Malvern Spring show

Today we went to Malvern RHS spring show, which is a 5 minute drive from our house.  I suppose we could have walked but then we would have had to carry everything back!  We arrived ready for the show to open and as per our plan in the past we went straight to the floral marquee.  There were arround 100 nurseries exhibiting.  All of them had a display plus a sale table.  The displays were very varied ranging from the topiary one above, through arrangements of lilies etc to woodland gardens.  I’m not a big fan of topiary but I do have two box cones outside my front door.  I particularly liked the contrast of the green and red which was very striking though I dont think red pots would work in my garden.

This display is by a lavender company based on the Isle of Wight.  I bought some lavender from them last year to finish by assorted lavender hedge in the front garden and it has done very well.  I really like their selection of French Lavender.  Their displays are always very pastoral and smell devine.

This is one of the many woodland displays which just goes to show how much you can grow in the shade and how colourful it can be.  Not a hosta to be seen in this one.  There were lots of Trilliums and Arums.  I was tempted but they were quite expensive and I’m not convinced my soil is good enough yet. I believe that Trilliums like lots of leaf mulch.  In the bottom right had corner you can just see a Primula with green flowers.  I bought one of these – I seem to be developing a passion for Primulas.  Unfortunately when I got hope I discovered that it didnt have a label, all I can remember is it started with F!  I thought it was really unusual but then we kept seeing it, so presumably it is one of the in flowers this year so at least I’m being trendy for a change. 

This is part of a display by a nursery not far from where I live.  It was a real confection of colours just like a bag of sweets.  It deservedly won a gold medal.  My son was the photographer on the day.  Whilst his photos are nice they arent always what I, as a gardener, would photograph but they do get a wonderful flavour.  He took these when we first arrived as we were ahead of the mob by lunchtime the marquee would be heaving.  They reackon that over the 4 days £10m changes hands at the event! 

As well as the floral marquee there are acres of other stands selling everything and anything you could think of vaguely connected with horticulture and an increasing number of show gardens which I will show you in a post later this week.  I always take cash with me and when its gone its gone otherwise we would be in the poor house (if they still existed).  I was quite well behaved this year and only bought 6 plants, 2 hanging baskets and some sausage rolls for tea!

Whilst I enjoyed the show I didnt get the same buzz as I have had in the past.  It was incredibly hot which stops your enjoyment to a degree.  Last year we went in jumpers, waterproofs and wellies!!!  I think there will be a few burnt people around now.  Whilst there were alot of stalls both I and the boys felt there was something missing but we couldnt work out what.  This year there were 3 Bonsi stands, last year I only remember 1 and the same with carnivourous plants but the marquee didnt seem as full as in the past.  I think I may give it a miss next year and then go the following year.  Anyway, I am getting to the point where I am running out of room for more plants so maybe I need to move house first!!!!!!



Weird and wonderful

I had a wander round the garden tonight to see what was and what wasn’t coping with the heat.  I was thrilled to see this weird flower bud emerging

This is an Arum Korolkowii.  I bought it last year from a rare plant fair as I liked the leaves but it was only a seedling then and the plant seller was vague about what the flower would look like. I couldnt find a picture of it any where so now I am very excited to see what the flower will look like.

I’m not sure what this is.  It has foilage like Solomon’s Seal but the flowers, as you can see, are very different.  Again I bought it from a plant fair for its foilage and because it would do well in the shade.  It might be Polystichum acrostichoides – or not!  I have had it for a couple of years but this is the first time it has flowered so I can now try and track down its name.  The scent is amazing.

And finally my wonderful Azalea as finally fully opened.  The poor little bush is positively groaning under the weight of the flowers.



