Monthly Archives: April 2015

End of month view – April 2015


This has been such a glorious April and I have so enjoyed all my bulbs in the spring sunshine. Above, in the Grass Bed, are Tulip ‘Spring Green’ together with two different Narcissi.  I had originally planted ‘Sinopel’, which is supposed to have a rather green eye, but I’d noticed last year they weren’t repeating well, so I topped them up with ‘Lieke’ which look quite similar. Here they are close up in the copper pot by the steps:IMG_7003

The tulips in the Swing Beds have been a revelation.  I have never planted so many tulips directly in the ground, fearing marauders. Last year I planted a lot in pots, with the idea I would move them in and out of gaps in the bed, but it was all too much like hard work and I also wasn’t so keen on the tulips I’d selected anyway.  This year I took my chances, planted them in the ground and (unlike the dratted crocuses) all have been left well alone.  Hurrah!

When I posted my Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post on the 15th, I included a picture of the tulips below and said I thought they were Tulip ‘Mistress’ as they were my ‘Earlies’.  However, I wasn’t convinced, and so yesterday asked the very helpful and knowledgeable Karen at Peter Nyssen  (where I’d bought the bulbs from), and she set me straight.  These ones are actually the ‘mids’ ‘Pink Impression.’

Although they were glorious, they didn’t last long as sadly the very windy weather mid month blew their large, blowsy blooms to bits.IMG_6977

However, in a fit of mad extravagance, I had planted two further tulips – ‘Mistress’ and ‘Menton.’   And although ‘Mistress’ was supposed to flower in April, and ‘Menton’ in May, they’re actually working better together than I think either would have with the ‘Pink Impressions’ and I’m just loving their sugared almond girliness. IMG_7022


Furthermore, my new Peter Nyssen contact has assured me that both the ‘Pink Impressions’ and the ‘Mentons’ are reliably perennial (up to 5 years or so) as long as you plant them deeply enough, and dead head and feed with a high potash feed as soon as they’ve finished flowering.

I do hope this is the case as it wasn’t a trivial outlay and it would be great if I only had to replace the ‘Mistresses.’ (I’m sure there’s a joke there somewhere…)

The two new beds and the Shady Bed were shown in Sunday’s Resolve and Realise post but I will add a close up of the Bronze Bed not shown previously, showing the Tulip ‘Prinses Irene’ (bought in pots which I assume is why they’re so short), the Libertia and one of the new buds on the Calendula ‘Sunset Buff’.


The hostas are just starting to emerge in the (aptly named) Hosta Bed.  You can see the OH has been out with the blue pellets while my back was turned.  Sigh.IMG_7029


The Drive Bed isn’t looking too exciting at the moment, with few daffodils and some rather leggy Erysimum Ivory Giant, but if you look closely, as a result of more extravagance with Peter Nyssen, there are dozens of Allium buds just waiting for their moment.  If I’m lucky, it will coincide with the Snow Goose rose flowering above.  We’ll see!IMG_7006

And to finish, my rather paltry showing of Fritillaria Meliagris, but I do love them.

I honestly believe there are more than last year, and on that basis I think I’ll continue my quest for lawn domination.  Hey, for less than £25 I can buy another 200 bulbs.  That’s got to make sense. Or is it just me?IMG_7000

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s End of Month Views.

Resolve and realise – April 2015


Such beautiful April weather and yet I still find myself gravitating to the greenhouse rather than doing ‘proper’ gardening outside.  What’s that all about?

So let’s see what I was supposed to do this month:

New for April

  • Prune various shrubs that probably should have been pruned already

Sort of tick.  I delegated the pruning of the shrubs in the shady bed to the OH and he hacked through in a style which I’d like to say was reminiscent of Ross Poldark, but I can’t lie to you.  He hacked through.  Enough said.

  • Continue planting seeds, pricking out and potting on

Oh the seeds and the seedlings – I’ve now planted over 75 different seeds this year.  And no, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with them all.

My dear mother, who sadly never had a greenhouse, raised all her seedlings on the kitchen windowsill and called them her ‘babies’.  As a stroppy teenager I was indifferent to the green fingered nurturing going on in front of my eyes, and yet now, of course, I’m the one doing the nurturing, with unimpressed teens of my own.  I’m sure there’s no coincidence that as my children have grown and required (demanded!) less nurturing, I’ve transferred my attentions elsewhere…


  • Plan cutting garden

No.  As I mentioned last week, I have had the offer of space in J&A’s walled garden to grow cutting flowers and so now I need to plan which plants might survive the shady spot, which will require the sunny spot and which I should grow at home in the very shallow cutting beds I used last year.

