Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bank Holiday Project

This sorry looking part of the garden has had an identity crisis since we moved here three years ago. First it was a strawberry patch, then a nursery bed, but quite frankly it's just a nuisance corner, hard to get to and steeply sloping. So I started to imagine a little rockery and water feature. This bank holiday. the choice was a) start relandscaping the front garden - too big a project for a bank holiday or b) create the above feaure - this option won, as you can see below - hope you like it!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Lashings of Cream

This is Rosa 'Cream Abundance', pouring its heart out on my patio at the moment. Its friends are out in full force too.

Also abundant in the garden at the moment are peonies.

I'm very lucky to have a beautiful form of Aconite that freely self seeds around my cherry tree, Every year they just pop up. I'm not sure which variety they are, possibly 'Bressingham Beauty'. Perhaps someone out there knows!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Beauty of Phlomis

They may sound like a throat complaint, but I rather like these majestic herbaceous plants. They are tough as old boots, and in my garden their only enemy is the wind, as they grow to around 2 metres in height. I've had to stake them this year to prevent them toppling over, but I think they make a lovely statement in early summer.

These two stems are clearly in love!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Wakehurst in May

A trip to Wakehurst Place today revealed that, like my garden, June has arrived a few weeks early! I would say most of the rhododendrons are just past their best, not that there aren't plenty to admire. Azaleas also seem to be going over. The treat for me, though, was the walled garden, which I've never seen looking better. Probably because Wakehurst is a garden I tend not to visit in June, when this part of the garden is probably intended to peak. I'm usually chasing roses at Mottisfont or Borde Hill (this year I shall be heading to Wisley to see the newly designed and planted Rose Garden).

Anyway, here are some pics of Wakehurst:

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


The Iris in the Summer Garden are in full flow now. Last year I scattered some Nigella seeds around them, and they should make quite a nice show - but not at the same time as the iris, as I'd hoped. Never mind, companion planting has now become successional planting!

You can just see the Iris peeping over this paper-like Cistus flower.

Monday, 9 May 2011

To water or not to water?

So many of the flowers in my garden are peaking earlier than they normally do, no doubt due to the extraordinarily warm and dry weather. What worries me is that there will be a poor show in midsummer if everything is burnt out by the end of June! I have chosen plants which will peak in midsummer to coincide with my very generous two month summer holiday (one of the benefits of working at an independent school!). I've taken to dragging out the dreaded hosepipe in an attempt to keep things going. Am I right to do this or should I just go with nature and accept the fate that the weather has in store for my precious plants?

I'd be interested to hear any views on this. I have water butts and make good use of them, but Harry the Hosepipe has to come out to play during dry spells, I just can't bear to watch my plants suffer!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Mabel Attwell's Hidden Gem

Yesterday I visited a garden in Eastbourne open for the NGS. Ocklynge Manor was once the home of Mabel Lucie Attwell, the Peter Pan illustrator. It is set in a plot of just under half an acre, surrounded by high flint walls, set in an ordinary suburban street near the town centre. The planting was focussed mainly into small island beds, plus several large pots of rhododendrons. It was the atmosphere that was special, so intimate due to the high walls, plus the gentle chatter and clink of teacups from the many visitors enjoying the calm space.

I was fascinated by a little raised structure in the corner of the garden, which is believed to be an old look-out tower for passing stagecoaches from London to Eastbourne in the 18th Century.

It would be unfair of me to recommend travelling a long way to see this garden, but if you happen to be in the Eastbourne area when it's open, it's well worth a look. See the NGS website for details.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

New Broom Sweeps Clean

Cytisus scoparius 'Burkwoodii' is now flowering in my garden, in a beautiful reddy-pink hue. It looks better this year than last, when it looked decidedly fed up. They like it dry and can tolerate very cold temperatures. In some parts of the world Brooms are invasive, costing farmers millions of pounds each year. I think my little specimen is fairly well contained, it hasn't grown much since I planted it three years ago.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Alluring Alliums

I'm excited to see all my new Alliums coming into flower in some of the borders. Alliums are such good plants, they take up so little space but have such impact. And I just love their colour, it goes with just about anything. Here are my new babies in all their glory...