Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:08 am

Where there's a wall: Francesco del Cossa’s April

Jonathan Jones is welcoming spring with a bevy of classic works about those glorious months when the weather starts to turn. Today he pays tribute to April, a famous wall fresco in the city of Ferrara, Italy

Jonathan Jones

guardian.co.uk, Friday 23 March 2012 09.57 GMT



Francesco del Cossa’s April is the most beguiling in a spectacular sequence of astrological frescoes in the Room of the Months, in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara, northern Italy. Venus, presiding goddess of the season of rebirth, sits on a fantastical carriage, while young lovers play music, chat and embrace in her garden of love. Below, astrological symbols of the “deccans” add an occult meaning, while on the lowest tier courtiers of Ferrara make elegant conversation. Painted in the 1470s to early 1480s, it casts a spell of spring

Photographer: PR

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:15 pm

Petal power: Vincent van Gogh's The Pink Peach Tree

Jonathan Jones is bringing us the artworks that best celebrate the new season. Step forward Van Gogh, whose rendering of a peach tree in Arles burns with life force

guardian.co.uk, Friday 30 March 2012 10.05 BST



There’s something religious about this 1888 painting of springtime in Arles in the south of France. The peach tree in bloom seems to be full of an inner fire. It is a peach tree but also the burning bush, a sign from heaven. It hits Van Gogh with revelatory force and the sheer reality of it bubbles out of the blue in massed clogged mountains of pink paint. The dry heat of the earth, the depth of the sky, add to Van Gogh’s awed sense that he has found the vein of gold in the heart of the world

Photographer: Corbis

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:54 pm

It is more seasonal this week, but last Thursday the temperature went to a record-breaking 80 degrees. Everybody was wearing shorts and t-shirts. All the flora burst out early, daffodils and forsythia, and the grass got bright green. But unfortunately this week's chilly temperature blasted the tulip trees' blossoms. There are four tulip trees in the village and now their flowers are brown.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:08 am

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

(Opening lines of TS Eliot's The Waste Land)

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:12 am

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
(That slepen al the nyght with open eye)
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.

(Opening lines of Chaucer's General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales)

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:33 pm

The violence of spring: Paolo Uccello's The Battle of San Romano

Jonathan Jones chooses his favourite springtime artworks – in Uccello's battle scene the male energy of spring surfaces in a carnival of violence

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 10 April 2012 11.24 BST



Spring fruits and flowers add to the gaiety of this battle scene. War is a chivalric pageant: colourful lances and banners, feathers on helmets, trumpet blasts. Knights and archers are seen in the ploughed fields beyond the clash of metal at the heart of the fight. The colourful floral display and big round fruits recall Botticelli’s Primavera and, with its celebration of male energy, this too is a depiction of spring – here seen as a season of violence

The National Gallery

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:37 pm

Easter

Katharine Tynan

Bring flowers to strew His way,
Yea, sing, make holiday;
Bid young lambs leap,
And earth laugh after sleep.

For now He cometh forth
Winter flies to the north,
Folds wings and cries
Amid the bergs and ice.

Yea, Death, great Death is dead,
And Life reigns in his stead;
Cometh the Athlete
New from dead Death's defeat.

Cometh the Wrestler,
But Death he makes no stir,
Utterly spent and done,
And all his kingdom gone.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:25 pm

We've had just a suggestion of early spring sunshine in London. Bought a small sack of multi-purpose compost this morning in Crisp Street market, in anticipation of this year's balcony gardening. It's probably a little early in the season to do much yet, though.

Because of last year's torrential rain, all the Crisp Street stall holders must have taken a hit on gardening merchandise. I couldn't find a medium-size flower pot today for love nor money.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:01 pm

I spoke too soon. Winter has returned to London with a vengeance. I'd planned on putting up some netting to support the variegated ivy, clematis and white-flowering jasmin but the gale-force winds of the past couple of days would have torn it to shreds.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  felix on Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:04 am

Spring is certainly late arriving this year, Eddie; the cherry plum tree in my back garden normally produces blossom around the first week of Feb - a welcome harbinger (occasionally, it appears even earlier!) - but this year it has only now put on a reasonable display. No other blossoms are visible yet Suspect

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:53 am

I've risked the netting, but I notice that a few of the repotted container plants seem to have resented the unforseen return of winter. I'm hoping that the late winter/early spring sunshine will rescue and revive them, but it's possible that I've made my move too soon.

