A Visit to Hodsock Priory – Sparkling Snowdrops And Sumptuous Scents


I was recently invited to attend The Hodsock Priory event to launch the 2017 snowdrop season.

I have never been able to attend before so I made sure this was going to be the year I visited.

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This is the 26th consecutive year that the snowdrop event has been held.

The event runs daily 10am-4pm from Saturday 4 February to Sunday 5 March 2017. Continue reading

Plant Buying and Fake Fungi. Malvern Spring Festival 2016.


We are almost halfway through May now and the weather is beginning to act more settled, however it was only a few weeks ago we had to contend with sudden snow flurries and the scraping of frosts off the car windscreen in the mornings, then a week later it was the hottest day of the year so far.

I got sunburnt wrists whilst weeding. There was a lot that needed weeding that day.

Earlier in the month The RHS Malvern Spring Festival, as it’s now called, was held from 5th to the 8th of May. I visited on the Friday and the sun shone down……… a lot.

My favourite kinda sign.

My favourite kinda sign.

I headed straight into the floral Marquee before the sun made it too hot and sticky.

This is the place where the Nurseries and the best plants are to be found in my opinion, I was met with this sight…..

Deserted..?

Deserted..?

I think I must have outflanked everybody at the ticket kiosk.  However it did not stay this empty for long, within the hour it was heaving and very hot in there….

I thought I also spotted another blogger in the distance, with a shopping bag of plant purchases, however it’s not really in my nature to rush over to people and say “hello, I follow you on the internet”.

I made a few small purchases of Ferns, Primulas, a Lemon Verbena and a few other various niceties.

I did return to the Marquee later in the day to hear a talk by Carol Klein, it appeared lots of other people had also had the same idea, it was packed around the stage area, with lots of elbows and shoving, and also very hot.

Unfortunately after a while, it appeared that Carol had forgotten to turn up so I wandered off outside in search of a cooling *Ice Cream.

Well it was either that, or slap someone who was using their elbow on me as a weapon.

Extraordinary Sculpture, I liked this a lot.

Extraordinary Sculpture, I liked this a lot.

I saw lots of interesting and frankly lovely plants that I just don’t have the right conditions for…

Epimedium 'Amber Queen'.

Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’.

These Epimedium were displayed on a stand at shoulder height so you could look up into the flowers, otherwise I think they would only be appealing to people of Ronnie Corbett’s stature.

Acer Palmatum 'Shigitatsusawa'.

Acer Palmatum ‘Shigitatsusawa’.

A gorgeous looking Acer with a ridiculously long and complicated name.

Obligatory Tulip shot.

Tulip Sanne.

Obligatory Tulip shot.

Outside the sun blazed down, the Malvern Hills looked green and Lush, and the crowds heaved, Many in Shorts.

Hills.

Hills.

The crowds heaved.

The crowds heaved.

Suspiciously advanced Runner Beans on a display, with obligatory Shorts.

Suspiciously advanced Runner Beans on a display, with obligatory Shorts in shot.

Outside was very busy, I spent a while around the outside Nurseries area, I’m always fascinated by these Nurseries, many are familiar names with a good pedigree, however there are others whom I’m convinced only exist during events like this. Many were selling identical plants grown in suspiciously looking similar ways …..

Forced Aqalegias amongst others...

Forced Aquilegias amongst others…

Plants such as 1 big Cosmos Sonata in a pot, in flower for £5, or a big single Ladybird poppy… in full flower for £9.    All packed as if they just fallen off a passing Danish Trolley.

Me..Cynical….

On one of the outside Nurseries I did spot this rather pleasing display…

Cheers Sam.

Cheers Sam.

I also had a wander around the stalls selling exclusive quality garden sculptures… such as…

Sheep.

Sheep.

Metalwork Sheep with wobbly head and deranged expression. (I actually Quite liked this for a giggle.)

Inside one of the Halls was a display by a Local Beekeeping association, and I was really taken by this Giant pollen grain.

Pollen grain. (Not Actual Size).

Pollen grain. (Not Actual Size).

I wanted to give it a good feel, but there was a leaflet sniper hovering dangerously close nearby, so I just took the picture and fled.

