The Rose and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

This is the story of a mysterious rose.  We were lucky enough to inherit him with the house.  He grows up the wall next to the bay window to our living room, and so is always the first to flower, and often the last.  He is a repeat-flowerer, highly fragrant with huge billowy blooms.  I…

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…

Six on Saturday: Patience!

Tulips (nearly!) Tulips are the big opener for my garden show. There are noises backstage and the lights have dimmed, but the curtain’s not raised! Tyger Tyger I cut back the bedraggled penstemons this week and look what I found! Love the green stripes on these hyacinths! Euphorbia They’re ready for the tulips. Come on…

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…

On harm, and vulnerability, and survival.

Someone I care deeply about has been harmed.  It has rocked my world, because the harm is deliberate.  The cover-up has been calculating.  There is no remorse. So I woke up this morning feeling battered and bruised.  I want to take away the pain, but I can’t.  I want to confront the people who should have…

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….

Mouth-wateringly fruity roses

I love many plants, but it is roses who have stolen my heart.  Tulips have the same colour-range and silken or satin textures; peonies have the blowsy opulence; dahlias have the drama.  Roses have all of this, plus dementingly delicious scent.  There is nothing like burying your nose in a sun-warmed rose and breathing in…

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…