enjoy browsing through the postings on here - do feel free to leave comments as it's always good to see who's visiting and to hear about other people's experiences - after all you never stop learning do you?

If you've any gardening questions or you live in Brittany and are looking for some gardening help - be it design work, planting or general gardening or you simply would like some advice, please don't hesitate to CONTACT ME or call me on 0033 661 77 23 89 (from UK) or 0661 77 23 89 (from France).

Happy gardening!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Spring at last?!

Since returning from the UK the garden seems to have started to burst forth with colour - subtle compared to later on but a welcome sight after the dull shades of winter! One of my favorites, the Helebores are now in full swing and are just magnificent, yet so delicate with all their intricate markings and beautiful colours - a plant that offers great value to the garden and one that I'd recommend you trying if you've never grown them. After a year or two you'll notice that they produce a number of baby plants and as the years go on you'll have more than you can cope with.... having said that there are always a welcome line of friends who are happy to find a new home for them. They do well in protected position in semi shade or in a woodland setting but certainly benefit from some sunshine.

The first of the little "Tete a Tete" daffodils are out too which is a joy to see - the larger varieties will be a week or so yet I reckon... watch this space...

Then every garden should have space for snowdrops - there are so many different varieties of these too, all with different markings, some are double and others just single flowers - try some of the varieties that you've not grown - you won't fail to be impressed. By trying new things, planting new plants you learn so much - if you don't like them, give them away, if you don't like where you've planted them, you can move them - never be afraid to try something new in the garden there's always a solution!
One plant that we adopted in the garden here is Mahonia aquifolium commonly known as the Oregon Grape! It's a suckering plant which has its advantages in that it does spread and it's also an ever green with spikey leaves which turn a reddy/purpley colour in the autumn and winter. Then come the end of January they produce pretty yellow clusters of mildly fragrant flowers.... what more could you want?

Then last but not least - wonderful bright yellow crocuses!


Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Well, you are quite the tease. We won't be that advanced for months yet!

Miranda Bell said...

Well hopefully it will give you a hope to cling onto - knowing that spring does come in the end... When do spring flowers arrive with you? Much of the garden is still looking quite dull as it always does at this time of year - having said that I think the snowdrops and daffodils are later this year - all will improve once I can cut cut the grass but it's way to wet at the moment! Miranda

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda
Thank you so much for your lovely comments and taking time to read some of my blog. I am just going to bed but took a quick look at yours, it is so professional but then you are. I will be back tomorrow sometime to have a proper peruse. Lovely, lovely photographs....I live in hope!

Meems said...

Hi Miranda: Welcome back and thanks for the glimpse of your visit to the UK. Those maple trees are magnificent.

Glad to see you have spring blooms and blossoms brightening your gardens. I love the detail and colors of the Helebores. Have not ever grown them but certainly have heard lots about them since blogging and visiting other garden blogs. I haven't been able to figure out if they are suitable for my hot, humid zone 10 yet. Any idea?

kate said...

Hi Miranda,

Oh I am envious! The Hellebore photographs are truly wonderful. I especially like the purple-coloured blooms - the play of light and shadow is perfect.

The Mahonia must be striking with purple leaves in autumn and through the winter months.

And then those snowdrops, daffodils and crocus make me wish very much that spring was more advanced here.

I'm looking forward to seeing more daffodils!

Miranda Bell said...

Thank you all for visiting and really glad you liked the pictures...

Cheryl - welcome to my blog and glad you liked it - have come to the conclusion that gardening here apart from possibly slightly colder winters and slightly warmer summers is pretty similar to that in the south of England - seeing the picture of your cowslip reminded me that I have a whole tray of baby cowslip plants that I really must plant out... do visit again!
Meems - good to see you again - the detail in the Helebores are incredible and every flower is unique - there are of course some amazing named varieties of Helebore which you pay quite a lot for but these are mainly hybrids. In general they do best in a coolish shady/woodland setting - which of course it is at this time of year but we do get temperatures as high as 40degrees in the summer - do you not get a winter where you are?
Hi Kate - good to see you - I'm sure spring time will arrive soon where you are and you'll have all the lovely colours we have here at the moment. I've no idea wether they'll do, but I discovered 2 bags of daffodil bulbs that I'd forgotton to plant which I put in yesterday so time will tell! Anyway - see you all again soon - Miranda

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda

Came back for another peek....really is the most colourful site,your photographs do you credit and information you give is so helpful. The gardens to appear to be similar. I have Elder (sambucus) in leaf, Prunus about to flower (normally March, many of my snowdrops have not appeared this year....obviously climate change. As someone who is qualified, when shrubs and trees come into leaf or flower early, how do they cope if suddenly hit by a cold spell?I hope you don't mind me asking but this is something we never read about.
How lovely living in France....one of my favourite countries. Love the food, wine and people.
Will be back, just going out in the garden to plant some more wild flowers.
Happy gardening.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Cherly - you don't need to worry about asking questions - one of the reasons I set up this site as a point of reference for people wanting to find out more and believe me I'm still learning too - I don't think you ever stop really! It's difficult at this time of year when you get relatively mild spells and then suddenly a frost - usually most things are resiliant - some people will go and cover over their prized plants with horticultural fleece for protection - this is especially useful if you've got small fruit trees such as peaches/apricots/plums where if the buds and blossom get frosted this can affect the fruit. I'll be honest it's not something I've done myself - I tend to let nature take it's course! Hope this helps you.... see you again soon... Miranda

shirl said...

