mid-April 2018

I went to the South Downs one day last week and saw primroses in the wild.


I've never seen these horsetail in person before - very unusual - prehistoric-looking.


Back in my garden, parrot tulips are my favourite and this Professor Rontgen also has a fantastic scent

Professor Rontgen parrot tulips

I haven't tried these Princess Irene tulips before but I think they are exquisite with that glaucous sheen.

Princess Irene tulips

these species tulips (Little Beauty and Little Princess) are usually in bloom earlier but they are overlapping with those latter ones above, I guess because of the crazy wearher we've had

species tulips

I especially like what's growing on the bottom shelf

my chives have fat flower buds

chives flower buds

this is the year of honesty, it seems to be doing so well, maybe it's benefitted from the cold weather? I have them all over the back garden and these are in the front garden next door I look after


these are in the garden next door to that which I helped with a few years ago now and shared honesty plants - they've self-seeded very successfully


in the back garden next door which I help look after


also in the back garden next door


at the end of the my garden where it's pretty shady


in the main flowerbed at the front of the garden


in the middle of the garden


in the shade



regular readers of my blog will know I love buds, almost as much as the resulting flowers, the honesty inflorescence (I hope I'm using that word correctly)

honesty buds

the snakeshead fritilary doesn't seem to have suffered with the freezing weather

snakeshead fritilary

snakeshead fritilary

the weather so far this year has been crazy; the auriculas were looking very poorly but at least a few have buds; 1 of the 4 auricula plants I bought last year appears to have died but the other 3 don't look very good, I don't think they'll bloom this year

auricula buds

auricula buds

I wasn't sure these hyacinths were ever going to bloom after thawing and refreezing at least twice but they are finally blooming and overlapping with tulips - crazy

hyacinths bowl

Since at least 2013 I've been trying to grow corn poppies from seed for the centenary of World War I but they proved to be extremely difficult to grow from seed so when I saw these in the "wildflower" range at the garden centre I bought some.

corn poppies

They do seem very crowded in the pots but as the label said they don't like root disturbance I decided to just plant them as they were.

corn poppies

my rhubarb is unexpectedly flowering, I only bought them last year and I read they flower when they are older

flowering rhubarb

flowering rhubarb

I'm going to leave it to flower as I'm quite curious to see what it looks like and if bees like the flowers

flowering rhubarb

Plant Identification

The large plant bottom right is an unknown to me which I've been waiting impatiently for to become identifiable. After I took this photo yesterday (9-4-2018), I thought it would be interesting to look at all the plants - some I didn't notice until I was at my pc. 1. mint?? 2. first unknown 3. garlic mustard? 4. unknown 5. herb robert 6 strawberry 7 greater celandine 8 willowherb?? 9 green alkanet (click for a larger view)

If we can't identify the smallest plants, we may weed out some wonderful self-seeding wildflowers: green alkanet, forget-me-not, common field speedwell, deadnettle.

deadnettle common field speedwell forget-me-not

common field speedwell

common field speedwell

forget-me-not buds

forget-me-not buds

forget-me-not flowers just opening

forget-me-not flowers

some shoots of my beloved chinese lanterns

chinese lantern shoots

green alkanet on the left, honesty on the right

honesty green alkanet



I love centaurea montana and have it planted in my flowerbed but at some point

centaurea montana

it self-seeded either directly in this pot or in another pot and I put it this one (I can't really remember) but I was able to keep it as I recognised it

centaurea montana

this I don't remember, what was it/is it?? (the brown dried stalks in the square pot); I'll have to look at pics from last year

I'm embarrassed to say, I did not know what this was - but I didn't dig it up until it became identifiable

veronica beccabunga

it greened up with some fresh leaves and finally I realised it was veronica beccabunga spreading from the nearby pond

veronica beccabunga

- update 20-4-2018 - 2 weeks later

they are looking quite like fox and cubs now, which I'm happy about, I had some here before but they haven't successfully grown since but maybe my banishment of the green alkanet has allowed them to grow

fox and cubs


veronica beccabunga spreads like mad - definitely one to thin out; the tiniest flowers that don't make up for the thick mass it makes

veronica beccabunga

Sometimes I forget, the most likely id is from something I already have in my garden (Occam's Razor?) Like the veronica beccabunga above which spread from nearby, this plant that self-seeded in my wall, looks remarkbly like wood avens which I only just realised. It's likely to be that as I have lots of wood avens, in spite of pulling it out every chance I get. That is one wildflower I just don't like. At the bottom is the seedling in the wall, above is a wood avens plant I pulled up from the garden to compare it with.

