Caught in the Act

I have finally admitted defeat in my efforts to have Hosta plants in pots by my back door. These had hardly started to produce leaves this year when the snail attacks started. To my mind this is earlier than usual and if other years are an indication I will soon have no leaves left. I have never been able to take to shredded Hosta, so these will go out into the garden proper where the snails seem less voracious.

You do have to admire the snails for their tenacity and they could be considered the mountaineers of the slug world. This is a picture of part of the journey that they have to make to reach the Hosta. They have to cross a gravel drive, and unless they abseil down it must climb down this wall taking much of the evening to do so. I take my hat off to them. In fact having watched one make part of the journey last night I think I will leave one plant in place to make their efforts worthwhile.

I have been totally bowled over by the beautiful double tulips that I planted in the autumn. They don’t seem to have minded the weather and storms and are lasting longer than expected.

I put pots of tulips on the driveway as a temporary measure to reduce my time spent weeding. I did not consider that they would be the perfect companions to the crabapple blossom. I intend to make it a permanent feature and add to it next year.

A very early hydrangea flower against the backdrop of Berberis flowers. This shrub kept throwing up the odd flower during the winter and I hope it is not an ominous sign.

The oak trees are coming into their own now that they have space and light. They also weathered the recent storm. This can’t be said of a number of other species in the garden many of whom have lost their first buds and tiny leaves. I always think that it is too much to ask a plant to produce two sets of leaves each year.- something that is demanded of them whenever we have a storm late in Spring. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Because of the state of some of my forty plus ash trees I am reviewing what I will plant as replacements. This Whitebeam is particularly suited to this area and this is what it looked like after storm Catherine. A good omen for the future. I will probably mix it with oak trees if and when the ash trees have been removed.

I misnamed this plant recently. It is a Magnolia Michelia yunnanensis. It is tucked away in a corner of the garden where it has reasonable shelter but I am always relieved when it survives the winter. The flowers are very dainty and delicate compared to its relatives and the buds are like bronze silk. The arrival of both are well worth the wait.

Details of the Magnolia as it loses its petals.

I always love the contrast between my garden and the surrounding countryside. The Malus Gorgeous blossoms in the foreground are matched by the blossoms of the blackthorn on the hillside. Both are set off by the gorse in full bloom.

This is a bunch of wildflowers that I picked as I made my way up the drive this week. It lasted for two days but gave me immense pleasure to see that they are thriving throughout the garden.

I keep thinking that the Camellia are almost over when another one comes into bloom. You can see the slight effects of Storm Catherine on some of the petals but it has survived almost totally intact. It is Camellia Spring Festival. It is a slim, slow growing bush but is covered in flowers late every Spring and is well worth the wait.

Another tree causing concern. This is one of two willows that has been in the garden for many years. It has a very graceful shape moulded by the gales and provides the birds and wasps with food for much of the Summer. I have tried to plant a few replacements nearby but they never take. I suspect that these trees will be in control of the area to their last.

I am feeling very guilty now that I have stopped feeding the birds. The Robins still follow me around and the Collared Dove poses at every opportunity. It does not help that the recent warm spell was followed by a cold snap. I reassure myself that the birds have an endless supply of seeds from last years’ plants and are stuffing themselves with the blossoms from all of the crab apples and cherry trees. Rather like the snails with the Hosta in fact.


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