Name The Colour Of These Flowers

While visiting the flower shows this year, I was drawn to a colour thread represented by the flowers I’m showing here. I’d filed the pictures as Clarets thinking ‘Anyone for claret?’ would be a good post title, but reluctantly concluded that claret was stretching things too far…

Heads of small bright pink flowers with lighter centres
Achillea ‘New Vintage Violet’

though not quite so far as the liberties taken in naming this ‘New Vintage Violet’…

Hydrangea flower and foliage with a lime green fern
Hydrangea ‘Dark Angel Violet’

or this ‘Dark Angel Violet’. Plant names are a minefield at the best of times, even before you add colour into the mix.  Continue reading “Name The Colour Of These Flowers”

Floral Lookbook: RHS Hampton Court 2018

Single hollyhock with cream flowers and bold purple eye
A. Alcea rosea ‘Halo Cream’ with foxgloves
Coral coloured agastache with companion flowers
B. Agastache ‘Kudos Coral’ with Scabiosa ‘Barocca’, Agapanthus ‘Navy Blue’ and Achillea ‘Terracotta’
Double pink hollyhock with foxgloves
C. Alcea rosea ‘Apple Blossom’ with foxgloves
White agapanthus with ornamental grass and richly coloured flowers
D. White agapanthus with ornamental grass, achillea, scabiosa, daucus corata and helenium
Foxglove with pale peach flowers, and darker spots
E. Digitalis ‘Dalmation Peach’ with hollyhocks in the background

Continue reading “Floral Lookbook: RHS Hampton Court 2018”

Hay Time In The Dales: People’s Choice Award Winner At RHS Chatsworth

Chris Myers and I were chuffed to bits by the turn of events at The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show last week. We both had good reason. After a slow start (the judges’ Silver Medal theoretically rated it worst in show), the garden he’d designed was validated by the popular vote, being named the one the public loved most. Me? I’d been rooting for it!

Foxgloves and wildflowers growing beside a cottage

Naturalistic plantings were a theme of this year’s show, but his garden was a hymn in praise of wildflowers (or more of a folksong). I enjoyed lingering awhile, listening to the sighs of pleasure as people glimpsed Hay Time In The Dales for the first time and felt its emotional pull. I knew this garden would haunt me, and it already is.

I thought of it when our evening walk took us past a flower-rich hay meadow between Edgworth and the Wayoh Reservoir. Around its peak now, the wildflowers include buttercups, yellow rattle, meadow vetchling, red clover, wild blue lupins, and a blend of grasses. A public information sign beside the meadow explains this patch of land represents what is now one of the rarest habitats in the UK.

It all seems so normal, and that’s part of the problem.    Continue reading “Hay Time In The Dales: People’s Choice Award Winner At RHS Chatsworth”

Snowdrop-aholics in the news

Close up of snowdrops with many others behind them
Snowdrops look alluring in a mass planting

Snowdrops are so hyped up this year that the clickbait on the BBC News website’s most viewed article on Saturday morning was Are you suffering from galanthomania?. Anything that sounds like an ailment evidently has the whole of Britain (minus those aware that a galanthus is a snowdrop) clicking away to find out if they have the symptoms. Well, it is winter.

I have recorded my personal pangs here, but wouldn’t go so far as to call it a mania. Muddy knees, sometimes; mania, nope.

Snowdrops with large bergenia leaves in a winter garden
Red branches and bergenia leaves make a lovely backdrop for snowdrops

But I won’t try to deny that snowdrops cast spells on us.  Continue reading “Snowdrop-aholics in the news”

Suzie Cranston’s Birdhouse Garden

When Suzie Cranston’s world was rocked by the death of her son, Peck, a sign saying ‘Peace begins in the garden’ inspired her to create a garden that would celebrate his life.

Beautiful at any time of the year, my sweetheart and I often pause to admire it on walks through our quirky little neighbourhood, Fondren, in Jackson, Mississippi. More than twenty years after starting the garden, Suzie is eager for others to enjoy it as much as she does. She welcomes visitors with a broad smile, pointing out things they may have missed: flowers, garden art, a new birdhouse and, in particular, things that Peck would have loved, such as the tortoises which appear everywhere.  Continue reading “Suzie Cranston’s Birdhouse Garden”