Amsterdam: Street Flowers and More

Amsterdam’s tightly packed streets and waterways don’t leave much room for conventional gardens, but its gardeners don’t let their lack of land hold them back. I’m always struck by the number of hollyhocks that grow semi-wild there, any crack along the street providing anchorage.

Some hollyhocks lean so far over they flower barely ankle high, others wave flower-topped towers well over my head. Continue reading “Amsterdam: Street Flowers and More”

RHS Harlow Carr: Candelabra Primulas, Blue Poppies And Other Treasures

Candelabra primula Harlow Carr hybrid

Harlow Carr is no longer the Royal Horticulture Society’s only northern garden, and not the biggest, but has the benefit of an extra 70 years or so of continuous cultivation. Highlights for me include wonderful collections of primula and meconopsis, typically in flower around mid June to early July. The collections mingle in naturalistic drifts, their bold colours sparkling like jewels in their stream-side setting. Continue reading “RHS Harlow Carr: Candelabra Primulas, Blue Poppies And Other Treasures”

Plants to Grow on a Mailbox: Mandevilla (Rocktrumpet)

Mailbox with flowering vine in Florida

A Mandevilla vine in full flower, draped around an American-style mailbox seemed to be the essence of Florida. I was captivated by the sight. We have neither the mailboxes nor the climate for growing the vines outdoors in Lancashire.

My first picture gives a little context, including a glimpse of three birdhouses on pillars at the foot of the trees. Continue reading “Plants to Grow on a Mailbox: Mandevilla (Rocktrumpet)”

Droopy Roses: The Ones That Nod

Rosa 'The Generous Gardener'

Most articles online about drooping roses are geared towards fixing a problem. Cures suggested for a drooping rose include:

  • Watering it more (assuming the rose is wilting)
  • Watering it less (assuming its roots are staying wet and rotting)
  • Feeding it (assuming the plant is lacking some elements)
  • Feeding it less (assuming persistent elements have built up too much in the soil, or that the canes are outgrowing their strength)
  • Staking, growing against an obelisk or training as a climber in the case of vigorous roses
  • Hard pruning
  • Diagnosing it with one of several rose diseases, then treating the problem
  • Leaving it be (assuming that the canes will strengthen enough to support heavier flowers from the third year on).

It’s not hard to see how gardeners might get confused. Continue reading “Droopy Roses: The Ones That Nod”