Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – September 2014


Looking back to last September’s GBBD post I seem to be showing the same plants with one of two additions.  I don’t have many Asters to show as they haven’t quite opened their blooms yet and with the grey days we have had recently I think they may take a few more days yet. One of the new additions is Crocosmia Emily MacKenzie which I have tried to grow before and lost so fingers crossed this time.  I really like the flared flowers with the darker markings inside.


September wouldn’t be September without me showing you Kirengeshoma palmata which is the star of my garden at this time of year.  As I have said probably too many time before the flowers remind me of butter curls.


An unknown Rudbeckia continues to glow in the border.  This is self-seeded from who knows where although my suspicion is that the birds may have had something to do with it.


Although I find the Aster umbellatus difficult to photograph due to the small flowers I do think it is a very underrated plant.  It adds good height to the border without needing staking even in my garden and the insects seem to love it.


2014_09140031logoThe Dahlias are all still flowering well and have done much better in individual pots this year than in the border.  I have only included the one above, Classic Rosamund, as the others have all appeared on the blog in the last month or so.  Classic Rosamund has only recently opened and I really like the composition of the flower which in my opinion is more interesting than the popular simple Bishop flowers but not as over the top as the cactus flowers.

2014_09140009logoI do like white Japanese Anemones although I must be in a minority as they don’t seem to appear very often in gardens or the media.  I know they have a habit of running but I like the purity of the colour and the way they can really light up a dark corner.


Finally one of my new Japanese Anemones, Queen Charlotte. I bought three for the Cottage Border: Lady Emily, Prince Heinrich and Queen Charlotte.  I have planted them in order of seniority along the border so I can remember which is which with Lady Emily closest to the steps – so far it seems to be working but who knows if I will remember this time next year!

Those are my floral highlights for September 2014.  For more floral highlights visit Carol over at May Dream Gardens who has hosted this monthly meme for more years than I, and no doubt she, care to remember


Garden Visiting: The Nest


Today I went for a mooch into Herefordshire, my favourite county, to visit The Nest which is opening this Bank Holiday weekend for the NGS.    What a wonderful country garden full of all those plants I love, exuberant, floriferous and fascinating.



The property is adjacent to the old Stourport to Leominster Canal which we learned had never been completed and had been out of use for many decades. The owners divert some of the water through the garden to form a wonderful gully where ferns and other moisture loving plants grow.


Aside from the ferns the real draw at this time of year is a large square bed divided into quarters by a brick path with a water bath in the middle.  The planting is dense herbaceous and was positively buzzing with bees and even an untrained eye such as mine could spot at least three different varieties of bee.




As with many gardens around here at the moment there was a variety of irises including siberian (above) and some lovely bearded irises which the owner had for so long that the name was but a distant memory.

Rosa Stanwell Perpetual

The Rosa Stanwell Perpetual made its presence first with scent before you even noticed it but when you did see it the flowers were quite overwhelming.  Apparently this rose just gives and gives so is now on my wish list though goodness knows where I have space for it.


I decided to go on the wildflower walk around the owners wildflower meadow.  I bit of a departure for me as my knowledge about wildflowers has faded since I was quite good in my teens.  I have been becoming more and more interested in finding out more about our native plants but have been a little intimidated by the very knowledgeable people.  Anyway, I needn’t have worried we went for a walk through the meadow up mown paths.  The owner explained how the meadow had not been cultivated for some 200 years and how they had worked so hard to reduce the fertility of the soil to allow the flowers to predominate and the yearly routine that they applied to maintain this amazing spectacle.The highlight of my visit was seeing my first wild orchid – the Heath Spotted Orchid. 


A beautiful garden indeed even on a grey and damp day with the darkening clouds threatening overhead.


Garden Blogger Bloom Day – May 2014


May is the month for Aquilegia in my garden.  They are amongst my favorite perennials and every year a few more varieties appear.  I know some say that they revert back to muddy pink ones but I don’t find this so.  In fact I don’t think this makes sense since it is unlikely that a plant’s flowers will revert and I think they are actually getting lots of seedlings from plants cross breeding or reverting back to the more native variety.


At the moment it is mainly the more granny bonnet style aquilegias that are flowering.  I have some others which have the longer spurs which are my absolute favorites2014_05130032logo and these will open in a week or so.  I don’t know what varieties any of these aquilegias are as they have been grown from various mix packs of seeds over the years.

Aquilegia canadensis

Aquilegia canadensis

My absolute favourite one is Aquilegia canadensis – the colour is so vibrant and is really standing out against all the white, pinks and purples at the moment. I have to admit I do like orange and purple in the garden – I seem to have a similar combination in the front garden.


I’m not sure what geranium this is.  I grew it from seed from a seed exchange last year but when images on the internet don’t match the plant so I think the seed was mislabeled. The leaves are very large and the flowers are significantly larger than my other geraniums.  I wonder if it is Geranium palmatum.

Dicentra Valentine

Dicentra Valentine

I am also very fond of this Dicentra Valentine which was a purchase from last year’s Malvern Spring Show.  I like the strong flower colour alongside the dark stems.

