Beautiful Ways To Train And Support Rambling Roses

Rosa 'Malvern Hills' trained in an arch shape around a door
Rosa ‘Malvern Hills’ trained in an arch shape around a door

A rambling rose will grow against almost any garden structure and can be encouraged to scramble into a tree. Most ramblers need to be tied to, or woven around, their support while the canes are still young and flexible.

If you only check one thing before buying a rambling rose, make it the height, which should be a good match for the structure it’s going to be growing against. A common mistake is to choose too big a rambler: you’ll have to keep cutting away potential flowering stems to prevent your rose from completely swamping the arch, arbour, obelisk or trellis. Here are some ways to support rambling roses that will show off these beautiful plants to their best: Continue reading “Beautiful Ways To Train And Support Rambling Roses”

Anthropomorphising Flowers

Eremurus and alliums in a white border
Wayward eremurus with disapproving alliums in a white border

We’re not supposed to ascribe human characteristics to anything else, but I can’t help it. Somebody planted white foxtail lilies (eremurus) with alliums to provide height in a white flower border. The alliums are growing as the designer intended – upwards, but the foxtail lilies are demonstrating how they got their name. I’m fully aware that the light is drawing them in that direction, but that doesn’t stop my mind from doing its thing. The alliums are clustering in groups to gawp at and gossip about the wayward foxtail lilies. Continue reading “Anthropomorphising Flowers”

Nine Barbara Hepworth Quotes (With Pictures)

Four-Square by Barbara Hepworth in her coastal garden
Barbara Hepworth’s garden looks out over rooftops towards the sea

In normal times, a permanent collection of Barbara Hepworth’s work can be seen in the St Ives garden she so evidently loved. Although the garden remains on shutdown, a wide range of material is available online (see the links below).  Her work fits wonderfully well into its Cornish setting, within striking distance of ancient standing stones such as Mên-an-Tol, Lanyon Quoit and the Kenidjack Common Holed Stones. Continue reading “Nine Barbara Hepworth Quotes (With Pictures)”

The Giant Houseplant Takeover: A Review With Pictures

Bath and shower in a tall room hung with plants
An outdoor bathroom, but indoors

RHS Garden Wisley’s houseplant exhibition is kooky and wry: an elaborate conceit. A Victorian house has been abandoned to the houseplants which, in the absence of humans, have made themselves at home.

Four-poster bed with colourful flowering bromeliads
Bromeliads fill the bed, trunk and leafy plants tumble down the walls

An abundance of greenery may convey a derelict feel as visitors enter, but it soon becomes clear that everything is carefully arranged and tended. We’re visiting the best-behaved invasive houseplants in the history of mankind. My own ‘triffid’ is much less mannerly. Continue reading “The Giant Houseplant Takeover: A Review With Pictures”

RHS Campaign For School Gardens, Chatsworth Flower Show

Mayflower Primary School’s sensory garden, It All Makes Sense, was one of my favourite corners of the Chatsworth Flower Show 2019. If there’s a child in your life, you might like to take some inspiration from these recycled tin cans, painted with cheerful motifs. Pop a herb or a flower in one and you have a tiny garden to enjoy, with potential lessons in art, the environment, nature, nurturing and cookery along the way.

While my secondary school had a small greenhouse, I only have the vaguest memories of going inside it. We never did anything as exciting as making a garden for one of the RHS flower shows. I love it when I see some of the kids who have been involved at the shows, proud of what they’ve achieved and excited to explain to visitors what they were thinking about in this or that part of the garden.

I’m one of the lucky ones. Although my schooldays preceded the RHS Campaign For School Gardens by decades, my childhood was filled with small lessons like these as part of family life. Caterpillars in jars that turned into butterflies. Rose petal scented water. A succulent that grew in a pattern. Owl pellets to pull apart, looking for bones. Flowers to plant. Potatoes to dig (well before their time as we were too excited to wait). Pebbles to pick out of streams. A bat cave to explore. Continue reading “RHS Campaign For School Gardens, Chatsworth Flower Show”