Petersham House Gardens – formal gardens, generous borders and a vibrant Cutting Garden

The Teddington Gardener

After a cycle ride along the towpath and the Thames sparkling in the sunshine, and nearly being late for taking so many photographs, a look in the Kitchen Garden first, which was the vegetable garden but has been co-opted into an additional Cutting Garden, as well as having the peony beds, Hellebores, many old roses and a perennial border with wall-trained pear trees and more roses. And the chicken coop. Mellow, aged red-brick paths and trimmed grass edge the beds.

The Dahlias have clearly loved the heat and recent rains, and I have never seen Tithonia, the orange Torch flower with silky irresistible flower stalks, towering above my head. The prettiest of annual Phlox too, with sunflowers in rich browns and primrose yellows, and delightful Coreopsis. The bog Sage, Salvia uglinosa is adding a clear sky blue to the mix and there are still plenty of Sweet Peas.

Through a…

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Winter Border Workshop at Petersham Nurseries

I have a workshop this week where we will delve into turning our gardens, in the chill months ahead, into winter borders filled with interesting plants, colours and textures. Anchor plants with attractive foliage, the tracery and silhouettes of seedheads and dried stems and flower heads, and ornamental fruit, evergreen shrubs with scented flowers for…

Walk with me through the woodland landscapes at RHS Wisley – a fragrant, colourful tour for these unexpectedly mild days …

The Teddington Gardener

I had the time to visit the gardens at RHS Wisley on Wednesday this week, the sunniest of days and quiet too (everybody else was at the work, or the supermarket, or on the M25… )

The colour and fragrance on offer was unexpectedly generous, with Camellias and Rhododendrons, Witch Hazel, Chimonathus and Edgworthia, Hellebores and Snowdrops, Crab Apples and wild Pears, Winter Honeysuckle, decorative bark and even the decaying seed- and flower heads placed just so as to catch the low afternoon sun …  and much much more –

If the weather is against you, or culinary exertions have exhausted you – or culinary extravagances have undone you – please accept my best wishes for this festive season and take a stroll with me through this gallery of photographs, a pictorial guide to the woodland landscapes at RHS Wisley, through Battleston Hill, passing the orchards and Glasshouse borders and…

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An early March visit to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Hampshire – much to admire especially the Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) Collection …

The Teddington Gardener

That’s it I’m afraid – one large (albeit labelled) gallery – a pictorial tour of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire earlier this month (well, a walk around some of it, but most of that put under the camera lens)….

The Hamamelis collection I stumbled across was in very fine fettle, the highlight of my visit really and unexpected, since I’d already had quite my fill of these curious flowering shrubs much, much earlier in the year and had wrongly assumed the show to be over. Far from it, these specimens were in their prime, for the most part, colourful and varied and showing a great variety of form (tall, vase shaped, spreading). A very attractive living catalogue.

I missed only some of the cultivars being grown in these extensive grounds, but there was much else to admire – the heathers and fragrant viburnums, much decorative bark and coloured…

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Autumn, Winter and early Spring Beauty: Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’

The Teddington Gardener


The autumn-flowering cherry, Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’

Spring-flowering cherries are coming into bloom now – and a fine sight they will be, really nothing to equal the glamorous profusion of it in fact. But this one is a proper gem, since it comes into flower whenever there is a mild spell throughout the winter months, or rather stopped from flowering only in much colder spells. Any time between October and well, now. Charming white or blush-pink blossom in the darker winter months and for that, all the more welcome.

I’ve just included one in the ‘Mediterranean’ garden I am planting in Kew, though that is a multi-stemmed specimen which will grow more as a shrub. I’ve photographed the blossom from that garden for this piece. Flowering cherries are not strictly Mediterranean, spring or winter-flowering, but I wanted some interest in the winter months and in any event, it is…

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Love your Greens – and golds, silvers, blues and browns, pinks, purples and plum …. #loveyourconifers #loveyourevergreens

The Teddington Gardener

Love Your Conifers Part II

Just adding to the list of conifers out there, in here – and once again there’s nothing dull about these beauties. And there’s one for pretty much every part of the garden, in sun or shade, miniature marvels or larger powerhouses, each and everyone adding structure and all year round weight to your garden’s design. And such a variety of colour, with spiky short needles, and spiky long needles, and soft too, feathery and eminently stroke-able. Lacy, succulent, sharp, woolly, stringy and whippy. It’s all here.

And while we’re talking about conifers, I thought I’d diversify and suggest some other evergreen beauties – euphorbias, hebes, euonymus and ericas and more ….

I’m quite guilty of planning and planting great swathes of herbaceous perennials – and grasses admittedly – which can look fantastic from spring through to the last gasp of the year – but I’m…

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Nothing dull about these conifers … #loveyourconifers

The Teddington Gardener

Conifers – much maligned and in current thinking, unloved? Is this true? It certainly shouldn’t be when there is such a range of form, shape, texture and colour to be had – and from many that will sit happily in the smaller garden without ever outgrowing their welcome. Some of the names might be unfamiliar and tongue-twisting – but the same might be true of almost all botanical latin; something to be learned, associations made.

And there is the spectre of the Leylandii to overcome! (—evergreen-battles-make-good-neighbours-turn-nasty.html)

Yet I seem to have paid these plants quite a bit of close attention. I’ve pretty much catalogued the beautiful conifer garden at the Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire, where they certainly are the stars – and at Nymans come to think of it – the lawns at RHS Wisley have some striking and mature specimens – and their Pineturm and more at Kew…

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A ‘Meet the Experts Tour’at Kew Gardens – Snowdrops (Galanthophiles Rule OK) – and my first sighting of the newest species in the club, Galanthus trojanus

The Teddington Gardener

Such a treat, earlier this week, attending one of Kew Gardens’ Meet the Experts Tours.

Every Tuesday throughout the year (or probably pretty much), you are delivered into the hands of one of their Experts for a private tour of one aspect of the work going on at Kew. This month they are talking everything snowdrops (it is Carnivorous plants next month – the link is at the end of the blog for further information).

Small groups, 15 as a usual maximum, and a rather random process of allocating tickets (free – amazing – but no early/pre-booking, open to all and therefore possibly going to be a victim of its own success though there are plans to tweak the system).

This was my first such tour – I attended the Fritillaria Open Day a couple of years ago which gave access to some of the private areas such as the Alpine…

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A roundup of recent tweetery – snowdrops & camellias, hellebores of course

The Teddington Gardener

MBO_4358Galanthus Warburg Primrose (above) and Galanthus Bertram Anderson (below)

Galanthus Betram Anderson 1Galanthus Betram AndersonGalanthus elwesii var. elwesii 'Maidwell LGalanthus elwesii var elwesii Maidwell L (above) and Galanthus nivalis Magnet (below)

galanthus nivalis magnetGalanthus plicatus ColossusGalanthus plicatus Colossus (above and below)


‘Tis Snowdrop time, as with much else, early this year and so I thought I’d get myself into gear with a just a select selection. More, obviously, to come.

And a roundup of recently tweeted images, just to make sure I haven’t kept anything back from the folks at The Teddington Gardener (plus I think, especially with the Hellebores, more is more, even if they are repeats…)

This gallery are all Ashwood hybrids – such a range of freckles and dots, blotches and picotee edges, solid pure colours and blends, singles, anemone-centred and doubles with contrasting or complimentary nectaries to set the whole thing off –

… and they make superb floral displays, either as longer stems in simple posies (in which…

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