Meadow Farm – The Return


It was high time for a return visit to Rob & Diane Coles wonderful Meadow Farm Garden & Nursery at Feckenham in Worcestershire to see the Echinacea trial beds and get some inspiration from the planting schemes.

This time I decided to make it a visit with friends so 14 of our Cottage Garden Society group turned up for a tour with tea & cakes!IMG_20170801_152901

Just at the crucial “let’s have a group photo” moment, several members went missing in the shrubbery so we have a reduced headcount in this shot!IMG_20170801_151755

As usual, the beds and borders were looking magnificent, stuffed to the gunnels with delicious perennials of all colours and descriptions. Each time I go I either see something new or something I didn’t see last time. This time I made a note to acquire two new to me plants which would fit well into my garden.IMG_20170801_151410

Firstly, Allium angularis,  a short drumstick allium which, Diane assures me, flowers for months and doesn’t seed about like many others, preferring instead to gradually clump up and behave like a good allium should. The thing that made me take notice was the delightful bluey mauve colour which appear to start off almost white and gradually darken. It was also absolutely covered in honey bees and Diane reckoned it was one of the best bee plants in her garden. IMG_20170801_144806

The other  was Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’ which was another clumper as Di assured me she originally planted just one bulb. Not cheap but good value if it multiplies like this one has. Needs fertile but well drained soil and gentle support to hold it’s weighty spear of velvety red flowers.IMG_20170801_153953

And, finally, tea and cakes. The Raspberry Bakewell was delicious!

Wonderful Wisteria

Visited a friends pretty cottage garden this morning specifically to see her wonderful wisteria which is in all it’s glory.IMG_20170501_121103

This spectacular twining climbing plant adorns the front of Wendy and Alan’s cottage and is not only beautiful to look at but also releases a wonderful fragrance when in flower which is not sickly sweet but almost musky.

Cleverly bent round corners on wires and trained to perfection, this wisteria is not exactly easy maintenance but definitely worth the effort.IMG_20170501_121100

Easter Delights


There has been much debate about my white bluebells on social media this week. Are they Spanish or English? White English bluebells do exist although they are rare in the wild. In domestic gardens like mine they are much more likely to be a hybrid form and the sheer quantity of flowers per stem lead me to believe this even more. However, they make a nice change from the blue and take visitors by surprise.IMG_20170416_114354

I was surprised to find quite a few Cosmos seedlings in the front border this week and I am guessing they must be from ‘Xanthos’ which were nearby last year. This is a first for me, I have never had self sown Cosmos before. IMG_20170415_115644

We went to see some friends in their ‘new’ cottage this weekend, The Old Smithy in Harrold, near Bedford. They don’t claim any credit for their beautiful garden and are doing the sensible thing by letting everything happen for a year before making any changes. The bones are definitely there and few changes will be required, The previous owners did a great job of planting a selection of tried and tested shrubs and perennials.IMG_20170415_115427

The different levels and material changes add to the interest and the stone retaining wall helps to maintain the raised border without bending down. Early spring blossom is everywhere making it a garden for several seasons.IMG_20170415_115519

The arch covered with ivy and Clematis montana ‘Elizabeth’ is a joy and provides a colourful focal point where the driveway meets the garden,IMG_20170415_115716

And the separate garden alongside the drive is dominated by a wonderful and productive Bramley apple tree underplanted with Bergenias and tulips.

What a lovely start to the Easter weekend!


Wonderful Welsh Weather


It was a great opening day at the RHS Cardiff Flower Show last Friday and astonishingly good weather for early April. These two young ladies were highly entertaining and certainly tickled the lady from Petrichor Bulbs.IMG_20170407_135004

The narcissus display by Cornwall’s Ron Scamp was utterly breathtaking and demonstrated the sheer breadth of colour and form available from the humble daffodil.IMG_20170407_121410

Alliums in flower on 7th April?? Sadly not grown here but impressive nevertheless. I had an engaging five minutes with the supplier who confirmed that bulbs don’t sell unless the public can see the results for real, pictures just won’t do.IMG_20170407_131111

Can’t remember the name of this hydrangea but it was a stunner!IMG_20170407_123400

Unlike Michael Heseltine who, it has to be said, is now in his twilight years and should perhaps have left his book promotion to his publishers. I am sure Thenford is a wonderful estate but his slide show and presentation left a lot to be desired.IMG_20170407_141356

On a lighter note, I just loved this woven willow caterpillar which obviously took someone a lot of time and effort. It was greatly admired by all!IMG_20170407_142940

This ‘frameless’ greenhouse caught my eye but I am not sure it is going to catch on. One flying stone from a lawnmower, a poorly kicked football, an overloaded wheelbarrow or simply a fallen pot and the result could be interesting and expensive!IMG_20170407_124439

It was a great little show and good value compared to some of the bigger RHS events at just £9 entry for members. It was small though, probably due to the early date in the calendar, but I would go again just to get my first horticultural fix of the year.


Mid Week Review


Sometimes it’s the happy accidents that make the all the difference like this Euphorbia characias and Clematis macropetala, what a lovely colour combination.IMG_20170404_173008

Always exciting to see Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ piercing through the ground. It loves my heavy clay soil.


The Fritillaria imperialis just before I spotted a Lily beetle!


Who says Hyacinths don’t grow well after being forced in pots. This one is five years old and getting better every year.