Take Stock of Your Garden Successes and Failures
I know that New Year is the traditional time to stop and re-evaluate everything in your life but I reckon now, as summer ends, is also an ideal time to stop all that weeding, watering and worrying so you can look at your garden and decide what to do better next year. After all, you don’t need to rely on your memory if all your faults and successes are there, straight in front of your eyes.
Here are my own garden assessments for this summer:
No more parsnips
Keen followers of these blogs know the injuries that I’ve sustained in growing some pre
We've all done it. We will all do it again. Buy a plant and then think about where to put it in the garden. Only to find the garden is full. No more spare soil. No space. Full. That’s it. What a waste of money. Well, all I say is, “Rubbish!” Containers are the answer.
It’s a bold statement but one I am going to make anyway: everything will grow in a container.
I was staggered to read that the current interior trend is to stack your books with their spines to the wall.
Yep, so you can’t see the titles. Apparently, it creates a calming atmosphere and the sculptural qualities of the books comes to the fore. It also negates the worry (worry? what worry?) of how to group yo
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A Scentsational Garden
Plants that pack a perfume punch and other gardening whiffs.
Early summer is a scentsational time in the garden. My roses are out in full bloom and they are perfumed to perfection. And this year they do seem bigger and bolder than usual. Perhaps the weather has been kind. Or maybe the plants are getting established with roots deep into the soil and are repaying me for all that pruning and what-not. But the smell of roses in the still air isn’t the only whiff of delight at the moment. I’ve got my sweet peas doing their stuff too.
Sown last autumn the plants are now around five feet tall and packed with bloom. You can also sow in spring for a later flowering period - just sow the things! They are easy if you can keep the slugs away from the tasty shoots and, once they are happy (mine are in containe
Parenting and gardening are similar.
Your young charges can flourish and sometimes they flop. But we care and love them the same whatever happens. Occasionally, often out of the blue, they make you proud. Really. They do.
I was doing my dad type duties and helping with our youngest's homework. Year 7 shouldn't be too taxing but I'll tell you what, those guys in school are working hard. I like the 'make a model of the Amazon' type stuff – real coffee beans glued into place got extra credits - and Tudor history is quite interesting. My joke of finding ' x ' in his maths homework – 'there it is' and pointing at it – is wearing as thin as my hair.
So when it came to biology, and in particular plant biology, I relaxed, settled down and waited to dispense my years of knowledge in his direction. I have to admit to having studied the scie
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A Day Out at the Chelsea Flower Show 2017
What a privilege it is to go to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on press day: no crowds, the chance to get up close to the gardens and plants, plus a bit of celebrity spotting. And the sun shone. Well, someone’s got to do it.
It is well documented that the actual number of gardens is lower this year than in the past, but the eye for detail and amount of care taken in the design and production of the gardens that are there is immense. There's always something for everyone at Chelsea but for me designer Chris Beardshaw’s ‘Morgan Stanley Garden' is superb. Breathtaking plants, immaculate design and the whole lot is donated to a charity once the razzmatazz is over. And plenty of lupins – always nice.
Things sneak up on you whilst you're not looking.
I'm thinking about the inability to put your socks on without sitting down, the decline in efficiency of the car brakes, obviously greying hair and expanding waistlines. But plants do it as well.
I was having my morning stroll around the McCann estate when I noticed a previously unremarkable repetition. Daffodils. Don’t for one minute think I have a massive garden with rolling hills and fields. Far from it. But my patch is now home to a few different daffs. It all started a few years ago with a traditional daff – yellow trumpet, no frills, no spills just a straightforward daff. But one variety is lonely. And those white ones looked nice. Up to two. But they all seemed to flower around the same time. 'Maybe a few of the really early ones would be nice' – and in they went.
One thing led to another, and another and then another; soon, without realising it, I was custodian to twelve differen
What's your favourite...?
I was out en famille at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate along with some friends the other weekend. It's always a beautiful garden, was packed out with visitors and looked great in the warm spring sunshine. Then the inevitable question from one of our party cropped up: ‘So, where's your favourite garden?' My heart always sinks when I hear it. How can you ever choose?
Labelling a garden as your favourite isn't as straightforward as say choosing a biscuit. Actually, thinking about it, that can be complicated too. Sometimes I'm in a right old Jammie Dodger mood; other times, only a slice of juicy Garibaldi will do. Maybe it's like coffee or tea. Hold on - latte, cappuccino, mocafrappoespressochino, strong, fortnight (too weak), green or herbal?
But my friend wouldn't let go. 'You have to have a favourite.' Well, actually… no, I don't. It really depends on what you want from a garden. And most importantly, what's r