wood avens

April 2018

yellow wallflower Camden Town Parkway

above, outside a cafe on Parkway, Camden Town, below, forsythia, Park Village East, Regents Park, amazing how these bright yellow flowers suddenly cover the shrub at one instant in the spring


below, back to my garden, muscari


for some reason my camera cannot get all these muscari in focus at the same time but I spotted  bee on them this morning so posting anyway

muscari with bee

I can't keep track of what I planted where and the snakeshead fritilary look very grass-like before the buds appear, luckily I didn't "weed" them out. 

snakeshead fritilary

snakeshead fritilary

It's finally good enough whether to go out into the garden, or at least it was for a few hours today, raining again now. I planted out my spent, previously forced, hyacinth bulbs. It reminded me that if you dig or plant in the garden, weeds will respond! I planted some small plants last autumn and I had so many creeping buttercup to dig up today. 

creeping buttercup

the buttercup have gotten into this sea holly seedling's pot, as has oxalis and the ubiquitous forget-me-not on the other side but I just leave the forget-me-not, they flower early and die back and aren't a problem (to me), the buttercup has to go - it just takes over

I also had grass, two types, one that spreads and one that appears to be self-seeding and makes a clump. I think the clump type is couch grass but I must look into them further. Another spreader underneath is snowberry. It spreads like mad.


speaking of weeds, teasels can go a bit mad, but I do like them and happy to have them in the garden but not everywhere, the small pot bottom right has a small teasel seedling

teasel and monarda

I pulled it out and one can see how it copes so well, with that long root

teasel seedling roots

I didn't catch this one in time and it grew to be a monster - in one of my hosta pots so it had to come out.


It's early enough that there's some room in the garden for the previously forced hyacinth bulbs to be planted, before the green alkanet has gone mad - lots of small plants in the next 5 photos.

previously forced hyacinth bulbs planted in the garden

more hyacinths planted, some of previous years' in bloom

previously forced hyacinth bulbs planted in the garden

more spent hyacinths planted

previously forced hyacinth bulbs planted in the garden

more hyacinths planted, some of previous years' in bloom

previously forced hyacinth bulbs planted in the garden

previously forced hyacinth bulbs planted in the garden

Spring 2018

This is my kind of Easter activity. How many plants / weeds can be identified? (this is also on Facebook so you can comment if you want)

with labels added

I think this must be the largest hairy bittercress I've ever seen. The long spiky bits are the seed pods. There is a tiny hairy bittercress in the centre of the pic above.

hairy bittercress

this is the first green alkanet I've seen this Spring, one of my favourite flowers

green alkanet

forsythia is magnificent for a brief period in the Spring


Hampstead Heath was a rather disappointing place to see plants this week (ground too trodden on by people and their dogs) but around Kenwood House I saw a few small bulbs including this chinodoxa. I love the intense colour of the closed buds.


close-up or one of the chinodoxa flowers


view from Hampstead Heath, Post Office Tower far right

view from Hampstead Heath

best buys from the garden centre (free from the skip!)

I bought some plants from Peter Nyssen, Bear's discovered the nepeta (catnip). Between the cold and snow recently and Bear, they aren't looking too good.

a couple more colours of polyanthus are blooming, and that blue "zebra" one I couldn't resist from the garden centre


angelica I bought from the garden centre last year as a "wildflower", good value, it's a biennial so will bloom this year after last year's planting


the cyclamen coum has survived the slugs, campanula and other seedlings near it

cyclamen coum

I plant out my previously forced hyacinth bulbs, they do bloom again but in a very subdued way. The garden withoutdoors overlaps with the garden withindoors

previously forced hyacinths blooming in the garden

previously forced hyacinths blooming in the garde

previously forced hyacinths blooming in the garden

I now have a huge pile of spent hyacinth bulbs to plant in the garden. I think it's warm enough now - for the moment - before the latest cold snap due before Easter.

spent hyacinth bulbs

bulbs want to grow! these tiny bulbs were on the patio or somewhere last autumn and got accumulated in this pot, I had forgotten about them and this spring started doing what they do

tiny bulbs

March 2018

I love these small daffodils. Tete-a-tete as far as I know but they're only small like this in the right conditions, otherwise they can be tall and leggy. These have been outside all winter.

small narcissus

from a packet of mixed colour polyanthus seeds, yellow; seems to be the strongest colour from any mixed packet of seeds (annoyingly)


It's hard to believe that this bulb bowl of hyacinths,

hyacinth bulb bowl

was under snow a week ago

bulb bowl under snow

garden under snow

end of February 2018

daffodils covered by last night's snow

daffodils in the snow

tête-a-tête daffodils in the small amount of snow we had a couple days ago

tete-a-tete daffodils

tete-a-tete daffodils

Chinese Lanterns

I'm a bit of a bore about Chinese Lanterns but I just think they are so amazing: they look great even in winter, they've grown and spread in my front garden without any effort on my part, they are incredibly tolerant of my poor conditions.

