Spiky Squares

During the month of March, Becky, Queen of the Square format, is back. This month she would like to see anything spiky, jagged, bristly, serrated, prickly or barbed in whatever interpretation you like. The only rule: it must be a square.
March Squares

Mahonia ‘Charity’ – Slender spikes of pale yellow flowers appear from November to March, above rosettes of large, handsome, dark green, holly-like leaves.

Flowers on Friday

Seen in February, on the Salix Caprea Pendula (Kilmarnock willow tree). Purple crocuses form the Impressionist background colour.

At the tail end of winter, fuzzy nubs start to appear along the branches of pussy willows. These soft silver tufts—as well as the plant itself—are named for their resemblance to tiny cats’ paws. They’re actually flowers just before they fully bloom. The soft hairs protecting them from the cold.  Only male plants produce the fuzzy flowers.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #34 | Close-up

Flower of the Month: February

February heralds the start of spring here in the UK, although officially spring begins in March. The 1st if you go by the meteorological calendar (I don’t) or the spring equinox which is on Wednesday 20 March this year. After the dull dark days of winter, February is when the days grow longer, the light lingers until late evening and sunrise is before 8 am.  It is also when delicate looking bulbs pop up above ground and buds begin to open and gardeners start to get excited again. Dwarf Iris reticulata or histrioides, daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops and crocuses are among the more common ones. In Cornwall, camellias and magnolias are making their presence known.

With all these delightful alternatives choosing one flower to represent the month is quite difficult, but I shall opt for the Camellia as it is the one flower that adorns many gardens, public spaces and churchyards in Cornwall during this month and is what I consider to be the ‘Winter Rose’.

February is the  start for the collection of over 500 Camellias in Trebah Gardens to come into its main flowering season and where you will find flowers ranging from pure white to dark crimson, some double, some single, some flecked or bicoloured. So if you are in Cornwall now is the time to visit some of the wonderful Cornish gardens.

Flower of the Month: January

The hellebore is one of the earliest blooms to be spotted in the garden, appearing from late winter to early spring.  H. niger is a semi-evergreen perennial to 30cm, with pedately lobed, leathery, dark green leaves and, despite the name, the flowers are usually pure white or pink-flushed white, bowl-shaped flowers up to 8cm in width. Known commonly as the ‘Christmas Rose’ it usually flowers earlier than H. orientalis cultivars, often in January or February, but mine has sometimes not flowered until March. They self-seed freely and they dislike being disturbed.

The main Hellebores to be cultivated by gardeners are the Lenten Rose varieties (Helleborus orientalis) producing large saucer-shaped flowers in a wide range of colour forms from white to pink, plum and deep blackish-purple, often conspicuously spotted reddish-purple. They will bloom from late January onwards.

They love being in dappled sunlight and need no more than a few hours a day which is why the perfect location is underneath deciduous trees or scattered in a woodland garden. Remove the old blackened leaves and allow the new growth and buds to emerge. They do not require a lot of fertiliser, but do need protecting from slugs. Though having said that mine do seem to survive slug attacks reasonably well.