Wednesday 27 March 2013

RHS London Show: Great plant fair

I do like having the day off to go to an RHS show...the sun was wallet was full of £20 notes which needed to be spent and I needed some good plant action to get my mojo going

The show its self was ok, however a lot of the same nurseries, and a little similar to the one in February which I guess is because the weather has been so cold, but all in all a good show of spring beauty....lots of daffs which I was rather taken by, and some proper RHS competition stuff as there were lots of alpines laid out for judging and singular daffs in glasses.

Surprisingly I couldn't find any OTT daffs, the most expensive (which I was of course immediately drawn to) being £17.50 a bulb....all rather cheaper than the exclusive snowdrops....

All was going well until I realised that I had been round twice (both halls) and not found any plants I wanted to buy....don't get me wrong, I was willing, and I had sharpened my elbows in readiness to get past the hoards to get to the best plants, but there was nothing I wanted. What was wrong with me? have I changed? do I have everything? Even my good friend Peter who I was with, and who is going to be an amazing garden designer, found nothing... However almost when I had given up hope I spotted a Romneya which is on my must have list, buying it was a great relief...then sent me on a role and I bought an Arisaema nepehthoides which made me feel complete.

So all in all a good day wandering amongst plants, and the fabulous planty characters that make the horticultural world fabulous.

There is something about the freshness of spring plants that is rather glorious.... Pulsatillas are also very much one of a kind....

 The new growth of a Rheum palmatum behind a 'Brazen Child' which I should have bought in order to add it to my fantasy garden of plants with comedy names

This was about as exotic as it got with a couple of stalls of Restios which is all beginning to look a little familiar

There is something very special about the wall displays. Anyone for an embroidered Sempervirum?

Or what about a fantasy Arisaema with Bald Eagles roosting in the top and deer grazing underneath ?

I think the picture speaks for its self...

I *love* Asarums....they look so alien, however growing them in the garden the flowers are a little lost as they are so close to the ground. Wandering the garden with my Uncle he remarked 'oh that is a nice cyclamen' (pointing at the Asarum)'

I also had a few moments pondering house leeks as they are all so nice and exciting as they look so exotic, however whenever I grow them they get smaller and smaller until they disappear or get consumed by weedy grasses or Groundsel....

Sunday 24 March 2013

Joyous Spring

Well it is supposed to be spring, the days are officially longer than the nights and all the daffs are trying to push through, however it is cold and snowy. I managed about an hour of gardening on Friday, which was 59 minutes more than I thought I would do. I have been out in the garden however this only lasted as long as my mug of tea and most of that was in the summerhouse under blankets.

So  a weekend of staying inside, trying to become a painter, planning and singing David Bowie songs (I had a lot of self restraint not to go to the exhibition at the V&A today, but to wait to go with Steven) however Ziggy plays guitar...

TV wise it was funny to see Victoria's garden on Gardeners World, although I didn't think it looked as good on TV as it does in the flesh as last year it was fabulous.

NGS wise things are also beginning to happen again as Janine did her paraphernalia run and we got our carrier bag of NGS London booklets. I have been reading it cover to cover in bed marking off the gardens I want to go to and trying to see if there are other exotic gems to be had. Sofar those getting an asterisk include a newly opening garden in Herne Hill, the group opening in Kew, a few in Hanby/Fournier Street and perhaps one next to Fulham Palace. It will be good to get visiting again as I have been missing the NGS cake.....

Well its spring....I have to have photos of daffodils.

The snow hasn't been as bad here as elsewhere in the UK, we got a light dusting that when blown in the wind made the lawn look like waves

I have been a good gardener and been out protecting the remaining Echiums which haven't lost their growing point. I *hope* they are ok

Below is the part of the garden occupying most of my thoughts as the ground is terrible and it is dry but exposed and I need to screen the houses...

I still have 2 compost bags full of Jerusalem artichokes to get so many off each plant!

Rows of plants still waiting to find a is so easy to buy off the Internet, but so hard to actually find a space for them

 Beasts keep watch waiting for summer......

Monday 11 March 2013

March: plans, new life and oldies

Today it is snowing which isn't quite the March I have been experiencing so far where the daffodils are just out and things are coming into life. I have now had a few weekends of gardening and it is great to be outdoors again moving plants around and thinking about the future. I have also been dividing up plants like a proper gardener with 2 forks back to back levering them apart (usually I just aim a spade through the middle with brute force and hope for the best!)

The big news has been that I have decided to open the garden on May 19th as part of the Dulwich Helpline/Southwark Churches Care garden safari....yes this may be a little crazy as the garden is very much a late summer garden and its not at its best in May. However I like the idea of a safari (perhaps I will wear my pith helmet) and the nice chair lady was good at sweet talking me and how could there be a garden safari on my road without my garden? Quite how it will look I have no idea as I think it all depends on if the Forget-me-nots are out as if they are it will be a beautiful sea of blue as I let them self seed everywhere. If not it will look rather empty.....however I can wax lyrical about carnivorous plants and there will be some special things tucked away. Who knows with this weather?! last year the 19th May was a sea of blue, the year before dry and desolate...

Anyway I thought it was time for a bit of a tour of the garden

This is a new archway leading into a bit of a hidden seating area which I found being chucked out on the road last year....I was dead butch and put it together properly with screws and everything....I attempted to move the Paulownia next to it but it was too much trouble (well it is 4yrs old and about 12ft tall)

 The pond with the wrapped banana, in summer you cant see the walls for foliage
 Tetrapanax just beginning to grow again. hurrah!
View of the main lawn with 4 Echiums which have (so far) survived winter. If they could then flower on May 19th I would be much obliged
 This is my side way with my new special Schefflera...Cannas and bananas are still in leaf!
 Ganesha welcoming people to the new lands, all a bit sparse with foliage but I have a feeling that the bamboos behind him will be humongous soon
Another new project, an archway made of a couple of big fence posts and a dug up iron structural thingy

 Look and be amazed at how clear and neat my veg patch looks, it could be from a textbook!
 Jerusalem artichokes are the bane of my life at the mo....last year they were fabulous as I used them all over the place as from 3-5 tubers they grew to be about 8ft tall and were fantastic screening, however now I want to plant other things I need to dig them all out as and boy have they multiplied and got everywhere. I also cant eat them quick enough (we have had 2 soups, and roasted them which was yummy)

 Rhubarb is growing big time...I recently saw that their name is derived from 'Root of the barbarian'
 My miserable purple sprouting broccoli....mauled by the pigeons and I was too lazy to net it in time. I hope I can get some
Flowers of Petasites japonica.....really weird things which are a bit otherworldly, however the bees seem to like them
This is a Rheum looks a bit evil with its thick roots and bright red new growth like little cherries about to shoot
This is my grand tented Echium banana protection tent....
 New growth of peony
 Ive been busy moving bamboos....the Pseudosasa is all by the fence as I am seeing what an invasive plant it could be as in a year has put out loads of roots. This way it should screen off the road nicely.....Ive also flexed my muscles sawing up a dustbin of bamboo from Phil and Nic, hard work!

 Not all the Echiums have survived, but I think I must have about 8?

 Object trouve
 ....and finally Podophyllum just coming through. Last year this one got zapped by frost and died so I am so pleased to see if has come back. hurrah!