Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I Love A Bargain

Seeing Hellebores on many blogs this spring has renewed my desire to own one. I was pleasantly surprised when I visited my local nursery last week to discover a Hellebore on the reduced rack. OK, it's now on it's way out, and it's flowers have now faded to green, but I'm sure it will flower again beautifully next year. It didn't have a label with it so I don't know it's name, but you can just see a faded pink colour on the petals, so I should think it will turn out to be a pink variety. I really need to get some more colour in the garden over autumn, winter and spring, so this will go a little way to making this happen.

I spent some time at the allotment on Saturday and Sunday hoping to get my potatoes planted, but the ground was still very wet so I decided against it. More digging has been done though, so they should be going in very soon. Even with the lovely weather we had at the weekend, it takes time for the ground to dry out after all the rain we've had beforehand.

I also managed to get some tidying up done in the garden. My border got weeded and dug over, and I planted out a few sweetpeas, the rest will be planted at the allotment. I also planted a couple of Aquilegia - McKana Hybrid which I have grown from seed, and a Dicentra - Spectabilis Alba which was sent to me as a cutting from Georgie, and which I successfully overwintered in the greenhouse.

I saw lots of bees, butterflies and ladybirds around at the weekend, the warm weather must have brought them out of hibernation. The butteflies were Red Admirals, and I'm hoping that seeing them so early this year is a good omen as last year there didn't seem to be many around, well apart from the Cabbage Whites at the allotment, hoping to jump onto my brassicas. A couple of weeks ago I saw two Goldfinches in the front garden feeding on the seeds in the feeder. Last week I saw one in the back garden. I have never seen Goldfinches in the garden before, so I'm hoping that they stick around.


  1. Hi Jo
    I also saw a pair of bullfinches a couple of weeks ago at the end of the garden. I was more thrilled that I actually identified them.
    My spuds are going in chicken feed half cwt bags as I only have 1 bed at home. I have planted 1 bag so far a few weeks ago. However, this morning one of the daily papers is forecasting a return to arctic temperatures next week so I am hanging fire on spuds and also some seeds too.
    A bit of a tortoise or the hare approach I think.
    Claire x

  2. I love it when different birds come to visit and then I ponder on how to make them stay. The bugs loved the weekend weather nearly as much as me.. :-)...I hope this little cold snap my area is having soon leaves as it was so nice to picnic at the plot last weekend and I have so much I want to be getting on with. My soil is already quite dry so i got some planting done at the weekend...hopes yours soon dries out for you too.

  3. Hellebores are one flower that I'm not very fond of!
    It seems that everyone has been seeing plenty of wildlife during the recent good weather.
    Lucky you seeing goldfinches as they're a bird I've yet to see hereabouts although I'm told they are around. Flighty xx

  4. I never buy perennials in a peak of their season. They are too expensive and I find that flowers will die soon after transplanting them anyhow. I think it is due to stress to the plant.

    I hope the ground at your allotment will dry soon.

  5. I have a patch of dusky pink hellebores which seem to survive much of the neglect I lavish upon them. I've been seeing quite a few bees buzzing around - a good sign...I was looking for verbena boniarensis (?) seeds at the weekend and could find only plants. I bought 4 at £1.99 each. I found a pack of seeds at my local GC today for £1.65! They're in a their compost bed in the greenhouse. Now, shall I take back the seedlings?

  6. oohh I must go and see if any of our local garden centres are selling their hellebores and a lower price. They flower every year and are so so gorgeous - I am sure yours will be fab.

  7. I bought some reduced hellebores too last week - I love the reduced racks at garden centres, full of little plants crying out for a good home.

  8. To get plants at a bargain is pleasant, especially when it blooms so well. On that note, the spring you are having is a bargain too, with the presence of pretty flowers, bees, butterflies, ladybirds and Goldfinches you had described.

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  9. Your hellebore looks lovely. I too have never grown them but always love to see them growing and really should invest in some myself. I've been seeing lots of wildlife this week too, it's lovely isn't it, everything seems so alive when there are lots of wee visitors in the garden. Alas I have never had gold finches visit, such wonderful birds, I often see them on the South Downs but never in the garden.

  10. love hellebores, managed to get 3 flowers of my one lonely specimen, must get some more.

  11. oo, hellebore. very pretty flowers and self-seed well, if my parents' and aunt's gardens are anything to go by. i hope you get many years enjoyment from it :)

    nice to hear you made it to the lottie. i've still not popped my spuds in yet. still chitting but very nearly there...!

    (still frustrated i can't comment on any embedded comment boxes @ work, meaning i have to wait til i get home!)

  12. We have a pair of Greenfinches feeding everyday in our garden. Saw my first Swallow 2 weeks ago but still no sound of the Cuckoo....

  13. Goldfinches are such lovely birds with a touch of the exotic about them - alas none in my garden yet - but I live in hope!

    Your bargain hellebore will be a beauty next year I'm sure.

    Jeanne x

  14. A bought a bargain collection of hellebores last year. I wanted single flowers and found a collection of 5 different colours which offered five more free. When they came however I had five singles and six double varieties as the singles had run out. They are growing on on the plot to be moved to the garden as soon as I can now.

    Just prepared some ground for them so I'm hoping for a good display next year!

