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Showing posts from April, 2010

Proceeding At Speed In All Directions

This week has been outstandingly busy. Went to the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place on Friday, which was deeply satisfying for my inner geek. Monday I went to Cliveden – Italianate balustrades with an unusual snail residing in them, vast parterre, great big house, originally built for somebody’s mistress, apparently. Must have been quite some chick. And some tulips. Last night went to interview a very nice lady for a garden feature that will be in The English Garden in the Autumn. Really great garden and fantastic eye for colour. Scheduled for September, so look out for it. Coming up, I am doing a gardening event for children at Waterstones, based on the RHS Garden Explorers Handbook. This promises to be mayhem of the highest order – but in a good way, with mural painting, making insects out of sticks, writing garden poetry and many a good thing. There is also a seed giveaway (thank you T&M ) and the chance to win a family ticket to Hampton Court Flower Show (thank yo

A Chelsea Complex and a Young Pretender

The new Mediterranean border is coming on nicely. The trellis is up and painted in my favourite shade of aqua and the neighbours approve – although I did have a heart-in-mouth moment when, having thoughtfully painted both sides I realised that it is quite a full-on colour and they might not like it. I am now planting up and trying to resist the ‘I want it all and I want it now’ urge (something I am rather prone to at the best of times), which is common to anyone who has ever built a show garden and then has to garden like other ordinary human beings with a timescale of years and a shoestring budget. Simple maths. If you have things that will be 4ft across, plant them 4ft apart because they can be expected to grow 2ft in each direction. Even if they are only 6inches across now. Yes it looks tiny and dotty at first, but if you pack everything in so it looks wonderful you will have a fight on your hands in about a fortnight. This, people, is what annual bedding is for. That is what I k

Chasing Spring

As spring continues to unfurl, the garden reveals what is hot, what is not and what is just plain dead. Echinacea ‘Fatal Attraction’ seems to have pulled through (woohoo!) and is pushing up little scarlet sprouts while the Zantedescia has not (boo!) and nor has the Weigela (meh). Interestingly, there seem to be shoots on a lilac branch that I cut last spring and turned into part of a wigwam for a clematis. At about eight feet tall it is the biggest cutting I have ever seen – that is not a willow, obviously – and if it survives the summer I will have to find it a new home, somehow. Just got back from a few days in Wales and some more full-on gardening. Everything in Berkshire is running 2-3 weeks behind where it was last year, but west Wales is at least 2 weeks further back even than that. The new veg patch is coming on nicely, though, and it is absolute bliss to be able to sow entire packs of new seed rather than feel honour-bound to use up the scrappy packs left over from small s

Nascent Botanical Anarchy

Everything is happening at once in the garden. The daffodils and tulips are trying to come out at the same time. The rhubarb is muscling its way out of the ground and the newly cut back Cornus is sprouting little green flames from each red stem. I have been planting David Austin roses, in my nascent ‘pink, blue and silver, slightly Mediterranean-style border’ as it is snappily known. It was my birthday this weekend so an uncontrolled, but terribly satisfying, garden centre bender was in order. Trophies included a clematis, Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’ and some rain daisies to go with the existing lavender and Lychnis coronaria – just as soon as I have finished digging out the evil goldenrod. A few suitable grasses and a spot of Verbena bonariensis and the job should be a good ‘un. We have also been getting a move on with planting veg seeds. Last year the dwarf bean 'Purple Teepee' ( T&M ) did terribly well, so we will sow some of those again – even though the freezer