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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Your DNA ?

OK .. so I could lead this post off with a question about do you think your garden aptitude comes from your DNA ? .. Do you think your DNA influences what you like and don't like in life ?
Hardly a true garden question but something I have wondered about.

So .. has anyone else gone ahead and have done a DNA test from one of the companies that advertise on TV ? ... they even have price cut specials ... like the ones I missed out on for Xmas ... groan.

I became TOO curious and couldn't wait, so in late Autumn , after my birthday .. brainstorm.
I did the test from Ancestry .. I had already tried to construct what I could of a family tree there.
The next step was evident to me.
I would like to know where I come from, as opposed to where I THINK I come from ?

My maiden name is Glencross .... not all that common.
Most people don't recognize that it is a Celtic surname .. Scottish .. and ... lowlanders at that.
Part of the Glencross clan was involved in the "Lowland Clearing".
They were effectively driven off what lands they had as tenants, by the upper class who owned them and wanted more money for rent.
That was around 1775 .. my father's family settled in pre-Canada .. Nova Scotia aka New Scotland.
So we have been Canadian before Canada was a country and that part is amazing !

Well ... there was quite a surprise waiting for me with the DNA test.
The sad part is I will never know who is responsible for this new element.
I think it is my father's mother , whom I thought was of Dutch origins but now ?
I don't mind sharing the results .. I don't think it would change anyone's take on me from this blog.

The break down from Ancestry DNA :
24 % Scandinavian
23 % Great Britain
17 % Scotland/Ireland/Wales
17 % Europe West ... Netherlands, France, Germany areas
8 %   Europe East .. Austria, Hungry, Ukraine areas
6 %   Europe South ... Italy and Greece  (that is a surprise)

BUT ... the biggest surprise was being almost a quarter Scandinavian ....
Where did that come from ??? ... I am supposed to be so SCOTTISH !!!!
What Vikings fought their way into my blood line ?

A  mystery to me ... but very entertaining ... and I have to say believable ...
My grandmother was over 6' tall .. my father and brother well over 6' tall ... my sister 5'9" or 10"
I am 5'9" .... although age is kicking my attributes ? haha
Are we Viking remnants from all those ancient  raids in the UK ?

Are you curious too ?

P.S. Hubby is almost pure "potato-head" .. meaning IRISH ... haha


Friday, 9 February 2018

Where is that plant ?

Well .. I'm sure you must have guessed my header picture is from a previous Spring .. Big SIGH.
I can visualize and HOPE right? ... as it SNOWS here... on and on and on .....

My thoughts zoned in on a plant I had a few years ago.
It was rather , shall we say "touchy" "picky" "finicky" .. you know the drill, it would droop if you looked at it the wrong way ... go figure ?
It was full  on CRANKY .. zone 6 and up, some information emphasizes zone 7 actually.
My zone 5b, being a lower class distinction ? capability zone ?  that this plant would smirk at, and promptly die the minute I actually wished I could make it survive a winter.

What is this oh so special plant you may ask by now.
Kent Beauty Oregano
I became a little obsessed with how gorgeous it looked from the web pictures and surprisingly I was able to track it down from Richter's Herbs .... a crime I am guilty of yet again .. this very moment while writing this post, I have managed to order 4 of these plants plus (because you have to order at least 6 plants) .. I found my Twickle Purple lavender that I tried to order a few years ago then some problem arose with their crop and no Twickle ... hopefully not this time.

The main plant is my Kent beauty though and this is why


I know this plant will not ring everyone's bell .. but it has me in it's grip and I want to see those gorgeous bracts AGAIN !!


I did get it to over winter for 2 winters .. I don't know if it will again since I moved it out of it's prime location last year ... you can hardly make it out while it is in the ground here in these shots.


Can you see it ? bottom left corner .... I don't think it got enough sun


The form of the plant is very pretty still .. but the colour is lacking and that is because it has gone through transplant shock and loss of direct sun.

My lesson learned from this plant is that is does better in a container, in as much sun as possible.
Plus I think it liked the dry terra cotta pot .. after all it is actually an herb and they can take punishing conditions .. in fact they thrive in them.

So I will try again with potting them up and hoping for that amazing show !
Now what other plant will I obsess about next ...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Selections from the sea ?

Well here we are ... we survived January and now have landed smack into February.
Where did the time go you say ? .... it went SLOWLY but I have to admit the light values are changing FINALLY .. it is lighter earlier (so Garden PA says and I have no reason to doubt him, other than he must have his two coffees to really focus on "what day is this ?")

So .. I'll "dive" right in and talk plants since I am driven by it at this very moment.
I grew Big Blue sea holly aka eryngium ... last year and wow .. I fell in love with it.
It truly was the bluest one I have seen yet .. through the years I have grown a few other varieties .
Miss Willmott's was one that really rang my bell .. huge collared head .. amazing !

*All pictures other than what I specify as my own  .. were found on the web .. my awknowledgements to the photographers !*

Miss Willmott's Ghost            A regal beauty !
Some how she was not long lived at all  in the garden .. so I went a few years without one.
Then I read about Big Blue  ... and I was curious ... or was that  ... OBSESSED !
This is my picture from last year ...

The colouring was just beginning ... they evolved into amazing deep rich blue.
Every day I said I would cut some to dry , but I just couldn't .. they kept becoming more gorgeous.
I'm not sure if it will come back after this crazy winter .. so to be safe I am ordering another plant to be sure I have it for this year ... I am stuck on it !

That isn't the end of it though ... there is another cultivar out there I want to try, isn't there always ?
Neptune's Gold    ... yes, a gold foliage variety ... not so many years ago I would have found the combination .. hum ... a little too in your face ?
But now I am FASCINATED ... have I been in winter mode too long ? ... probably ...
This is a peek of what it looks like
I know ... you either love it .... or hate it , right ?
These plants are perfect for punishing sites .. lean soil, pounding sun, dry conditions (after establishing) The meaner you are to them, the more they smile .. kind a creepy eh ? haha
You have to love a plant like that.

Monday, 22 January 2018

What about some plants ?

It is a dark and dismal Sunday evening with a weather warning for freezing rain.
What better time to talk about a few plants right ?
This actually advanced to a Monday evening with the same conditions ... FREEZING RAIN.
BIG sigh !!!!!!!

OK .. enough of the whinging .. and whining .. and so forth.
I stumbled upon a rose called  At Last Rose   .. I swore I wouldn't get any more roses since I can barely look after the ones I have .. in fact I have to move a few in the Spring ..
This one however I just can't keep out of my thoughts so I am willing to have to crack the garden budget open a wee bit more and scoop this one up.
See ? ... I know this picture has been made as gorgeous as possible to make you lose you mind and buy this baby ... and it seems to be working 100% on me ... Vesey's has it and I am afraid I won't be able to find it here so they have me by my garden boots on it.

Not only with this one .. Vesey must have been reading my garden dreams for a while to also have a new smokebush (I have a weakness for smokebush) .. in a stunning dark colour.
Winecraft Black Smokebush
When this baby gets bigger and throws those amazing airy flowers, well it is going to be totally gorgeous !
So for now these two are a weakness for me .. I know there are more to come, but I want to truly understand what will work better for me as the head gardener and what I can logically look after to not lean on my Garden PA so much for help.
Have you had experiences with these plants/shrubs ? I would love to hear about it !