• First Daffodil of 2015

    daffodil 003

    First daffodil of the year on 15th Jan (my wife's birthday). This was grown indoor in the vestibule so protected from most of the frost and all of the wind which was lucky as this is a very windy year. The leaves are very long and very floppy so probably means that it is etiolated from the low light levels. Still... it is a posh daffodil out on Jan 15th - never seen one so early before.

    Here are some details:

    n.j. var henriquesii 13Y-Y (E)10/30cm AGM Species Per pack of 5

    It is a division 13 Yellow Yellow bought from R.A.Scamp Quality Daffodils at 90p a bulb!!! (run by Ron, Maureen, Adrian and Sharon)
    That's nearly a whole pound for one wee bulb. If nmy wife finds out I'll tell it it was so that I could give her one on her birthday... a flower, a daffodil.. so I could give her a daffodil on her birthday.


    "Division 13
    Daffodils Distinguished Solely by Botanical Namedaffodil 004 from seed."

  • Early Spring in Tipperty?

    fennel 002

    Okay - I have banged on about this several times - plants are active much earlier than they should be this year. For example up above you can see fennel leaves in the stalag (the background cardboard is over the path - keeps down the weeds). I have never ever seen fennel in Jan before in Tipperty - normally it is end of March/early April.
    On Sunday we went out for a walk along an old railway line. In between personal musings about the destruction of the railways by the Beeching report in the 60s and whether they railways should be reinstated and how much that would cost - then we spotted gorse in flower and also pussy willow flowers, In the second week of January - very very unusual.
    This has been mentioned in several places online (and radio 4 too so it must be true) for example the two articles below. = Strange times.
    Jan 2015 026

    By Judith Woods2:17PM GMT 10 Jan 2015

    "My first sweet little snowdrop heads are peeping out of the dark soil in my herbaceous border heralding spring – which is odd, as I can’t say we’ve had any winter to speak of, at least not in my garden.
    Elsewhere in Britain, metereological mayhem reigns, with hurricane winds and horrendous downpours, flood warnings and snow. But here in north London, it’s expected to be an unseasonably balmy 14 degrees, although grimmer weather is on the way.
    Former weatherman Michael Fish yesterday declared Britain was experiencing “explosive cyclogenesis”, which sounds like a rejuvenating skincare regime but is in fact an area of low pressure descending on us rapidly.
    There is wider talk that global warming will see us enduring a “fifth season” of monsoon-like downpours on an annual basis. How will that affect the garden?
    The one thing I have learned is that no matter what climatic conditions or however clumsy my efforts, something always grows, even if it wasn’t what I expected. One year, despite my (accidental) scorched earth policy, Mother Nature bore me no ill will and instead gifted me a fabulous show of antirrhinums."

    By Edward Malnick3:32PM GMT 10 Jan 2015
    "Hundreds more plants are in flower than is usual for January following the warmest year on record.
    Botanists said they were amazed to find more than 300 species in bloom when textbooks said the figure should be around 30 at this time of year.
    The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland found that an unprecedented 15 per cent of wild plants were in flower during a four-day survey which began on New Year’s Day.
    The most commonly recorded species were daisy and dandelion, with more exotic finds including gorse, heliotrope and sea campion.
    Tim Rich, a botanist behind the Botanical Society’s New Year Plant Hunt, said the abundance of species in flower was “extraordinary”, suggesting it was largely due to warmer weather.
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    “Fifty years ago people looking for plants in flower at the start of the year found 20 species,” he told the BBC. “This year the total has amazed us – we are stunned. During the holiday I drove along the A34 south of Newbury, [West Berks] and saw half a mile of gorse in flower when gorse is supposed to flower in April and May. It’s bizarre.”
    The relatively mild south and west of Britain had the highest numbers of species still in flower, but areas of the east, north and Scotland also saw dozens of plants in bloom.
    Dr Rich said: “We thought that the snow and hard frosts before Christmas would have finished most flowering in the north, but it seems not to be the case.”
    Across the country the survey found 368 species in bloom, compared with 222 last year. The Botanical Society said the rise was partly down to an increase in the number of volunteers involved.
    The greatest number were found in Cardiff, with 71 types of plant in flower, while Cornwall came a close second with 70.
    More than 50 species were found in the east and north of England and 39 were flowering in Edinburgh.
    Volunteers compiled 143 lists of 2,908 plants spotted in bloom around the country over the four days. Half included 20 or more species in flower. Ryan Clark, an ecologist who co-ordinated the survey, said urban areas had more species in flower than the countryside because they provided more “sheltered corners” and “disturbed ground”, with plants spreading out from gardens to public areas.
    He added: “It was astonishing to see so many records flooding in, from Guernsey to the Moray Firth and Norfolk to Donegal.”
    However, he said there was little indication of an early spring.
    “Half of the records of spring-flowering plants were from just three species: hazel, lesser celandine and primrose,” he said."