The last corner I visited before heading back to the car and getting chummy with the air-con, was the school gardens, something from the distance had caught my eye and I had to inspect it closer….

This possibly made up for Carol Kleins no-show earlier in the day…

Fake Funky fungi.!!

Fake Funky fungi.!!

So simple and yet so funny. A red washing up bowl with white spots mounted on a white post. I loved it.

I’m off to search for red washing up bowls now.

 

*It was Rum and Raisin if you were wondering.

 

 

 

 

The Decline of the Evil Weevil and The 5 best things at the Edible Garden Show 2016


29-I pod 031Following on from my last post where I discovered an outbreak of Vine Weevil in my Strawberry tubs I set about dumping infected plants, and dumping the compost away from my garden, some new Strawberry Plants ordered and a recommended chemical purchased and applied.

A necessary evil.?

A necessary evil.?

I’ve also started to receive parcels of plants that I ordered earlier in the year.

Newly arrived baby Fuchsia plants.

Newly arrived baby Fuchsia plants.

12-I phone late march 014

Potted and growing on.

12 new Fuchsia plants, a mixture of Bush and Uprights. I’m hoping to go potastic this year and make up a few nice containers of mixed plants. (Vine Weevil Permitting.!)

The Fuchsia plants came from a mail order company that I have used in the past called Potash Nursery they also attend many of the major flower shows throughout the year.

Seed sowing has started....

Seed sowing has started….

I was hoping for some settled weather over Easter so I could potter in the garden and faff with a bit of seed sowing in the greenhouse, however storm Katie blew through last night dumping almost an inch of rain on the garden leaving everything soggy and a bit meh.

So I just thought I’d show you some of the best things I spotted during my recent, and first visit to the Edible Garden Show which was held recently at Stoneleigh park in Warwickshire.

I visited on the Saturday.

I visited on the Saturday.

 

1st.

The first item that caught my eye was this…

The Garden Scoot in bright purple.

The Garden Scoot in bright purple.

A seat on wheels that you can move about sidewards on. (I just thought it had big eyes).

Available from Garden Scoot.

2nd.

This dinky living picture frame and these splendid seed packets on the Sea Spring Seeds stand.

3rd.

Kitchen Garden Magazine stand.

Kitchen Garden Magazine stand.

Kitchen Garden Magazine.

This stand in-particular stood out to me as it was nicely set up with lots of little offers on.

 

4th.

I also went to a couple of talks, and the one below stood out to me quite positively.

The talk was called Growing in small spaces by Mark Abbot-Compton.

A Talk by this chap.

A Talk by this chap.

Mark runs a  website called Learn How to Garden,  Gardening Courses.com it is pioneering teaching using internet courses that give step by step tuition to beginner gardeners right through to the more technical aspects of horticulture and an online monthly interactive publication.

His talk was very interesting, and interesting in which an ‘old hand’ like myself a learned few new bits of info, such as the reason why seed packets state why Cabbage crops should be 2ft apart*.

5th.

Beautifully designed seed packets from Meadow in my Garden.

Beautifully designed seed packets from Meadow in my Garden.

Each of these packets of seed looked like little works of art to me.

The stall was Meadow in my Garden. but  I noticed from the packet that the contents were supplied by Thomas Etty Esq. Heritage Seeds.

 

So that was the 5 best things I saw, to be honest there were lots of interesting things, and many of them were quite pricey for what they were.

The only purchase I made however was a subscription to a magazine which gave out extra seeds if you subscribed at the show. Also it appeared to me that every other stall sold Chilli pepper seedlings, as I’ve already got an increasing population of chilli seedlings in my greenhouse I did without.

 

 

*Cabbages are stated to be 2ft apart because the wheelbase of Massey Ferguson tractors are 4ft apart, and it was so the tractors could move about the fields for harvesting & spraying etc….

 

Bye for now…

Perusing the Pavilion: The RHS Chelsea flower Show 2014.


Perusing the Pavilion: The RHS Chelsea flower Show 2014.

