Friday 15 July 2011

Hampton Court and superhero dogs

I went to the Hampton Court flower show last weekend which was great. I heard it said that this is now the largest flower show in the world, which I can believe! I have been going to Hampton since it first started and really like it as a show as it is quite accessible, and more importantly you can buy plants (you can’t at Chelsea).  Over the years it has got a lot bigger and better, in particular I think the show gardens are now a much better quality than they were with the show getting more coverage as a result.
I was going to buy this when I won the Euromillions with the ticket i forgot to buy..
This year they seemed to have re-jigged the layout, as last year there was a huge space where the Daily mail cottage used to be and it felt like a lot of nurseries weren’t there this year, I guess due to the difficult economic climate. In all it did feel well spaced, but that they were expecting to fit a few more places in.
Every show needs some random stuff
I didn’t know how I would feel about it, as Birmingham was quite close and as all my plant buying inhibitions were fully unleashed I didn’t know what I would buy..however that was all nonsense and I had a great ol time, and Steven and I left fully loaded up with plants needing a Taxi from Waterloo station to get home!
I want! why bother with lots of leaves, just have one! I want! a huge leafed Santolina
t was a good show, gardens wise it all seemed to be about sunken seating/eating areas which I liked and want to copy. Nursery displays were good....Desert to Jungle was there again with almost the same stand as at Birmingham, Amultree was also there but I thought there stand was very disappointing as it was just a few plants in their pots plonked on a table. Best exotic one was The Palm Centre which had a fabulous display of bamboos which was great to see in the flesh as they were all big thick specimens which I hadn’t seen before. Unexpected things were a developing lust for Venustrum, and a thirst quenched with buying a hardy lotus which I aim to grow in a large tub in my greenhouse
Lush (as they would say in Barry) buy me a vanload....
Sunday I actually managed to plant all the things I had bought (phew) and had some time to visit a great NGS garden in Herne Hill. This paled into significance however compared to the Brockwell Park Dog show which we stumbled across. Good lord this was amazingly amusing, as it had a superhero theme with lots of gods dressed as Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman...prettiest bitch competition and even ‘Dogs got talent’ where we were promised a dog singing New York State of mind (sadly it got stage fright)
However, we tore ourselves away and went off to the garden with two friends whom had never been to an open garden before....they were initially sceptical, but lured with the promise of tea and cake. It was a lovely garden on a slope with a bar (for drinks) at the top which was great to see. As we all sat on a table amongst the beauty, drinking tea and each eating our 2 slices of fabulous cake they were both sold on NGS, phew!
A dog in a wonderwoman outfit....who would have believed such things happened...

Thursday 7 July 2011


Everything is looking great at the mo, so this is a post with lots of pictures. I'm generally more into big foliage than flowers, but at the mo there are loads of things flowering their socks off. I'm also being intoxicated by the scent from a Trachelospermum jasminoides and from a lemon tree that was rather beaten up by the hard winter, but has survived and is coming back into leaf again.
Agapanthus: looking fab, but only flowering for a short time. They like being pot bound so are idea for lazy gardeners!
With NGS you only tend to open one day a year and it is so hard to pick a date when your garden looks the best as it is always changing with some areas looking great, then rubbish, then great again. I think if I didn't have so many annual plants then I would open about now as everything looks so fresh and has a lot of energy. I'm also wondering if I will have so much bedding stuff next year as I spent all last weekend weeding, and the idea of perennials that can fight the weeds off is very appealing.

Amicia zygomeris: this was a bit of an obsession to find last year. Great and odd looking plant loved by Christopher Lloyd, leaves fold up at night!

Clary: I'm growing this on the veg bit of the garden for cut flowers...pretty plant and a little odd
Everyone loves a good Corocosmisa, this is Lucifer the one most people seem to have. I had plans to have loads of Crocosmias as I found a specialist nursery in Casitor which was great, however all apart from Lucifer don't seem to like me! I'm particularly excited to grow one where the leaves get to be 5ft tall. I think the leaves are particularly good and a bit like young palm fronds
Day lily: I wasn't sure about these as I didn't think they are very jungly and have composted lots of the common orange one which was already in the garden, but I really like this red one as it has big flowers of a sultry red. I must admit it is still in a pot and I have no idea where to put it (and the 5 others I have) but seeing it flower has brought me round to them a lot more. Particularly if they are planted in a block, or to look like a river bank with their very fresh coloured leaves
Eucomis bicolour, Pineapple lily: I love these and have grown them for 15yrs as they look so exotic with their crazy flowers and mottled flower stem. I'm trying to grow lots together this year as they look good on mass....the only thing is they are smaller than I remember, but have just re dosed with 6X

Perennial digitalis (sorry Im forgetting my Latin today!) lovely and primordial, I think I will collect the seed and grow lots next year

Dahlia 'Roxy' which all of a sudden seems to be everywhere and honeywort which Im growing for the first time. honeywort is great as the flowers are a bit odd and the foliage is a glaucous blue that I like..however I do have a horrible feeling that it will be looking tatty come September..

Musa basjoo and Iris confusa...annoyingly i stuck this banana right in the corner between a tree stump and the wall during a time when I was more keen on Musa sikkimensis, however Im very fickle with my love affairs and now its all about basjoo again, I show my love with a big scoop of pelleted chicken manure
Nigela hispanica: new one to me, relative of love in the mist Im growing for cut flowers, beautiful shade of blue and foliage, Im hoping it will seed around

Paulownia is another lover at the mo as I just love how quickly it is growing and just stand staring at it

This is Persicaria virginia? I love the foliage but until now it hasn't done that well. Red dragon is the one everyone grows which is also great but i think the whole family is worth exploring
Podophyllum...obsession from earlier in the year (thank you mark and Gaz)
Pumpkin terrace finally going a bit crazy: Beena and Stu your namesakes are both in the foreground, how are your big boys?
Salvia involucrata "Bethellii".

Solanum laciniatum: kangaroo apple: thankfully the slugs didn't eat all these: great foliage and odd fruits

Tithonia: first year of growing it and I will grow loads more next year. Great simple flowers, very bright, tall (about 3ft so far) and quite exotic, also very easy from seed
I have also 'planted' this tree trunk that has been rotting there for many years. I think it looks quite interesting up and a bit like those fossilised trees you pay loads of money for
Finally a Zinnia (note the a-z theme here) pretty and nice colour but I was wanting something a bit more like the Tithonia, big and a bit aggressive...The zinnia is a bit too twee, but perhaps they will grow...