Thursday, 24 November 2016

Autumn gold

When I think of autumn colour it is the red and orange of tree leaves and woody stems that spring to mind, but this year the predominant colour has been a rich, golden yellow.

A potted Acer with heavily dissected leaves turns from bright green in summer to this wonderful rich mustard colour 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Attracting Wildlife into Your Garden

We don't all garden for wildlife, but I suspect that we all enjoy watching birds, bees and butterflies feasting from the buffet that is in our gardens.
A bee enjoying the late-summer flowers of Aster (now Symphyotrichum)

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Can you have a favourite flower colour by accident?

If I had to choose my favourite flower colour it would not be pink, but after looking through my hundreds of garden photos I realised what an important role pink flowers play in our garden, and maybe yours too if you stop and think about it.
Papaver somniferum (opium poppies) come in a wonderful range of pinks

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Taking inspiration from Chelsea Flower Show

People are generally surprised to hear that I'm not a regular visitor to the Chelsea Flower Show. I have attended in the past, but I don't enjoy the crowds or jostling to the front to see the show gardens, and you can only buy plants at the big sell-off at the end. I prefer to watch the television coverage of Chelsea from the comfort of my sofa. It gives you access into the gardens and a close-up look at the planting that a visit does not.
Visitors to our recent NGS open garden commented that this border could have been seen in a Chelsea show garden

Friday, 1 April 2016

April showers

I wanted to start this post with a photo of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but I couldn't find any roses in flower, and if I followed the logic of the song the next photos would be of bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, which don't relate much to gardening in Spring (if you don't know what I'm talking about you need to rent/download The Sound of Music immediately). What I wanted to get to was the song punchline "these are a few of my favourite things", because raindrops on emerging foliage are one of the joys of Spring.
Hemerocallis (daylily) foliage

Saturday, 13 February 2016

What to do now in the garden

If you are anything like me you are itching to get in the garden. As soon as the new year starts I pace the garden every day looking for new growth. This year the unusually warm winter has produced quite a few surprises. Some of our Hellebores and Eranthus (winter aconite) started flowering before Christmas and the snowdrops and crocus are in full flower several weeks earlier than normal.
Snowdrops in front of white-stemmed birch trees Betula jacquemontii Doorenbos

Sunday, 10 January 2016

What’s in a name?

I much prefer to use Latin plant names rather than common names; Latin names avoid confusion and give lots of additional information about a plant’s habit or colour, where it came from or who discovered it. Common names often vary between locations and the same one can be used for more than one plant. For example, elephant’s ears is a common name used for Bergenia, Colocasia and Ligularia. The leaves of each plant might resemble an elephant’s ear, but they are very different plants with very different growing conditions.
Ligularia dentata Britt-Marie Crawford, common name Elephant's ears, which was found growing in her garden by a general practitioner who was a keen gardener. Before she could propagate it she died suddenly in her sleep. Her family ensured that the plant became commercially available and named it after her.