Nearly, Wordless Wednesday.

With all this horrible weather we’ve been having, I just needed a little reminder that spring is not that far away.

Prunus avium 'Plena'

Prunus avium ‘Plena’

Wisteria

Wisteria sinensis.

Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'

Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’

Picture apr2011 815

Hang on, that reflection in the window is not mine.

Picture apr2011 919

That’s better, no reflection in this one.

Picture apr2011 1012

Papaver orientale var. bracteatum.

Advertisements

The Gardeners Rules and Regulations.

Rules? Aren’t they there to be broken?

No, sorry I can’t say that any more, not in my position. Even though certain garden practises can be. On the odd occasion when I have looked up something on-line (especially on-line), in a book or a magazine and have not been entirely confident with the information given to me, I have gone with my gut feeling and experience; a lot of the times it works …. but not always.

Rules and Regulations are everywhere, we have: general Health and Safety, Safety Data Sheets, COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health), Respect and Dignity, Fire Regulations, Manual Handling the list goes on and on. Most I agree with fully, especially when it comes down to peoples health and safety alongside the respect and dignity side of things; plus when it comes to protecting the environment.

The rules that I’m talking about, are the in-house rules you may still have and used to find in a working garden. As said, we all have the ones set for us by outside factors, I’m talking of the ones set by either the Head Gardener, garden owner, the Human Resources dept or all of the above.

The following rules and regulations I first saw in a brilliant book called ‘The Head Gardener – Forgotten Heroes of Horticulture’ by Toby Musgrave; definitely a must read book. So I wondered, how these may have changed compared to any modern day garden rules that we may have.

RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE
PLANT DEPARTMENT IN BICTON GARDENS – 1842

THE FOLLOWING RULES TO BE STRICTLY ATTENDED TO AND FINES TO BE PAID EACH PAY-DAY. THE AMOUNT SO PAID TO BE DIVIDED EQUALLY AMONGST THE MEN AT THE END OF YEAR, OR PUT TO SOME USEFUL PURPOSE. AS SHALL BE AGREED ON.

(Fines are all in old money)

1. Coming to work on a Monday morning vita a dirty shirt………………………….3

2. Coming to work morning without shoes being laced or tied……………………..3

3. any person employed in these departments found gathering fruit with unwashed hands………………………………………………………………………………….4

4. Going into any hothouse, greenhouse &c, or walking on any gravel walk with dirty shoes…………………………………………………………………………………………3

5. Taking a wheel-borrow with a dirty wheel on the walks, or in my other way making dirt and not immediately cleaning the same up………………………………3

6. Leaving any door or gate open in any department of the garden……………….3

7. Leaving door or gate unlocked, after opening the same, and not returning the key to its proper place…………………………………………………………………….3

8. Leaving any stoke-hole dirty, and not keeping the ashes cleaned out from under the grate, not sifting the cinders once a week…………………………………..3

9. Leaving any fire at night not in proper trim or order………………………………3

10. Leaving anything dangerous in or about the stoke-holes or furnaces……..12

11. Leaving a job unfinished in an un-workmanlike manner…………………………3

12. Making any waste of coals, dropping them about, or not keeping them swept clean up together………………………………………………………………………..3

13. Leaving open the cover of any 6-oiler or cistern…………………………………..6

14. Smoking a pipe of tobacco in the hours of work……………………………………4

15. Neglecting to grease a wheelbarrow when requisite………………………………3

16. Leaving any tool; wheelbarrow, steps, ladder, water-pot, &c., out of its proper place or putting it away dirty………………………………………………………3

17. Leaving rubbish in any hot house or greenhouse, or in any way making dirty and not immediately cleaning the same up……………………………………….3

18. Leaving heaps of grass,weeds,leaves or any rubbish whatever about the pleasure-grounds, borders walks,&c for each heap…………………………………….3

19. Carelessly breaking any plant, pan. grass, tool &c…………………………………3

20. Breaking any flower-pot with plants in it, and not immediately potting the same plants properly……………………………………………………………………………6

21. Neglecting, to do a job after having been once……………………………………..3

told of it the second time………………………………………………………………………6

22. Neglecting to attend to water fountains &c………………………………………….3

23. Any man found at his work intoxicated shall forfeit his days wages, and be otherwise dealt with as thereafter shall be considered- just.

