I always look forward to seeing the finalists in the annual Young Designer competition at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. This is a detail of Charlie Hartigan’s 1 in 10 garden, voted the People’s Choice for the Best Large Garden. I loved the colour combination and the abundance of traditional cottage garden plants in a contemporary space. Continue reading
Pink seed strains of Nigella damascena seem to be increasingly fashionable at recent British flower shows. It’s a quirky flower, by any standards. Layered petals wheel around a crazy eye above lacy bracts.
The complex, decorative flower form has inspired many folk names. I use love-in-a-mist, but you may know it as love-in-a-tangle, love-in-a-puzzle, kiss-me-twice-before-I-rise, Jack in the green or lady in the bower. Continue reading
If ever a flower looked like it was wearing a petticoat, this is it. It’s hard to believe this bloom is only partially open. The yellow petals in the centre will gradually become more prominent, but I like the flower at this stage while the outer petals are still a pure pink, and are forming a protective cup around the inner petals.
The second peony has it all for me: I love the pearly character of the creamy white petals and the way those yellowy petals create an inner glow. Continue reading
When I saw these common primroses hidden under a shrub in the gardens at Bridgemere Garden Centre yesterday, I marvelled that each petal is a heart. They looked so dainty and exquisite that I wondered if I was looking at one of the latest new cultivars.
I’d been admiring the Victorian-style, gold and silver lace primulas and some ruffled, rose-like doubles on the garden centre benches just a few minutes earlier – and, I confess, wrinkling my nose at a couple of the less dainty cultivars that are being offered this season.
Checking online, I see that every common primula (Primula vulgaris) has heart-shaped petals. How could I have forgotten in just a few months? Continue reading
Nigella is a decorative annual that has been catching my eye at this year’s flower shows. It’s one of many beguiling weapons England’s army of cottage gardeners deploy to (temporarily) gain the upper hand in the war they wage against bare soil in their flower borders. Continue reading
One of England’s largest and most successful garden centres, Bridgemere Garden World, has been part of a large chain for several years. Its independent roots still shine through as a result of the group’s strategy to preserve the local feel and individuality of their acquisitions. It’s one of my oases of pleasure in an increasingly mad world. Continue reading
This picture of sweet violets was taken with my iPhone: it’s a blessing to be able to have it with me for moments like these. The heart shaped leaves are scrolled up, perhaps to funnel rain water down to the roots and the scented flowers are tiny but radiant. This is a quintessential cottage garden flower for me and I love to see posies made with them. Continue reading
Matt black flowers can sometimes be lost in a garden, but the silver lacing tracing the edges of the petals of this polyanthus – and the cheerful, golden yellow centres – are unlikely to be overlooked. Continue reading
I prefer to use white flowers as an accent colour, but I know that many people love all white gardens (sometimes called moon gardens because of the way the flowers reflect the light). Here are some of my favourites – I hope you like some of them too. If I’ve mentioned where I photographed them, the gardens are well worth a visit. Continue reading