A virtual ‘walk’ through my ‘woodland’ garden


When I say ‘woodland’ garden what I really mean is my shady area of the garden where I grow lots of plants that would be happy on the edges of a woodland.  Like many other gardeners I tend to choose grandiose names of bits of my garden.  Obviously, sub-consciously I have a desire to have a bigger patch. When I say ‘walk’ what I really mean is standing on one spot and turning 180 degrees but that doesnt really sound very interesting!  Above is an Anenome that I bought last year though I cant remember its name.  It has bulked up well since this time last year and I am hoping it will spread in this area.  This corner of the garden is under the canopy of a number of my neighbours trees and also from a large Prunus tree in my garden.  The soil is a nightmare – thick clay so I have spent the last 3 years adding spent compost etc and it is finally paying off.  Next to the Anenome is an Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’,  I bought this at a plant fair last summer having read that it was ideal for damp shady areas.  It wasnt too bad but didnt live up to my expectations and then it disappeared – Oh no I thought not another plant I have bought only to kill off!  But no, it has started to re-emerge and it is looking loads better than it did last year.  I think it prefers the damp weather we have had this spring to the heat of last spring.

This is a grouping in my ‘woodland’ garden.  You can see hosta, Camellia, Acer, ferns and a Rhododenron.  Its a bit of a messy picture but I think it shows the textures that I am trying to bring together.

This Bleeding Heart is stilling much of the limelight at the moment.  I prefer the white flowers, on this occasion, to the normal pink version as they light up the corner, particularly in the early evening when the light is fading.  Also a good contrast with the Rhododenron in the background.

I believe this is a Tellima grandiflora. I had some seeds from my garden society several years ago labelled Heuchera and this is the result but I dont think it is a Heuchera at all.  It is particularly lovely now as the foilage is so fresh.  You will see it has flower spikes but they arent much, they just add a little height for a while.  In the autumn the foilage turns to a bronzey colour though not as spectacular as I would like.  It is very free with its seed and the 3 plants I grew have now spread throughout the garden. 

Well that was my ‘woodland’ garden I hope the walk wasnt too tiring!

Emerging Gorgeousness

My first Iris of the year beginning to emerge.  This is a real surprise as I cant remember getting this plant but I must have bought it last year!  None of my other Irises are so far advanced.

I went for a wander in the garden when I returned home from work today, the sun was shining and finally this week it had stopped raining.  I was surprised to find that lots of the plants had shot up during the past week and had buds or where just about the come out into flower.  It was very exciting – like meeting long lost friends.  I was particularly surprised at the Geranium above, its Geranium phaeum Samobor.  I bought it mainly for the variegated foilage but it does have cute small mauve flowers.  Today I noticed some buds at the top of the stalks but when I looked down the plant I discovered some flowers hidden under the leaves (see above)

The emerging flowers on the Chaenomles superba ‘Clementine’ are gorgeous and constrast well with the brick wall behind them.  This is  Japanese Quince but I havent had any fruits yet.  I think though once it reaches maturity I might be lucky as I inherited one in a previous garden that bore fruit.

Just as with the Geranium I was surprised to find the flowers emerging on this Rhododenron.  Its called ‘Snoppy’ and has sumptious red/mauve flowers.  Last year I bought a Primula Japonica which had almost the identical colour flowers and they looked stunning together but the Primula is abit behind this year and there is no sign of any flowers yet.

Finally, the biggest splash of colour in my back garden at the moment is from the every reliable Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ which I love.

My pride and joy – well at least this week anyway!

These are my tulips of which I am very proud.  Having had a complete failure with tulips planted in the borders last year, probably due to the clay soil, I decided to plant some in pots.  I bought these from Sarah Raven as I have bought seeds from her in the past and they have been good so I thought I would give her bulbs a go – unfortunately I cant for the life of me remember what they are called.  The pink ones in the front have a very faint scent.  I have two other pots of these on the patios as well so they make a lovely splash. 

I wanted to try and show the wonderful fringed edges on the purple tulips petals and I think I just about managed it in this picture.  If I ever find the names of the tulips I will update this blog.

As well as the tulips my bluebells are in flower. 

