Saturday 30 May 2015


I have been enjoying colour in different forms over the last few days.  Above can be seen some coloured quartz beads which I couldn't resist sorting.  (I'm the same with coloured pencils - I have a tin of Caran D'Ache watercolour pencils which my Dad bought me many years ago and I have to sort them periodically!  Oh, and there's embroidery thread which has to be wrapped round a plastic card and then colour sorted too).
 The garden is starting to show its early summer colour with pastel lilacs and purples.  Clematis Crystal Fountain above has fully opened...
...and Clematis Arabella is just starting to flower.
This is the very exciting news - well, it is exciting if you are like me.  You may remember me saying I had bought two patio peonies and they are now just about to flower!  Above is 'Madrid', which initially looked as though it was going to have a pink flower and that bothered me a bit as I thought it wasn't the right variety, but was tricking me, because I can see the white petals peeping through in the bud.
 Here is peony 'Athens' which is tantalisingly close to opening fully.  I go out to look at it every morning, and each time it is a tiny bit further on, but still not quite there.
Look, you can almost see the golden centre.  Another day or two and it should be open.  It is a good lesson in being patient.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

My Star plants

It's a bit of an in-between time in the garden, in late May.  The roses are in bud and lots of other plants are getting ready, but the tulips are over and the Spring flowers are fading.  So, what is there to look at in my garden?
 Magnolia Fairy Blush in its second year with me and looking very pretty.
 An aquilegia my sister gave me - I don't know what the variety is, but I like the delicate pink and white flowers.
 The stalwarts of the May border - alliums.
 Another aquilegia bought last year and not planted out or potted on yet - shame on me!  I wonder whether it would seed with the white one and make a pale blue variety?
 Erigeron karvinskianus which has pretty white and pink flowers.

Reliable Geranium Phaeum, or mourning widow, to give its common name. I think this might be Lily Lovell, but am not sure.
 Geranium Phaeum Album - a lovely plant.
 Clematis Crystal Fountain just unfurling.
 More deep purple Geranium Phaeum.
Finally, another geranium, versicolor, I think, but I could be wrong.  I love the veining on the petals. This one seeds all over the place and is trying to take over, but can be removed easily. I let it stay where I want it to be, but take it out if it gets too unruly!  So, a few plants to enjoy and keep me going while I wait for the roses, peonies and clematis to flower.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

My favourite Chelsea Gardens 2015

It's Chelsea Flower Show again this week and as usual, I have been watching the BBC coverage of the event.  I have never managed to visit in person and one year I really must actually go, but, until then, I'll make do with watching the TV and looking at the website.  All the photos are from the rhs Chelsea website which is a really good overview of the show and gardens.  For the past few years, I have written a blog post about the gardens which appeal to me, so I'll continue that tradition.  Above is Dan Pearson's evocation of Chatsworth with enormous boulders from Derbyshire.  It looks as though it has always been there and it isn't surprising that it won best in show.
 Matthew Wilson's garden had some lovely plants, with a jolt of orange among the pastels and I like the curly seating.
 The Perfumer's Garden was designed to show a slightly overgrown garden in France, once used for perfume creation and has a very romantic look.
 Chris Beardshaw's garden really appealed to me despite the formality of the hard landscaping and edging... it was softened by the exuberant and beautiful jewel coloured planting.  This garden is going to be part of a community garden in Poplar, East London.

More flashes of orange in the Sentebale garden, designed by Matthew Keightley.  

In the smaller artisan gardens, the Breast Cancer Haven garden looked just that - a haven - with a huge seat in the shape of an oak leaf for lazing on. Even in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Chelsea, it looks a relaxing place.
The Trug maker's garden shows more beautiful planting with vibrant colours.
 The Evader's garden is described as: "Stan Everiss, the designer’s father, was an RAF evader who was helped to freedom by ordinary French citizens after being shot down in 1943. Inspired by these acts of selfless bravery, the garden’s design reflects the bond between helper and evader.

A sculpture of a young pilot, seconds after parachuting into France, hides in the ruins of a war-damaged church. His eyes look up to a stained glass window where two young French people are reaching out to help him. The wall has a code poem engraved into a tablet, as well as the names of Resistance fighters, many of whom lost their lives during the war. A mass planting of perennials and annuals surrounds the sculpture as nature reclaims the abandoned church."

The sculpture is particularly impressive as it seems to melt into the wall, perfectly describing the 'evading' of the title.  He's there, but then he isn't.
This is one of my favourite parts of the garden - the planting around the stone.
As usual, my favourite gardens are informal, with curved lines (except for Chris Beardshaw's garden) and exuberant planting, including splashes of bright colour.  I look forward to seeing more of the gardens on TV through the rest of the week.

Sunday 10 May 2015

A new shed (and the last views of the tulips)

My rather wonderful (and kind and lovely and thoughtful!) husband, Chris, has made me (well, us) a new shed, using mainly recycled materials.  It is the poshest shed I have owned!  The old shed needed to be replaced as it had rotted and was leaning at a rather drunk angle.  This new version is built to last and will be a practical working space, right at the end of the garden, opposite the lilac tree. Thanks, Chris, I love it!
 It has metal shelves on one side, opposite the window and lino on the floor...
 and a stainless steel potting bench on the other side, under the window.
 I have the exciting job of deciding what is going where now. All the things stored in the old shed have been on the patio under a plastic sheet while construction was going on, and I am going to enjoy sorting it all out (I think!).  I thought I had better take some photos of it before I fill it up again, as it will never be quite this tidy again...
Here are the last photos of this year's tulips.  I have been looking to see what I may like to have next year.  Ballerina will definitely feature again!
 These are the tulips in tubs at the front - a single early and single late mix.  Orange and white have featured here.
This is one which appeared in my last post but the colour has moved into the petals more now.
 The lilac in the back garden is looking and smelling lovely.
 Blueberry Blue Pearl is also flowering and I have seen lots of bees around it.  I hope this means a good harvest in the autumn.
I couldn't resist a last look at Ballerina and Red Shine, enjoying the sun this morning.  Beautiful!

Saturday 2 May 2015

In the garden...

 The tulips in the garden are looking lovely although some are starting to go over now.  The photos were taken a few days ago, when it was sunny.
 Lovely vibrant Ballerina and Red Shine.
 The inside of Ballerina.
 More Ballerina, but these are in the border and are from either last year, or the year before.
 The pink frilled tulip which suddenly appeared in the border last year after an absence of at least five years!
 One of the tulips from the tubs at the front of the house.  There are still some which haven't opened yet, so it will be interesting to see what other colours are there.
 I couldn't resist a close up of the beautiful colouring on the petals.  It looks as though someone has dropped red ink on yellow blotting paper, or coloured the edges with a felt pen and the colour has bled.
 Here is one of my latest purchases - another Lathyrus vernus, but this time, Alboroseus with delicate pale pink flowers.
They are so pretty.