Tuesday 16 February 2016

Photo essay: snowdrops & other winter delights at Hodsock Priory

Our annual snowdrop pilgrimage saw us to return to Hodsock Priory this year (last year we visited Colesbourne Park), bringing our friends J-P and Kate with us.

Although it was a rather cloudy overcast day and bitterly cold, this didn't detract from the beauty and enjoyment we had of the snowdrops and other winter flowering plants.

Woodland Snowdrops

Some particularly large varieties of snowdrops, G. Kate & G. Gwenfar

 The gorgeous flowers of Prunus Mume

Hamamelis var. (witch hazel)

Kate, myself & J-P (top manspreading there J-P)

Reticulata iris

Pulmonaria and aconites

Galanthus Brenda Troyle

A lone Osteospermum flower in February. February.


 The fragrance of Sarcococca, above, as well as Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' (not pictured) wafted throughout the garden. It was truly magical wandering along such fragrant paths

Berries of Sarcococca

Prunus Mume, again (yes, I like)

Did I make any purchases? Well of course I did, and here they are:
Hellebore orientalis 'Harvington Dusky'

Galanthus Pusey Green Tip

Galanthus Viridapice


There is still plenty of time to visit the Hodsock Priory snowdrops and the rest of the garden; they are open until Sunday 6th March, 10am-4pm daily. I hope the photographs show that it is well worth a visit. We will happily return again next year.

Friday 12 February 2016

Gardening with ME: a gentle start to the year with Cornus pruning

Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' each end, with the darker Cornus alba 'Kesselringii' in the middle

I am making a gentle start to the gardening year with pruning my Cornus (dogwood). Noticing yesterday that the new leaves on my Cornus was already unfurling, I realised that it was time for me to prune the shrubs back so that I would be able to enjoy the colours (above) next winter.

For those not in the know, Cornus is often planted for it's beautifully coloured stems which are a highlight of winter in the garden. You only get the coloured stems on new growth, so an end of winter prune is necessary to continue to get the colourful stems year after year.

Leaves already unfurling on Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'

Pruned back, with the bed a little tidier too

Whilst they look a little cut back in their prime, I can assure you they will be just as in the first photo next year, only with even more stems. Plus, I'll have this to look forward to in the Autumn,

Autumn leaf colour

Being stricter with pacing is important when gardening with ME, and you should stop when you are still feeling good, else you risk just making yourself worse. This is known as post-exertional malaise, and you get pay back in exhaustion and pain way out of proportion compared to the task (exertion) you undertook. I stopped after that I finished pruning, not pushing myself to do more. So I'm pleased with the pruning and my pacing.

Today just happened to coincide with me feeling up to a little gardening, when the sun also happened to be out. A simple pruning task was a nice way to gently get me/ME into the gardening year.

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I welcome your thoughts and comments. And if you blog about gardening with ME/a chronic illness, do link to this post in your blog and leave a comment below with a link to your post, so we can all find each other.

About Gardening with ME

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Recent Gardening with ME posts...
  Gardening with ME: facing some hard facts
  Gardening with ME: a review of 2015

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Photo Essay: Burbage and Stanage Edge

I faced a choice today. I could be taken on a drive through the Peak District in the sun, or I could go to the Hardy Plant Society (HPS) talk tonight. I didn't have enough spoons to do both. I love HPS talks and fellow plant enthusiasts are so friendly. But given the droll winter we have had, a cool beautiful blue sky sunny day was too much to pass up.

The photographs are from my mobile, so not the best quality, but I think you can see I made the right choice.

Burbage Edge (north end)

Stanage Edge

From Stanage looking towards Castleton & Mam Tor

From Stanage, looking towards Chesterfield

I feel very MECFS tired, but also very uplifted. Definitely the right choice.