Using the Colour Wheel to Plan your Garden

I have a complete fascination with colour.  Gardening seems to have intensified that fascination because there are endless variations in colour in nature.  Add changing light and shadow, the interaction of one colour against another, or the texture of a particular petal, a little bit of iridescence, and you have infinite variety. We are all…

Cook little pot, cook!

My cutting patch is reminding me of ‘The Magic Porridge Pot’ and I have forgotten the magic words to make it stop!
I review my top-performing annuals and cut flowers this year, including Dahlias, Zinnias, Scabious, Nicotiana, Nigella and Cosmos.

Into the Jungle

My mum and I went on an expedition to the jungle. We didn’t fly there.  We drove there in a little red mini. We went unprepared, without a mosquito net or insect repellent.  But we were wearing plenty of sun-cream. We’d set out for Great Dixter.  The expedition leader (me) failed to check whether it…

Starfire

I am having a glorious summer with Phlox.  I discovered Phlox through reading Christopher Lloyd’s Colour for Adventurous Gardeners, one of the gardening books I return to time and time again. I have written about my other Phlox varieties in Phloxy Lady? and Boring…  Now it is the turn of the loudest and proudest, Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’. This has wonderful…

Oasis

I got home at about 8pm last night.  The low sun was illuminating the peach tree and the cutting patch. It struck me how the raised beds are like an oasis in the middle of the parched lawn.  You can see how the moisture from the beds has kept the grass immediately near them green,…

Raindrops

On Friday we had some rain!  It was a steady drip for a couple of hours during the day, and then a bit more as I was going to bed.  It was badly needed: it felt like a rescue breath for the hedges and fruit trees. I have accidentally caught a couple of lovely water…

Butterflies and Buddleia in the Bright Border

It has been scorching for weeks.  Yes, weeks, not days.  We are having a proper summer.  Where you wake up every day and know you can eat breakfast outside, but have to get stuff done before 9am because then it will be too hot to move. Phlox is loving it.  As I was standing here,…

Sissinghurst in fine form

I think it has been four or five weeks since I visited Sissinghurst.  This is unprecedented.  It has just been too hot to do anything other than languish in the shade of my own garden. But the temperature temporarily dipped, so I could move again. The castle is being engulfed by planting. That’s the built…

The garden that keeps on giving

I expected the rose garden to be lovely in June.  I had planned for continuous succession of flowers, but I didn’t realise it would be delighting me quite so much in July. I am taking a ridiculous number of photos. It’s just that there are so many lovely textures.  Ticklish ones… Soft, bouncy ones… Bibbly-bobbly…

Phloxy Lady?

Last week I posted about Phlox paniculata ‘Coral Flame’ in Boring…  But then I felt guilty for leaving out the equally fabulous ‘Purple Flame’, so I thought I would give her a post of her own too. Here she is, with ice-cream swirl buds just bursting. There are lovely tones of blue-lilac, but with pink-magenta in on the…

Bridget in her Bravery

I need to share one of my absolute favourite plants, Lychnis coronaria.  Its common names include ‘Dusty Miller’, ‘Rose Campion’ and, the one I only learnt recently, ‘Bridget in her Bravery’. This suits this plucky little character, who enlivens the June and July garden with magenta sprays of flowers. I discovered this plant through my mum. …

Prehistoric

Many of my favourite plants come from South Africa.  They are incredibly useful in my bright border, where they like the full sun, tolerate drought, and, most importantly, provide late summer colour. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is probably the most dramatic.  It may not flower for as long as helenium, or rudbeckia, or echinacea, but its sculptural…