This blowsy old girl makes a splendid show

Clematis Mrs Cholmondeley, in my garden today 'This blowsy old girl makes a splendid show.' 'A (blue) large-flowered clematis that simply can't stop flowering. From tip to tip the early flowers are very large, but because of the narrow sepals and large gaps between them towards the base, one's impression is not so much of…

The Decisive Moment

"Il n'y a rien dans ce monde qui n'ait un moment decisif"  There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment - Henri Cartier-Bresson By which artful quote I mean, always have your camera with you. A long walk to the van this morning (parking à la maison is generally more hope…

Centaurea ‘Amethyst on Ice’

A rather lovely form of knapweed, Centaurea montana Amethyst on Ice, with contrasting inner, and longer, outer florets. Perennial cornflowers prefer sun, poorer soils and good drainage, lime too. I'm looking forward to seeing an all 'black' flowered form, the name of which entirely escapes me at the moment....

Veronica ‘Christy’

With lovely short spikes of blue-violet blooms and low mounds of highly serrated foliage, this fern-like plant is going to be great for use in containers, front-of-border spots and path edging. It was bred in the US by Washington plantswoman Christy Hensler by crossing Veronica ‘Crater Lake Blue’ with Veronica prostrata. Foliage reaches a manageable 6-9…

Saxifrage Pixie Rose

  A rather wonderful, cushion-mound of mossy evergreen foliage, Saxifrage  'Pixie Rose', is a miniature showstopper when in flower (ie. now and into Summer). Foliage little more than 10cm tall, with a spread of up to 30cm, with star-shaped flowers straining upwards. One for an Alpine bed, scree or rockery, with  humus rich, moist but…

Plants for a shady garden?

Very probably the No. 1 Frequently Asked Question I hear deals with shade and what to plant in the supposedly inhospitable, gloomy parts of the garden.  Of course there are different kind of shade, from buildings, fences, other plants, overhanging trees, deep shade, dappled shade, dry shade, damp shade, partial shade, at different times of…

Summer Snowflake

Sometimes confused with the snowdrop, the summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum, is a much larger, later flowering plant, growing 60-75cm tall. Each stem has three-five bell-shaped nodding flowers with green tipped sepals and, though I have yet to put this to the test, a scent of chocolate! Flowering in May and preferring the shadier, wetter spots…

Beautifully mad – Osteospermum Whirligig

A curious time just now, with daffodils flowering brightly next to equally blooming Lavender (the dark arts of the nursery trade), primroses next to summer darlings such as the osteospermum with spoon-shaped petals. Not long ago these South African daisies were an unusual feature but they are a common bedding plant today from spring onwards…

Gardens of the Sussex Weald – Standen & Nymans

Bank Holiday Monday and two houses, one new to me - the Arts and Crafts Standen, the second familiar - the beautiful Nymans. Standen is an Arts & Crafts survivor, built by Philip Webb and with interiors by Morris & Co., quite complete. The country home of a careful lawyer, it is not an extravagant…