Pata Pata

To accompany this post about my cutting patch, I suggest you have a little soundtrack of  Pata Pata by Miriam Mikeba.  This song expresses perfectly how it feels to be waking up to warm temperatures, blue skies and new flowers! I extended my cutting patch this year.  Well, Stevie extended it.  I already had one…

Refresh! How to water well

When most people around the world think of England, they think it rains all the time. In my part of the world, in Kent, (Down South), our average yearly rainfall is 650mm.  Admittedly, in my hometown of Holmfirth, Yorkshire, (Up North*), it is 1,000mm (figures from Met Office).  But compare that to Sydney, which has an…

Secrets of a Hacker

I have always enjoyed a good chop.  When I had Sindy dolls as a child, I always scalped them.  I can’t remember whether I thought the hair would grow back, or whether I just wanted them to look like me (I had short hair). I get the same thrill from hacking back plants.  Tidying them…

Deadheading delights

My favourite job in the garden is deadheading. Not only do you feel you are having a good tidy up, getting rid of the shrivelling flower heads to make way for fresh new growth, but you also get to examine a plant close up. You get to appreciate a flower in its many stages, from…

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…

Peeling back the layers at Great Dixter

On Saturday it was the Great Dixter plant sale.  I have never visited Dixter so early in the season, generally visiting for the tulips in late spring, and again in the summer, for the dahlias and annuals. Great Dixter (in East Sussex but near the border with Kent) was the home of the late Christopher…

How does your garden grow? On optimism!

I have my mum and dad to thank for my optimism.  My mum always sees the best in people, and my dad always makes the best of a bad job.  There is always a bright side, even if you have to wait a while to see it. This bank holiday has been fairly wet, until…

Six on Saturday: bare arms in the sun!

In the last couple of weeks I have felt like some of my seedlings: etiolated, stretching my neck out towards the window, but failing to find the sun.  I have been desperate for some extended time in the garden. Yesterday the sun came out. First I’ll show you the hyacinths.  We inherited a lot of…

My fingers are tingling with magic!

That title picture was just to put you off the scent.  It has nothing to do with this post, other than that was in front of me when the magic struck. I wasn’t even going to write a post today.  But then I read this blog post from ‘Sharpen your Spades’: Sowing Broad Beans – A great…

The flower-grower’s veg

If you are a seasoned allotment-holder, look away now.  This selection will not feed a family of four.  If you, like me, dabble in veg for aesthetic purposes, for the colours and shapes and tastes, and the delight of popping a pod of peas into a waiting colander, then this post is for you. Since…

Delectable dahlias

Pictured above (clockwise, or scroll through) are: Top row: Penhill Dark Monarch, Burlesca,Totally Tangerine (middle), Isabel, Purple Bottom row: Waltzing Matilda, Blue Bayou (picture credits: Sarah Raven), Purple Dream, American Dawn (with Purple Dream in the background). Dahlias are quite possibly the most rewarding plant to grow for the novice gardener.  They might need some initial cossetting,…