Chinese Lanterns

I tried to force a lot of muscari indoors the last couple of years (see gardenwithindoors) so had a lot of bulbs to plant outside. They seem to be quite early this year.


I love moss. The bright green moss surrounding the muscari is so nice - and I did nothing to add it to this pot, it just appeared. Deadnettle seedling on the left.

Vintage terracotta pot + small flower bulb + moss =  magic.


Winter Flowers Jan/Feb 2018

There's been so much work along the Regent's Canal near King's Cross/St Pancras. They've moved the gasometers and built flats inside two of them and made a park in the third (black one on the left). I was interested in what weeds were growing in the wall by St Pancras Lock but I couldn't see them well enough and the towpath is closed there at the moment with all the construction. I hope to get a closer look soon.

St Pancras Lock and gasometers

I've been walking a lot recently and I see a number of plants and shrubs blooming, even though it's winter.



Vachellia karroo (formerly known as acacia karroo).

vachellia karroo

I'd seen this before but didn't know what it was until this week when I researched it and found it's winter jasmine.

winter jasmine

and a weed I've not seen up close and personal before, lesser celandine (the previous pic in my Weed Guide was shared by a reader, now I have my own); I'm impressed this can grow and bloom in the middle of winter, as with all the flowers I've seen recently

lesser celandine

lesser celandine bud

lesser celandine bud

another yellow flower, closer to home in my garden, mahonia


a colour I much prefer to all that yellow, purple/blue rosemary flowers

rosemary flowers and buds

Polly Pocket venturing out on a nice day; the prostrate rosemary is covered with flowers and buds

prostrate rosemary flowering

a neighbour has naturalised crocus in their front lawn


I've been fascinated with this seed pod I saw nearby a couple weeks ago. Thinking it's thorn-apple? I didn't notice it in bloom last summer. Not sure if it's annual or perennial but I will look out for it this year.

thorn apple seed pod

I also collected some seeds from another pod that was brown and opening so I hope to sow those and see what I get.

thorn-apple seed pot

my first rhubarb emerging


first flower of 2018

My first flower of 2018, polyanthus


the polyanthus seedlings are distinctive with that wrinkled first true leaf (the 3rd leaf on the seedling), I grew the plants above from seed last year so got to know the seedlings

polyanthus seedling

polyanthus seedling

I love buds, sometimes even more than the flowers. These are rosemary buds. My rosemary has been blooming on and off through the winter.

rosemary buds

St Pancras Old Church and the Hardy Tree - January 2018

Happy New Year

I seem to be in St Pancras Old Church Yard quite a lot taking photos, I thought it would be nice to present it properly - and the Hardy Tree. In the centre background is the Crick Institute which is behind the British Library on Euston Rd, London NW1. On the left background is just a bit of St Pancras Station. This historical church and churchyard has survived, against the odds, extremely close to central London.

St Pancras Old Church Hardy Tree

St Pancras Old Church sign

st pancras old church

hardy tree

hardy tree

this is the west side of the Hardy Tree, in the background is a new wall they erected when working on the railway lines out of St Pancras Station, just peaking above the wall are the gasometers they've moved and re-erected as part of the canal redevelopment

Hardy Tree west side

north side of the Hardy Tree

Hardy Tree north side

east side of the Hardy Tree

Hardy Tree east side

south side of the Hardy Tree

Hardy Tree south side

an old twisty tree, corkscrew hazel? in the churchyard

tree St Pancras Old Church

stonework St Pancras Old Church

I first saw butterbur in the churchyard


mahonia, unlike mine with rather flat sprays of flowers, this one has upright branches of flowers

mahonia St Pancras Old Church

horseweed, in the background is the coroner's court / mortuary that was built in 1886

horseweed St Pancras Old Church



Subscribe to garden withoutdoors RSS