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My Beautiful Mistake!


What a beautiful pairing! A pure white foxglove coupled with a lovely white aquilegia. Definitely worthy of Sissinghurst or any other notable white garden!

Trouble is, they cropped up in the pink/bronze border, totally out of keeping!

But who would have the heart to rip them out? And I can’t help thinking they would not have looked so spectacular in the “right” place!

They’ll have their stay and I’ll love it!!😀

In the Bleak Midwinter?

Well, it did seem to be the case, sitting indoors listening to the rain, yet again, pattering against the window. Looking out at grey skies can really dampen the spirits. But then again, the view from the French windows, had to produce a glimmer of cheer.

The sight of Garrya elliptica’s beautiful long catkins, like icicles, led me to venture out with iPad in hand. Never mind the rain!

So glad I did!

I was heading right to the end of the garden (how brave!) to the Woodland garden, hoping to find the first signs of Spring there.

En route, I paused to take in the perfume of our Mahonia japonica – a sniff of early lily of the valley!


Then on through the Allotment to revel in the sight of this year’s rhubarb poking through.


And then reaching the Woodland, to discover all that I had hoped for!

What with snowdrops, perfume and the promise of joys to come, it’s not so bleak at all!


Our Annabelle Is A Bit Of A Wild Child!


Or alternatively, “A Study in White”.

I’m a sucker for border design plans, so when our “Cottage Border” started looking tired and in need of a revamp, a plan I saw in a garden magazine for a cottage border really excited me. The lynch pins of the plan were pink roses (the plan used “Comte de Chambord” which I substituted with “Gertrude Jekyll” already in the border) and three plants of the hydrangea “Annabelle”. It was a plan incorporating lots of blowsy pinks and whites, dark blue spires, with highlights of black, courtesy of iris “Deep Black” and viola “Moly Sanderson”. So striking, but also very pretty and cottagey.

A few years on and some of the plants have struggled (I’ve learned that Campanula “Sarastro” is yet another slug delicacy! One flush, never to be seen again!) while others have well and truly flourished. No prizes for guessing which!

I have been trying to adapt these shortfalls to accommodate more of my scented shrubs, so is still a work in progress. But can you believe these hydrangeas?

“Annabelle” is stunning – quite a spectacle, you must agree!


This is just one of the shrubs!


And look at the size of these blooms! Much larger than the palm of my hand!


Her beauty is not restricted to the border. She performs just as well indoors, cut for vases in the house.

There’s more than enough blooms to give us a pair of vases.


Notice my “new” rose bowl’s second outing!

But, as with all unruly children, a bit of control will be needed.
Too many other plants risk being swamped and lost to her excessive advances. She needs reigning in! So I must invest in some more of those semi-circular supports that I have found so successful in other areas of the garden.

She’s a definite Diva!

Bringing Chelsea Gold Home


It’s magnificent!

The florist, “Daisy Chain”, is opposite where I work and I was pleasantly surprised two years ago, to come face to face with a floral, crystal ballgown, straight from the show. Helena had won silver-gilt with her gorgeous creation.

A Chelsea Ball gown with a crystal theme.

A Chelsea Ball gown with a crystal theme.

The following year, she achieved another silver-gilt, for her “Alice in Wonderland” tree.u

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure of appreciating that one close up. It was far too big to bring into the shop.

Still not good enough, though – she was after her gold.


And now she has it with her beautiful carnival headdress!

When you get to see it in the flesh, so to speak, you can really see the intricate detail and the hours of work involved.



Orchids, dianthus, grevillea, and anigozan (kangaroo paw) are among the flowers used, set into a wire framework, filled out with red feathers and beads. Looking closely at the “horns” shows tiny green “pearls” wound around, which are actually the succulent, Senecio rowelyanus, or “string of pearls” plant, which she grew herself.  Really a work of art, well deserving of a gold!A real feather in Helena’s cap! (Groan!! Sorry!)

So is she happy now? Had enough?

No, she’s now going for “Best Floral Exhibit”.

Can’t wait to see how Helena does next year!

Helena wasn’t our only local Chelsea gold.

John Massey and Ashwood nursery also got, not just a gold medal, but also a Diamond Jubilee award, for their display of Hepaticas, in the floral pavilion.


It’s been a most successful Chelsea for our local exhibitors.

Congratulations, and well done!

P.s. I apologise for any disruption in this broadcast. I inadvertently published this post before I had completed it. So sorry!