A new adventure…

As I garden – losing whole days at the weekend, stealing moments while the kettle boils for morning tea, working in the dark on my return from work – I compose descriptions of the challenges and successes. Time to see if the words floating through my head during the last 10 years of making my garden, work on a page.

15min tasks – Six on Saturday

Continuing to do a 15min task in the garden each lunchtime. These are the jobs for next week.
Wonderful rusted metal fern leaves, a birthday present from my family. Looks great against the white brick wall.
Before – the ugly floor of an old extension.
After – a smart patio with clever built in shelf to raise plants up and create a jungle feel. Thank you Garden Angel!
Extended the plant theatre that can be seen through the kitchen window. Geranium maderense has magnificent foliage.
Daphne is starting to flower. Not pumping out the delicious scent yet.
This is cheating – a Christmas cactus on the kichen windowsill so not actually in the garden but so exotic, makes me smile every morning (thank you Mum).

January Six on Saturday

It has been a long time since my last post, the challenges of life got in the way. This is a new year so I am refocusing. The pressures are still there but it is important to get away from zoom and take a break, a reset, so each day, at lunch time, I am completing a 15min task in the garden. The fresh air and sense of achievement add a positive note to my day, making me more productive and happier!


The garden lit at night. Extends the time I can complete winter jobs and stops the short days feeling so miserable.


Hellebores – winter delight


The obediant plant, Physostegia virginiana, plenty of seedlings for this summer


Added a row of beautiful tiles to the windowsill holding my succulent collection


The bird feeding station with two new feeders from Crocus. Keeping them filled to maximise the feathered visits in preparation for the Big Garden Bird Watch 29th – 31st.


Time to cut down the bananas, a job for tomorrow if it is dry. Love the Fatsia in flower.

Happy, neglected plants on the roof terrace

I have never featured the roof terrace on this blog. It is my husband”s favourite place, a sun trap in the evening with a view of the spinnaker tower and glimpse of the sea. The pots up here are lucky if they are watered twice a year but for all my neglect they are happy.

Blue pots with succulents and cordylines (and Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot image and quote)
A very happy echeveria flowering like crazy.
A cordyline and his spiky friend bought from Denman Garden. No label and no idea what he is.
 Aloe Brevifolia
Agave Americana, grows like a weed in our favourite part of Corfu
You’ve had the pots so here’s the paws. Our furry boys enjoying the roof terrace. Great photo taken by my husband.

Eucomis stealing the show… SonS

The agapanthus and cannas are still going strong but they have passed their peak of absolute perfection. Stepping into the limelight are the eucomis. I am addicted and need more. My bulb shopping list has just grown to include octopus, vandermerwei and montana if I can find them.

Beautiful Eucomis Comosa
This should be sparkling burgundy but the leaves which were burgundy in the spring are now very green. Also much smaller flower heads this year so will feed after flowering and repot in the spring giving it a bit more space and some manure in the compost mix
These bulbs were new last autumn but I didn’t make a note of the variety – doh!
This one I do know is Autumnalis
More flowers to come on the Autumnalis.
Just for some relief from my eucomis fixation, the brilliant balloon plant, new to me this year but will never be without it. Loving the purple and orange combo.

Do join in with Six on Saturday by following the Propagator https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

For the love of orange

I have always had a very strict colour code in the garden – mainly green with flowers in white, blue and purple maybe the occasional pale pink or lilac. Never red, yellow or orange.

However my preferences have changed. For the last year I have been drawn to orange.

Geum Totally Tangerine was my first toe in the water last year
Followed by the bold decision to paint two walls orange
Now I have fallen in love with orange cannas, so beautiful.
With trailing bergonias and crocosmia from my Mum’s garden, I am starting to layer up the orange
Even better when you have the contrast of the purple agapanthus
The only orange I don’t want to see is the Spanish slug. Possibly found one in the garden this week and hoping it arrived on a pot alone!

Only six weeks to the rescheduled Stansted Garden Show, my wish list will be full of orange flowers with some cadbury chocolate purple ones for contrast. Hoping to find those copper orange crocus and more crocosmia. My order for 100 orange tulips has already been placed. It is official, I love orange flowers.


Today it is a simple post from me celebrating agapanthus. They are flowering profusely and are glorious this year. I thought it was due to my focused autumn feed and watering regime but turns out everyone is having a good year so it is maybe just the weather.

I almost love them more in bud

That is only five, can I have seven next week 🙂

Flowers – SonS

This is very out of character for me as I garden mainly for interesting foliage but this week I do have several beautiful flowers.

