Clumber Park Historic Bridge

 We walk around the lake at Clumber Park twice a week. During the Covid restrictions the four mile trip has been a mainstay. But this is a post about the beautiful 250 year old, historic bridge that was vandalised in March 2018. Usually we walk in a clockwise direction which means that by the time we cross the bridge we are about half a mile from the estate courtyard, cafes and toilets. This means coffee, cake or lunch awaits or, more mundanely, car and journey home. Goodness me, we even have two favourite ducks we feed there, cross breeds with domestic escapees I suspect judging by their size. But back to the vandalism where criminals drove a stolen car in a determined and successful attempt to ruin this landmark and route over the lake. Luckily after fund raising and great expense their destruction has been erased, reconstructed and a rare beauty emerges, all the more gorgeous because we now realise the treasures we have, not to mention being spared the extra effort of navigating our way around the upper lake. It’s good to know craftspeople still survive and that suitable stone is still able to be quarried  – from very near us as it happens. I’d rather dwell on the positives though I include a photograph to show the task the constructors faced immediately after the incident. Unfortunately no bodies were discovered in the burnt out vehicle or lake.

Sun and snowdrops

 Yesterday I photographed ‘Three Ships’ with only one flower fully opened. Lots of sunshine today and four ships are sailing. Time to plant them in the garden. I tend to spread my bets with snowdrops. Rot, narcissus fly and stray weeding take a toll. 

Early snowdrops – Galanthus ‘Three Ships’ & Galanthus ‘Fly Fishing’

 The weather has been mild this year with only a couple of mornings of mild frost. ‘Three Ships’ and ‘Fly Fishing’ have been out for a few days. Discovered under an oak tree in 1984 ‘Three Ships’, a plicatus or Crimean form, is a conventional snowdrop in every way save for its reliability in flowering in time for Christmas. I saw three ships come sailing in …. The best name for a snowdrop.  ‘Fly Fishing’, an elwesii or giant snowdrop, is a particular delight with a long pedicel and the tendency for fish to leap up and take the bait. We are indebted to John Morley and Alan Street for the two cultivars. 

Dodecatheon Meadia

 ‘Shooting Star’ or plain ‘American cowslip’, Dodecatheon Meadia is a captivating plant in our May border. Scale on photographs like this are deceptive, the plant being tiny. It looks like a cyclamen and is a member of the primula family. I have grown some from seed for next year and am looking for some variety in colour. I also have an even smaller alba form, photographed in early April, that appeared by osmosis in the front garden. Delightful plants.

Narcissus ‘Corby Candle’ – Division 2

 I once read an article about the threats posed by bright, modern daffodils encroaching on the traditional more subdued flowers of Ullswater, immortalised in William Wordsworth’s poem. ‘Corby Candle’ is too bright for the Cumbrian lake. A hybrid from the Northamptonshire enthusiast, John Gibson in 2003, this is a vibrant highlight in the Spring border. John is very active in the Daffodil Society. Indeed, should you require a copy of the latest RHS Daffodil, Snowdrop & Tulip yearbook,  John is the port of call. One of my favourite modern narcissus.

Viburnum x juddii in close-up

 We have two of the sweetest smelling shrubs. The daphne will be in flower next month and as I mark time until the new plants come on stream for more current posts here’s a reminder of March when our viburnum x juddii was streaming scent.

Fritillaria Crown Imperialis Lutea

Fritillaria Crown Imperialis Lutea bosses the spring border. The pendant shaped flowers of daffodil yellow have a strong musk smell you either like or dislike. Hard to be neutral. One thing I do know from the wonders of Google analytics is that my earlier post on the orange variety had more views than anything else I’ve posted for quite some time. Must be that musk.

Fritillaria Crown Imperialis Lutea

Fritillaria uva-vulpis

In the early days of lockdown here in the UK travel was strictly limited to short walks for no more than 50 minutes and our garden became all consuming, vital for ‘mental health’. I’d not realised how important visits to parks and gardens were to my state of mind. Luckily I’d new plants in our own garden to look out for and boy did I treasure them. And then there were those I’d taken for granted. Fritillaria uva-vulpis is a small bulb that grows in the front garden in our ‘wild area’. Photographed on 4th April when things were grim with Covid and glorious in terms of weather small things mattered. This tiny fritillaria was one of the ingredients of our memorable spring. Don’t you think it’s a beauty?

Fritillaria uva-vulpis

Fountain, roses and berberis

 Our fountain was off rather more than it was on this summer. We like the sound of water, I don’t like cleaning the filter.  So here is a dry Goddess basking in the sun amidst the roses. We bought the fountain as a reaction to discovering all the fish deceased after returning from a summer vacation. The pump had packed up. I’ll just point out the golden berberis on the far right. It is thirty five years old, surviving dogs, children and drought. Safer than fish and no filters to clean. Sharp prickles however. ‘Berberis thunbergii Aurea’ I’ve written in an old diary.

‘Where the World Turns Wild’ by Nicola Penfold

 I don’t have advertising on this site. Today I’ll make an exception and shamelessly plug our daughter’s novel, Where the World Turns Wild, published this year on 6th February. I’ve linked the title to Amazon though there are other sellers. The blurb explains the plot better than I could ever manage though it has a strong environmental message, plus an equally strong and exciting plot. Read it and be aware the novel was written before the pandemic. Truth and fiction. Adults seem to have enjoyed the novel as much as children. A Korean edition has just been published.