The shade bed – SonS

After a day of prep last weekend, this weekend I have planted out my shade bed that runs along the bottom of a north facing wall.

This is the before, almost everything in mismatched pots that are stacked up, some plants in carrier bags waiting for their new home. Certainly no sense of display and many of the ferns struggling.
My delivery of mostly shade loving plants ordered online from the Beth Chatto nursery. Plants arrived promptly and in beautiful condition. Includes: heuchera sanguinea white cloud, Polystichum polyblepharum, brunnera macrophylla and delphinium bellamosum (but that is for a sunny spot)
Particularly delighted with saxifrage dentata with leaves that look like they have been trimed with pinking shears. This will be planted in a spot that gets alittle evening sun
Tiarella, you can never have too many of these
Another Saxifrage, Chambers Pink Pride.
The finished bed using interesting pieces of wood from around the garden and just a couple of feature pots. Hard to spot but there are 40 foxgloves dotted through which should be beautiful next year.
Continuing round the corner. Plants need to fill out and cover more of the soil and the large euphobia might not survive the move at this time of year, we shall see, the rain has helped.

Thank goodness for the garden SonS

I work in a theatre which is currently closed. We are focused on keeping in touch with our audiences and this week it was my turn to share, in our weekly email to twenty thousand people, what I am doing to get through the shutdown. I shared how happy my garden makes me and a link to The Propergator blog. I wonder if anyone reading this joined the Six on Saturday gang through Worthing Theatres?

I love nothing more than unfurling fern fronds. This is the centre of my tree fern, Dicksonia Antartica.
This is the first year I have grown tulips and my garden colour palette is usually blue, purple and white but I am loving the vivid colour of Orange Princess. Will grow again next year.
Echium pininana grown from seed a couple of years ago. Had dozens but removed them because Hubble the dog was very ill after eating them. This one is in a chimney pot so out of reach
I love the colour combination of the Heuchera Orange Berry with the orange wall
Halesia tetraptera, the snowdrop tree.
Last week I introduced my new greenhouse. Already full of seedlings!

My first greenhouse

One of my dreams has come true. I am now the proud and delighted owner of a beautiful, olive green greenhouse. It was delivered and erected back in March luckily before the shutdown. It is just 4ft by 6ft but already full of seedlings and plug plants happily growing.

The chosen location
The site is cleared
The base is laid, the wall is painted
The greenhouse is up
Looks beautiful and like it has always been there
Quickly full of seedlings and cutting.

I did also make room for a comfy chair and it has become my happy place. Something we all need right now.

Wrapping SOS

It is panto season (Oh no it isn’t) so working in a theatre this means it is crazy busy. Every year I make sure my wrapping is done before December- wrapping the presents but more importantly wrapping my tender plants.

1) Staring with the tree ferns

2) Horticulural fleece

I like the green coloured fleece. It protects the plants but still looks fairly natural.

3) Succulents

My succulent collection is now under the garden table to keep the worst of the rain off. Most seem fine through the cold winter but cold and wet will kill them. Later in December I will wrap the table legs with clear plastic for extra protection.

The scills violacea, silver squill ledebouria currently sat on the top of the table have spent the last six month dotted around the garden looking beautiful. They will move indoors next weekend.

4) Window boxes

The window boxes on the front of the house have had a seasonal makeover. I have to remember to water them because even after a downpour they are bone dry.

5) Bananas

The bananas have been sawn down to just two foot from the ground and then wrapped in fleece.

6) A cosy winter project

I have been labelling my pots for the last two years but was seduced by the lovely looking bamboo labels. Lovely looking for the first six months, unreadable after a year!

So I ordered black plastic labels and permanent white paint pens and I am slowly working through my 220 pots, looking up the plants that I have forgotten. A relaxing job that connects me to the garden even on cold winter days.

That is it from me, do visit The Propergator blog to see SOS from gardens across the UK and several further afield. It is like peaking over people’s garden fences!

Late to the party but very well dressed – sos

Rainy and cold weather means I have not been tempted out to the garden. However a couple of unexpected blooms caught my eye from the bathroom window. So I popped out for a closer look and two hours later I was still out there, in my pyjamas and wellies, planting the last of the bulbs, unaware of the drizzle.


The grower at Hampton Court promised these lilies would flower in October so delighted to still have blooms in late November


A beautiful flowering heuchera, not sure which one.


Delighted by salvia amistad, my first time growing it and will now never be without it.


Plectranthus ciliatus is flowering it’s heart out. A lovely surprise in the back section of the garden.


Ceramic blooms could been seen as cheating but they are beautiful and lift the spirits through the darker winter months.


Finishing on the beautiful birthday gifts from my sister.

Lisbon – SoS

I had to tear myself away from my own garden projects this week to spend a delightful couple of days in Lisbon. A beautiful city with Portuguese Tarts on every corner.

1) We selected a house with a courtyard garden so I write this happily sitting under a huge avocado, a lime tree and a Japanese medler wondering at the climbing Asparagus fern with its spiny branches.

2) Botanical Garden of Lisbon

These gardens are hidden in the centre of the city and currently the glass houses are closed for refurbishment. There are many mature trees and an impressive dry garden but generally the gardens feel run down and in need of love and investment.