Maianthemum racemosum

Maianthemum racemosum

In the Woodland Border the colours are more subtle with the fluffy Maianthemum racemosum which is just beginning to go over but has been spectacular over the last few weeks.

Polygonatum commutatum

Polygonatum commutatum

The Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum commutatum) is such an elegant plant but last year I lost it all to the evil Solomon Seal sawfly so we shall see what happens this year.  Luckily last year’s attack doesn’t seem to have weakened the plants which are actually looking larger and lusher than last year.

Lunaria annua ‘Alba Variegata’

Lunaria annua ‘Alba Variegata’

Finally the white variegated honesty.  The variegation on the foliage this year is so strong this year that the flowers are almost lost but I do love this plant and I am reminded I need to sow some more for next year.

For other Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts visit Carol at May Dream Gardens

The Greenhouse Year – April 2014


2014_04190015Another month has passed and the greenhouse is full to bursting although the winter occupants are beginning to move out and the new spring tenants are starting to move in.  There has been a slight swop over with the succulents moving across the greenhouse to the slatted benching and the seedling trays moving to the gravel beds.  I think the seed trays do better with the humidity around them.  I really need to move the succulents out to make room for seedlings etc but I think it will be another few weeks before I can risk the weather.

The new shelves on the back wall are proving to be a wonderful investment.  They are freeing up some space and the agaves, aloes and pelargoniums on the top shelf seem to really like the heat.  Other


occupants include Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus) which I have grown from seed and a bulbine frutescens also grown from seed.


Seedlings are beginning to appear but I haven’t really started my sowing yet so you can see why I need more space.  The majority of seeds sown to date germinate well in the outside cold-frame but tomorrow I am planning to sow some tender annuals.  The grassy seedlings are white/cream camassias grown from seed collected from the garden last year.  I am quite pleased with them.


The lower shelves are crammed full of pelargoniums, dahlia tubers and chrysanthemums.  They could all do with more light but with some regular moving around they will be fine until its warm enough for them to go outside.


The small floor space is rather crowded with the plants that are too heavy or tall to go on the racking.  I think the Salvia involucrata boutin can be planted out on the slope soon. The Aeonium is in serious need of chopping so I might do that tomorrow.

So that’s my tiny greenhouse this month – I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – April 2014

Tulip Princess Irene

Tulip Princess Irene

I notice that I didn’t bother with a GBBD post in April last year and I think that reflects the lateness of the season; how different this year has been. The garden is already colouring up

Tulip Ballerina

Tulip Ballerina

and the tulips are quickly taking over from the narcissus.  Tulip Princess Irene is one of my favourite tulips and this year I have it in large pots on the patio.  I love the purple markings on the petals. Another favourite, which interestingly is also orange, is Tulip Ballerina which I am establishing in the front garden. I discovered today when I was weeding around the plants how strong a scent they have.   I have also rediscovered Tulip Jan Reus and its rich velvety maroon flowers.  These plants were originally on the slope but were relocated last year partly by the badger but also by the rearrangement of the slope for the workshop.  I think I might add some more of these next year and risk the ravages of the badger if we have a cold winter.

Tulip Jan Reus

Tulip Jan Reus


I obviously like the brighter colours as you can see from this orangey red primula.  I am pretty sure I grew this from seed a few years back but I can’t remember what variety it is.

White Bluebells

White Bluebells

The bluebells haven’t quite opened yet but the whitebells are looking lovely as ever.  The clump never seems to grow and I wonder if the white variety is weaker than the standard blue.

Anemone nemorsa 'Vestral'

Anemone nemorsa ‘Vestral’

I seem to be developing yet another weakness, this time for Anemones.  The trouble is I see them at clubs and shows and forget I already have a number waiting to appear in the garden.  The one above is Anemone nemorsa ‘Vestral’ which was an early acquisition and is clumping up nicely.

Anemone x lipsiensis 'Pallida'

Anemone x lipsiensis ‘Pallida’

I also rather keen on the pale buttery yellow of the Anemone x lipsiensis ‘Pallida’ which I am pleased to say is also clumping up.

Variegated white honesty

Variegated white honesty

I am in two minds about the variegated white honesty.  The variegation on the leaves is wonderful and almost white in places but the flower spikes aren’t working that well.  These are grown from seed collected a few years ago and I don’t remember them looking like this which is interesting.

Dicentra Valentine

Dicentra Valentine

I am also taken with the Dicentra Valentine I bought last year at Malvern.  The strength of colour is quite breathtaking – well I think so.

Brunnera Jack Frost

Brunnera Jack Frost

I might like the strong colours but I also like the more subtle and dainty flowers such as the Brunnera Jack Frost.  I think we need them to act as counterpoint to the brasher flowers and at the end of the day some times the most beautiful thing is the smallest and most inconspicuous such as the every day viola which self-seeds all around my garden.


For more garden blogger bloom day posts visit Carol over at May Dream Gardens.