Monet’s house is pink with shutters of Early Learning Centre green. A strange colour that is daubed about outside: on the Japanese bridge and all over all the ironwork for the roses. We tramp round the rooms and see a little inside the artist’s life. 23 volumes of Fleures des jardins de l”Europe in the bookcase, Japanese prints spun over blue walls in a small bedroom, paintings by Cezanne and his coterie hanging here and there. The sun streams in through breton lace curtains.
Continue reading Giverny: a record of a visit
From the Arc de Triomphe it is less than 40 kilometers to Maule – a leafy village just beyond spitting distance of the capital. It’s on the west side of Paris and in a wide agricultural plain made up of fields of rape, wheat and barley. In between there are strands of forest and lanes of prosperous mid-west housing that lead into the heart of the old village.
Continue reading Wildflowers to be seen near Paris
Yew edging at David Austin Roses
Box blight is becoming a scourge. I read a recent article in the gardening press that offered alternatives to Buxus sempervirens. None of the plants on the list did the trick for me. The thing about box is that it tolerates dry shade. Lavender? catmint? hyssop? Please – they all want sun.
Obedient to the topiarists scissors? I don’t think so and despite the rumours, the murmurs and the full blown fear of blight getting its toehold round here, I went and bought bare rooted box plants to grow on and take cuttings from. They make me feel the ticking a time bomb. That blight is creeping every nearer.
Continue reading Can yew combat box blight?
“The best garden in Italy? Undoubtedly Ninfa” whispered the olive oil taster.
Set out of the way in dusty ravine country about an hour outside Rome, it is not easy to visit. Preserving the place from the trample of footfall, it opens only on one Sunday per month.
Continue reading La Ninfa – the most romantic garden
Long ago we had a cat and an attic in Peckham. Seed trays were lined up to bask in the light beaming down through the sky lights. The cat got up there and thought we had left her a litter tray. It put me off seed sowing for years.
But there is no better way of gardening and here are my tips for direct sowing annuals for summer into autumn flower displays.
1. Trust the season and hold back on sowing until weeds have started to germinate – ie the soil is warm enough and with high enough moisture content. (Get on with it now to catch a September display).
2. Ground preparation is critical – hoe off the weeds, lightly fork over, tread the whole area gently and then rake and rake until the surface is a fine crumbly texture. This is called a tilth and should run through your fingers.
Continue reading 10 tips for the direct sowing of flowering annuals
This collage effect is a mole in the dull shade round the Mere below our castle. The boot (mine) is in there to show scale. How do moles (so very small) manage to throw up such large hills? They dig like crazy and also make perfect loam. I wish I knew how to harness these skills.
This weekend I went to Fibrex, the nursery for pelargoniums, ivies and ferns. The unlikely name comes from a long family history in nursery growing which started out as a rose business. The family bought it from a man who had a clever notion of how to pot the roses up for sale. An unfashionable recipe of clay and peat.
Continue reading Which Ivy? Where?
The wholesale catalogues from the bulb nurseries have already slapped through the letterbox. For 2013 I have taken a vow not to leave the ordering of tulips and narcissi etc till the last gasp.
Continue reading The Best Tulip Award goes to Tulipa Cairo
If anyone can give me some sound advice on how to sow this way for a perfect even sward – please send me a message.
Back flooded into my mind fluttered a scary day at college when, under exam conditions, we had to sow a patch with lawn seed. It involved the kitchen scales, measuring out amounts – all very precise. Then by eye working out the area of ground and a division of amount of seed per square metre. Seed portions worked out, we were to sow into our well prepared ground in one direction and then across it. Finishing up with a light raking and watering well.
Continue reading Broadcasting my woes on broadcast sowing
It is always at the Chelsea Flower Show but it’s easy to ignore it.
kinetic piece David Watkinson
The stalls that pin themselves round the Show Gardens and in the folds of the Great Tent are pop up shops. Amongst the forest of teak benches and at either end of the spectrum there are some incredible things to look at or buy.
Continue reading Why the gorilla?