 I bought a small clump with me when I moved here 4 years ago and they have spread so much that I need to thin them out and move some to other parts of the garden.  You are meant to do this when they are in the green so I suppose I had better hurry up. 

Since taking the photo of the tulips yesterday my Camassia has started to flower and I wanted to include it in this post.  However by the time I got home from taking my son to the dentist (to have his root canal work finished) the heavens had opened and it was pouring and has been doing so for a couple of hours now.  So I put on my waterproof and ventured out – the neighbours will think I am mad but maybe they have already come to that conclusion.  Anyway I quite like this picture – its quite dramatic.  I will take another in a couple of days when it is sunny


First warm sunny day


At last we have had a nice warm sunny day – unfortunately I was at work but I did manage a bit of time in the garden this evening.  Strimmed what I like to call the woodland area – really shady area under a tree but we have delusions of gradeaur, especially after mixing with royalty a couple of weeks ago!! I love my hostas when they are at this stage – no slug damage and they look so fresh.  I couldnt tell you which hosta it is I have had it for years and it has moved house at least twice and been divided to many times to count.

Spotted this tulip peaking out from amongst the perennials.  This didnt flower at all last year and to be honest I had forgotten about them, assuming they were lost so this was a pleasant surprise.  Its not a complete loner – there are at least two others!

Not the most artisitcally composed picture I know but I like the mixture of foilage and textures – in this picture there are grape hyaciths, a perennial geranium, a perennial foxglove, a grass (forgotten its name) and a couple of others.

So having done a bit of strimming and tied in the sweet peas and climbing rose I feel completely destressed and relaxed – for me that is the real beauty of gardening

An English Country Garden in April

Went out with my garden club this afternoon to visit a local private garden.  As per all our visits it rained!  I cant believe this time last year we were having a heat wave. The colour of this Acer was very intense.  What you cant see is that the plant had been pollarded and must have been a huge shrub/tree at somee point.  We couldnt decide if the owners were very braze in pollarding it so serverly or whether it had suffered wind damage.

I also really liked these low growing ground cover plants.  I believe they are related to comfrey but I think I need to do some investigating to find out exactly what they are.  They were growing on a shady bank so I am particular interested in them for my ‘woodland’ area.

Despite the rain the main ornamental garden looked lovely with lots of perennials beginning to emerge.  This photo is slightly misleading as it doesnt show how steep the garden is, just around the corner the garden descends down a woodland slope to a small stream.

Although it was cold and rainy we had a nice visit and the cake was very good as well.  Needless to say I came away with some purchases: a Snowflake, a Euphorbia (variety not clear) and a plant labelled Ligularia, although my colleagues were sceptical that this was correct

Going Tropical!

Love this view of a Fatsia – looks very tropical and exotic.

Everything is coming out in the garden and there is a wonderful sense of anticipation.  My Azalea has started to come out in flower – I’m sure it is early.  It has ridiculously large white flowers which are totally out of proportion to the size of the plant, so much so that when it is completely in flower it looks like someone has stuck paper flowers all over the plant.



Planting out at last

This is my lovely tree that I inherited when I bought my house.  I’m not sure what it is – maybe a Cherry but I love it when it is has blossom on it.  All you can hear is a buzz of bees.

I have finally planted out the sweet peas I sowed in the Autumn.  I havent had much luck with sweet peas over the years and didnt bother last year.  However I got some free seeds with AG magazine so I thought why not.  I bought these root trainers and the seedlings have done really well.  Hopefully this year I will have a nice crop of sweet peas.

I dont have a veggie garden due to my preference for flowers and the steep slope of the garden not to mention the clay.  I grew some broad beans in a pot last year and they were very successful so I am doing the same again this year but in a bigger pot.  I have also planted the surplus sweet peas in this pot and 3 Pak Choi that I had left over.  I am sure that some people will say this isnt a good idea but I’ve nothing to lose so I thought I would give it a go!