A Spider’s-Eye Dew

Oh look!
There is dew in the grass…
All glittering in the morning sun…

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White Martagon Lilies

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This is the white Marathon or Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium martagon var. album). I grow these bulbs in the dappled shade of a cherry tree in my Woodland Permaculture garden. It is a notable late-flowering (June) woodland plant, creating bright highlights at a time of year when most other shade loving plants have finished flowering. It’s narrow profile enable it to be planted between lower growing plants which it rises above before flowering. Continue reading

Five Hostas

Hostas are the bad-boys of shade gardening: They come in literally hundreds of named forms with leaves that vary in size from 1 inch to 2 ft across. They go particularly well with ferns and other fine leaved plants like box: just look at all the textures in the picture above! (click on it to see the real details) But take care: Hosta come in soooo many different forms, colours and textures that collecting them can become addictive. I’ve resisted, and tried to use them only to add interest, not to become the main attractions. Except for today. Today they get a blog-post of their very own. Continue reading

Meadow Effect for a Hot Dry Bed

This narrow bed is right at the front of our house at the foot of a south facing wall. It’s a hot, dry situation, and being less than 2ft (0.6m) deep but 12ft (3.6m) long, it has always been a challenge to plant successfully. As you can see the bed is surrounded by a low box hedge, which is in need of clipping. (See post on clipping this hedge here). A couple of years ago I redesigned it with several long-flowering perennials that might tolerate such an environment, and as you can see, it has been quite a success. Continue reading

Dwarf Umbrella Plant

I obtained a specimen of Dwarf Umbrella Plant many years ago from The New Forest Nursery, which I grow successfully in a large round belly clay pot. I can’t remember how it met its end, but I missed its unusual architectural presence. I now have a clump growing happily along the edge of the Lawn Garden. Here is some information about the needs and growth cycle of this unusual and interesting perennial.


Rising from the bare soil, these alien-looking flowers form a little forest of pink trees in April. They are connected below the mulch by a strange knobbly branching stolons which has an almost animal, claw-like appearance. This plant, Darmera peltata nana, or Dwarf Umbrella Plant. Being a waterside or bog plant it needs moist soil, so I have planted it at the base of the down-pipe from the Workshop’s Green Roof (back right above). Continue reading