Showing posts from May, 2015

Garden open today (with a bit of help from my friends)

It's been a busy week. Monday was press day at Chelsea, Tuesday morning I had to file for The Independent, so that left Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to get ready for the Bibury Open Gardens day today. All went swimmingly until I tripped over the kitchen step while running into the house to answer the phone. I was taking off my gardening gloves as I ran, and I fell on my left hand, which was clutching my gloves. At first I thought I'd bruised a rib, but when I asked the local pharmacist for advice about painkillers,  she said it sounded like an intercostal strain, or even a torn muscle. Great! And I'd just started getting a cold. Sneezing or coughing was going to be a whole heap of fun. The Open Gardens event raises money for the village hall, so to be asked to take part is not only a huge compliment but also a practical way of helping to sustain community life. I was determined to go ahead with the garden opening, but the way I was feeling (and I was feel

Chelsea Flower Show 2015

It's a good Chelsea this year. There is a wider variety of gardens than last year, there are some new(er) faces, and while some of the big designer names are taking a year out (Andy Sturgeon, for example, plus Cleve West and Tom Stuart-Smith), others have returned to the show - notably Dan Pearson, with his Chatsworth garden, inspired by the trout stream at the famous Derbyshire estate. The garden (above) is an example of what Pearson does best - a deceptively simple design that looks as if a piece of the English countryside has been uprooted and transported to the centre of London. The lush waterside planting includes ferns, rheums and candelabra primulas. Three of the most striking gardens on Main Avenue (where most of the big show gardens are housed) are inspired by very un-English landscapes, however. The Hidden Beauty of Kranji recreates the tropical atmosphere of a suburb of Singapore, the Sentebale garden is inspired by the southern African country of Lesotho, and The

RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2015

On Thursday, I headed up to Worcestershire for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival - or, as everyone usually calls it, "Malvern", or "the Malvern spring show". It's only about an hour by car from where I live, but I was a bit pushed for time, so I didn't look at the show gardens. I spent most of my visit in the marquee, or looking at the plant stands, but Patient Gardener  has posted about them, so have a look at her pictures. I've always liked the Malvern spring show, but I agree with Patient Gardener that it gets better every year. The standard of displays in the floral marquee was very high, with mouthwatering selections of plants on sale. Because it's held in early May, it's a fantastic place to buy woodland plants or plants for shade, such as hostas, or tiarellas, or epimediums. You are guaranteed to see varieties that you won't see in the garden centres, such as Roger Proud's gems, from East of Eden nursery in Carlisle, or The Plant