Easter Delights

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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!

 

Mid Week Review

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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.

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The Fritillaria imperialis just before I spotted a Lily beetle!

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

Reds

Garvinea 'Rachel'

Garvinea ‘Rachel’

There is something about red. I just love it. I seem to be drawn to it. It is warm and ripe and hot. I have a lot of reds in the garden. Here are just a few.

Salvia microphylla 'Royal Bumble'

Salvia microphylla ‘Royal Bumble’

This pretty Salvia is in flower at the moment right outside the garden room window alongside the popular ‘Hot Lips’.

Red Pelargonium

Red Pelargonium

Pelargoniums are such a reliable performer in a hot summer and I always buy a few to put in pots around the patio.244

I love big blousy red poppiesDahlia 'Redskin Mix'

 

And red dahlias…this is ‘Redskin’051

And Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ a chance seedling introduced by Perry’s nursery in Enfield017

You might have read about my love of chillies and this particular Cayenne variety which grows so well in my greenhouse

Yum Yum!

Yum Yum!

And finally, our scrumptious and reliable autumn raspberry ‘Brice’ .

Just can’t resist red!

 

Germinating Strawberries

When I finally got down to sowing the Toscana F1 strawberries from DT Brown, I read a few reviews and blog items and it seemed that germination was a bit tricky, particularly at this time of year, even in a propagator. However, I came across a “surefire” way of getting the pesky little seeds to germinate on an american homemade youtube video which looked promising so I decided to give it a try and……………….it worked!014

A week after placing the tiny seeds on damp kitchen paper sealed inside a ziplock plastic bag kept in a warm, light place, seven out of ten have germinated. I am not bothered about the others at the moment, experience has shown they can be erratic so they can stay in the bag a bit longer.

In the meantime, I have just carefully transferred the seedlings by toothpick into a pot of sieved seed compost. Fingers crossed!012

 

Froggy!

One of this years additions to the cutting garden was Chrysanthemum ‘Froggy’ from Sarah Raven and it has produced a bumper crop of small green button flowers, perfect for a contemporary looking vase. Obviously it would work well teamed with white, yellow or pink but it also looks good just on it’s own set off by the darker green of the foliage.

Confused Campanula

All the Campanulas have finished flowering, had their seed collected and been cut down – except this one! Funny how some plants just won’t give in!

This Campanula latifolia was one of several grown from seed in March and planted out at the same time and yet is either flowering again or is at least 6 weeks behind the others. What a strange year it has been!

David’s Dilemma!

The statue of Michaelangelo’s ‘David’ has followed us around for many years. It was a present to my wife when she left work and we feel compelled to have him ‘on show’! He has been nestled in a shady corner out of main view since we arrived and gradually, the ivy has got to work on him. We have always been slightly concerned about offending the sensibilities of our elderly female friends and neighbours and so nature has kindly provided a solution!