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”

Liatris (Blazing Star)

Liatris flower border in a walled garden

Liatris is one of many showy American natives that British gardeners have taken to their hearts. Fluffy, rose-pink flowers open from button-like buds that circle a slender tower of narrow, lance-shaped leaves.

Where groups of liatris corms are planted naturalistically, the flower plumes are dramatic, reaching up and out like grounded fireworks. Continue reading “Liatris (Blazing Star)”

BrightSquare: Mixing Tulips

Mixing colours of tulips: purple, orange and yellow

This bold, bright planting of tulips mades me think of how gardeners often paint with flowers. Just three varieties have been chosen for this colour palette in dark, mid and light tones for contrast.

The maroon tulips are tall, the orange ones are shorter, and the creamy yellow ones are shorter still, creating a colour block effect at the bottom. Above that is a radiant heart with the darker blooms seeming to float over the whole. Continue reading “BrightSquare: Mixing Tulips”

What is Virtual Chelsea? A Guide to THE Gardening Event of 2020

Flowers and foliage

Update: although the week is over, you can catch up with the highlights of Virtual Chelsea online.

As The RHS Chelsea Flower Show had to be cancelled this year, Virtual Chelsea is the Royal Horticulture Societies’ morale boosting invitation to every gardener to immerse themselves in gardening online instead.

So, to ‘visit’ the Chelsea Flower Show in 2020, you don’t need a ticket, your most comfy shoes, to book a hotel or fly to England, and you won’t need to jostle with the crowds for the best view. RHS experts have curated a wide variety of special gardening features to share online during the week when the Chelsea Flower Show would normally be taking place.

If you love gardening, you’ll love Virtual Chelsea, whether your garden is massive, small or just few houseplants indoors or on a windowsill. We can look forward to demonstrations from the potting bench, to insights from award winning designers and celebrity florists, to virtual tours of private gardens and leading nurseries, and to spending time with plants people who specialise in many of our favourite plants. Horticulture experts will host daily lunchtime Q&A sessions to help us navigate some of the many gardening pitfalls so our fingers can get a little greener. Continue reading “What is Virtual Chelsea? A Guide to THE Gardening Event of 2020”

Kristian Reay’s Phytosanctuary Garden

Garden with decking, winding path, and copper swing seat

Kristian Reay was named Young Designer of the Year at last year’s RHS Tatton Park Flower Show for his gold medal winning Phytosanctuary Garden.

The Mediterranean themed garden had lots of flowers and scents, with a magnificent copper swing seat as a focal point. Round seats and bean bags offered more space for relaxing (or queuing for the swing?) on a curved area of wooden decking.

Kristian’s planting was a dreamy mix of English and French lavender, Achillea, Gaura, Agapanthus, Verbena, Erigeron, Artemisia, Echinacea, Allium, Nepeta, Kniphofia and Hemerocallis beneath one multi-stemmed Italian olive tree.

On a windy day, there was lots of movement. Plants spilled over a flowing path of Cotswold stone chippings. White Gaura floated butterfly-like over the borders and tall grasses waved in the background. Continue reading “Kristian Reay’s Phytosanctuary Garden”