Wednesday, 29 March 2017

e's extraordinary garden

I'm staying at my sister's this evening, as I'm on two unconnected days working in London. They're in the final stages of doing up their big townhouse (they both work, and they're raising kids, so it's a very long-term project). the conference ends in reasonable time, so I'm in early enough for a brief look at how their garden is doing, the second spring after the garden designer did her thing.

It's very much in the Chelsea show-garden style, with huge brightly-coloured planters and a big flat yellow fashionaly curvy wall/planter arrangement separating off the patio area (which tidily extends out at the same level as the kichen floor, a modern affectation I can't help but find seductive). Steps lead down to a semi-planted paved area, the risers decorated with quirky tiles (there was a fight with the designer here, but my sister had the right idea, as any number of Pinterest boards will demonstrate) and a variety of decorative/kitchen bobbins (a big trough, a strawberry wall). There is a Wisteria, which I think is specified in the area regulations (all privately owned houses abovea certain size must have a Wisteria).

Beyond the yellow wall, two slightly annoying trees were replaced with one that would be less annoying, if only it would thrive (trees take soime years to settle in, though, so it'll probably get there), and a play area with its own basketball net/climbing wall has replaced the rat-infested shed. Everyone has their own bit of flowerbed too, in this screenaway area, where they won't cause any trouble.

E's just planted up one of her enormous patio pots with huge showy bright wallflowers and tulips. It looks much like everything else - fabulous.

Monday, 27 March 2017

first garden party of the year

I ordered a fire pit for this and it didn't come. But I do have some bits of new cocktail kit to mess with. I gave the table its spring scrub and we got out there, at least for a bit. The garden party season is open!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

marvellous magnolias

Magnolias are having a bit of a moment this year. Here's one I planted, over ten years ago now, it's huge nowadays, outcompeting the grass and making it to berries every other year.

magnolia sky

The year it first flowered (after the first year, which never counts, this was its first real year of having its own flowers rather than ones forced by the nursery)  I took this photograph. It's an Alba Superba - a popular variety with big white flowers flushed with a little pink.

var. Alba

Here it is the year it arrived; 2006, in a big box marked LIVE PLANTS KEEP UPRIGHT, and how it looked when I walked past this year. It's come on!

Magnolia stalking cat

I've always liked magnolias and intended to plant one the moment I had a suitable front garden. They're showy-offy, not for hiding out back. Bring them out where they can make people smile at the spring.

Magnolia with Jeremy

Sunday, 19 March 2017

four camellia hats and a doughnut

I visited Portsmouth today, a regular visit. The Camellias were in full, incandescent bloom, dropping flowers carelessly like they had so many they didn't care (which they did). In the back gardens where it was still a bit cold to eat, I found camellias and duck ornaments and did the obvious.

So we also went to the cafe for lunch, where I found the doughnut. It was the best looking doughnut I've ever tasted, but also turned out to have a full-circle custard filling, a neat trick in a ring doughnut.

Afterwards, we visited the sea front and wandered around on the old firing range. Low oak groves grow there, twisted by the wind. In them we found people had been hanging holed stones, hung on flotsam twine. The sky was dark and the wind was hard; properly bracing.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

I've just planted my sweetpeas

That's way too late, isn't it? I opted for varieties in sky blue pink and highly fragrant white this year. I would normally like to plant them at Christmas, but I've had roottrainers on my wish list for years now and no-one ever gets me them, so every Christmas  I make a mental note to buy myself root trainers, and then I don't because it's a bit esoteric and they're not stocked in the local garden centre, and the planting gets later and later.

I think this year I may have hit some sort of lateness maximum though.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

throw the garden at the pudding

A pudding plated with two types of microleaves and three types of edible blossom.

I think it's fair to say that our local pub has gone a bit fancy.