Serendipity

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Anemone blanda
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Bergenia
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Anemonie coronaria bud
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The effects of winter cold on scented pelargonium foliage
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Unknown (and nibbled)  iris – a patch has appeared from nowhere this February.
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Hazel catkin
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Snowdrops
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Anemone blanda waiting to be planted.
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Hellebore picked for a Monday vase about two weeks ago when in bud; still going strong.

The long-awaited for snow did appear last Friday night and, although it wasn’t as heavy as forecast, it had a rather miraculous effect: two of my children came with us to walk the dog early on Saturday morning before it all melted away! My eldest usually doesn’t appear before late morning at the weekends so this is highly unusual. (The middle one is still recovering from glandular fever and extremely tired, so we let him off.)

We agreed it was more than a sprinkling of snow but less than a satisfying blanket – there was probably about 1cm, not much at all, but enough to look pretty and make that pleasing squeak-crunch under foot. The dog had a lovely time, running around and around making us laugh and it was a good start to the weekend.

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We’ve had a good half term week. I’ve been to London twice, once with my daughter to see friends and again with all three children for a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. All of them are now at an age when they’re properly interested in the world (and two of my eldest son’s A’levels are History and Government & Politics) so this turned out to be a fascinating, enlightening and thoroughly interesting trip for all of us. We had a couple of hours to kill before the tour of Parliament so we decided to look around the National Portrait Gallery. The boys went off to look at the Stuarts and Tudors while my daughter and I strolled past the women’s portraits. We were particularly taken with those of Mary Wollstonecraft and Christabel Pankhurst (daughter of Emmeline) and we talked about the campaign for women’s rights in the UK. She’s 12 and can’t imagine a world where women were treated so differently to men (some would argue it’s still happening but let’s not go there..!). Later on, during the H of P tour, we admired and learnt about the contemporary light sculpture displayed in the Palace of Westminster, ‘New Dawn’, which commemorates women’s suffrage. It’s a fascinating piece, the colours change with the rise and fall of the Thames; you can read all about it here.

The tour of Parliament totally impressed us. Our guide was an incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgeable and funny young man who obviously loved his job. He brought the history of the place to life, roping in some of the younger children in the group to demonstrate the falling-out between Charles I and Parliament, explaining some of the finer points of our constitution, the respective roles of the Lords and the Commons, while making it all so relevant to our daily lives – we came away inspired and feeling mighty lucky to be living in a country with such a robust system of government. Whatever your political leanings, you can’t fail to be impressed by the place. Do go if you’ve never been and get the chance.

Anyway, enough of all that. It’s gone 5pm and it’s still light outside! It was about 10 degrees warmer today than this time last week and I spent a lovely hour or so pottering outside taking the close-up photos above. There’s a surprising amount going on out there. The snowdrops are nearing their peak and looking gorgeous in the sunshine (I missed the sun, though, so the flowers are closed up in the pic), tulip and daffodil spears are growing taller and the birds are singing their heads off (I heard my first skylark earlier in the week which gladdened my heart). I called in at a plant nursery earlier, you know, just for a look – I was passing; spring is coming… I bought some seeds (sweet peas, beetroot and purple-sprouting broccoli) and three little pots of Anemone blanda to plant under a tree by the path. They were such good value, I couldn’t resist them.

I’m planning to do some tidying in the garden this weekend, cut back the raspberry canes and Miscanthus, and maybe sow some seeds. I hope you have a good one, whatever you have planned.

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17 thoughts on “Serendipity

  1. The first skylark of the year is such a joy. The Houses of Parliament guided tour sounds excellent – I’ve been for supper with our MP which was a great experience but haven’t done the tour. Definitely feels as though it’s time to get into the garden.

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  2. What a lovely post, Sam. My goodness your garden is much further along than mine, although I will now go and look at the anemones for buds :o). Lovely to have squeaky snow. We had a flurry here but that was all. The HoP trip sounds amazing. L has picked history and gvt and pols for his a levels, so I feel inspired to take him too now having read what a great time you had. Xx

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  3. I have the tour of the Houses of Parliament on my list of things to do with the children one day, Leanne mentioned it was really brilliant. Glad you enjoyed it, and that you had two days in London, lucky you. Gorgeous flower photos, there’s hardly anything around here, although the frogs are very lively all of a sudden. Hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

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  4. This weather is marvellous isn’t it. It feels so springlike and a joy to be outside with everything sprouting. I just hope it doesn’t all end in mush.. plenty of time for the frosts to return yet. Impressed by the H of P tour, didn’t know they did them. That would fascinate me too.

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  5. I’d have a hard time convincing my children to go on a tour of the House of Parliament, sadly. Glad you enjoyed it, it does sound fascinating. I am looking forward to tackling the mess that is my garden in a few weeks time. It is far too wet and muddy now and still bears the burden of being a recent building site…. Have a lovely weekend. I hope your middle boy continues to feel more energetic every day. x

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  6. I’m glad you got your snow! Don’t be too sad about there only being a centimetre. We had almost a metre of snow last week, and it was a nightmare. Even for snow lovers like myself. The tour sounds wonderful. We took our three youngest children to listen to the Q&A period in the Canadian Parliament a number of years ago and it was a wonderful experience. Love your photos! I can never see enough snowdrop pictures.

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  7. Lovely pictures from the garden Sam. Interesting to read about your visit to the HP, it is easy with everything else going on to forget how lucky we are to live in this country despite the problems we do have. Thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend.

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  8. What a satisfying post. A little bit of snow, new flowers peeking out and the House of Parliament. I must say I’m envious of that tour (and the flowers). We have you beat by a mile on the snow, though. Enjoy the lovely weather Sam.

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  9. What a lovely time you have been having with your family, Sam – I feel I know so much more now than when my Girls were growing up and feel we could do so many exciting things together, but perhaps what we did seemed exciting at the time…;) What lovely blooms you have – buds on anemone coronaria, and outdoors at that! I have some in pots in the greenhouse which are very leafy but nowhere near producing buds…

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  10. Lovely photographs as always. We had several huge clumps of irises in our front garden when we moved in 12 years ago. I wasn’t keen on them at that time and grubbed them up. Several years ago a clump reappeared, I assume from the original planting, somehow making a reappearance. I leave them alone now, we have reached a peaceful compromise and tolerate each other! Yes, the houses of Parliament; my oldest son has had a guided tour with a school trip and found it fascinating. X

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