Last year we had no summer: rain, rain & more rain. This year, I hope the jet stream gives us a break.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:57 pm

Better a late spring than never, so up bright and early for a spot of container gardening on the balcony. Tied up the bamboo & netting supporting the white-flowering clematis with garden twine. Moved a red geranium outside and repotted it.
Bit of a disaster with the old aquarium I'd been using as an indoor propagator for some packets of RHS seeds, relics of an 'Underground in Bloom' prize at Rotherhithe. Green shoots visible, so I thought I'd shift it outside to the balcony, but it proved to be too heavy (all that gravel/compost) and unwieldy (3' x 1' x 1 1/2') for one person- and part of the bottom smashed en route- glass & soil & gravel everywhere. Luckily, the rest of the old aquarium glass remained intact, so it's still a perfectly servicable miniature greenhouse/cloche/flowerbed. Sunflower and poppy seeds and other delights sprouting away merrily. Spot of pruning on the other container plants, then stood back to admire the effect. Looking good.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:10 am

Pic: aquarium/cloche/miniature greenhouse/flowerbed on the left:

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:05 pm

Here's the front garden. Not much room for a lawn or a nice bit of topiary on the kitchen window sill...



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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sun May 05, 2013 7:24 pm

Clematis is blooming on my balcony in the May sunshine:


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sun May 05, 2013 7:28 pm

New additions: 'Blood, Fish & Bone' feed kicking in:


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  pinhedz on Mon May 06, 2013 12:28 pm

It's finally warm enough to go out in my hot pants again. What a Face

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Thu May 09, 2013 3:52 am

glad to see the pictures and read the gardening updates, Ed. They've cheered me up.I was feeling a little low because Elisabeth has been experiencing ups and downs. Dont know if its just teenage girl angst or something more.

Elisabeth has tended to the raised garden beds in the back of the yard and I have been helping her. It's too far for the hose to reach so we lug out water everyday. So far everything but the basil has come up.Wehave arugula, lettuce, parsley, one string bean plant, quite a few cucumber, Chinese spinach, scallions, beets. In a few weeks well put in tomato plants and probably pepper and maybe eggplant. Today it finally rained so her garden got a good soaking.

E cried about her life last night which has me unnerved.Most indicators are good (sleep eating, school, appearance) but I've had her seen the schol psychologist twice. She is willing. Few friends, an introvert but very close to me. Im glad she has the garden for comfort and she has been doing a Lot of cooking. She is into eating healthy and pours over recipes on the Internet before deciding what to make. Yesterday she made baba ganoush and Monday she made turkey tacos.

so Ed are you going to have any tomato plants?

Anyone else planting a garden?

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Thu May 09, 2013 8:57 pm

Just normal teenage angst, Constance. From what you describe, Elizabeth sounds much more together than I ever was at that age. Nothing to worry about, I'll be bound.

Impressive-sounding vegetable patch! I've never attempted much vegetable-growing myself, preferring decorative plants for some reason. But there's no reason why I shouldn't try it; the limited space on my balcony needn't be too much of an obstacle if I use 'gro-bags' in lieu of an actual vegetable patch, so perhaps I ought to give it a go this year.

I've recently discovered the near-miraculous properties of 'Blood, Fish & Bone' plant feed. Sounds sinister, but you just sprinkle a little on the soil (sparingly, following the instructions on the packet), fork it in, water, then stand back to admire the results. Promotes health, growth, greeness, flower colour etc. It's good for vegetables, too (it says here).

Another suggestion: try a longer hose!

All the best, Constance, and happy gardening. Promotes health & well-being.

Ed x.


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Thu May 09, 2013 11:12 pm

I hope you're right about Elisabeth, Ed. she had another bad night last night, two in a row. She cries and complains that she is worthless, no good, all sorts of nonsense that seems to come from nowhere. She wants me to lie down with her and hug her and then she pours out all her thoughts. I took her to a therapist three wks ago but she wouldn't go back for a second visit. she is seeing the school psychologist whom I am communicating with. She still sits at the kitchen counter with me in the afternoon and doesn't hide herself away which is good. And she is certainly communicative. I had her checked out by her MD and she has a vitamin D deficiency and she is slightly anemic. She isi taking I supplements now. she has not had her period in four months which might be causing havoc with her hormones. She used to come home from school and sing all afternoon and I miss that.

The garden is coming along very nicely and we are excited about that. I have already pinched off and tasted the arugula, scallions and Chinese spinach. t rained yesterday and there is rain in the forecast mixed with sun and clouds both today and tomorrow. Madeleine has exams inthe morning and comes home early which is nice. She had calculus yesterday and English today. In Septemberj she will be going to Union College in Schenectedy NY (about two hrs north) where Theyy gave her a big scholarship. She is second in her class and will make a speech at graduation. One of three litters of puppies is being born this wk, the second around the 24th, and the third dog is bred this month. Can you imagine how the breeder can handle so many puppies at once?

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:57 pm

A sunny few days in London, and the balcony garden is coming along nicely:


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:24 pm

It's a jungle out there:


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:26 pm

Bumble bees loving the flowers. The white-flowering climber in the background is jasmine. If the heat-wave continues, the tall spindly thing left of centre will eventually (I hope) morph into a Van Gogh sunflower.


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:33 am

The genus Nasturtium should not be confused with the flowering garden annual commonly known as nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus). Though not related, the leaves of the garden nasturtium also have a peppery taste.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:00 pm

Bee on sunflower this morning, first I've grown:


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

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