  • Jan 2015

    Jan 2015 002

    We have been experiencing a little bit of wind here in Scotland - up to 110mph on the other side of the country - only up to about 80mph this side of the mountains: not the best time to be getting your roof fixed like we are. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/09/scotland-railways-reopen-after-110mph-winds

    Anyhow almost no damage in Tipperty except for the one bush being ripped up by it's roots.
    This is a buddleia bush and one of the few things with leaves (outside of the conifers and the heathers). I wasn't so upset as I had planned on ripping out the bush and trying it around the garden. We have a couple of cuttings rooted already so won't lose the plant. Thompson and Morgan are selling it for the first time this year so it must be trendy and I am ahead of the curve for one!

    Buddleja globosa
    Orange Ball Tree, Buddleia, Butterfly Bush
    Hardy Shrub
    Customer Rating

    New in 2014
    One of the most surprisingly and exciting revivals for many years - buddleja are back in vogue! This variety is rather special with its stems of striking, golden yellow, ball-shaped flowers attracting butterflies and bees to their freshly scented blooms. Buddleja globosa is fast-growing and tolerant of most conditions, making it easy to grow in large borders. Height: 4m (13'). Spread: 3m (9').

    Anyhow I'llbe out taking cutting and spreading it around - i.e. snipping off fresh stems and pushing them into the soil - that is all it needs - to propogate a few more plants.

    Also this weekend we have the first snow drops coming through - early this year - second week of Jan and no snow yet. Mild but windy winter as predicted by the rowans.
    Jan 2015 026

  • Lupin root nodules

    Not a lot to do in the garden at the moment except for planting some bare roots that arrived from J Parkers just before Xmas - I left them a little late - should have done it earlier but I've been under the weather.
    Talking of weather - so far the Rowans have been largely correct. We are having a mild winter. There has been a couple of days of hard frost and one or two windy and/or wet but, on the whole, the weather has been pretty warm when you are out of the wind. There are still at least three more months of winter to go here but so plenty of time for snow but we've had none so far.
    Back to the lupins. These garden flowers do well on our slope at the front - very thin soil and very well drained on the 50 degree slope - well the dark blue ones do. The others colours try for a season or at the most two and then give up while the blues get bigger and bigger each year. They are at least five years old now. I think the extra heat absorption from the dark colour give the dark flowers a bit of an advantage as we are in a frost pocket in winter (where there are no flowers so irrelevant to colour)and cold/windy in the summer. The other reason for the blue surviving and not the others might be a taste thing. Something nips the lupins - could be rabbits and is definitely slugs/snails. These molluscs are notorious for iattaching lupins (and hostas) in my garden. I've a feeling that the blue ones are less tasty than the reds and the whites. The flower colour is reflected in the stems and in the leaves - white flowered lupins are pale throughout the plant while blue ones are darker through out - stems and leaves. I think the paler stems may have less bitter alkaloids so are more prone to grazing.
    Anyhow this year I am going to try some more colours - again. We have already tried reds, yellos and white ones but only the blues survive. Let's see again.


    newburgh beach 010

    newburgh beach 013


    Lupins fix nitrogen from the air through nodules in the roots.- did you learn that in school same as I did - part of the nitrogen cycle. This is the first time I have spotted the nodules - but then I don't remember planting bare root lupins before - all the others have been from a pot as I recall.
    I really love it when I spot something from school out in the real world so that it brings it home that some of the stuff we learnt were actually applicable. The nitrogen fixation is a great asset to lupins (and many other pea plants) so that they can survive and thrive in nitrogen poor soils while enriching the soil as the roots are recycled. If you manure lupins or put them in rich soil they rot. Well there is no chance of either rich soil or manuring in the tipperty garden - our soil is acid, poor and proud.

    nodule close upC0115243-Lupin_root_nodules%2C_light_micrograph-SPL

    Above is a stock picture showing the inside of a nodule - just to add a wee bit of variety..
    "Lupin root nodules, light micrograph
    C011/5243 Rights Managed
    Caption: Lupin root nodules. Light micrograph of a section through the root nodules of a lupin (Lupinus lupin) plant. These nodules are full of nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium sp. bacteria that form a symbiotic relationship with the plant. They take nitrogen from the air and fix it to nitrogenous substances that can be used by the plant. This enables the host plant to grow in soils deficient in these nitrogenous substances. In return the host plant passes sugars, water and minerals to the bacteria in its roots. Magnification: x4 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
    Release details: Model release not required. Property release not available."


  • Woo Hoo!!! Half a million visits

    Bit of a milestone - half a million visits to Frary's Fresh Flowers - Thank you, thank you and once again
    I thank you!

