Friday, 23 December 2011

Longer and longer

Here in London there were 7 hours, 49 minutes and 48 seconds between sunrise and sunset today. This is important because yesterday it was only 7 hours, 49 minutes and 43 seconds. Yes, we gained 5 extra seconds of sunlight. Now that might not sound like something to get excited about but what it means is....

Friday, 25 November 2011

Misty eyed in Richmond

Richmond Park in the fog

Recently it has been foggy in London. It wasn't the peasouper of old London or Mary Poppins, but enough to go and take some pretty pictures.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Fruitful abundance on the allotment

I'm still getting to grips with my new allotment and am fast becoming an expert on bindweed. One of the best ways to find out what will and won't grow on an allotment (or garden) is to see what your neighbours are doing. Everyone I've met so far has been very helpful and been generous with their advice, courgettes and apples.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn at Winkworth Arboretum (National Trust)

Winkworth Arboretum is National Trust-owned woodland, in Surrey, near to Godalming, and is famed for its fall foliage, mainly thanks to numerous species of maple amongst its collection of more than 1,000 different shrubs and trees, many of which are rare.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Trundling Along

The essential accessory for the flower show enthusiast

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Wooden Fence

Wooden it be nice...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Lemon Queen

Lemon Queen Perennial Sunflower
About this time last year I bought two small pots of Lemon Queen, a perennial Sunflower chosen because it was said to be particularly attractive to bees. 

The soil was still warm so, I planted them in the back of the garden straight away. 

Then came one of the coldest winter in decades. When the snow melted this was what was left...

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Walk like an Egyptian (Onion)

Pyramids at Giza

I was reading an article by Mark Diacono about growing perennial veg.

Now this seems like a great idea - instead of spending ages raising all your veg from seed each year - only to have to do it all again next year... you could grow perennials. Plant once and reap the benefit for many years.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Chelsea 2011: Our best in show

The garden we thought was best in show at Chelsea was the RBC New Wild Garden, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada and designed by Nigel Dunnett, Director of the Green Roof Centre at the University of Sheffield.

The judges only found it worthy of a Silver Gilt medal, but we thought it had more good ideas than any other garden, although at 10x12m (33x39 feet) it was one of the smallest of the 'large show gardens'.

Chelsea 2011: Cancer Research UK Garden

The Cancer Research UK Garden, designed by Robert Myers, won Silver Gilt, and had a lot of interest, especially in the interplay of textures, light and shade.

Chelsea 2011: Laurent-Perrier Garden

The Laurent-Perrier Garden, Nature and Human Intervention, by the Italian designer, Luciano Giubbilei , won Gold. It was built and planted by Crocus.

Here there was a modern take on a Japanese pavilion by Kengo Kuma, which used 16 revolving wind-driven panels made out of lots of thin pieces of bamboo, that provided interesting shadow and texture and looked a lot better at the show than it did on television.

Chelsea 2011: The Magistrates’ Garden

The Magistrates’ Garden, designed by Kate Gould, won Silver gilt in the Urban Gardens section. It was built to celebrate 650 years of the Magistracy, and had lots of little interesting features.

Chelsea 2011: The Power of Nature

The Power of Nature garden, sponsored by Worcester-Bosch, was supposed show how nature provides renewable energy for heating, with materials chosen to represent the elements: earth, air, fire and water. It even included strips of photovoltaic cells in the walls to power a waterfall.

Chelsea 2011: Homebase Cornish Memories Garden

Designer Tom Hoblyn won a Silver Gilt for the Homebase Cornish Memories Garden, having been marked down by the judges for not fulfilling his own brief to base the garden on the native plants of Cornwall, instead using many of the species more commonly found in the famous Cornish gardens (such as tree ferns and rhododendrons).

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Chelsea 2011: Shell game

One of the most attractive gardens on show wasn't one of the show gardens, but an exhibit created by Cheltenham-based Architectural Heritage, which showed off several of their pieces, some nice planting (as seen above), and lots of different things you can do with shells - and unlike the show gardens, you could walk in rather than having to mill about outside.

There's a buzz about Paeonia lactiflora

The Trailfinders/Fleming Nurseries Australian Garden, designed by Ian Barker, won a Silver Gilt  at Chelsea. It was inspired by the journey made by Captain Cook and Sir Joseph Banks on the Endeavour as they mapped the Southern hemisphere (1768-1771), and featured plants found by Banks on the journey.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Chelsea 2011: M&G Garden

The M&G Garden, designed by multi award-winning garden designer, landscape architect and journalist Bunny Guinness, won a Silver Gilt medal.

It had been expected to win a gold, and possibly should have. Apparently the judges felt that too much was packed in to it, but we rather liked much of the design and planting in this very ordered kitchen garden.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


My neighbours obviously like potatoes

I've been on the waiting list for an allotment for about 3 years. I did get to the top of the list before Christmas. However, the first plot I was offered was too far away. Carrying a fork, spade and compost would have been a real struggle along a narrow, overgrown path. The second plot was right beside the boundry fence and triangular - not an easy shape to divide into beds and it wasn't near any water. So, I suggested they were offered to someone else and I sadly went back on the waiting list.

Well it was worth the wait. The plot I've been offered is 6m wide by 15m long (it is actually half a plot). It is right beside the tap, so I don't have far to carry water. It is in a great position - lots of light and neighbours who obviously work their plots.

So, what does it look like...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Tongues and Lungs

Pulmonaria or Lungwort
If you have a shady spot where nothing will grow - try Pulmonarias. These beauties will grow quite happily in that shady corner, will stay evergreen all year long and provide early nectar and pollen for the bees. I have a clump I inherited when we bought the house. I'm not certain which variety they are but, every year they provide the most fantastic show. Plus, they also attract one of my favourite bees.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Daffodils in flower

If you choose carefully it is possible to have Daffodils flowering in the garden from January through to May.

All my Tete a Tete daffs are flowering away at the moment. But, I have a couple of pots of Hawera which have very tight flower buds that are still developing. They won't be flowering for a few more weeks.

Here is a selection of Daffodils and Narcissi that have caught our eye.

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not - Mon Ami
Some gardeners have an encyclopedic memory. They would no more forget the name of a plant and when they planted it in their garden - than forget their children's names and birthdays.

Unfortunately I'm not one of them - which is why I started this blog. Hopefully writing things down will help me remember plant names long after the label has been bleached in the sun or lost down the back of the compost bin.

It was such a nice weekend that I thought it must be time to go shopping in the garden centre...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Snowdrops are gone

All my snowdrops have stopped flowering and I'm trying to decide whether to dead head them or not. For the last couple of years I have got down on my knees and dead headed the lot. 

But, some of the show gardens that specialise in showing off their galanthine collections don't seem to bother and they still keep flowering vigorously every year. Hopefully my little lot will self seed and I'll be up to my ankles in a snowdrop carpet.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

First Foot

My garden isn't a winter garden. Come back in spring and summer and it will be green and beautiful, full of interest for the bees and humans too (but mainly the bees).

So, looking out onto the garden it does look rather bare and depressing. But, I thought I should venture out and take a closer look. The snow made even the dead leaves look good, but now that all the snow has gone I wanted to see what had survived. Quite a lot it seems.

I bought Penstemon Sour Grapes last year and it looks great at the moment, all green and fresh. It will be some time before there are any flowers on it again. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The robin is not amused

Are you still knee deep in snow? In our bit of the country we are well and truly clear of the stuff.

I though I'd put up a few pictures as a reminder...

Only a few inches of snow here in the garden.