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.
Can anyone identify this rose I saw at RHS Rosemoor Garden back in July? It has a shrubby habit and loosely double petals – it’s the ruffled arrangement of the petals that draws my attention as so often with roses. Continue reading
This post about hardy geraniums, popularly called cranesbills, (not the pelargoniums) is the second in my series on companion plants.
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.
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.
The Tudor-style Tea Cottage at Arley Hall in Cheshire is a focal point leading the eye down a broad path. On either side of the path are cottage garden style flowers, such as these flailing hollyhocks, which grow alongside a collection of summer flowering shrub roses and extend the season of interest. The Tea Cottage has been superseded by The Gardener’s Kitchen, but is used for exhibitions, filming and weddings.
Remember the days when the Town Hall was the place to go if you wanted ‘further particulars’ about an event? How life has changed since then! At this year’s Southport Flower Show, we had no horse leaping events, but we did have heritage animals, courtesy of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, including a pig that was more rare than a giant panda (and much the same size).
The cultivars may have changed over the last 90 years, but gladioli like those shown on the 1929 poster were on display in 2019, together with just about every August flowering plant you could hope for.
Amongst so many choice plants, this solitary, perfect, innocent-looking, pink Japanese anemone caught my eye. Continue reading
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
Regular readers will know of my fascination with blue poppies (meconopsis). My timing has been out and I’ve only seen the odd one or two this year so here’s a picture from Harlow Carr last year.
Sightings of delphiniums are always very welcome too, be they stocky little spires or towering ones. The lovely folk word ‘bee’ describes the petals at centre of each floret. The stocky delphiniums above have white bees and the ones below, lavender-blue ones.
This year hasn’t been a flower dearth – far from it. Rosemoor provided me with as many flowers as I could hope for, even setting aside the roses I shared a fortnight ago. and even though my capacity to hope for flowers is huge. Continue reading
It’s just my personal taste, but while white flowers such as this double hollyhock entrance me, I’m rarely convinced by white borders. I take in the overall effect, think “Ooh! A classic white border. Perhaps it will be better at its peak?”, then move on.
This year’s Tatton Park Flower Show gave me an insight into what twist a white border might have that would truly inspire me: chalky pastels.
Imagine this recipe: take pure white flowers, sully the mix with flowers that have creamy, ivory or white backgrounds decorated with streaks or blotches of pink, peach, yellow, lavender and green, then add a good helping of pure, pale pastel flowers. Use colours as soft as you dare to create a dreamy effect – I’m thinking of Edinburgh rock colours.
Not a title I was expecting to write, but I had to share this snippet from one of the nurseries taking part in the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. This peacock was (metaphorically) strutting its stuff as part of the silver-gilt winning display of elatum delphiniums by Home Farm Plants of Covington. Continue reading
The grounds of Chatsworth House make a wonderful setting for the youngest of the major UK flower shows. I hope you’ll find something of interest in my personal picks from the show.
1. Seasonal Cut Flowers
Freddie’s Flowers had packed a breathtaking array of seasonal cut flowers in shades of lavender, cream and pink in the back of a truck to advertise their bouquet by post service. Continue reading