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Showing posts from June, 2019

Great ideas from the Denver Fling

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In Denver I was asked why I come to the Garden Bloggers' Fling, especially as UK gardening is held in great esteem in the USA. Well, there's always the pull of seeing good friends and interesting places, plus I still have lots to learn and my visit was inspirational. Sometimes you have to get away from your own place to see things more clearly. Here are some of my key points from this year - many thanks to the organisers of this year's Fling and to all of the gardeners and organisations who made us so welcome.

Make an entrance...


This view has provided much food for thought since I've got back. I've seen large matching pots in doorways at many a Fling before, but these were exceptional. I have pots at my door too, but they don't match and they don't bring the front garden's planting nearer the front door. It's something to bear in mind as I plan my new front garden.


Here's a view which changed my plans for my front garden revamp. I'm planning…

Postcard from Colorado

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I'm back from a fabulous week spent in Denver at this year's Garden Bloggers Fling. The gardens - as usual - were amazing, but many of us found other stars of the show in the shape of the ever present mountain views and huge skies over the plains we passed through. It's a deceptive landscape because the flatter looking land hides the fact we were at an altitude of over 5,000 feet. Now I'm back I can understand the benefits of living that high: my regular Zumba class yesterday felt much easier and I could work harder without getting puffed!


This is a view from one of the private gardens we visited in the Boulder area and illustrates perfectly the importance of using the borrowed view in garden design. The owners of this property and many more we saw ensured they made the best of their natural resources, both in terms of scenery and local geology.

You can see the clouds building up over the mountains which brought rumbles of thunder in the afternoon and just a few spots…

GBBD: Hanging Baskets the Easy Peasy Way

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Most hanging basket guidance will give you a look that is burgeoning, beautiful, and relatively high maintenance. Last year's health woes meant I was not only later with planting up my hanging basket, there was also a limited choice of what I could actually put in there. Burgeoning was out and budget was in.

Then I remembered the clever use of Bidens I'd seen on holiday at Bishop's Castle a few years ago. Luckily there was still some left for sale, and the pictured basket was the result of just one plant. Not only that, it flowered right up to December. I learned later that Bidens can be grown as a perennial in the UK, though we tend to use it as an annual. Sadly my plant didn't survive past the first hard frost, though if I'd moved it from its north facing position to a warmer spot in the back garden, I may have had more success with overwintering.

Another accidental shortcut was my use of Dalefoot's Wool compost. Remember last year's drought? My basket f…

Spittle Spotting

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I've walked around the garden with more of a purpose than usual lately because I'm on the lookout for any plants with spittle, commonly known as 'cuckoo spit'. It's a sign a froghopper nymph (aka spittlebug) has taken up residence within the protective froth just like you can see in the photo above.

Until recently I'd thought these sap-suckers were relatively harmless, but now I see they're of concern as they're a chief carrier of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which results in the disease and death of many popular garden plants.

It hasn't reached the UK yet and the RHS would like it to stay that way. They've teamed up with the University of Sussex and Forest Research, who need thousands of volunteers - like you and me - to help map the distribution of spittlebugs found in gardens, meadows, grasslands and woodlands from April to late June.

We're being asked to report sightings of spittle, in our gardens or on plants elsewhere, through iR…

Chelsea Memories

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By now the Royal Hospital grounds should be back to normal and this year's Chelsea Flower Show is fading into memory. Quite a lot of my show coverage this year was elsewhere on social media, so I'm taking the opportunity to scoop it all up and keep a record of it on here.

Before I do that, I wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate Tom Hoblyn on his Dubai Majlis show garden. This was quite a different take on what the Middle East has to offer and I loved the rusty linking elements together with the planted highlights using my colour of this year's show, yellow.



There were a lot of innovative displays in the Great Pavilion and this gold medal winning one by Roualeyn Nurseries was a delight, especially as I bought a 'Garden News' from them at Malvern.


Staying in the Great Pavilion, Kirstenbosch's display was awash with their signature native flora.


Green walls were everywhere, and I particularly liked its use as a map.

I'm always on the lookout for unu…