Incredible Swiss cheese plant

One of the many huge agaves

3) This exotic tree on a street in Lisbon stopped me in my tracks, still trying to find out what it is.

4) The Cold Glasshouse located in Parque Eduardo VII, has about 1.5 hectares of glass houses that are unheated but are far from cold. They are completely wonderful and only just over 3 euros entrance fee.

5) Another Swiss Cheese plant, I bought one of these for our sitting room last week never imagining I would see so many of them in Lisbon

6) Devil’s backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana). It is always a thrill to see a plant you nurture on your kitchen windowsill casually growing outside with little if any love.

Do follow The Propergator and join in the fun of Six on Saturday.

Wisley Garden Show – SoS

Yesterday I spent the day at Wisley Gardens for their late summer show. From a retail point of view it is my favourite show of the year. My garden used to go into decline from July but over the years the Wisley Show has helped me become a year round gardener with colour and interest through to the frosts.

1) 21 plants purchased, I did get a little carried away!

My Mum showed more restraint with just six beautiful plants

And my sister just had four (but she is moving house soon)

2) Most interesting plant phytolacca americana , they say the Declaration of Independence was signed with ink made from the berries of this plant. Will grow to two meters and enjoys a shady border.

3) Have been after a fig with cut leaves for some time, this is ice Crystal

4) Saw a bush honeysuckle (rather than climber) on one of the recent gardening TV programmes so delighted to find this one – Lonicera Stawberries and Cream

5) It is funny how tastes change, a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have even glanced at a Begonia but I find myself drawn to their beautiful foliage. This is Silver Splendour.

6) Last and most expensive purchase was telescopic pruners. I have a walled garden with walls well over 3m high and I have worked hard to cloak them in green climbers. These pruners were worth every penny (£50) because I no longer have to wobble at the top of a ladder to keep on top of the tendrils. Works brilliantly (though the job has to be broken down in to ten minute sessions to avoid neck ache)

Do check out The Propergator’s blog and why not do your own Six on Saturday.

Kew Gardens – SoS

My meeting in London finished earlier than expected on Wednesday so I hopped on the District Line and spent a very happy couple of hours at Kew Royal Botantica Gardens. I have been hoping to see the Chihuly: Relections on Nature since it opened in April, I couldn’t resist the chance to visit before the garden in full of children on their summer holidays.

1) Beautiful sculpture at Kew2) My favourite pieces3) Glass in the glasshouse4) Dreams of my own glasshouseAh to one day have a glasshouse, not a greenhouse (though that would be wonderful) but a full on glasshouse.

5) Plant inspirationWill definitely grow cobaea scandens from seed next year.Beautiful viola hederacea

6) What did I buy?

All from the half price bench.

Calocephalus Brownii – looks like it has been sprayed with silver paint, completely tender but really interesting

Primula capitata, not sure what colour the flowers will be but lovely blue grey leaves.

Primula auricular, half price and in a terracotta pot.

Scindapsus pictus to add to my hanging house plant collection in the kitchen

Violas, no label so no idea what they are. Had to buy it after seeing the viola in the glasshouse

Back to my own garden today, no need to water so just some gentle deadheading and staking.

Six on Saturday – agapanthus, lilies and ladders

This was an exhausting week with a three day conference in Newcastle. On my return from drizzly grey skys I was taken by surprise by the thirsty tired plants in my garden. A good water and dead head helped but jury is still out on one of my new heucheras, the label clearly said shade, I should have positioned it more carefully.

By this morning pretty much everything had perked back up.

1) Agapanthus

I have ten different agapanthus plants and last year I had just one flower, not one plant flowering, literally one flower. I did my research, moved the pots to the sunniest parts of the garden, fed and watered during late summer and this year four are in flower, two in bud and four still just healthy green leaves maybe they will flower next year.

2) Beautiful lilies

And they smell wonderful. I have a second pot in bud and the promise of flowers in nine weeks from the bulb seller at Hampton Court.

3) Forgotten..

This is a voodoo lily (arum cornutum) bought at Hampton Court maybe five years ago. I had forgotten about it and stacked various pots of ferns on the raised bed. Still it fought its way through, love the leopard print stems.

4) Tetrapanax papyrifer Rex – Chinese rice paper plant.

This plant has gone crazy!

5) The big task – tendrils taking over

Before – the green wall needs attention

The mess!

The beautifully groomed wall after a day running up and down the ladder.

6) Mystery plant

My sister was given this lovely plant from a friend at work. Does anyone know what it is? Hoping we can grow more from its seed for next year.

Happy gardening, may the lovely weather continue.

That is my six, do visit The Propergator blog to find out how to be part of the gang.

Hampton Court Garden Festival 2019 – purchases

Heuchera Silver Gum Drop – first time I have seen this steely silver foliage. Vibrant pink flowers. Shade loving.

Heuchera Paris – green leaves with deep rose flowers. Sun or light shade.

Heuchera Peach Flambe – peach leaves turning to plum by winter. White flowers. Sun or part shade.

Bergonia Luxurians

From Brazil has umbrella, palmate leaves with small white and yellow flowers. Semi shade, moist soil. Needs to come in for winter.

Six white lily bulbs called Lingerie