  • Provide supports for broad beans and plant out second wave

Tick.  I planted out the last lot and then rigged up a cat’s cradle affair with poles and string.  And forgot to photo it.

  • Start to erect structures for beans and sweet peas

No structure for beans yet but I have used two of our West Dean made willow structures for sweet peas.  The first in the greenhouse and the second, a semicircular affair, which was made by the OH with no particular purpose, turns out to have been made to measure for wrapping around a crab apple:


Sadly, the two largest willow structures we both made, which were made to fit into two particular pots, look rather ridiculously top heavy and so I think we’ll have to buy new pots to accommodate them, which wasn’t really the idea.

  • Tidy up shady bed and lavender beds

I’ve had a tidy of the shady bed (see top photo).  The white honesty I grew from seed last year is flowering well, together with the Anemone blanda White Splendour I planted as bulbs in the autumn.

  • Continue planting up the two new beds


It’s a bit difficult to see what’s going on but there has been further planting.  Firstly the new roses mentioned last month have gone in, including Rosa Falstaff Climbing on my ‘obelisk’.  I’ve also planted out some Cirsium riulare ‘Atropurpureum’ I grew from seed last year.  And also, since this photo was taken, I divided up a clump of Astrantia Roma and have put in a couple of clumps of that.


There are plenty of seedlings to go into the Bronze Bed but apart from a few more Calendula Sunset Buff, I haven’t planted anything else out.

So carried forward

  • Plan cutting garden
  • Erect structures for sweet peas and beans
  • Tidy Lavender Beds

New for May

  • Plant out sweet peas, peas and beans
  • Plant out greenhouse plants
  • Continue with seeds and cuttings
  • Improve watering options (we have a well and two ‘holding’ tanks and many watering cans, but sometimes you just need a hose!)

So not a bad month.  What have you been up to in this glorious weather and what are your plans for the coming month?

The Greenhouse review – April 2015


I missed joining Julie’s Greenhouse Review at Peonies and Posies  earlier this month as I was away, but after a weekend spent sowing, pricking out and planting out, it occurred to me that this could be the busiest the greenhouse is all year and so thought I’d take a few photos to capture it, even though I’m very late.

Sadly the pictures aren’t great as I’d spent so long playing it was pretty dark by the time I got round to taking the photos.  The shot above is of a number of the seeds I’ve now pricked out.  These are mostly for cutting but there are also seeds I’m growing for the two new beds.  I’m a bit concerned than the plants I’m growing for the Bronze Bed are a rather eclectic mix (Antirrhinum Orange Wonder, Calendula Sunset Buff, Eschoscholzia ‘Cameo Dream’, Hordeum Jubatum, Scabiosa atropurpurea Fata Morgana) but I thought I’d grow them all and then decide which ones worked and bin the rest!


One of the reasons the greenhouse is so busy is because it’s still full of tender plants like argyranthemums, lampranthus and pelargoniums – not just larger pots but also plenty of cuttings.  Once both these and the (many) sweet peas have been moved out, there should be rather more room to manoeuvre.  Also, I need to plant out the sweet peas so that I can use the root trainers for my beans!


Meanwhile, on the heated propagation mat, courgettes (Romanesco, El Greco and Gold Rush) are jostling for position with Helianthus and Zinnias. IMG_6990

Some of you may remember last year that I was saved from being completely overwhelmed by seedlings by my lovely neighbours J & A, who allowed me space in their beautiful walled garden to plant some of my cutting blooms (see last year here).

Well the good news is, having invited them over for coffee this morning and plied them with lemon cake, they’ve agreed that I can have space again.  Excitingly there are two different areas on offer this year which, combined, make a larger space than last year, so I’m very excited as to how much I’ll be able to pack in.  Of course the problem this year will be how I can make sure blooms get picked when I’m in London, but that’s something I’ll have to work out.

And to finish, a shot of my big, blousy tulips (Mistress).  Sadly they’ve taken rather a battering in the recent winds and are already looking a little tatty, so I’m sure they won’t still be fit for public consumption by my EOMV post, so thought I’d share them here.

