Thursday 25 May 2017

My favourite Chelsea Gardens 2017

I always watch the BBC coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show, but have never actually visited the show.  I think that when I see the crowds, it does put me off.  The TV coverage always gives a much more detailed view of the gardens too, although it doesn't give the whole atmosphere that being there would.  The RHS Chelsea Flower Show website is a great resource and  that is where all these photos have come from.  Thank you to them!
So, onward to a round up of my favourite gardens - a completely biased view, naturally. Above is the 500 years of Covent Garden by Lee Bestall, which got a silver medal.  I like the planting and the zingy blue/green of the metalwork reproduced in the planters.
 The Morgan Stanley Garden by Chris Beardshaw was given a silver gilt medal (I think it should have been a gold).  Again the planting is beautiful and the exuberance represents Mozart's music, whereas the shady area in the right of the picture represents Bach (I think).
 The Linklaters Garden for Maggies by Darren Hawkes also has some lovely vibrant planting (there is a theme here...) and won a gold.
 The Zoe Ball Listening Garden by James Alexander Sinclair offers a contrast to all the vibrant colours, with peace and shade.  The three water features all have different ripple patterns which give different sounds and apparently, if you put your foot on the gravel at the front of the garden, you can feel vibrations.
My favourite garden is the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden by Sarah Raven.  Just look at those colours!  
 I would love to have a garden like this myself.
 It is filled with annuals and I particularly like the formal paths with the floofy (my word for exuberant and effervescent) planting.
More stunning planting with cooler colours in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Centenary Garden by David Domoney which got a silver medal.  I really like the railings, made to represent the 154 countries in which the War Graves Commission operate.  If you have ever visited one of their cemeteries, you'll know how beautifully they are arranged, planted and cared for.
 The Poetry Lovers' Garden was given a silver medal and was designed by Fiona Cadwallader.  Lovely dry stone walls encase the garden, with a shady seating area and rippling water feature - just the place to sit and read.
Finally, I had to include the World Horse Welfare Garden by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith . The horse sculpture made from donated horseshoes, including one from one of the Queen's horses, is amazing.  The left side of the garden shows an uninviting area for horses, with a falling apart stable and some poisonous to horses plants, such as ragwort and on the right, the horse is free, in a field. 
From my choices, I think I am a romantic gardener, in the cottage garden style and that is the way I garden at home.  Hard edges, angles and minimalist planting is just not appealing to me.  
The gardens at Chelsea always show a great attention to detail and demonstrate a  wonderful celebration of gardening.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Plants in Chelsea Week

 I always know that it's Chelsea Flower Show just round the corner when my alliums start flowering.  These are Purple Sensation and seem to come back reliably.
 A pink aquilegia has been flowering for a while now.
Allium close-ups...
 ...such tactile flower heads.
 Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum with Ballerina behind it.
 The very last of Ballerina - their petals were removed by the rain this week.  Nemesia Confetti is to the right.
An unnamed but pretty aquilegia which one of my sisters gave me and which is growing well for me. I like the white with tinges of pink and purple.
I have just watched the first programme about Chelsea this week - giving a little preview of what is to come.  Needless to say, I shall be watching all the programmes and featuring my favourites in a later post this week.
We are hoping that June will bring the rebuilding of our garden wall, giving us and our neighbours some much needed privacy and giving my plants a lovely backdrop. I am really looking forward to seeing it go up and I am sure there will be photos charting its progress.

Monday 15 May 2017

Clematis 'New Love' and Guardians of the Galaxy?

I received two new Clematis Heracleifolia 'New Love' plants recently and popped them into pots. They have started to put out new shoots and one plant in particular reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite think of what.  Then it came to me.  Bizarre as it seems, it was Baby Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy film!
photo from:
There is a slight resemblance, isn't there, or is it just me? OK, just me then.
I have been a bit late to the Marvel party and am only just getting caught up with the various main Avengers films and spin-offs.  I am a definite fan of the Avengers though - I think it's the humour that really appeals to me. 
photo from:
Last week I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rocket the genetically modified and engineered Raccoon and Baby Groot, who can now walk, stole the film I think.  There was much more character development and the film leads nicely onto the next (whenever that comes out).  
There are loads of clips and info about the films out there, but be careful of the spoilers if you haven't seen the films yet.  

Thursday 4 May 2017

Plant of the week - Rhododendron 'Tinkerbird'

You may remember, back in January, I said that I had bought a new compact variety of rhododendron.  Here's what I said about it then:
"I have also just bought a rhododendron 'Tinkerbird' which is meant to be happy in a pot as it is a dwarf variety.  It is supposed to be very hardy, having been bred in Scotland and is also said to have a jasmine scent in May.  My plant is looking healthy and has lots of buds.  I will let you know how I get on with it."
As you can see from the photos, the buds have been opening into lovely white flowers with a touch of blush pink. They are very pretty and very photogenic. 
However, what you can't tell from a photo is that they are scented, particularly strongly when the sun is shining on the flowers and the perfume does smell like jasmine, as was promised.  So far, I have found it to be a lovely plant and I am hopeful it will come through next winter unscathed, being bred in Scotland, but I will let you know.