  15. My bees are starting to get busy, they make such a comforting hum. I am seeing more and more birds out too but they all seem to be camera shy. I love spring!

  16. See if you can get yourself some pulmonaria as well - they make a gorgeous splash of bright blue and are flowering right now.

  17. Congratulations on becoming the owner of a hellebore ... my favorite spring flower. But watch out, it can become addictive, and you could be bringing a lot more home from the garden center.

  18. Haven't seen any butterflies, but have seen bees and wasps.
    Had some land cress left overwinter in a grow bag from last year which has gone to seed and flowered. I want to clear it out but the bees are loving it so I might leave it until other plants start to flower.

  19. I am sure that your hellebore will be a star next spring Jo. Can always send you some seedlings if you are interested. I spotted some goldfinches on my way to the lottie last week - such pretty birds.

  20. I'm sure your hellebore will flower for many years to come.

  21. My mum and dad have bullfinches visit their garden regularly, Ma Larkin. I too find it hard to identify birds sometimes. You're right, the tortoise approach usually wins.

    I haven't seen the goldfinches since, Tanya. It looks like it may have been a fleeting visit, but I live in hope of them returning.

    This is the first hellebore I've owned, Flighty. I wonder what it is you're not keen on. I've seen lots of bloggers showing off their's, they seem a popular plant. I was thrilled when I saw the goldfinches, I just hope they return.

    There are some bargains to be had if you buy perennials out of season, Vrtlarica. Our garden centres often sell off plants which are past their best and you can pick up a bargain.

    I think you picked up a couple of bargains there, Countrymummy. £1.99 for a verbena bonariensis plant seems a good price, as do the seeds.

    Hope you manage to pick up a bargain too, Scented Sweetpeas. I went back to the nursery this weekend, but all the hellebores had been snapped up.

    Glad to hear that you managed to snap up a bargain too, Su Harris. I plan to get some more hellebores at some point, they're such a lovely flower.

    It is lovely to see so much wildlife around, Bangchik. I think I've seen more butterflies already this year than I saw the whole of last year.

    I'm hoping that by offering the right seeds I can entice the goldfinches back, Ninasgardeningnotebook. I don't often get any unusual birds in the garden, so this was a bonus.

    I'm hoping to increase the number of hellebores I have from one too, Damo. I've seen so many photos of them on other people's blogs that I've fallen in love with them.

    Sorry to hear you can't comment from work, Steph. I expect it will have something to do with the security settings they have installed. I hate to report that I still haven't got my spuds in. If truth be told, I'm getting a little panicky now, and that isn't good.

    No greenfinches, swallows or cuckoos here, wartimegardening. It much be lovely to see these types of birds in your garden.

    We don't usually get goldfinches here either, Jeanne. In fact bluetits are the most exotic we usually get. I'm hoping the hellebore does fill out and produce lots of flowers next year.

    You should get a great display next year with all those plants, Green Lane Allotments. What a shame the singles had run out though, but you'll have lots of different flowers now.

    I've seen some really big bees about, Kat. They do make a big noise to match too.

    Thanks for the tip, Rachael. I'm on the look out for early flowering plants so pulmonaria sounds good.

    I can imagine hellebore collecting becoming addictive, Pam. They're such lovely plants. I'm already on the look out for more, but I may be a little late.

    It is nice to have something flowering at this time of the year for the bees, Lynda. I'm hoping to get more early flowering plants for my garden.

    Thank you, Anna, I'd be very interested, I'll email you. Goldfinches are very pretty, they're really dainty too.

    I'm hoping that the hellebore will perform really well next year, Renaissance. It will be interesting to see it's colour with it's petals fading to green when I bought it.

  22. Hellebores self sow too - I'm hoping I may get some interesting cross pollination.

    By the way verbena bonariensis also self seeds - we have loads coming up everywhere now - strange that to buy the plants is expensive when they seed so easily!

  23. Hi Jo, I think hellebores are quite beautiful. There are some growing in the little garden under my balcony (a lovely soft plum colour) and it's always a joy to watch them unfold. I saw some white ones in Homebase at the weekend for 99p! and was tempted but I have too much to plant at the moment! Well done on your bargain! Caro x

  24. Hellebores are supposed to produce lots of little babies, Green Lane Allotments. You should get an interesting mix. I've never grown verbena bonariensis as it's a little too tall for my border, though it's a lovely plant and great for attracting butterflies.

    Homebase have some great bargains sometimes, Caro. I wouldn't have been able to resist, they are quite beautiful.

  25. Hi great bargin, especially if the old flowers are still on the plant as those seed pods will swell and make a lot of little babies.

    Try adding nijer seeds to your feeders and the goldfinches will defo stick around, ever since doing this I have had goldfinches in the garden all year round, they also like shelled sunflower seeds.

  26. I know Wilkinson's do niger seed, Kella, I will get some next time I'm in. I didn't know they also liked shelled sunflower seed, so I will also look out for some of those. I'm hoping that the hellebore will increase in numbers, fingers crossed.

  27. Nice to have visitors to your plants . I love to watch the sunbirds pecking away for nectar on my erythrina glauca tree. Have not seen the hellebores plant before. Thanks!

  28. It's lovely to attract wildlife to the garden, Keats The Sunshine Girl. This is the first hellebore in my garden, but I hope to get a few more, they give such a lovely splash of colour so early in the year.


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