The Great Pavillion

The Great Pavillion

I recently had the opportunity to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I’d last visited the show about 10 years ago and found it very packed with people and extremely difficult to move about.  However I decided when the tickets went on sale earlier this year to give it another go.

Now although I did just about get all around the show, i’m not going to dwell on the show gardens in this post, mainly because other bloggers have covered this area much more eloquently than I think I could.

I’m going to concentrate on the Great Pavillion, because thats where the plants are!

War Horse.

War Horse.

Heucheras by Plantagogo.com

The War Horse is jumping from the Darkness into the light, this is represented by dark coloured foliage on the right of the picture, and the bright colourful varieties on the left of the picture.  A Gold Medal Winning Display.

Hardys Cottage garden Plants

Hardys Cottage garden Plants

This was one of my favourite displays of the day, I am a big fan of Hardys Plants, such a wide and interesting range of plants available, and they attend most shows I visit, so lots of buying opportunities to be had. It was also one of the largest displays within the Pavilion with a path running through the display that you were allowed to walk on, quite unusual for a Chelsea display.

I took pictures of several plants that I really liked the look of, and added a few to my ‘must buy list’.!

Trollis 'Dancing Flame'

Trollis ‘Dancing Flame’

Lathrus niger

Lathyrus niger

A lovely little pink pea plant.

Physocarpus opulifolius 'Lady in Red'

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Lady in Red’

A lovely dark maroon leaved Physocarpus, I keep photographing this plant at the shows I go to, i’m going to have to find room for one I think.

Geum 'Totally Tangerine

Geum ‘Totally Tangerine

Another plant i’ve liked for a while, this appeared to be all over the show in various displays.

Paeonie 'Copper Kettle'

Paeonia ‘Copper Kettle’

This was a stunning plant, thats on my must buy list, I’ve since found it for sale as Kopper Kettle as well. Also it appears to command quite a high price from some nurseries, so I may have to bide my time for a while until the prices come down.

The Hardys stand was a Gold Medal winning display, and very well deserved.

Hooksgreen Herbs and the World of Peter Rabbit.

Hooksgreen Herbs and the World of Peter Rabbit.

A sweet little Greenhouse, a small veg patch of Herbs and Veg, some edible flowers such as Nasturtiums.

Everything crammed in.

Everything crammed in.

Not very realistic with everything crammed in together, no slug damage either, but a lovely sweet little patch with some very nice features dotted within the display.

Interloper in the watering can.

Interloper in the watering can.

A also liked the way that the back of the display had very good attention to detail as well.

Good attention to detail.

Good attention to detail.

Growing well in the wall as you would expect to find in a natural setting. Hooksgreen Herbs and the World of Beatrix potter Attraction was a Gold winning display.

There were other Veg displays to be seen.

W Robinson. (Seeds & Plants)

W Robinson. (Seeds & Plants)

W Robinson’s (they of the Mammoth Onion seed), have been exhibiting at Chelsea for many years, they have evolved their stand from showing just the veg, to showing the veg still attached to the plants, it was an interesting display showing many different varieties of plants that can be eaten.

Purple Beans.

Purple Beans.

The Judges Awarded a Silver-Gilt flora. Which I though was a bit harsh.

Culm view.

Culm view.

Culm View Nursery had a nice display of Candelabra Primulas and various Poppies, amongst other things.

The Ladybird Poppy.

The Ladybird Poppy.

The Ladybird Poppy was another plant that appeared to be present on just about every other stand.

Aquilegia 'Clementine Salmon'

Aquilegia ‘Clementine Salmon’

I spotted this small and gorgeous Aquilegia ‘Clementine Salmon in the display, a nice colour with upward facing flowers. what happens to it in the rain, we can only imagine. This was added to my ‘to buy list’ however I have since found cheap seed available from another nursery, but don’t tell anyone. 😉  Culm view won a Gold Medal.

Southwest in Bloom

Southwest in Bloom

A lovely big bright display from South West in bloom, which shows quite a few out of season plants. This display won a Gold Medal and A Diamond Jubilee Award.

 

Woodland Plants

Woodland Plants

A display of Woodland Plants from Harveys Garden Plants, who received a Silver-Gilt Medal.

