Archives for category: plant photopraphy

 

I have spent the last seven years designing and caring for the Wild’s family garden.

The two main borders are undeniably long – coming in at around 40 metres.   Planting is in  large-scale blocks, generally around 2 metres square.

Silver birch trees were planted as young saplings six years ago. Now, during winter  the  white stems provide good visual structure from the house.

A stream bissects the garden, leaving the soil naturally  damp.  I have planted swathes of many of my favourite plants that like  these conditions including  Gunnera manicata, Rodgersia aesculifolia, Ligularia denticulata, Flag Iris and Marsh Marigold,

Adjacent to this sits another long border containing many of my favourite  big perennials.

The white daisies and Rudbeckia herbstonne are still in tight bud at the moment, but it wont be long before they are in full flower.

Achillea millefolium Gigantea, Helianthus Lemon Queen, Cephalaria gigantea and  Globe artichokes are looking  stunning at the moment.  These are big plants, in a big border.

Do I consider this , or any other garden in my care complete ?  No.  I will shortly be planting  Veronicastrum virginicum  Album-  a truly  majestic white perennial.  I do feel  their presence should be in abundance in this  garden.104

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever looked in detail at an Autumn cyclamen?

In addition to their stunning flowers,  they have a fascinating method of seed dispersal; with the spent flower stem, coiling back, bringing  the seed closer to the ground for localised seed dispersal.

How clever is that ?  (very)

Take some time to look in detail at the plants in your own garden; look under  shrubs and  in woodland areas on your travels.  You won’t  be disappointed.

 

 

I really enjoy propagating  plants from seed

006This year I grew  Coreopsis hybrida Incredible Tall mix, grouping  it with  Achillea terracotta. I love the combination of these two plants, and can  imagine it working really well as a huge drift in a long border, and  I have one customers garden in mind to try this out.

Scabious atropurpea Black cat, a brilliant self seeder, fantastic colour and the seed heads remind me of miniature pineapples.008

My favourite plant from seed this year is Hordeum jubatum – Squirrel tail grass.  It was really simple to germinate, and has looked stunning for weeks.  Thankyou Thompson and Morgan seeds.009

It has been a truly busy working  week, Images from my own , and gardens in my care follow.

Less than a week to  go until  Bridgwalton  House  re-opens to the public. All money raised will be donated to the Lingen Davies Cancer Charity, in memory of Geoff’s wife Mary,  who  created, tended and undeniably loved this award-winning garden with great passion.  Sadly  I never met Mary, however I really do feel that I meet her through her garden on a weekly basis, she really was an incredibly knowledgable plantswoman and designer, it  is a privilege to work at Bridgwalton.

Without doubt this garden is  immensely beautiful right through out the year. On  Sunday  the garden will be filled with the scent and colour of exquisite roses, perennials and  peonies.

Several of Marys friends have provided invaluable help as we have worked our way through the garden to ensure it will look  at its best –  the silver birch need their bark scrubbed to make them white again, borders need weeding, the topiary needs clipping, and finally the paths will need sweeping, and I need to gen up on some plant identification , as I am down for gardening advice.

If you are passing Telegraph Road near to Bridgnorth   between 2 – 5 p.m on  the 19th please consider calling  in, it would be lovely to see you in Marys garden.  Entry of £5.00 per adult,

Saturday 28th May, a day at my favorite flower show,  with my sister, and a catch up with Carolyn who I met twenty years ago whilst studying for a  post grad in Landscape Architecture. We will discuss design – I am so looking forward to tomorrow.

Lou and I will be there when the gates open at eight, which provides the perfect opportunity to view the show gardens in all their glory before the avenues fill with the Chelsea masses. Followed by  coffee in the artisan area, then  back to the gardens and show stands followed by more coffee and finally several hours in the truly magnificent three acre floral pavillion. The plant sell off bell will ring at 4.00, and horticultural mayhem ensues. In addition to all this, we always make time to test out bespoke garden furniture, and admire  beautiful bird baths

So no new images for this year yet.  These  are a collection of some  of my favorite images of Chelsea over the last ten years.  I cannot wait to see what is in store this year.

