What a Whopper!

The first peony I ever grew was ‘Red Charm’. When I moved house I had to replace it because I couldn’t live without it. You can see why: It is the first peony to flower in my garden, so always gets a lot of attention. Here it is, cocking it’s head, showing off its jagged…

Learning to play again

Can you remember when you were last really absorbed in a task? When you lost yourself in the pleasure of carrying out one step, and then another?  Worries floated away as you just focused on the job in hand. This is flow. Children generally achieve flow very easily. They will arrange buttons or stones just…

In a vase on Monday: Celebration

These are the flowers picked from the garden for our Royal Wedding Party on Saturday. I had a lot of fun arranging them. My daughters made this bunting: And my lovely friend Clare leant me hers: My equally scrumptious friend Shelley made this: My eldest made these sweet little flags for the food: Our friends…

Bridging the Gap with Biennials

I have extended my cutting patch this year, adding two new raised beds.  I got a little bit overexcited by my new space and went on a spending spree with the marvellous Chiltern Seeds (whose catalogue of pure flower porn inspired a whole post of its own, Flowergasm!) You might have thought that two varieties each of…

Six on Saturday: Vintage Silk

As you may have noticed, I have a thing for bright and deeply saturated colour.  But I have other weaknesses too.  Back in autumn I was seduced by a certain supplier of tulip bulbs and gave into temptation.  I decided to try some sun-faded tones: vintage silk alongside my usual velvet and satin. I selected…

In a vase on Monday: EMERGENCY RESCUE!

The foul weather (swirling winds, torrential rain) meant I had to perform an emergency rescue on my tulips. These poor things were in danger of getting their necks broken. So was I. The rescue situation explains why some blooms are already at their creative peak (see my post from yesterday, Aging Beauties). Here is good old ‘Ballerina’:…

A Profusion of Pots at Perch Hill

I went for total indulgence in the hot spell last week.  I reasoned that it was too hot for serious gardening, so I may as well visit other gardens and bask in the tulip displays.  So on Friday it was Great Dixter and on Saturday I took the family to Sarah Raven’s Open Garden at Perch Hill….

Opening to the Sun!

Something magical happened on Saturday: the sun came out!  And stayed out! You could hear gardeners around the country stampeding to their back doors to get their wellies on! But once I’d had a little potter around, a bit of weeding here and there, I decided I just had to sit in the sun.  Here,…

Unripe Tulips

These last few days have been like the big climb on a rollercoaster, where it goes really really slowly, slower, slower…almost stops…you can see the whole theme park below you… You know any second now, it’s all going to happen, and your breath is going to be taken away, and you will feel the most…

Flowergasm!

Some might say I am easily excited.  They’re right.  But I can’t hold back on this one. I may have said before that I am very partial to a seed catalogue.  The JParkers Dutch Bulb catalogue caused quite a stir a few weeks ago.  Sarah Raven catalogues can be relied upon to titillate, though it…

My fantasy dahlia garden

Greed.  Isn’t it wonderful? Is there a word for people like me?  Do I need to go into rehab?  Do I need an intervention? For my birthday last year I was bought a book called ‘Dahlias’ by Andy Vernon.  It is like the crack cocaine of the gardening books.  I can’t get enough.  I need more. …

Bimbo bites back

Gladioli are the most flamboyantly fantabulous of all the summer flowers.  I love their gay abandon, their razzmatazz, the thrill, their carnivalesque, cirque-du-soleil, loud-and-proud, uncompromising joie-de-vivre. Gladioli are easy-peasy to grow.  Plant the corms in late spring, about 15cm deep and 10cm apart.  They like good drainage, so add a handful of grit to the planting hole,…