    And you thank you once again - let me buy each and every one of you some orchids - a fine white spray of orchids.
    Of course I couldn't get them through cutoms from Singapore so you'll just have to make do with this picture.
    Apologies for the ogre in the background. Some people will do anything to ruin a photo.


  • Tipperty in November

    tipperty Nov 14 001
    Two mild winters and a damp summer has left the front garden looking fine. And this autumn has also been mild - only the third day of frost expected today 8th Dec.
    All this has left the front garden looking lusher and interesting.
    It is developing into my favorite part of the garden.

    Looking particularly lush are the tree heathers Erica arborea at the top f the bank. The largest ones are now well over two feet tall. it will take a wee while to get up to the twenty foot monsters we saw in La Gomera this year but we are getting there. 
    tipperty Nov 14 005
    tipperty Nov 14 002

    Also doing well are the roses, the ferns and the ivy. The standard roses have been moved out if their tubs and are bedding in but they already look like they are doing better in the front in the ground than they were in the tubs - I am not good at feeding plants in tubs so that is probably the problem they were having in the containers.

    tipperty Nov 14 019tipperty Nov 14 009
    The Ivy is now starting to creep up the rowan arch at the top of the path. It'll take a year or two more for them to meet in the middle but it looks like it is totally achievable. Onwards and upwards. 

  • Singapore Botanical Gardens

    Clock - Singapore Botanical Gardens

    "The results of TripAdvisor's 2014 Traveller's Choice Awards is out, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens is once again Asia's best park.
    The park, which hopes to register as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is joined by Japan's Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (2nd) and Hong Kong's Nan Lian Garden (3rd). Gardens by the Bay's Cloud Forest Dome is also in the list at no. 25.
    The world's top three best parks according to TripAdvisor are Vancouver's Stanley Park, Colorado's Garden of the Gods and Central Park in New York City."

    I have been to two of the best 4 parks in the world the Botanical Gardens and Central Park and we are going to Vancouver in 6 weeks time - close to Stanley Park - so will have visited 3 out of 4 parks.
    I guess I need to plan a visit to Colorado's Garden of the Gods next year or so.

    Anyhow above is the clock in Singapore Botanical Gardens and it has the names of 4 cities on it. Singpaore, Tokyo, London and Vancouver. After next month I'll have been to all 4 - woo hoo!!
    I don't know why it has those particular cities - probably related to Botanical Gardens but will try to find out. I love a wee mystery.

    Update - here is the reply I received from the excellent people at the Singapore Botanical Gardens:

    Dear Mr Frary

    Thank you for your patience.




    We have gathered information that the countries reflected on the clock tower was the preference of the donor herself, the late Lady Yuen Peng McNiece. The special connection to the Singapore Botanic Gardens are the Sealing Wax Palm trees sculptures that are part of the clock tower which is the logo of our Gardens.

    Hope this clarifies your query.

    Best regards
    Rahimah Yusof
    Visitor Services
    Singapore Botanic Gardens

  • SIngapore rip off my garden.... again!!!


    So the Singapore botanical gardens do it again - like Balmoral Castle and Castle Fraser - they all have secret spies which come rounddto Tipperty and see what I have in the garden then go back home and put it in their garden -well they go back in time and put it in their garden ten years before it goes into mine - reverse trendiness. I'm sure that is the explanantion and not that I go and see their gardens - then come back and try it in ours in a much smaller and cheaper scale. I thiunk that spy satellites, monitoring of the blog and time travel is a much more likely explanation.
    So what have Singapore ripped off this time?
    Cold greenhouse - check - see theirs above - similar to our 6' by 8' doncha think?
    And smack in the middle of the cold greenhouse they have a scrawny Gunnera - see below - among the orchids, begonias, ferns and pelargoniums.
    Well we too have a scrawny Gunnera among our ferns and orchids, begonias and pelargoniums (though ours are all outside and the last towo are in baskets that go in over winter). A few minor differences but you must admit that it looks like they are reading my mind. Perhaps I should wear a silver foil hat while I tinker about in the garden.

    As you can see this is almost a direct rip off of my damp corner in the front garden in Tipperty - well there is a Gunnera in there and it's really green so almost the same... yeah right.  I hadn't realised that I had blogged quite so much about Gunnera - this is the 6th post to mention them sice I put in our end of season bargain in November 2012. That's two mild winters that it has survived. Another one coming

    28 July 2014 053

     Each autumn the plant collapses and that glistening heart spends the cold months surrounded by the cold dead leaves... definitely sounding a bit Goth there. This year is no different. In the two weeks I was back home the single frost devastated the Gunnera and started it on it's winter sleep hopefully to reawaken bigger and even stronger in spring. I don't think it will ever get to the size of the ones in Dundee that originally inspired the purchase but you never know. This time next decade we could be sheltering under its leaves or even building our house out of the leaves if the current descent into economic chaos continues - now there's a cheery thought to end the blog on.
    tipperty Nov 14 014

  • All Quiet on the Eastern Front


    Been a bit quiet recently - I had to focus on finishing and publishing on Nindle my novel - Her Majesty of Mumu.


