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Jo's News and Views No 2 Feb 2024

Hello Everyone 


Although we all complain about the continuous rain, I think we all agree it is essential for our gardens. As you'll see in the following update, the garden has looked fabulous with all the Spring flowers appearing everywhere. I am sure it is as a result of all the rain so there is a positive out there for us. 


The hellebores and snowdrops continue to delight. The bed at the top of the drive is full of colour, photos 1 and 2. In the Arboretum the daffodils have started to arrive, photo 3. I have to confess that my photos are from the first two weeks of February so there will be more photos of this favourite next month. 


In Tom Tiddlers Ground I noticed this lovely clump of pulmonaria and hellebores, photo 4. Nearby on the back wall of the Rose Garden is this beautiful camellia, photo 5. It spreads all along this wall and flowers well every year. Walking back to the lawn at the side of the house I stopped to enjoy the view of the Pond and the crocuses covering the lawn there, photo 6. In the beds outside the Old Conservatory are more hellebores and crocuses, photo 7, and a huge display of snowdrops, photo 8. 


Down in the Rock Garden there are more snowdrops, photo 9. As I mentioned I do think the garden has benefited from the rain as a few years ago following that very hot summer the snowdrops didn't appear as they have this year. Also, here are these Leucojum vernum, known as Spring snowflakes, photo 10. This is a favourite of mine as their little bonnet shaped flowers make me smile. The Acer here has been lopped to make it safe, photo 11. This is an important tree because there is a huge clump of Lathraea clandestina growing at the base of the tree. It is a parasitic plant that lives on the roots of the Acer. Photos of that when it appears again. 


Walking back to the New River Lawn I again stopped to enjoy the view across the pond and the display of crocuses covering the lawn, photo 12. Moving on to the Kitchen Garden I noticed the Iris reticulata flowering at the front of the Fruit Arch, photo 13. This was one of Mr Bowles's favourite flowers and I always think of him when I see them here. 


Next were the Glasshouses. Gary does a splendid job of keeping everything in tiptop condition here. The display of succulents as you enter are very pleasing, photo 14. This unusual cacti made me smile, photo 15 and the Crassula ovata, known as the Money plant, was in flower, photo 16. Further along I found this pretty Rhyncholaelia glauca, photo 17. The flowers are exquisite, almost orchid like, photo 18. Next is the Billbergia x windii, known as Angel's Tears, photo 19. Tillandsia usneoides, Spanish moss, photo 20 and Strelitzia reginae, the marvellous Bird of Paradise, photo 21, both originate from South Africa. You have to pause for a while and acknowledge how wonderful Nature is to produce all these wonderful and exotic flowers. Behind the Glasshouses is the Crocus Collection, photo 22. Diligently cared for by Liz Macnicol the collection retains its National Collection status and thrives in the Cold Frames there. This is one of my favourites, photos 23. 


Now for my fauna selection. It may seem strange to include this Lime tree, photo 24, but it is my before photo as it was subject to removal of quite a few branches to make it safe, photo 25. The Mistle Thrush was left a bit confused by this, photo 26. However I saw one on another visit in the Wild Garden , photo 27, so they will survive. Also here was this very handsome Blackbird. In the Kitchen Garden I caught sight of a Goldfinch, photo 29. 

Finally, this wasn't taken in the garden but is so unusual I wanted to include this flock of Magpies seen in a tree in Hoddesdon, photo 30. There are many collective names for Magpies, mischief, conventicle, congregation, charm, tribe and parliament but whatever we call them I have never seen so many together before in my life! 


I hope you have enjoyed this walk around the garden with me. 


Best Wishes 


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