24. Swearing or making of bad language, for every separate evil-expression….3

25. Damaging or in any mutilating or defacing the above Rules………………….12

J. BARNES; HEAD GARDNER
BICTON GARDENS SEPT 26 1842

Now, how many of those rules would still apply today, in a working garden? Or, with a little tweaking how would those set of rules look like in 2013?

1. Coming to work on a Monday morning, still visibly hungover from the night before, with remnants of curry sauce on your T-shirt………………………………£5

2. Coming to work with your shirt not tucked in and shoe laces undone (that’s me knackered)…………………………………………………………………………………..£2

3. Thinking you can juggle fruit and making a complete prat of yourself (me again) ……………………………………………………………………………………………..£2

4. Entering greenhouses with dirty boots, leaving door open on cold days, then proceed to bang, scrape mud off boots on the greenhouse staging legs……………………………………………put in stocks and pelted with tinned fruit!

5. Taking a wheel barrow with dirty wheels on to paths. Then proceeding to play chicken with a work colleague, crashing into one another………………if you hurt yourself £4.50 – if not………………………………….. back into the stocks.

6. Leaving the gardeners hut door open, then denying all knowledge of being there, even though your mug still had warm tea in it, you where seen pulling faces at the CCTV camera and overhead talking on your mobile phone for half an hour; saying how busy you are………………………………………………………………………………………………….£9

7. Leaving the garden gates open, so all and sundry come wandering into the garden……………………………………………………………………………………………..£2

8. Leaving the kitchen area in the gardeners hut messy overnight, leave the milk out, then complain the following morning, that the milk has gone off……£5

9. Having a garden fire and using, petrol, methylated spirits, waste oil, gas cannisters or any other explosive materials to ignite the fire…………………..£10

10. Leaving a blazing fire unattended…………………………………………………..£10

11. Leaving a job unfinished in an un-workmanlike manner (leaving that one the same)…………………………………………………………………………………………£8

12. Dispersing cold fire ash with a leaf blower………….No fine here, if you are stupid enough to attempt this …. you deserve everything you get.

13. Not putting the cap back on a petrol lawn mower after filling it up…………£3

14. Smoking in front of a ‘No Smoking’ sign, then complaining when you are told not to………………………………………………………………………………………………£3

15. Using Swarfega or any other liquid soap to grease up wheelbarrow wheels…£3

16. Leaving any tool; wheelbarrow, steps, ladder, water-pot, out of its proper place or putting it away dirty; then blaming someone who was off sick that day without realising they were…………………………………………………………………£8

17. Leaving rubbish in any greenhouse, or in any way making dirty and not immediately cleaning the same up………………………………………………………..£6

18. Leaving heaps of grass,weeds,leaves or any rubbish or whatever about the garden, borders walks and pathways; for someone to fall over them…………..£5

19. Carelessly breaking any plants, tools, machinery or wind…………………..£10

20. Breaking any flower-pot with plants in it, and not immediately potting the same plants properly………………………………………………………………………….£8

21. Neglecting, to do a job after having been told once……………………………..£3

Being told of it the second time…………………………………………………………….£6

22. Urinating behind a tree whilst singing and thinking no-one can see you….£8

Not singing……………………………………………………………………………………….£6

23. Swearing or using suggestive hand signals…………………………………………£9

24. Singing loudly and out of tune whilst listening to your I pod………………..£4

Singing in tune………………………………………………………………………………..£3.5

25. Coming to work still drunk or intoxicated in anyway…………………………£12

26. Tripping over an up-turned rake, that was left by you on the ground (have to confess to that one as well)………………………………………………………………£5

27. Damaging or de-facing the above rules in anyway……………………will be tied down in a chair and made to listen too Kylie Minogue for four continuous hours and then fined…………………………………………………………………………………£20

Now, none of these have happened where I work, but these are some of the stories I have heard over the years I have spent in horticulture. We have all heard ’em and many more, some even more unbelievable than the ones above.

