Monday, 5 April 2010

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 is still full of them. A visit to Waltham Place last year opened my eyes to the possibilities of no-dig systems and the wonders of groundcover for suppressing weeds as well as mixing up the veg plot, so I am going to experiment a bit this year. To find out more about this exciting and unruly biodynamic garden check out my article in Amateur Gardening, 10th April issue.

And on the subject of eye-openers, I met my first Magnolia campbellii yesterday at Kingston Bagpuize. A full-size tree with huge cerise flowers against a brilliant blue sky, it is just the most amazingly exotic creature. Picture above.

I was sad to hear of the untimely death of garden writer Elspeth Thompson last week. She has been a key part of the scenery for all of the time I have worked in the gardening industry; gently entertaining and enlightening all who paused to read. It is a sad day for gardening – we seem to have lost too many of our own of late. It is, however, an even greater tragedy for the family she leaves behind and my thoughts are with Mary and Frank.

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