Monthly Archives: February 2016

In a vase on Monday – Wedding Flowers’ return – plus a bonus


Some of you will remember the saga of last year’s wedding flowers when I was attempting to get both Narcissus and Muscari to flower simultaneously for my step-niece’s wedding.  It involved giving up a certain amount of fridge space to hold the Narcissus Elka back, whilst bringing the Muscari into the warm to help them along.

All was fine on the day, and it’s been a lovely reminder that a few spare pots are reflowering now and have been brought inside and put on the kitchen table.

Sadly, the Muscari, got very eaten this year and I seem to have lost the majority of the flower buds.IMG_0038

The bonus is this gorgeous bunch of flowers brought by our neighbours (they of the red squirrel tree) when they came for lunch yesterday.  The beautiful yellow iris (from their garden1) matches perfectly with the pale Narcissus and, together with the Blackthorn blossom, provides a gorgeous spring tableau.  Thanks Jane!



Thanks too to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting all our Monday vases.

End of month view – February 2016


Welcome to a sunny End of Month View!  Last month’s EoMV, I note was sunny too, but frankly there’s been precious little in between.  The lawn is still soggy, and although it has been cut once during the month, it’s only marginally less field like.

The Swing Beds are much the same as last month just with some more bulb foliage, as well as plenty of Sisyrinchium striatum leaves.  Long standing readers may remember these beds got rather overwhelmed with Sisyrinchium, so I dug them out, only to go on a visit to Mottistone Manor last summer and really admire them there, so I moved a whole lot back.  Fickle?  Moi?

The Grass Bed is also similar to last month, but here, as well as bulb foliage, there are plenty of forget me nots, some of which are just starting to flower.IMG_0005

There’s nothing in the Veg Bed for the Diving Lady to admire currently, but she does have a new pool.  Last year’s rather purple Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’ has been replaced with Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley.’


In the shady bed the Hellebores are still the highlightIMG_0025

particularly this lovely dark one.

Just behind it is a Sarcococca confusa which has finally got big enough for the scent to be apparent without having to scrabble around sniffing at kneecap height!IMG_0026

At the other side of the garden, this Hamamelis, H. ‘Arnold’s Promise,’ is finally (after about six years) starting to make a statement,IMG_0013

whilst in the Bronze Bed, H. Aphrodite is a little less shy than she was a couple of weeks ago.

The idea was that the colour of the Hamamelis blooms would be picked up by the trumpet of the Narcissus ‘Cragford’.  Well sort of!IMG_0012


Along the boundary with next door, is this inherited grass, absolutely glowing in the low light.  It’s really time for a cut back, but I’ll for a while longer.  Any clues what it is?  I’m thinking maybe Miscanthus?


There are plenty of pots around including this new one planted up by the front door.  For once I’ve got the Crocuses past the mice.IMG_0036

And meanwhile in the greenhouse, I’ve finally planted out my ‘Owl’s Acre’ supposedly early flowering ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas.  I don’t quite see them flowering in March, as suggested on their website, but I think I have to take a lot of the blame for that.


Elsewhere in the greenhouse, I’ve finally started planting seedsIMG_0021IMG_0020

as well as pricking out autumn sown seeds – this time Rhodochiton atrosanguineus, which I’m hoping to have growing up the obelisk again this year.IMG_0023

And to finish, a bucket full of N. ‘Tete a tete’ – so cheery!IMG_0019

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting all out EoMV.

RHS Early Spring Plant Fair


Like the Frustrated Gardener I too went on a rather rushed vist to the RHS Early Spring Plant Fair at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster last week.

There’s something rather naughty about abandoning work to immerse yourself in a large, airy hall suffused with the very un-City smells of foliage, soil and lovely winter flowering shrubs.

As well as numerous Tete a Tete Narcissus, I just loved this N. Spoirot on the Broadleigh Gardens stand.111

Making a stunning contrast to the Narcissi (and rather thin on the ground Galanthus) the bold Anemone coronaria from John Cullen Gardens.054

More bulbs in the form of gorgeous Irises, including some new ones as yet unamed.

