Hydrangea Season again……


National Hydrangea Collection, Darley, Derby

The new season for Hydrangea’s is upon us….the blooms are just starting to produce the rich cushions of petals above the dark green foliage.  The weather over the past few weeks has been far from kind, so in a gap in the rains and whilst the clouds broke just a little, I thought I would see how this years blooms were doing.

The National Hydrangea Collection is hidden within an old walled garden.  Located at Darley Abbey Park, Derby and is perhaps one of Derby’s best kept secrets. One time Derby was a mass of flowers across the summer but sadly our council, in its so called wisdom, has cut the Parks and Gardens budget to near zero.  Truth is if it wasn’t for a dedicated bunch of volunteers this collection would have vanished….it is sad as Derby was the location for the first ever Public Park and has until recently an enviable record on maintain some great parks and open spaces.

The best Blooms are yet to come ……so with luck and some good weather I will try and pop back, just hoping that this spell of bad weather does not cause too much damage.

6th August

(C) David Oakes 2017






Despite the heavy rains the Water Lilly’s  have survived…Rich green pads Lilly pads with hot pink flowers each with a startling yellow cluster of stamen.

8th June

(C) David Oakes 2017

Everything is Growing…….



Great Oaks …from Little Acorns Grow

Last Spring (2016) we found a little Oak tree growing out of our gravel path…it couldn’t stay there so we dug it up.  The roots were short and still attached to the original Acorn.   We potted it up and watered it during the year and it seemed to flourish. Winter came and the small leaves dried and fell.  The twig that was left look all but dead until this springs sunshine and warmth stimulated into action….a new Oak Tree in the making.

The colours of late spring and early summer are now starting to bring high spots of very individual colours and flower heads across the garden…no massed displays as yet, just beacons of summers glory to come….even the Bees are busy


Nor was the Robin about to leave the day un-sung

There are two young Robins hiding in the undergrowth….so I guess he is just singing with pride and joy…


30th May

(C) David Oakes 2017

Spring is now in full swing…..


Time to Pause, Rest and Enjoy…..

The early bulbs that produced those first Spring flowers have now gone, the vegetation has become more lush by the minute and the next wave of Spring blooms are now providing yet another colourful display….

So lets pause and enjoy the scents and colours of Spring before they too fade and make way for summers spectacular.

4th May

(C) David Oakes 2017

The Leaves have it!


Pieris Forest Flame

Red is certainly the colour of these leaves of our Pieris Shrub, glistening in this mornings dew…and boy at this time of the year it lives up to its name of Forest Flame.

Short lived glory, as soon those red leaves will turn to the familiar green until new ones form later in the year, ready for next years spring repeat.



Now is also the best time to enjoy the new spring colour of the Sycamore Tree.  Each leaf is deep veined and a mix of greens from subtle to brash with russet red markings in parts.

Despite its natural beauty I still find it so irritating that some Conservationist still want to eliminated this tree from our woodlands.  None native they say….but so are so many others.  They don’t support other live….well that has bee disproven.  To me they are just part of a shared woodland….. a part of our habitat.



Give them their other name of Christmas Roses, very appropriate for this winter flowering plant.  So it is a surprise that as we near Easter they are still in full bloom and showing no signs of giving up providing a display of delicate flowers just yet….It certainly has been a great spring for Hellebores.

11th April

(C) David Oakes 2017