Showing posts from July, 2017

15 plants

If we had to choose plants to start a new garden with and was limited to 15 they would be: 1. Allium - I especially love the tall purple and white varieties, they look great poking through evergreen shrubs or contrasted with acid greens.  We tend to leave these in the ground when they have died as we like the seed heads.  This year we learn't from a that you may cut the foliage right back if it starts to look tatty and this won't harm the remaining flower spike.   2. Cosmos - My preference is bipinnatus over sulphureus as I prefer the wispy fern-like bright green foliage that accompanies the bright flowers.  The foliage on the latter is much darker and more defined and in my view, less striking. 3. Dahlia - I have my Dad to thank for introducing me to these and I am so thankful.  Excellent mixed with Cosmos and they flower around the same time - at least they do here in Zone 9.  4. Delphinium - I just really like these, I think they are underrated a

National Garden Scheme

Over the summer months (always on a Sunday), we have visited about 15 gardens from three  National Garden Scheme groups. This has been to raise vital funds for organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Support and the Carers Trust. The garden destinations that we have visited have been:  Styvechale in Coventry, Bournville in Birmingham and  Moseley  which is also in Birmingham. We have met some lovely people in their gardens many of whom have established them over many years (over 30 in some cases).  In Bournville we were especially taken by a private garden on a corner plot which had been a blank canvas and 15 years later turned into an oasis complete with river.   I cannot recommend this enough - this is an accessible way to visit real gardens from people in your local community (and further afield if thats your preference) simultaneously providing vital funds to several good causes.   Here are some glimpses into these beautiful and inspiring spaces.   Wilf and his lat

John's Garden (Ashwood Nurseries)

Today we were in luck, having read an article listing independent garden centres we decided to pay a visit to Ashwood Nurseries .  This is somewhere we have wanted to try out for a while.   Coincidentally we arrived on a day when the nursery owner had his private garden open for a charity event.  It is open to the public for just 8 days a year (all on Saturdays between February and September) so we couldn't miss out on this rare opportunity. There was the promise of entertainment to keep people occupied (Male Voice Choir, Iron Monger and stalls selling random floral painted bits and pieces that someone somewhere must be buying).  As usual we sailed past all of this just to enjoy the garden - we were not disappointed. At the entrance you reach a large lawn area that curves around the Nursery to the left and the River Stour to the right.  T he garden which  is almost banana in shape curves behind you too. To the right and behind us we could make out a seated crowd e

Preparing for next year

As it is now the time to sow Foxgloves we have taken this opportunity to remove some of the seed-heads from the following plants: Aquilegias (to reduce their self-seeding capability)  Dame's violet (to sort the mixed seeds out into purple and white blooms) Delphiniums  Foxgloves (to control where we position them in the bed) Unknown to us for two years until they flowered, we had a mixed packet of Dame's violet seeds (RHS Seed List).  When they flowered we wanted to distinguish the purples from the whites for planting at the back of a future south-facing border.  I am also quite keen on attempting to plant a border containing only white flowers.   To facilitate this we labelled the stems of all the white blooms (picture above left) with a  Dymo  labelling  machine.  We have found that this is a really useful gardening tool.  The sticky labels have proven to be weatherproof and stay in place despite everything that is thrown at the garden.  We have carried


It has been a good week to see butterflies - you can count them for the Big Butterfly Count too. Here are some images that I have captured:   Holly Blue enjoying nectar from Loosestrife Speckled Wood relaxing on the pond beach Small White Female Small White Male (left) & Female (right) Red Admiral enjoying a Lily Comma on the foliage of Japanese Anemones  Gatekeeper on Daisy  Large Skipper on Blackberry leaf (first time I've seen one of these) Painted Lady at the local Allotment