And a witty display from D’Arcy and Everest.071073

Over in the Lindley Hall a mystery solved – the name of a stunning climbing I’d seen as a proud purchase rather overwhelming a departing visitor as I was arriving – Hardenbergia violacea ‘Happy Wanderer’.  A little Googling tells me this is a native of Australia and hardy down to -5C.  I think if there had been a second one for sale I would have been very tempted.


At the back of the hall we were treated to a sneak preview of a number of this year’s Chelsea gardens – the ones which took my fancy are by (clockwise) Cloudy Jongstra, Nick Bailey, Hay Joung Hwang, Cleve West and Chris Beardshaw.

A fascinating exhibition for someone who spent a large slug of their Saturday completing their fourth assignment of the Planting Design course!

Thanks RHS for a lovely oasis in what turned out to be a pretty tricky work week!

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – February 2016


Looking back at last year’s GBBD post there certainly weren’t any daffodils, and, whilst I still haven’t got many, there are a few.  The one above, Narcissus ‘Cragford,’ is the first of the new bulbs purchased for the new beds.  This one, with its orangey trumpet, is in the Bronze Bed.

In addition there’s a multi headed one that grows in the drive bed and always flops as it is too top heavy, but it’s looking pretty and fresh in today’s sunshine (at last!)


and a few cheery Tete a tete in a pot by the front door.IMG_9977

Plenty of hellebores still IMG_9996IMG_9963IMG_9994IMG_9964

including a new one,  Helleborus ‘Anja Oudolf’, that I treated myself to this weekend.  I was looking for speckles,  but settled for stripes!

Some of you many know that Anja is the wife of New Perennial garden designer Piet Oudolf, and, on a Valentine’s theme, I have to say I don’t think there are many things as romantic as having a flower (particularly such a beauty) named after you.IMG_9979

As well as my Cornus mas, flowering since December by the front steps,IMG_9961

my two Hamamelis are also flowering now, H. ‘Arnold’s Promise’IMG_9997

and H. ‘Aphrodite’.  Aphrodite was in full flower this time last year when I bought her, but currently only has a couple of blooms.  Hopefully there are plenty more to come – she’s certainly in a much better spot than Arnold, but he’s not complaining.IMG_9967

My little self seeded primula is also flowering again.   I do love this colour and tried to grow more from collected seed, but they didn’t germinate.  Any tips?  I suppose they may well not have come true anyway.IMG_9987

I nearly finished with yet another photo of my Leptospermum, still going strong, but instead have plumped for the Rosa Flower Carpet Pink in front of the fresh limey heads of Euphorbia characias ‘Wulfenii’.  Roll on spring!IMG_9980

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts the GBBD.

Whistlestop Wisley


Running early this morning (for once!) on our way to a birthday lunch in Edgware, I had the spontaneous idea of stopping at Wisley for a quick circuit.  As an RHS member I’m allowed to take one adult guest, so it didn’t even cost anything.

It certainly wasn’t a comprehensive visit, but it was a beautiful morning and just lovely to see an old friend.004

Our circuit took us past the Conifer Lawn and then up through the Rock Garden, where I spied this stunning cyclamen, glowing in the low winter sunshine.008

On to the Alpine House, packed full of stunning specimens in pots, set on gravel beds.


From here we walked up to the viewing mound to look towards the glasshouse (which I still think of as new, despite being built in 2007).017

The borders on either side of the path, the Glasshouse Borders, were designed originally by Piet Oudolf around 2005, and mum and I went to an excellent talk by him at Wisley shortly after they’d been planted.  The design features ‘ribbons’ of planting which are easy to see from this elevated position.  There was warmth to the grasses, but proper heat from the Salix ‘Yelverton’.


We didn’t have time for the glasshouse this visit, which was a shame because it’s hosting a display of butterflies until 6th March.026


Turning back towards the entrance we walked through Seven Acres with lake and striking cornus.031



There was more colour from a couple of interesting trees I’d not come across before – Corylus maxima ‘Red Filbert’


and Tilia cordata ‘Winter Orange.’


Thanks Wisley, it was lovely to see you again.