Snow!

This year I didn’t want it …. but it came anyway.

It didn’t take too long though, for me to adventure out too take some photo’s, because whatever your views are on the subject, you have to admit … that everywhere looks pretty in the snow and magical.

If you do like the snow, here are some pictures for you to enjoy, if you don’t … look away now!

Picture apr2011 2089

Cut Leaf Beech.

Picture apr2011 2099

Picture apr2011 2098

Somewhere in the background is the University Library.

Picture apr2011 2135

Reflections on the River Cam.

Picture apr2011 2110

Garrya elliptica

Picture apr2011 2147

The Fountain, Great Court.

Picture apr2011 2133

The Wren Library.

Picture apr2011 2126

The Backs.

Picture apr2011 2112

The Pudding.

Picture apr2011 2138

The Wren Library (again).

Picture apr2011 2141

Silly buggers in a punt.

Picture apr2011 2105

Picture apr2011 2114

Picture apr2011 2128

The Avenue.

Picture apr2011 2158

Now, the above picture was taken on the River Cam back in the days when everything was in black and white, when there was a real big freeze (not this couple of cold weeks and a little snow weather) and they didn’t care much for health and safety. Plus, they didn’t have to put up with silly sod’s in messing around in punts!

The Tattooed Garden.

“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye.  As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.”  ~V. Vale and Andrea Juno

Apart from music, my two other interests are tattoos and gardening …. the name of the blog gives it a way really.

Both very different but also similar in certain ways. They can both be, colourful,  full of detail, have lots of meaning to them and give you that peace of mind that I have mentioned before. Also, closure like a memorial tattoo or a memorial planting in the garden.

What is often grown in our gardens, can also be re-created very well on the skin. Many tattoo designs that you see nowadays are of some sort of flower or have a flower somewhere in the design.

Flower tattoos are most of the time viewed as feminine, this is changing as more and more men are having flower designs done. The Rose in particular is a very popular tattoo for both men and women.

“Primitive tribes were certainly convinced that the spirit, having escaped from the body at death, retained a replica of its earthly tenement.  They therefore used tattoo marks as a means of identification in the next world and a passport to future happiness.”  ~Ronald Scutt

The Lily is another very popular tattoo, it has many meanings to it depending what type or colour it is, many associate it with beauty and purity.

Lily of the Valley is considered to be a sign of devotion and humility. Legend has it that, the nightingale’s love for this flower is so powerful, that the bird will not return to the woods until it has bloomed.

 Peony tattoos are another popular design, often used in Japanese designs or on there own.

“Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it…. Tattooing therefore, is a way of keeping the spiritual and material needs of my body in balance.”  ~Michelle Delio

Picture apr2011 1497

Now, this particular flower would make a wonderful tattoo.

“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms.  Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.”  ~Auguste Rodin

Wordless Wednesday: Mahonia in the Snow.

20130116-071901.jpg

20130116-071921.jpg

The year ahead.

Christmas has been and gone, the new year is now here, there is doom and gloom everywhere on the news and many of us are feeling the post Christmas blues. To top it off, since the Christmas festivities we have seen very little of the sun.

So I thought I would do a post about the year ahead and have a look at some of the different things that each month I will be looking forward too. Many of us have different things that we look forward to and some of the things mentioned will not be every bodies cup of tea … but wouldn’t it be boring if we where all the same.