    So while I've been doing this I couldn't justify spending much time on the blog - sorry about that. especially as there has been so much going on in the garden - or at least in the potting shed (which consists of an old lawn chaiir and glass topped table on the patio) - namely a thousand and 1 daffodils to pot - almost literally 1001. 

    I read a great book about daffodils (as blogged about http://frarys-fresh-flowers.blog.co.uk/2014/10/22/daffodils-in-october-19597831/ ) so had to buy a load of daffodils - which I did - including from specialist sellers such as two lots of orders from

    http://qualitydaffodils.com/login - these were mainly small minatures - so called rockery daffs - as I would like to try some breeding and I think a pink minature woould be a good flower to aim for.

    Of course there were also orders from Thompson and Morgan and Van Meuwen (same compnay) and from JH parkers.

    and some autumn flowering daffodils from:  www.facebook.com/RinghaddyDaffs
    > www.ringhaddy-daffodils.com
    > - I was a bit late for these so they won't be sent till next year.

    So I had a ton of daffodils to plant when I got back hoome in November. 
    And some are already growing great guns - look at these minature beauties from Quality Daffodils - henriquesii  - which are 13-y-y specis daffodils - http://qualitydaffodils.com/nj-var-henriquesii-13y-y-e1030cm-agm-species-per-pack-of-5?filter_name=henriquesii

    At 90p each these are much more expensive than I am used to buying - normally I go for 20 for £2 - in the sale (as I did again this year - end of season fromn Happy plant - around a dozen packs in total) but last year I bougfht some far too late and none of them ever showed. I thought that I ought to splash a little bit of cash if I want to make this my life's work (- or what little remains of it anyhow).
    But quality has out - literally!.
    tipperty Nov 14 024tipperty Nov 14 023

    Out in the garden there are green daffodil shoots showing through the grass because it has been such a mild november in Tipperty and even the rest of the North east Scotland while the ones int he large pots from last year are well on their way to an early showing of daffs. Wiull they survive the mild winter which my Rowans say are coming? We will see, we will see.

    tipperty Nov 14 040

  • Heather names


    Well I had to buy these... the names, the names.

    Alicia is our newest Grandchild - just over a month old now. I suddenly had an excuse to buy these - I'd spotted Alicia before but the name had never had a connection before. So I got three of each. When you can afford it you need to buy plants in odd number sets.
    1 plant is a specimen plant - okay if it is going to be a huge special plant.
    2 plants ... with the space between - turns into a line which isn't like a clump of colour. Straight lines never seem to work well in an actual garden because plants are floppy and never quite fit the plan, except in the vegetable garden. Then lines look better because you have go in a hoe.
    3 - yep forms a clump, you can make loads of different sort of triangles though I guess most people - me included - go for the equilateral to get even spaces between them. Even if you have to squint it a bit the middle part will fill in nicely.
    4 - for some reason putting 4 plants in doesn't look right - the centre doesn't fill in nicely. I tend to go for a diamond/rhombus shape if I have 4 - i.e. an equilateral triangle with one stuck on one of the sides. That can work.
    5 - now you are really starting to get into variations now - star, cross, pentagon.


    Over and above - you've got more money than I have - apart from bedding flats and plug plants I rarely if ever have 5 or more plants of one variety. They are simply too expensive except for the rich and TV programs. The bedders go into the whiskey barrels or the hanging baskets(out of the reach of the rabbits usually) where we can see them for the one season they live. The plug plants now go into 3" pots to start with. For the first year or so I put the plug straight into the garden (into the outside if they were "rabbit-resistant" or into the stalag if they are rabbit salad.) They rarely survived more than a season or a few weeks - the weeds/mice/slugs and snails got to them. Now all plugs go into cheap 3" pots for a few weeks if not a full year to bulk up and get ready for the vigour of Tipperty.

    So because I had these Alicias I had to add a few more to make up the 10 (to get a slight saving on the per plant price - I'm a sucker for that sales ploy. Mentally I know it's marketing but my gut always goes with 'it's a bargain!'). Once the will is broken - i.e. I know that I will buy some plants then I get what I want to buy - all or nothing - I ended up with thirty - 10*3's - all thing sin moderation... including moderation.

    Jacqueline above - Daughter and sister, and Molly (well close) below - niece.
    Now I only need about a dozen more exotic names and I'll have the inner circle planted up - and an excuse to buy loads more heathers or roses or daffodils or whatever.


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