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Papaver nudicaule Champagne Bubbles

Summer is the time to sow Iceland Poppies and here are my favourites right now. I love this new variety Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’. They really are the most beautiful flowers to grow from seed. Poppy seeds are so tiny it’s hard to believe that such beautiful blooms are produced in just a few months. I was completely blown away by the large colourful flowers when I took these photos in April in my greenhouse. They have gorgeous open papery blooms which open like crumpled silk. Flowers are all shades of orange, pink, yellow, red and white. They are extremely hardy and will tolerate cold winters. Flowers are produced in late spring and early summer before the rest of the garden really gets going. I’m always looking for some early plants for my garden and these fit the bill beautifully. If you’re looking for some colour in your garden in spring and early summer too then Iceland Poppies may be just the thing for you.

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Growing Biennials from Seed

Now is the time to sow Biennial Seeds. But what exactly are they and why do we need to sow them in summer?

What are Biennials?

Biennials are hardy plants which are grown from seeds sown this summer. They produce roots and foliage this year then burst into life next spring with masses more foliage, long stems and lots of flowers in late spring and early summer. Sown this summer they have eight to ten months to grow into super strong, healthy plants.

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Plants for Butterflies

One of my plans this year was to attract more Butterflies to our garden. We are very lucky and already have a very wildlife friendly garden with wild creatures spilling in from neighbouring hedgerows, fields and woodlands. For the past 13 years we have planted hedges, gardened organically (zero chemicals) and provided food, fresh water and shelter for insects, birds and mammals. Despite all our efforts we have noticed that the number of visiting Butterflies has been falling each year. Declining numbers of Butterflies seems to be a UK wide problem for a variety of reasons ranging from adverse weather conditions to loss of habitat and food plants for adults and caterpillars.

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Bluebells

There is nothing quite like the sight of an English woodland full of Bluebells. Deciduous trees with fresh lime green leaves unfurling with a carpet of deep blue flowers so beautiful it takes your breath away. There’s patches of sunshine with ferns unfurling and dappled shade with mossy fallen trees. Bluebell woods are usually full of wildlife making the most of the early supply of nectar and pollen. Look closely and you’ll see bees and butterflies and wild birds taking advantage of the glut of insect life to feed their young. I was lucky enough to visit Bluebell Cottage gardens yesterday where the Bluebell Wood is in full bloom right now. If you know of woodland in your location where there are Bluebells then the end of April and beginning of May is usually the best time to see them in full flower. Times vary slightly from year to year depending on the weather conditions.

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Hellebore Hybrids

Hellebore season is in full swing. There are so many beautiful plants available to us these days. Many of them come from specialist breeders who are developing new Hellebores with intense colours and unique markings. The Hellebore blooms floating in the shallow bowl of water below are Ashwood Hybrids. If you’d like to know more about Ashwood Nurseries then you may be interested to read about Susan Rushton’s visit. You may also like to visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see some cut flowers from garden bloggers around the world.

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Photoboard News

This morning I’ve been outside testing my new photoboards again. I simply stood the Barn board behind a hellebore and took a few shots. I used this board both horizontally and vertically to see which I liked the best. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get images like this. To me this looks like a hellebore growing at the base of an old timber building. What do you think?

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PhotoBoards and Hellebores

January and February have flown by with orders flooding in from all over the UK. I would like to thank you most sincerely for ordering your flower seeds from me. I wish you a very happy and productive season with flowers galore. Yesterday before I started packaging orders for posting I took an hour out to take some flower photos.

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The Big Garden Birdwatch

We are feeding our garden birds everyday now. They like sunflowers seeds and peanuts in particular and we also hang out fat balls and apples for them. Some of the bigger birds such as Crows and Wood Pigeons also visit our birdtables now that food is scarce in the fields, hedgerows and trees and a pair of pheasants like to see what’s fallen to the ground for them.

Smaller birds scatter when the big birds arrive but they don’t stay long and we replenish the food whenever necessary so there’s always something for the little ones to eat. The weather is set to become much colder here so I’ve made a point of topping up the food a couple of times today already. If the birds are well fed they’ll stand a much better chance of surviving in the icy temperatures and biting wind set to arrive tomorrow.

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