January

Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite), a great early show that is always guaranteed  Out in early January, it is a low growing bulb with a yellow flower that will always put a smile on your face.

Picture apr2011 746

Snow, some love it, many hate it. For most parts of our country, we will all see some snow every year, but it very rarely amounts too very much. Some years it will only last for a few days, the one thing that is guaranteed though …. just two flakes of snow and we will see, gridlock on our roads, airports closed, schools closed, snowploughs stuck in snow, gritters broken down and councils closed. The only thing that is open and doing very well for business, are companies that make and sell ‘We are Closed’ signs.

February

Picture apr2011 780

More snow. In fact, February can be one of the coldest months of the year but also one of the most picturesque.

Picture apr2011 690

That’s enough snow, if we are going to get any this year, we certainly do not want it to go into March.

Galanthus nivalis (Fair maids of February). Snowdrops are one of many flowers we can look forward to in February. The others include, Pansies, Hamamelis x intermedia, Cornus mas, some Daphnes and many more.

March

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’. One of my all time favourites, it has beautiful scented flowers, wonderful foliage but it is a bugger to propagate; this shrub does have sentimental value for me.

March is an exciting month and it can go either way with the weather. It is the month when things start to get a little more exciting in the garden.

Spring bulbs. From March until late spring we have all the usual favourites in the garden, often giving everyone a lift as the days get longer and hopefully … a little warmer.

April

Picture apr2011 223

Anemones, always look good at this time of year and our best display always looks good on our Open Day.

Picture apr2011 839

Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ (The pearl bush). A spectacular April/May flowering shrub. This shrub has won the ‘Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society’ and I can see why. A must have for any garden.

Picture apr2011 398

Lawns. This time of year them lawns will always keep you busy, some days there is not enough hours in the the day to get everything done.

May

Dennis Pictures 2012 1214

Ceanothus ‘Cynthia Postan’. A wonderful, fast growing Ceanothus. We have ours on a south facing wall and they never fail to disappoint.

Picture apr2011 971

Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariessi’. Has to be my favourite of all the Viburnums.

May and June for me as a Head Gardener at a place like Trinity, can be a bit of a blur. With the college calender, which includes ‘The May Ball’ (in June) and it being one of the busiest times in the garden, these two months can very quickly pass me by. They are very challenging; but I certainly wouldn’t change a thing and there is also plenty to enjoy in the garden.

June

Dennis Pictures 2012 1227

Spirea arguta. A fully hardy shrub that likes a sunny position and flowers in May/June.

20120620-062619.jpg

Rosa’ The Garland’. One of the best scented rambling roses you can get. If you have an a area in your garden big enough, then this is a must have rose.

July

Picture apr2011 1310

When we hit July/August, things do slow down in the garden, still busy but not so hectic. For me, the college is a little quieter as well and it is the start of the summer holidays for many.

August

Picture apr2011 1330

As with July it is a reasonable and quiet month, with some of the hottest weather of the year expected. Admittedly that didn’t happen last year but fingers crossed for this year.

September

Picture apr2011 275

It still can be a very warm month and at this time we are usually in full swing with our hedges and topiary, which often we will have started in July. At this point parts of the garden are still looking good even though autumn is not too far away, this makes it an interesting time of the year.

October/November

Picture apr2011 1864

The leaves are beginning to fall but there are many plants coming into there own like Chrysanthemum ‘Emperor of China’. It is probably one of the most beautiful out of all the Chrysanthemums.

106

Even some of the Salvia’s  are still looking good, but it is the autumnal colour from the trees and shrubs that really come into there own at this time of year.

Picture apr2011 308

December

Picture apr2011 1904

December, time to hide in the greenhouse, to check out the plants for the following year and if it is really cold outside … it can take longer than usual.

Picture apr2011 1918

With the leafing nearing an end and with one eye on Christmas, we start looking and planning for the next year ahead.

Wordless Wednesday: Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’

20130109-074959.jpg

Image