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.
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 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
Visitors who walk through the woodland at Ian Hamilton Finlay’s old home, Little Sparta, in Scotland, happen upon a mossy tombstone placed at an angle between the ferns. Like many of Little Sparta’s artworks – paths, blocks, even beehives – it bears an inscription. Continue reading
This picture was taken on an alternative version of our Pie walk. My eye was taken by the effect of the colours and the horizontal and vertical lines. The setting sun’s dim, winter light simplified the scene, adding an unusual atmosphere. Continue reading
There are many plants I know I like. If you come here often, chances are, you could name a few of them too. Roses. Peonies. Blue poppies. Hellebores… I could go on. They don’t even need to have showy flowers – I love demure shade plants as much as anything. But colchicums? I’ve never given colchicums much thought. Not even the double forms I’ve seen, those waterlilies of the earth. As flowers go, I’d have said they were just alright.
Colchicums are flowers out of season: living mixed metaphors. Their appearance heralds Autumn, with its rich ripeness and decay, but by putting out fresh, soft growth. Their ankle-high colours seem to cry out ‘Spring!’ in error, oblivious that all the leaves on the trees way above are considering whether it would still be premature for them to twist, redden and fall in their yearly ritual. 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
I don’t need much of an excuse to post pictures of roses, but you’d be hard pressed to persuade me that they are not the most graceful flowers in the world. Hanging bounteously from a pergola at Kew Gardens, face downwards, as if demanding that visitors admire them, they created welcome shade on a sunny day.
(a gardener’s poem)
Bending, I watch you dance
Twist in the wind
Anchored by slender stems;
Barometers of spring blooming early,
Wearing hearts on your petals.
Things that harm us may seem sweet
But you’re not here to harm;
Any fool can see that. Continue reading