Tulip Little Princess and crushed shell mulch for slug protection

I bought a pack of 10 of these Little Princess Tulips and I think I got 2 flowers? One looked nice, if washed out, forced in the truffle bottle (see garden withindoors) and this one somehow survived the squirrels who ate all the other crocus and tulips I planted in the back garden. I think this is a lovely little tulip, similar to acuminta in colouring but much less expensive.

tulip little princess


My tulips are incredibly early this year with the warm weather. These look like the Professor Rontgen and Silver Parrot tulips I planted in previous years although last year I also planted Orange Favourite and Estella Rynveld which I guess the pot below must be one of them. 

The pot of tulips below is in the back garden (which doesn't get nearly as much sun as the front garden).  They are far behind the ones in the front garden that are in bloom. 

I want to avoid slug pellets this year as I now have a frog in the garden. I loved the look of the crushed shell mulch since I first saw it so I'm going to try it to protect my lupins. I planted so many late last summer and they germinated well but the slugs decimated them. I have 4 left so I hope I can nurture them with some tlc and extra vigilance with the slugs. I've also had a bit of a clear out in this flowerbed removing all the bluebells. I remove some every year but obviously not enough as they were still taking over. I do the same with the ground elder and I don't have much of that but still a few shoots every year.

lupins with crushed shell mulch

This is typical of what happens in my garden. I potted up a piece of bergenia rhizome and a poppy and foxglove have self-seeded themselves along with it.

violets in this warm weather

It's hard to capture the abundance of violets in this bunch with this image but I have never seen a clump with so many flowers. I often have some violets spring up about the garden but never with so many flowers. I assume it's the warm weather that has brought them out.


I have so many vinca flowers this spring, also down to the warm weather? It's such of nice contrast of a sea of green interspersed with purple flowers.


Finding plants at the garden centre so expensive and often lacking the health to survive into their second year I took this one out of the skip. After being planted it in the garden, it soon revived. This was definitely my best "buy".


early early tulips

I have never seen these tulips in bloom so early. This weather is crazy. The ceanothous is also about to burst into bloom.

orange tulips

Viola Floral Powers and Lupins

viola floral powerslupin seedlingsI had blooms from these Viola Floral Powers (left) very early last year and this year they're blooming already. I continue to be impressed by them.

I planted some lupins late last summer from seed I collected from some in my garden (grown from purchased seed) and was pleased with a good germination rate. Unfortunately the slugs decimated the seedlings. This spring I was so happy to see them coming back from that - until the squirrels got to them! No matter how many nuts I put out they still damage my plants. The middle one on the left looks dead but the other four look like they might just survive if I can keep the slugs off them after I plant them in the ground.

the garden coming to life

I was so excited to finally have a frog in my pond. I don't know if he found his way there or if he hatched from the last spawn I put there (about 2 years ago?) and I just never saw him before. He was out the other day when it was sunny and he came out to bask in the sun for a while. The last two days have been cloudy and he hasn't been out.

frog in my garden pond

I love squirrels. They are SO cute but wreaking havoc in the garden. I planted bulbs last autumn to have a bulb ladder this spring but the squirrels ate all the crocus and tulips so only the muscari and narcissus tete-a-tete are left.



These muscari are beautiful: fat ripe flowers and intense colour. The muscari I forced indoors which bloomed in December weren't nearly so vibrant. They were so unnoticeable I didn't even take a photo of them.








The sky was so blue that day. The combination of the purple flowers, the green of that shrub in the background and the blue sky was beautiful.






narcissus tete-a-tetemuscari on a plant stand

I had the idea to put these pots on an old wooden ladder but the squirrels, aside from eating half the bulbs, would have knocked them off. The narcissus pot on top is too big for them to knock off although they've already knocked off the middle one.

The plant stand on the right is more secure so they can't knock anything over. The pots in the middle are my lupins which the slugs half destroyed last autumn but now that they are off the ground away from them, they are growing again. I'm hoping the frog(s) will eat the slugs now. This past winter wasn't cold enough for long enough to kill the slugs. The previous winter was great as I didn't have slugs for weeks in the spring. It really gave the plants a chance to get going.

I've also seen a fox a few times recently after not seeing one for a while and lots of cats. Two new ones have moved in recently, added to the existing ones, sometimes there are 5 cats in the garden - it's great as I love cats. And Pussycat is enjoying the warmer weather.

first blooms in the garden

yellow crocus

yellow crocusyellow crocus











striped crocus

striped  crocus

hyacinth, not quite as focused as I'd like, I'll try again tomorrow


ever reliable bergenia
















2012 Seeds

I decided not to buy any seeds this year as I tend to go a bit mad buying too many and I still have enough left from last year to keep me busy. I also find I get better results when I grow less and look after them better. When I have too many I easily fall behind looking after them.

In reviewing what I currently have, these are my seeds:

Allium - collected from plants I grew last year

Cerinthe - collected from plants I grew last year



Chives sow March to May


Devil's Bit Scabious

Foxglove sow April to July

Greater Knapweed

Hollyhock - collected from plants I grew last year

Lesser Knapweed

Pansy Colossus Neon Violet - Unwins Gro-Sure sow February to August

Snapdragon - collected from plants I grew last year

Sunflowers - collected from plants I grew last year

Tomato - Thompson and Morgan Berry F1 Hybrid sow February to April

Viola Floral Powers sow February to March

Viper's Bugloss

another beautiful unexpected appearance in the garden

black cat

He appeared this morning. I've never seen him before.


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