Square In September: Rosebuds

Pink rose within a ring of rosebuds

Rosa ‘Wisley 2008’

I do try to keep my promises, but some are harder than others. If I promised not to eat smoked salmon, for example, that would seem easy. Smoked salmon is pretty much the worst food you could offer me. There may well be things I like less, but I have not so far been invited to partake of them. [Though dim memories of my friend Paul inducing me to eat wasabi peas do float to mind, and feeling the urge to roll around, pawing my face afterwards, like a dog might if it tried something it didn’t like. He meant it as a kindness.]  Continue reading

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show’s Twilight Zone

Cross-sections of a boulder fitted together to make a path

A 8ft meteor has fallen to earth, coming to rest in a garden. The impact has blackened the fencing, scorched vegetation and reduced trees and shrubs to charred branches.

The path is miraculously unscathed: not quite so old as the meteor, it has been made from a Caledonian boulder formed millions of years ago. Smaller boulders lie around, giving the floor added dimension and creating a lovely backdrop for the silhouettes of low growing plants and twisted embers of wood.

Charred, twisted branches amongst foliage and flowers

The dark planting scheme glows red hot in places: the chocolate-red cosmos and orange-red helenium firing up the green and pewter foliage, the burnt wood and the futuristic lilacs. This is the Elements Mystique Garden from RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018, but the setting would not be out of place in an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Continue reading

The Very Fragrant Rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

Pink rose with a beautiful rosette shaped flower

On Sundays, I’m sharing a square cropped picture of a pink rose as part of Becky’s Square In September challenge. We are invited to dip in and out of this daily challenge as we please. She’s looking for a post where the main photograph is square and the subject is In The Pink.

Several people have asked if the roses I’ve been sharing this month are especially fragrant. Last week’s was not, so I promised a highly scented one for this week and I have kept my word. Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ has as strong and lovely an Old Rose fragrance as anyone could hope for. Scratch and sniff!

(It might work, if you have an active imagination).

Finding [urban] Nature | RHS Tatton Park’s F[u]N Garden

If you’re the kind of person who smiles to see plants growing in cracks in (someone else’s) walls and pavements, puzzles over vines emerging from nowhere and loves the summer weeks when Buddleias with masses of arching, lilac-like flowers cling on to ‘seemingly every derelict building‘, this one’s for you.

Community garden on a brownfield site with deckchairs and bunting

I spoke to Roy Lancaster (a lovely fellow) at the Chelsea Flower Show years ago. Identifying me as a fellow Lancastrian by my accent, he told me how a local quarry’s unusual and diverse range of plants were brought to light when a schoolchild took a bunch of flowers to school for a nature project.

An abandoned area of disturbed land where people rarely tread is as good a home, if you happen to be a rare orchid, as anywhere else. Nature doesn’t have any concept of location, location, location – or at least not in the human way, where a house is worth ten times more in one place than in another.

Plants poking through layer of broken bricks and concrete

Plants flower where the seeds happen to fall, if they can. We’ve all seen a tangling of nature and building debris like this: we just don’t expect to see it faithfully recreated and offered up for our consideration at a flower show. Eds Higgins’ Finding [urban] Nature garden (hereafter, the F[u]N garden, following the designer’s styling) imagined a brownfield community garden as part of the RHS Young Designer Competition. Continue reading

Square In September: ‘Wisley 2008’ Rose

Cluster of pink roses with open rosette shapes

Three, shapely, pure pink rose sisters spent their brief lives bouncing together in a pretty cluster in a rose garden. As you see, I visited them in their prime.

Unlike many of the larger, heavier, multi-petalled varieties, the flowers of Rosa ‘Wisley 2008’ face upwards and outwards to show off their rosette forms. Those who read last Sunday’s post may be disappointed that the leaves are ‘just’ mid green, more remarkable for their tendency to resist disease than for their colour, even when grown in a rose garden where the proximity of others makes it easier for rose nasties to spread and take hold.  Continue reading

Tuesday Ragtag Prompt: Energy

Margaret has set an interesting RagTag challenge, asking us to convey energy through a still picture. Here are my offerings:

Elvis, dancing alone, with one hand held high

Elvis, faded into a wall in Clarksdale, MS, in a pose that delights in the energy he had in his prime: energy the established order saw as a threat. Layers of lines and textures interested me almost as much as the subject.

Female hood ornament with graceful posture

Curves rule in this hood ornament that has the energy of a skater, seemingly in motion, even when fixed to a parked car. Flowing lines and an energetic posture reflect the smooth power of the machine, although on a yazoo clay road in Jackson, MS, perhaps not!  Continue reading