My new favourite secateurs ★★★★★

I just purchased a really great pair of secateurs at the local garden centre. They are mini size (6.5 inches long, and about ⅔ the weight of normal secateurs) but really well made, dropped forged carbon steel. They are very easy to carry in my pocket, and the blade is super sharp. There is nothing fancy about them – they are just a neat, precise piece of engineering with curves in all the right places. Continue reading

A Tapestry of Shade-Loving Plants

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This is approximately one third of one of the three rectangular raised beds in my woodland garden at the front of my house. It contains a number of shade loving plants that provide a continuously changing tapestry of interest throughout the year. The slideshow above tells you what each of the plants is and its season of interest. Continue reading

Local Landscapes 2 – Dramatic Drifts of Lady’s Smock

On the country drive I take to and from work there is a long straight section of hedge with a fifteen foot grassy verge in front. Each spring this verdant roadside stretch is illuminated with pointillist pale pink flowers of Lady’s Smock (cardamine pratense), forming intermittent drifts over 100 yards from end to end. Continue reading

Local Landscapes 1 – Glorious Golden Spring Poplars

My drive to work takes me along a narrow winding country road and over a little hump back bridge which is one of the few routes that guarantee I won’t sit waiting at a level crossing. I have become very familiar with this four miles of West Sussex countryside and accustomed to noting the subtle changes in the landscape. Continue reading

Green Roof – early spring 2017

The vivid lime-green of Euphorbia myrsinites and violet grape hyacinth are creating a striking patch of colour on the green roof right now.

The Euphorbia was only added last summer, so it is good to see it settling in happily. I am aware it can get rather large, so am hoping that the exposed situation and shallow soil (7cm) on the green roof will stop it getting too bit. Its spiky glaucous leaves look good here too. Continue reading

Late season apples

Apples in December

In my garden I have tried to include fruit varieties that extend the season as widely as possible. This is the first year that I have been able to pick apples in December extending my record to seven months of fresh fruit this year. As you can see, they are a good size, and in pretty good nick considering they have hung on the tree for six months. I picked them on December 3rd after several nights of frost. They were still firmly attached and could have been left even longer I expect, but the birds were taking an interest and I had lost a couple to furious pecking despite my attempts to cover them with netting. How do they get underneath? Continue reading

Extending the Season with Autumn Whites

autumn-white-kaffir-lily

There is something particularly classy about white flowers when they grow in isolation from other colours, especially when set off by evergreens and foliage plants. Not only do they pick up the low sun so well, but in twilight or by moonshine they glow with a ghostly light.

Here, then, is a selection of stylish white flowers that are in bloom  in my garden throughout autumn – a time when the garden can otherwise look rather forlorn. These gems can certainly lift the spirits as the nights draw in. Continue reading