Showing posts from May, 2020


I should have been at Press Day at Chelsea Flower Show today, but instead I'm thinking about it from the comfort of my own home. It's rather nice that a little bit of Chelsea has come to me instead, in the form of the pictured clematis, 'Olympia', which was due to be launched at the show today. I'd planned to reveal it in its full glory, but instead I've had a little insight into the kind of angst the growers and garden designers go through in their preparations. It arrived a couple of weeks ago from 'the Lovely Mr Evison' (as I call him), packed with love and full of health, vigour and bud. And it's remained that way ever since, despite my finding it a special pot on the patio. I think last week's cooler weather held it in check, and - like many of the exhibitors this has happened to - I expect it to finally reveal its blooms during Chelsea week after the judges have passed on by. I'll post an update when it does, in the meantime

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: Diascia

I came across Diascia  (aka Twinspur) for the first time 20 years ago when I started going to Franks Plants sales here in Chippenham. The blooms resemble those of Snapdragons, though the plants are more compact and like their Antirrhinum cousin, they're sold as bedding plants. Back then I used them as a filler plant for my borders; this year they're performing a similar role in some of my patio pots and provide a good dash of colour there in their preferred sunny spot. I learnt by accident* with my first planting that these can survive the winter and are in fact perennials, not annuals like most plants sold as bedding. It makes them a bargain plant in my view. Salmon isn't my first choice of colour, but as many of you know getting hold of plants under Lockdown has proved challenging. Now it's here, the colour's growing on me ('scuse pun). I was really pleased to find out on the grapevine back in late March  Meadow Farm Nurseries had a list of plants f

A Day in the Life

My WI Our Town group can't meet under Lockdown, so instead I set a task for everyone - who wants to - to keep a diary on the day we would have met. So far over 20 members have responded with quite different accounts of their ordinary day in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Here's the account of my day to join with them... My day starts with a walk round the garden after breakfast. I'm currently working out a mindful walk for a blog post to come - the idea is to provide a calming pause before the day's thoughts and emotions come crowding in. This scene's a little earlier to usual by a couple of weeks, probably due to April's sunniest on record. I'm used to coming back from Chelsea Flower Show later in May to find these clematis in full cry and they're currently my favourite part of VP Gardens . A bit of computer work followed by coffee on the patio with NAH. Thank goodness the weather's been mainly warm and sunny under Lockdown.

Sunshine and Sunflowers

I'm a little late with my #NationalGardeningWeek post this year because my head's been full of making it happen for other people. We've put together cards and some small gifts for all our WI members this week and I suggested we give everyone some seeds to grow, so our gift keeps on giving. Now I'd like to say the timing was all planned, but actually serendipity played a huge part 😉 Luckily my stash had enough 'Russian Giant' seeds for us to have a tallest sunflower competition, and just one packet of lettuce 'Merveille des Quatre Saisons' yielded around 1500 seeds (the packet said  approx 900 ) to divvy up. Everything was duly delivered yesterday in the sunshine and the response from everyone is full of smiles. Many sowed their seeds yesterday, so I'm playing catch up already. My friend Judy from Botanical Interests * often says 'It all starts with a seed'. In these strange lockdown times, I'm happy to add they also help to sus

It started with a lemon

It started with a lemon lurking at the back of the fridge... Then thoughts of what to do with a leftover chicken carcass from the weekend... Then the discovery of a forgotten packet of orzo at the back of the cupboard. And so... A stock was made and the chicken stripped. Then the other ingredients plus carrots and a large leek from our stores, plus fresh herbs from the garden (oregano, rosemary and lemon thyme), plus plenty of freshly ground black pepper, all combined to give a soup invented for a rainy day with the taste of holiday memories. I always smile and think of my mum when making chicken soup in whatever form as she would never let the carcass go to waste in her kitchen. Chicken stew with beans and dumplings was her go to midweek meal. This version was yummy, so I've jotted down what you need to do if you'd like some of the same, plus I have some notes on suggested substitutions if what I happened to have doesn't fit with what you have. I do love the p