Flowers with backlight effect

Pink daisy flowers made translucent by sunlight

Pink flowers – possibly some form of echinacea – tumbling over each other as if to watch something. They’re at a concert and the ornamental grass is performing on stage, perhaps, or at a football match. An exciting one.

But we know that’s just fancy. Unlike us, the flowers don’t need a reason to be like this, they simply respond at a cellular lever to the sunlight, the soil and whatever moisture they can seek out. Continue reading

January Squares: Light Pink Roses

Cluster of pale pink, single rambler rose

Becky at The Life Of B is hosting a new challenge throughout January with the topic of light, or any word ending in light. The main picture has to be square. I don’t find it easy to crop square, unless the picture was originally taken that way (relatively few are), but it’s good to be challenged.

So why this picture? Well, the roses are the lightest shade of pink; the flowers seem like tiny satellite* dishes, catching and reflecting sunlight, and I’m claiming they make a delightful sight.

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Hardy Double Geranium pratense ‘Summer Skies’

Geranium pratense 'Summer Skies': hardy geranium with double flowers

Geranium ‘Summer Skies’ is a clump forming perennial that is hardy in the UK. The flowers are pastel coloured doubles with yellow centres . Tiny central petals form a distinctive, open bowl shape. You’ll see the base colour described as sky blue (sky-blue pink is, for once, more accurate); the colour tends to deepen as the flowers age. Dissected foliage and branching stems complete the picture.

The overall effect is ethereal – if fairies were cavorting in and around geraniums, these would be the ones they’d choose. Continue reading

Arley Hall’s Double Herbaceous Borders In Their Summer Glory

Arley Hall's double herbaceous borders in full bloom

View of the double borders in summer with The Alcove (left) and the entrance (right)

The grand sweep of the double herbaceous borders at Arley Hall Gardens has been delighting gardeners for about two centuries: this is one of the oldest examples of its type to be seen anywhere in the world. Exuberant summer perennials fill long, parallel borders, the garden’s brick wall and formal topiary hedging providing a traditional backdrop.

When you first walk in through the huge, decorative gates in summer and turn to see the flower borders stretching out before you, behind you, to either side, it’s hard to know where to look first. Continue reading

Strictly Come Dancing Flowers

Fuchsia 'Hermiena'

Star Fuchsia ‘Hermiena’ with backing dancers

It’s that time of the year again. Strictly Come Dancing’s Class of 2019 will take to the floor today on BBC1 at 19.00 hrs, dancing live for the nation. In celebration and anticipation, the flowers and I are showing our Strictly fan credentials.

Lilium asiatic 'Lion Heart'

Lilium asiatic ‘Lion Heart’ in ballroom finery

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Great Companion Plants For a Cottage Garden: Geraniums

This post about hardy geraniums, popularly called cranesbills, (not the pelargoniums) is the second in my series on companion plants.

Blue hydrangea with geranium companion plant

Blue hydrangea with a geranium companion

What are companion plants?

Companion plants complement the showy ornamentals society loves – roses, peonies, delphiniums and hollyhocks – filling in the gaps in the flower border and helping it flow. They’re pretty enough on their own terms and happy to mingle in, above or below other plants. Good neighbours, they will not compete too aggressively for food, water or space.

Their presence encourages a healthier ecosystem by attracting beneficial insects which is why companion plants are often recommended for kitchen gardens. To find out more about what makes a plant a good companion, check out the first post in the series, on astrantias.

Pink roses with purple geraniums at a sunny Bodnant Gardens

Roses with geraniums at Bodnant Gardens

Geraniums (Cranesbills)

If you show me a decent sized English garden that doesn’t have a geranium, I’ll show you a garden that is missing a trick. Suppliers variously describe them as forgiving, easy, undemanding, generous and enduring. I don’t have a horse in the race, but I’d agree with them.

Geranium Sue Crug and Stachys byzantina

Geranium ‘Sue Crûg’ and Stachys byzantina

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