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the wind,rain,and snow this week there have been several trees worth of stunning blossom, and stop you in your stride Spring bulbs.  Enjoy

This metre tall Fritillaris Imperialis  Rubra may not be to everyone’s taste. However  I am quite a fan.  In April their boldness and exquisite colour  always stops  me  in my  tracks for a moment to admire their beauty.

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My recommendation is to  brave the weather, and enjoy the blooms.

Last year, I put together a new garden using  divided clumps of perennials .  Ladies mantle, Cat mint, Geranium Rozanne, Sysirinchium striatum and Astrantia major to name but a few.  All flowered profusely over several months.

With  the onset of Spring all my clients perennials are now under scrutiny,  anything  slightly congested and woody is  being  rejuvenated, through division (or complete removal  if they are no longer of merit).  This will  make a  huge difference to their health and flowering capacity, ultimately  creating space for new  or soon to be propagated plants.

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With  newly created gaps in the border I can  start  designing.  Colour is my first thought,  I then start to link in appropriately sized plants.  My palette for home this year will  include chocolate brown, burnt orange,maroon , black , lime green, raspberry  and primrose yellow.  Below  are a selection of my choice plants.

Chocolate Brown –  Chocolate cosmos.  I planted these into containers at home last year,  brushing past them frequently  en- masse the scent is  chocolate heaven.    They looked particularly fine against Perovskia Blue Spire.  A  haze of metallic purple and brown, quite sublime.

Burnt Orange  –     The arrival of the Woolmans catalogue  has  spurred on my new interest in Chrysanthemums.   Evening Glow, described as having an effective golden glow is definitely on my list.

Burgundy/maroon –  If you can cope with the yellow flower then Lysimachia purpurea   with its intense  burgundy foliage  is definitely worth a space in the border.  It has the capacity of escaping its allocated space, however  not being deep rooted it is  easy to remove.  My absolute favourite perennial is   Knautia macedonica, with  a burgundy pin cushion shaped flower which billows through many  gardens from early Summer till late Autumn.

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 Black  – Centaurea Jordy  a deep plum, almost black flowering perennial  has been acquired.  I   have several packets of Black Currant Fizz  (see above) a hardy poppy, that will  be sown right through Wendy’s border.  This image is third year generated seed. Over time  they take on different  forms from their initial deep burgundy /black  to this mix of red and deep maroon.

Lime Green –   Euphorbia, their beautiful bracts are often willing to supply this colour.   I  have planted them in countless gardens, and my Euphorbia of choice – is Characias Wulfenii

What is your favourite colour ?  maybe you should include it within your garden or window box this year ?

 

 

 

 

 

035With the arrival of the vast majority of my seeds, plus a  huge  mound  of unopened and saved seed from last year, it was time to sit down, sort through, and  make  a  very large  plan.  I  whittled it down to  forty packets.  I have been sowing at a rate of ten a week.  Twenty down, twenty to go.

044Seriously – my excitement and anticipation is tangible  prior to the  first  green shoots  emerging.  Subsequently followed by  the  scent of growing plants and damp compost  filling the  air. It is a pivotal  time of year in  my   gardening calendar.  I patiently waited until  26th March,  due to the fact that  light levels had started to increase  exponentially.  There  really was  no point in sowing when the greenhouse  was cold and none too bright. In addition the 26th was mothers day and my request for a couple of bags of compost was met.  My first seeds germinated  in exactly seven days.  Every  morning I take a  coffee into my  greenhouse, lifting  propagator lids just to see what’s happening.  I truly find seed propagation addictive.