Don’t you just love spring?IMG_6977

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2015


After a week away in, to be honest, rather disappointing weather, it was glorious to come home to spring sunshine and a very springy garden.

Last year I planted Avignon tulips in the Swing Beds, but whilst in isolation, they were stunning, I somehow didn’t like them in context, and so replaced them this year with a number of pinker varieties – Mistress, Pink Impression and Menton.  These ones are Pink Impression, and have definitely made an impression on me!

Alongside the tulips are numerous Euphorbias – here E. Characias in that fabulous zingy lime green.IMG_6935

My old favourite Melianthus major is continuing to flower – there must be a dozen flowers heads on it now.IMG_6918

Nearby the Wisteria is poised, and if the weather continues like this, will be flowering by the weekend.IMG_6919

Something new last year which I never blogged about as they looked rather paltry, were some Fritillarias I planted in the lawn in front of the oak bed.  Last year there were few flowers and a number of those had been flattened by the dog, so I wrote them off as a bad idea.  This year, I do believe they’ve increased slightly and, with the added advantage of the lawn now being smaller because of the new Bronze Bed, they seem more impressive.  I think I’ll add a few more in the autumn.


In the Grass Bed there is a small patch of unidentified tulips in amongst the forget me nots, with some further bulbs to come.  IMG_6906

In the Drive Bed the Erysimum Ivory Giant originally grown from seed are just starting to flower again.  They got a little leggy but I cut them back hard and they seem to have bounced back.


Also destined for the Drive bed are these Pulmonaria Blue Ensign.  I bought a pot last year and then divided the clump into three but never got around to planting them out.  I think they’re work well with the Erysimum and paler Narcissis in the Drive Bed – if I can actually get round to getting them in!


In the predominantly white Shady Bed, two newcomers this year – dainty Anemone Blanda


and rather more thuggish white honesty (Lunaria annua).


And to finish a delight of daffs:IMG_6940






With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who host all of our GBBD.

Andalucian jewels


We’re just back from a  week at the beautiful Finca el Cerrillo on a guided walking holiday with Headwater, and whilst I hoped there might be some wild flowers to admire, I had no idea of the beauty of the Finca’s own gardens or the sheer scale of the wild flowers waiting for me.

Firstly, at the Finca, there was a charming ‘cultivated’ area around the rooms and the pool:IMG_6480


but also, further from the Finca, but still in the grounds, was a wilder area complete with treehouse (and honesty bar!)IMG_6499

and beautiful blooms and vistas.IMG_6508




And then walking in the areas around the Finca we saw huge areas of Vipers BuglossIMG_6745




Cistus (both pink and white) and Lavandula stoechasIMG_6633IMG_6843IMG_6690

Asphodel (both flowers and extraordinary seed heads)


Sweet peas



Wild lupinsIMG_6648

Orchids – Mirror Orchid


Butterfly OrchidsIMG_6635


Some stunning trees, figs, almonds and tamariskIMG_6602IMG_6608IMG_6616



and this beautiful little toadflax.IMG_6867

I assure you there are many more photos, but I’ll leave it there.  I would just urge you to go to this stunning area of Andulucia, north east of Malaga, and see them for yourself.

With enormous thanks to Sue and Gordon for being such great hosts at Finca el Cerrillo, and thanks also to our very knowledgeable and eagle eyed guide Jenny.

And thanks also to Gail, at Clay and Limestone, who hosts a monthly Wildflower Wednesday meme, which I’ve linked this post to.  Thanks Gail!

In a vase on Monday – Easter treats

imageJust a quick quick post to share the beautiful Easter bowl prepared by our lovely hosts Sue and Gordon at Finca el Cerrillo in Andalucia, Spain. (, can’t seem to get the link to work on my iPad!)

Not only did they arrange this lovely bowl, but our Easter Sunday breakfast table was strewn with similar flowers from their gardens and chocolate goodies, and they organised a tea time Easter Egg hunt, which was surprisingly popular despite there being no-one involved under the age of thirty!

We spent yesterday walking in the area around the finca, and the wild flowers were incredible.  I’ll doubtless be sharing in a later post, but in the mean time, wishing you all a very happy Easter.

And many thanks, as always, to Cathy at Rambling in the garden, for hosting all our Monday vases.