The most beautiful flower in the garden right now. Can’t remember the name of the plant and it lost it’s label when I repotted it.
First flower on the salvia amisted.
Beautiful foxgloves. Hopefully dozens next year
My geum tangerine is only just starting to flower
This jasmine is flowering it’s heart out and filling the garden with scent particularly in the evening. I am planting more varieties to hopefully extend the “scent show” next year.
Coming soon…. I have more agathanthus buds then ever before. Feeding and watering after flowering maybe helped or maybe it is just the amazing sunshine we have had

Why not join in the fun and post your Six on Saturday. For more details you can read the brief participant guide.

Staging a plant theatre SonS

My walled garden has large areas of paving so two keys areas of display are entirely made up of pots. This is the perfect opportunity to curate a changing picture depending on what is looking best in any given month. This week I completely stripped back the display around the seating, repotting several key plants and giving each specimen room so the variations in folliage can really be appreciated.

This is the before photo. Really pleased with the brave choice of the terracotta wall but the plants are congested and lacking flow.
I thought this would take a couple of hours but five hours in, I just seem to have created chaos. Obviously a two day job!
At the end of day two it is looking so much better with good height from the yucca and the olive. The palms have more space so you can really see their structure.
A closer view of the section just outside the kitchen door. Orange wall looks much better without the trellis, the passion flower was not thriving and is already springing to life in it’s new location.
At nose level behind the seating there is rosemary, orange blossom and two scented geraniums, one mint, one rose.
Inspired by success, today I reworked the plant staging that can be seen from the kitchen window.
Whilst rearranging over 100 pots I collected together my saxifraga fortunei. I have Rubrifolia, backberry & apple pie and my newest purchse black ruby. Not sure what the other one is, might be a second rubrifolia but one does seem to have a much lighter leaf colour. Maybe our national collection holder will see this and help me out.

Unboxed – Beth Chatto Nursery delivery SonS

Part of my job involves a museum, sadly closed right now. We have a huge collection of artefects including the third largest collection of historic clothing in England. We have a project called Unboxed where we film or photograph the opening of boxes that have been in storage, sometimes for over 20 years. These then become really popular posts on social media.

My mind turned to this when I received an exciting delivery from the Beth Chatto Nursery this week, my own mini Unboxed.

Chewie is excited too
Beautiful plants, in great condition and really well packed
So what is in the box?

Saxifrage Southside Seedling Group

Dicentra spectabilis x2

Viola rivinìana purpurea

Primula denticlata alba x3

Epimedium pubigerum

Primula bulleyana

Athyrium niponicum pictum red beauty

What a lovely stash, feeling very lucky. But wait a minute, didn’t I go alittle crazy on this order? Shouldn’t there be more plants? Then ratta tat tat on the front door and…

A second box! Apologies from the delivery man
More lovely plants

Saxifrage black ruby

Dodecatheon meadia

Gillenia trifoliata

Maianthemum stellatum

Valeriana montana

Geraniums, one white, one purple

Now I agree the two boxes held enough plants to make any gardener do a little dance of joy but I have to confess to picking up these two geraniums from a plant sale next door to my Mum’s house. There are worse addictions to have and my three weeks furlough will be so much better spent finding the perfect spot for each and every new arrival.

Bird song – SonS

The garden has never had so much feathered activity! We have a blackbird nest with the noisiest, most demanding babies and a nest of baby wrens who are much better behaved. I also suspect we have Great Tits nesting in the top of the 24 ft palm. It is a joy, I don’t even mind being dive bombed when I walk past the nests.

Here is one of the babies waiting to be fed
Fabulous new growth on the Fatsia Polycarpa Needham
A couple of months ago I had eleven flower buds on my peony but they stayed very small and when I took a closer look, a creature had made holes in most of them and eaten them from the inside out. At least I have one beautiful flower and the possibility of three more still to open
Viburnum Plicatum f. Tomentosum Kilimanjaro is one of the best plants in the garden. It deserved the title of plant of the year in 2016
I have really enjoyed the camassias this year and will definitely buy lots more to plant this autumn. Also a big fan of the Geranium Maderense Alba with its beautiful foliage. I have grown them from seed for a couple of years and would do so even if they never flowered.
Double the delight. Having a walled garden is wonderful- hardly any frost, hardly any weeds, lots of privacy but the 18ft north facing wall can be very dark. I have solved this with a dozen mirrors of different sizes and shapes. Even better when the reflect a favourite plant like this Thalictrum