This year I will be sowing some seeds in mixed batches, in larger modules.  I am hoping that this will reduce the need to prick out   prior to planting out.  I have  mixed Ammi majus with Scabious Burgundy Beau.  I am way behind on making my raised veg beds, so decided to combine spinach in  modules and will plant out into my new beds (when I have made them..)  I have a week off at Easter, and they are on the top of my list, followed by sort out the garden, and strim the orchard.

When it comes to growing flowers I possess limited brakes.   My  palette of seed was chosen  to maximise  wildlife for our  garden, whether for nectar, shelter or  Winter food supply, all of which ultimately  creates  a truly beautiful garden to sit  and relax in after work.

These images are from last year, they are always on my must grow list.  I tend to buy my seeds from Thompson and Morgan and Sarah Raven.  I constantly find the quality of germination, price and customer service really good.

P1040566Verbena bonariensis , with iridescent tiny purple flowers which  bees adore.  Be patient , this  seeds germination rate  is definitely not uniform, often  taking  a few weeks for  all the seedlings to fill the  tray.  It truly amazes me that a sowing in March produces towering plants by late summer.

I have a passion for Tithonia rotundiflora  “Torch”  –  an annual with a textural  velvet like stem and bright orange flowers that last well into  late Autumn,   glowing in the sunshine and the rain.

 

P1060014Leonotis Leonaurus –  the staircase plant,  another firm favourite.  With a spiky  spherical flower structure, and  bright orange  salvia shaped petals bursting forth.  I grow it every year to provide  a real late Summer blast of brightness.

037So there you have it,  just a few of my seeds of choice .  My main recommendation is sit down,  have a brew and decide what you want to grow.

 

DSCN1007I like keeping  note of all things horticultural.  Plants I want to know more about, seeds to sow, gardens to visit,design ideas.  My notebook of choice is  Moleskine.    I love their quality and robustness. Always a prime consideration for any new tool of mine.

Fitting in my pocket  means it is always to hand, enabling me to make note of countless previously unknown plants that I have either seen or read about.  My first noteworthy perennial of this year is a rather fine Rudbeckia subtomentosa Henry Eilers, described as reaching a height of 1.5 m with small yellow daisy quilled petals with a brown button middle flowering from late Summer.

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I recently bought this box of RHS  postcards.  I am thinking of using them to keep clients up to date with my weekly gardening visits.  They are   exquisite botanical illustrations,  well worth the acquisition.  Far better than my scrappy note left on a piece of paper.

Image and note taking, two of my favourite horticultural activities, apart from garden making that is.   Images from week beginning 25th January 2016.

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Work continues in this dreary, grey  Winter. However Last week was  perfect for planting roses, moving  deciduous shrubs whilst musing on  what to grow from seed, as I sat in several greenhouses waiting for the rain to stop.

So, with time on my hands I contemplated  colour.  Coral, raspberry, primrose yellow, burgundy, chocolate brown and burnt orange are the main contenders at present. I took  this image last year.  I loved the  colour combination and the edible element it bought to the flower border.

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Thompson and Morgan have a new Cosmos this year.  Xanthos  is described as soft yellow.  To date this  is the  only  definite on my must grow  list.

I  recently moved  a vast amount of  2015 seed sown Stipa tenusimma from one garden to another .  It  was grown specifically  for a new border that needed gapping up last year.   There is now a definite structure plan that does not include Stipa, so  it is  venturing elsewhere.  Sharing plants is such a great way to create beautiful gardens.

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I firmly believe that in a large border, and  if soil conditions  and light levels permit, you can never have enough  Verbena bonariensis, Stipa tenuissima  or Globe Artichoke (Violet de Provence is a favorite of mine, and comes via Sarah Raven seeds).  I spent around £6.00 on seed,  ending up with at least  forty  decent sized plants last year.

Wednesday 13th January the frost finally arrived in Shropshire. At  long last some decent Winter pruning can begin in earnest.   Pruning is one of my favorite tasks. My  tools of choice are  as always  Niwaki secateurs and my Wolfgarten anvil loppers.

My favorite January images follow. Enjoy.