Monday, 25 July 2011

Honey bush

This gorgeous foliage belongs to the honey bush, Melianthus major. Year after year, I grow it in my garden and, sure enough, year after year it expires.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Weed or wildflower?

Mock outrage at Friday evening’s Gardeners World as the very splendid Monty Don refers to Corydalis lutea as a weed. He was speaking of it with affection, so I think he’s excused, though I like to think of it as a wildflower. Granted it has a wondrous faculty for self-seeding, but it rarely has it inserted itself in a position where its presence has done anything other than brighten the immediate environment and, should it do so, it’s not hard to pull out.

I love it for its soft, ferny leaves, which remind me of aquilegias or the maindenhair fern Adiantum capillus-veneris, and yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers. It’s a delightfully unfussy plant, liking the margins of things, and will cope as happily with the shade under a tree or hedge as with a position on a sunny wall, in the cracks of which it frequently stations itself. All it requires is moderate drainage, and a slightly alkaline soil. In the shade, it looks great planted with epimediums and its not-too distant relative Dicentra ‘Ivory Hearts’.

It catches my eye, peering back at me from under the pyracantha hedge opposite the kitchen window. Company for when I’m doing the washing up.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Hampton Court Flower Show

Lots of really inspirational gardens and some wonderful plantsmanship in evidence at Hampton Court this year!

We loved the planting and the restrained colour palette in Charlotte Murrell’s Wild in the City garden for Wyevale East Nurseries, and her use of green oak posts and cut logs to form panels for the wall. Another breathtaking site was the amazing hedge on the Heathers in Harmony garden (shown here). It’s a modular vertical planting system (all the rage at the moment) with different heathers providing a tapestry effect. A deserving gold medal winner for designer William Quarmby.

Notable trends across the show included Grow Your Own (still going strong), sustainability, naturalistic planting for wildlife, and vertical gardens! Great stuff.

See our Facebook page for more comments and pictures from the show.

Telling tales

I’m beginning to suspect that the most successful people in any walk of life are the ones who tell the best stories. We all love a good story. It seems to be hard-wired into us in infancy, and we never lose that childlike trust to place ourselves in the hands of the storyteller and allow ourselves to be taken on a journey to an unknown destination. And who doesn’t still feel cheated on those occasions where the ending is given away before its alloted time? I think we all derive deep satisfaction from progressive revelation, and I’ve noticed this is something which the best gardens use to their advantage.