My Local Garden Centre: Walkers Nurseries

All gardeners need a good garden centre and my local one is more than good. Walkers has grown in scale in the years since we first arrived in Doncaster but it has always remained a family concern. Today we visited for the cafe and to purchase a house plant as a gift. However on a deliciously sunny morning we took the opportunity to tour the free-to-enter gardens that are such a feature of the place. The photographs were taken with my tiny Nikon compact.


Renishaw Hall Gardens, Derbyshire – opening weekend

Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire opened its gates to the public on Wednesday after its winter break and on a stunning day with end to end sunshine we visited early and stayed late. Lunch was in the courtyard but the highlights were the walks through the garden, park and around the lakes. Truth to tell, topiary leaves me a little cold. Today however I appreciated the chiseled lines of the yew hedges that later on in the year will enclose shrubs and flowers galore. The daffodils were bright, and the magnolias majestic. The two featured here were specially noteworthy. When I purchase my stately home they will go straight in. As yesterday, please take a walk in one of the UK’s special place. We are fortunate to live so close. As ever, do visit my Instagram pages.

Magnolia “Kew’s Surprise”

Magnolia “Ruth”

Nostell Priory and Parkland, Beautiful Spring Day

Nostell Priory and its surrounding parkland is a delight on a sunny spring day. Mid-week, the number of visitors is limited and it is easy to relax on one of the benches and watch the time, or geese, go by. Over the last five years or so the gardeners have transformed the grounds, cutting out the wild rhododendrons and diseased trees to allow light and wild flowers in. The highlight today must be the “hyacinth walk” where the fragrance was powerful and sweet. Take a walk, savour the scent, enjoy the lake and flowers. And do visit my Instagram pages.

Wentworth Castle Gardens is to Close after the Easter Weekend

Wentworth Castle Gardens

Wednesday February 1 2017: John Edwards, Chair of the Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Heritage Trust said : “It is with sadness we have decided that the gardens will have to close to the public from Spring 2017.”

The Heritage Trust behind the gardens says it has not been able to make enough money to cover the running costs and management of the site – despite  a £3.74 million restoration of the garden’s Victorian conservatory back in 2013.

We visited today for the last time and here are the memories of a garden nationally famous for “Lady Lucy’s Walk” and its vast collection of azaleas and rhododendrons.

We managed to see some early rhododendrons in flower, feast our eyes on the conservatory and eat at the excellent cafe. All for the last time. This is a loss for all who love gardens and a particular one for our family for we have enjoyed many days there over the years. Do visit my Instagram pages to comment. We hope the staff find alternative employment. But most of all we hope some benefactor arrives to save the day.

Reflexed Narcissus

Cyclamineus daffodils with reflexed petals are very attractive and I have gathered a number of varieies over the years, accelerating the pace of acquisitions in the autumn. Here are a few of the varieties in flower today. Some of them are only available from specialists. I like a variety. My Instagram pages are available via this link. Do visit and comment.


“Swift Arrow”


“Peeping Tom”


RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire

RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire is a great visit and today the sun shone all day, the bees emerged, and one could see the plants opening out to welcome spring. So here are the highlights.

I’m no great lover of heathers though ….

Catkins can be as good as blossom

“Anna’s Red” and certainly on my newly created shopping list

Another of those catkins

Skimmia japonica “Red Diamonds”

The head only of the towering reed sculpture

Kale “Redbor” is tasty too

Primula palinuro

Primula allionii ‘Mrs Dyas’

Primula ‘Joan Hughes’

Primula allionii ‘ Apple Blossom’

Saxifraga species and my favourite today

Olsynium douglasii 

Primula ‘Netta Dennis’

 Dionysia aretioides ‘Bevere’ and spectacular

Fritillaria raddeana

Draba yunnanensis

Cornus mas – a mass of blossom

We had a visitor at lunch

Location for lunch

Visitor 2

 And please visit my Instagram pages via this link.

Late Snowdrops

We have been away for a few days on a dance holiday and spring has sprung. The snowdrops are fading and being replaced by a range of plants, notably narcissus. Still, there are riches to be found as some snowdrops have either just bloomed or survived. So here are a few. And should you be interested my daughters have persuaded me to use Instagram; an easy means of seeing some of the photographs is to click the following link.

Galanthus “Sandhill Gate”
Galanthus “South Hayes”

“Galanthus Fatty Puff”

Galanthus “Franz Josef”

Galanthus “Mrs Thompson”
Galanthus “Jaquenetta”

Yellow Blooms of March

Time for mellow reflection as March enters in. Warmer days, sun and success. The snowdrops still predominate in the garden with the brighter yellows due to take over as the snowdrop season wheels its way to the day of the narcissus. Time to anticipate the change with a spot of gold. Aconites still cheer the heart when the sun shines and here the depth of yellow is contrasted with the paler Narcissus ‘Mary Poppins’, a long lasting and prolific flower that pushes up new blooms as if there were no tomorrow. This Mary Poppins comes all the way from the Netherlands and Fluwel.

And another of those cheerful hoop petticoats, this time from the distant island of Tasmania and the breeding talents of Rod Barwick, from Glenbrook Bulb Farm, one of his hoops named after famous fictional detectives. Mickey Moto becomes ‘Mitimoto’ and has just come into bloom. There’s a hint of green that gives it a fresh quality.

The narcissus are beginning to appear all over the garden and should one think that I’ve covered too many snowdrops, you haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to narcissi. Here is a close-up of a cyclamineus daffodil, comparatively new and already established itself as a staple. Narcissus ‘Wisley’ commemorates 100 years of  the RHS, a Karel van der Veek hybrid with parentage from Narcissus ‘Peeping Tom’, a favourite variety. ‘Wisley’ has a very large flower for a cyclamineus and, as illustrated, the trumpet grows a little paler as it matures. We had the plants in a pot indoors and have transplanted them to one of the few spare spaces in the garden.

The common cowslip (Primula veris) is allowed to seed itself wheresoever it likes. It is not the most showy of flowers and I’m not sure how it arrived in our garden but it is a valued friend, in flower since January.

Of course, my blog did not get its name from thin air so here are two named snowdrops. The first is one of the Galanthus nivalis Sandersii Group, the second Galanthus plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’. The former being a nivalis is more dainty and forms a more tightly clustered clump, being far more upright. The yellow is the same however. Indeed, in the form I have the Sandersii has a deep colour.

Finally, an interesting specimen from our garden, one of a self-sown strain evincing a distinctive yellow tinge. At least I presume them self-sown. I have assiduously split them up over the years. They are just going over having been in flower for weeks. The colour has been more pronounced as they have matured into clumps. Yellow snowdrops can be less vigorous. Not so these. They have spread with liberal abandon, mixed with more green kin that actually prove a foil for their sunny disposition, spurred on by fish and bone meal applied in September.  The flowers possess a distinctly yellow marking albeit with a green ovary. Not so different to Galanthus nivalis ‘Blonde Inge’ come to think. Considerably cheaper. As free as those cowslips. Enjoy March and should you feel the need for unusual standard size daffodils try out this new nursery in Northern Ireland – Esker Farm Daffodils.