Registered & Protected

Blotanical Awards 2009

2009_award_badge Best Garden Art Blog

I’m Bad

I’m a bad blogger, it is official – only 3 posts THIS YEAR. How rubbish is that?

Anyway … moving (quickly) on …..

What a wonderful summer we have had. To-day of course, the weather has reverted to wet and windy, and so, I am here, in front of my computer and having deleted zillions of rubbish emails from my inbox. Trashed gazillions of spam comments from this blog, updated our Gardening Club blog which has been languishing in a neglected corner of my mind for three months I have finally arrived here. I am practising displacement activity as once more, it is only 10 days until our garden opens again for the NGS, on the 7th September!

Age should really come with a health warning. Seriously, I don’t understand how time can fly past so quickly. Our June open garden was fabulous. We had a brilliant day, both weather wise and in the number of visitors through the door. The only lull was about 20 minutes at lunch time and I was pleased with how the garden looked, fresh and summery. Today, as I look out over the garden it has a very different feel – not better, not worse, simply different. It also has a sense of maturity this year.

Anemone and dahlias in the keyhole garden

The wind has been softer this summer (for the most part) the plants have stayed upright (for the most part!) Although this morning I did spend a lot of time beetling around with canes and string. One of these days I am going to seriously invest in plant supports that work I find that some of them have such flimsy bits that stick in the ground, that really, they don’t work as well as canes and string. Especially as if you try to push anything into our garden you are more often than not, likely to hit rock.

I did alter one area earlier in the year – for those of you who have visited the garden – it is the small square space behind my studio. Shedman had his greenhouse there for a couple of years, but last year he moved it to be with the other greenhouse and polytunnel. So a couple of weeks before the June open garden (Yes seriously a couple of weeks before … madness) we created wider borders, and put down a square area of bark for a table and chairs and all the “tropical plants” that spent last summer lurking behind the greenhouse, together with some dahlias were put in this area, some in pots and some direct into the ground.


The wooden arch that was at the gate into the main garden was moved down here and the passion flower on the studio is reaching out for it! Although next year I will probably plant something else to clamber over it.

small table and chair among the tropical plants

This area really has become a little secret hide-away at the bottom of the garden. Also, as the majority of my tender plants are in here there is more chance of them finding themselves safely protected in the greenhouse for the winter. When they were scattered across the garden some were always missed!

Of course, now that I have created this area it does mean that I will be altering the planting to the left hand side of the arch in the top picture. I have bought a couple of shrubs, which are waiting in the wings and in the Autumn the left hand bed will be getting a bit of a make over.

So there we are … that’s me, still here, still planning plant combinations, still gardening, How about you?

Plant choices

I think my plant choices may be changing. I am not sure if this happens to us all as we get older … or if it’s just me!

Gone seem to be the days when I grow the strange, the difficult, the interesting, the all green, or all black, the downright odd. I think it started 3 or 4 years ago when I bought roses for this garden. In that year a lavender hedge also got planted and I all-ready had a river of alchemilla mollis. The following year tall bearded iris were added to the planting, then more peonies and hardy geraniums and now …. now I have an urge to plant delphiniums. Why? Who in their right mind would grow delphiniums in a windy slug-infested garden? In fact I have spent the last few days with bits of bamboo and string as yet more high winds and wet welsh rain lash across the garden – to late to save the Echium wildpretti which was to be a central feature in one of the borders when the garden opens next month.

I know that sometimes we re-create a snapshot of a garden from our childhood, this can be a romanticised half remembered idea of a garden, or it can include plants much loved and passed on from a Grandparent, Parent or Aunt. I don’t think my grandparents particularly grew any of the plants mentioned above. My parents certainly had peonies. Mum’s memory of the peonies is that every time they were starting to flower gloriously, a thunderstorm would arrive and the flower-heads would shatter in the downpour showering the garden with a confetti of petals.

All the plants mentioned above are the ones my eye would pass over when visiting gardens, perhaps a “Oh that’s a nice scent” about a rose. or a “Look at the blue of that” about a delphinium. I noticed, but didn’t give them a second thought. So it is with some what of a surprise that I find them in my garden now. If I list my plants …. it is starting to sound a bit “Quintessentially English” or “cottage garden style” not terms that those people who know me well would apply to my planting schemes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not unhappy with the way my garden is going, just a bit bewildered! I suspect that some of it has to do with creating a garden for all seasons. In the past I have perhaps neglected the early summer and my focus has been on the stars of the late summer border, still my favourite time of year in the garden. Perhaps in the past I found the high summer garden too wishy washy, too pastel too “Old fashioned” …. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have spent an inordinate amount of time recently looking at delphiniums on the internet.  Who can fail to be seduced by “Amadeus” on the Blackmore and Langdon’s website, and then I started reading about the New Millenium Series bread by Terry Dowdswell in New Zealand and suddenly the world of growing delphiniums is a much bigger place than I thought!

I wonder if lupins will be the next things to sidle into my garden when I am not concentrating. What about you? Do you have plants growing in your garden and you are not totally sure how they got there?

Meanwhile, despite the weather, the bearded iris are still standing and look rather glorious. Of course, another side effect of the ageing process is that the name of this variety completely escapes me at the moment, I do have it written down somewhere, but that place also escapes me. I do know it came from Woottens

Tall purple bearded iris



Hello Stranger!

Humm, after writing the title for this blog post, perhaps it was an unwise choice, I might get all sorts of spam!

So Hello world … How are you?  I feel as if I have been tied to the potting bench for 8 weeks. If last year I got worried because I nearly ran out of plants, this year my worry is that I have too many. Yep – the balance that I talked about in my last blog post does not seem to have materialised (yet). However, we have a poly-tunnel full of bedding plants and I am working my way through the rest of the plants ready for the June NGS open garden.

The garden is slightly neglected, although to fair, Dobby has been here the last two weekends and cracked on with the weeding. Dandelions, which made a bid for garden domination last year, may have succeeded in their total garden take-over this year.  I get very cross, and then I see all sorts of bees and hover-flies resting on them. Sadly, the favourite place for dandelions to put themselves is smack bang in the middle of a clump of ornamental grass, or perennial planting and I seem to be digging a lot of clumps up simply to get the weed out, and then putting them straight back – it seems the easiest way to do it. I would divide them, but I am slightly worried that there will be some big spaces in the garden if I do that … a lot of plants have “gone missing” this winter. Although it was mild, I think it was the wet and the grey not to mention the high winds that killed them off! The after-effects of the gales we had did not really make themselves known until some weeks later. All around the area established holly dropped all its leaves. Bamboo turned crispy brown. Rhododendrons and other tough evergreens dropped their leaves and gardens all about the area are looking rather frazzled. High winds full of salt and sand will do that.

The mild winter and spring has meant that the plants that have survived are coming on a treat.  I had words with the peonies and explained to them that if they could hold themselves back a bit until the 8th June I would really appreciate it.


My pasithea caerulea has started flowering this year. It really is an amazing shade of blue. The flowers are small and starry and they are quite difficult to place in the garden to be seen at their best. I am not sure I have found the “perfect spot” for them yet. Variegated white honesty has sprinkled itself through the key-hole garden in a very pleasing manor, which just goes to show, that sometimes, its quite good to leave the garden to its own devices ….. except where dandelions are concerned.