Friday 25 January 2013

Heavenly Hellebores Heaving

There is a burst of positivity heaving out of the snow today in the cutting garden.  It is one of my favourite flowers at this time of year, the glorious hellebore.

The little chaotic collarette of leaves at the top of each stem hold a bloom in each cluster.  Not quite ‘ripe’ and mature enough to pick yet, but soon!

At this stage, the buds remind me of magnolia flowers or drooping tulip heads.

Or even more obscure, a sheep's nose?

Oh come on, you know you can see it!

As well as the lovely helleborus orientalis, its relative, the helleborus foetidus, is also flowering in the garden at the moment.  This plant seems to spontaneously pop up in most gardens at some stage. A nice contrasting lime green against the purity of the bright, white snow.  Rather disparagingly and undeservingly, it is also known as 'stinking hellebore', but I don't find it has an unpleasant smell, not in the same way 'stinky Bob' lives up to its name.

It has clusters of little bell shaped flowers with visible stamen and a purple rim on some of the flowers edges.  Their shape reminds me of gum nuts, the fruit of the eucalyptus tree.

So some of these are coming in with me to cheer up the corner of a mantlepiece!

The flowers natural downward habit lend themselves well to being strung onto a thread for a little bit of Friday evening floral art.

Now fingers crossed they all survive the next predicted onslaught of snow tonight, before the welcome thaw arrives over the weekend here in Suffolk.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

We Still Have Snow and Lace

But yesterday we did actually have a bit of this ...

Still no chance of getting near the soil though, so I'm just completing my orders and organisation of these ...

and trying to experiment turning this ...

into this ...

so I can use it for this ...

or this ...

Sunday 20 January 2013

The Perfect Pansy

I love growing pansies and violas. They are great to have in a winter garden. So versatile and many varieties can withstand cold temperatures (ahem, similar to those we are presently experiencing here in the UK, but hopefully my pansies are hidden safely somewhere under the snow in the 'Foragefor' garden!).  Their blooms are so endearing and as my mum is known to repeat, “Just look at their little faces!"

For me they are vintage icons,

seen here on old tins,


and beautiful Victorian family photo album page

So what would you do with them? 
Well, I have a few suggestions to get you started...

You could just simply cut and bunch them into gorgeous posies or remove the flower heads and float them in a lovely container.

You could press them and use them for decoration.  They are beautifully fragile when pressed, like tissue paper.  They don't keep their colour as well as some flowers but this fading just gives them an extra vintagey edge!

They are edible so you could use them in so many 'gastronomic' ways:

In drinks, as ice cubes,

or use various coloured flowers to colour code drinks that partygoers can keep hold of all night, purple for Pete, yellow for Yasmin, frilly for Fred and so on, get those imaginative juices flowing.  Of course I know that we are now well and truly past the party season and into the season of resolutions and moderation so of course none of the drinks pictured in this blog contain alcohol!

Use them fresh in salads or sugared on cakes, meringues or any dessert.

....the perfect, petite, plucky, productive, pansy!