Intersectional Peonies: A New Direction

Having teenaged daughters has helped me rediscover my feminism.  Writers like Caitlin Moran and Laura Bates have guided me.  A BBC documentary series called No More Boys and Girls was game-changing.  I realised all the myriad ways we hold boys and girls back and stop them reaching their own true potential.  We believe that girls…

Full of Charm

Earlier this week I posted What a Whopper! which featured the gargantuan Peony ‘Red Charm’.  Now it is the turn of her more demure cousin, ‘Coral Charm’. The flower bud has been tantalising me for weeks.  It is part of the peony’s allure that they start tickling your fancy in about March. Their crimson shoots are…

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…

Lupin-otropolis

Before I get carried away with the peonies, I think I should just pause to appreciate the lupins.  I cannot deny that the peonies are keeping me on the edge of my seat.  Look at ‘Red Charm’.  It’s like its peeping out from under the covers deciding whether to put in an appearance today. So…

Knitting together nicely

On days when I am not working, I like to get up early and have a little quiet wander around the garden.  The dogs come with me, and we have a good sniff around.  I thought you might like to come with me this morning. I tend to go around clockwise.  I was listening to…

Darling Buds

In the gap between the end of the tulips and the start of the poppies and the peonies, we can bathe in the lush growth of May. In February there was bare earth, just the odd clump of snowdrops.  The growth in March was ankle-high, with crocuses and primroses.  April, knee-high, with the tulips. In…

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…

Five inspirational garden writers for International Women’s Day

  I couldn’t let International Women’s Day pass without a shout-out for my favourite garden writers. So here are the five books written by women gardeners that have most influenced me. 1. Sarah Raven ‘The Bold and Brilliant Garden’ This was the first gardening book I bought, 8 years ago. I had no house or garden…

How do you measure up?

Stephen and I have gardened here for four years, and for most of that time I have wondered if we should join our local horticultural society.  My mum is a member of her local group, and gets involved in all sorts of activities; they have head gardeners coming to talk to them, they visit specialist…

Flowers or chocolates?

This week marks the start of flower-buying season, with Valentine’s, followed by Mother’s Day. I find it difficult to decide which I love more in life, flowers or chocolate. Dark chocolate is my weakness.  Currently I am favouring Green & Black’s Maya Gold, but I’m open to suggestions. Stephen and I are sharing a Hotel…

Murder in the flower-bed

Please note: this post contains descriptions of graphic violence against bamboo and hybrid tea roses. I am capable of a certain level of violence. There are crimes of passion when I have been pushed too far. Bamboo, for instance.  I hate bamboo.  We inherited a thicket of it growing along a short stretch of fence….

Key plants in the bright border

If you read my earlier post, The Big Bang: the making of a bright border, these are the key plants that make up the display. First there are the tulips: ‘Couleur Cardinal’, ‘Antraciet’, ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Purple Flame’. They are accompanied by Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ and Geum ‘Hilltop Beacon’ and new spikes of hemerocallis and crocosmia. Then there’s…