Hi there, Miranda :-)

Oh... more flowering hellebores!! This is the second post I've seen tonight - the other was in Switzerland :-D

I love hellebores and only last year reintroduced them to my garden. They are young plants so no flowers this year :-(

I have tete a tete daffs too but they are only just through the soil - great to see yours :-D

Enjoy the rest of your weekend :-D

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shirl - I was going to send you a quick email about our latest garden visitor but you beat me to it! I had to look again at a bird yesterday - thought it was a chaffinch and then decided it's bright colouring was too tangeriney (if there is such a word!?) for a Chaffinch and discovered that we have a male Brambling! From what I can find on them - they're not very common. He was there again today - seems quite at home here!

It's been a stunning day after another hard frost - clear blue skies and brillant sunshine so have taken the chance while the sunshine lasts to cut the boundary hedgerows - very satisfying!

Enjoy your weekend... and hope the weather is as nice in Scotland as it is here! Miranda :-)

A wildlife gardener said...

I'm looking forward to Spring with all the crocuses and hellebores and daffodils. We do have snowdrops beginning to appear though, I'm happy to say.

Beautiful photos of beautiful hellebores..such exquisite detailing in the insides of the hellebores too...and each crocus with its upturned head is like a little cup of sunshine :)

theothermarg said...

hi miranda thankyou for your comments love your hellebores I am just building a collection in my shady front garden.I came from fishpond which is just down the road from kingswood before Imoved to Yate36 years ago. it seems spring is here already as sun is shining bright but I feel sure the british winter will have a sting in it,s tale marg

Ki said...

Thanks for stopping at my blog and leaving me your wonderful comment.

Your hellebores are wonderful. Unfortunately nary a sign of buds on our plants. I thought they were a winter blooming plants but I guess not. Our crocus and daffodils are just struggling out of the ground but not anywhere close to blooming. What zone do you live in?

kate said...

Just stopped in again to say hi! I imagine all sorts of good things are going on in your garden.

It snowed here all day although thankfully the sun came out late in the afternoon.

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks all of you for visiting - sorry I've been a bit lapse in replying but have been making the most of the fabulous early spring weather here in France - frosty starts and brilliant sunshine all day! I've also got a lot of work to do for clients too which I didn't get the chance to do in December!

Will be doing another posting very soon - have a good weekend and see you all v. soon Miranda

Connie said...

The hellebores are lovely! I just planted my first one last year.
Your sunny days sound very nice....we are finally breaking out of winter here and the sun is getting stronger.
BTW, what zone are you in there?

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda.........Its good to have plenty of work, that will pay for your lovely plants and trees! The weather has been really topsy turvy here. One minute 15 degrees, the next 2 degrees. I have quite a lot of frost damage in the garden, the worst ever I think. When the weather warms up I shall take the damage away and hope that the plants recover. I feel a trip to the local farmer for rotted manure coming on!
Don't work too hard....all work and no play?

Chris said...

Great photos of winter flowers Miranda. Really enjoyed your post.

Marie said...

Your blog is beautiful :)

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks so much for calling by...and sorry it's taken me a while to get back to you but work seems to have started to take over!

Hi Connie - good to see you again - you were asking about which zone we're in - we live in Northern France about 40 mins south of St Malo if that helps!

Hi Cheryl - hope you're managing to get out in your garden - as you say the weather has been very mixed but a great time to catch up on jobs though!

Hi Chris - glad you enjoyed the post - sorry I've not had much time to read anyone's blogs recently but will return v soon! Have a good weekend...

Hi Marie - a welcome as it's your first visit I think - thank you for your kind comments - you also have a beautiful site too!

Have a great weekend and see you all soon - Miranda

kate said...

I just came by to say hi - you must be busy! That's a good thing ... I hope you are taking some photographs of spring there.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Kate - thanks for popping by - work's been v. busy and am at home today writing a couple of articles for a magazine - so I might get time to go and take some pictures later! How're things doing your end - any signs of spring yet... Miranda

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda
Thanks for dropping by and hope you are managing to keep up with your work load.
So many people have been interested in the mason bees, that I am going to show my bees regularly to show people how easy they are to keep.
Stay well and happy.

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks Cheryl - it was infact whilst going round a friend's allotment just outside Bristol that someone had a wonderful Bee house on the side of a shed and aside of looking nice, I decided if the opportunity arose that I would either try and make one or buy one! Today it's raining so am indoors doing some writing and also plan to sow some seeds this afternoon if time allows! Be happy too - Miranda