Avon bulbs

Avon bulbs

This was a spectacular display of bulbs and associated plants by Avon bulbs, They were awarded a Gold Medal for their display.

Lunaria annua Chedglow

Lunaria annua Chedglow

Lunaria annua Chedglow was one of their star plants, this plant has been highlighted on several Gardening programmes in recent months, and I couldn’t help noticing that the seed that they had for sale for this plant was much more expensive than any other seed that they had on offer. Perhaps i’m being slightly cynical… 😉

Tulip Abbu Hassan.

Tulip Abbu Hassan.

 

A stunning Tulip Abbu Hassan, this plant is becoming more popular these days, i’m seeing it everywhere.

Delphiniums

Delphiniums

Delphiniums on the Blackmore and Langdon stand, who were awarded a Silver Medal.

Lupins. (as Filmed by everyone).

Lupins. (as Filmed by everyone).

Lupins from Westcountry Nurseries, who were awarded a Gold Medal.

Traditional Herbaceous planting.

Traditional Herbaceous planting.

A nice display from Primrose Bank Nurseries.

I spotted a lovely pale yellow Trollis thats now on the must buy list.

TROLLIUS x cultorum 'New Moon'

TROLLIUS x cultorum ‘New Moon’

Pelargoniums

Pelargoniums

A glorious fiery display of Pelargoniums by the Gold Medal Winning Fibrex Nurseries.

What now follows are a few random outside pictures….

Aquilegias

Aquilegias

Obelisk.

Obelisk.

Giant Glass aquilegia

Giant Glass Aquilegia

Nice, but a pricey way to grow tomatoes.

Nice, but a pricey way to grow tomatoes.

Every display Greenhouse became popular during a Thunderstorm.

Every display Greenhouse became popular during a Thunderstorm.

Erm.... No.

Erm…. No.

Twool Sheep. (Twine made from wool)

Twool Sheep.
(Twine made from wool)

 

And finally, if you’ve lasted this far, then thank you,

I’m going to leave you with a picture of my favourite thing from the entire show…..

Snooze.

Snooze.

Thats how I felt when I got home.

Happy Growing and  stay dry.

Garden Show in the Clouds: Malvern 2014


malvern 2014 062

Thursday May 8th, the preview day at the newly re-named Malvern Spring Festival, the rain poured from the sky moments after the doors opened and the show ground started to turn into a bit of a bog.

However I came prepared with big boots and rain coat, as the show has been re-designed I was delighted to discover the Floral Marquee, which is where the majority of the Nurseries were situated, has been re-sited next to the carpark I was using.

Hardys Cottage Garden Plants.

Hardys Cottage Garden Plants.

It was wet, breezy and dull due to low cloud outside, but inside the Marquee the Nurseries had excelled themselves with displays of wonderful plants.

Rodgersia podophylla

Rodgersia podophylla

I’ve always wanted one of these Rodgersia plants, but I just don’t have the suitable conditions for it to thrive. I will just have to admire it from afar for now.

Beautiful Big Cacti

Beautiful Big Cacti

Lots of fabulous cacti and succulents on display and for sale.

I had a small shopping list that I wanted to try and keep to, buy some plant supports, buy the Abutilon that I wanted,  Buy some variegated Cannas, and most importantly, don’t buy any more Hostas.!

I found the Abutilon Nursery I was looking for that stocked my plant and purchased Abutilon ‘Patrick Synge’ that I first saw at Gardeners World Live in 2013, but forgot to buy, I then discovered the nursery selling the plant did not do mail order, so I would have to visit a show that they were exhibiting at. Luckily this was one of them.

 

Abutilon Patrick Synge

Abutilon Patrick Synge

I purchased the plant from T3 Wall End nursery, I also got lots of good planting advice from the seller.

So that was 1 item down on my list, I spent a good hour wandering around the Nurseries, and squelching around the waterlogged areas due to the rain coming down.

I spotted this wonderful display from Avon Bulbs.

A well deserved Gold award.

A well deserved Gold award.

And I noticed this lovely creamy Tulip was very well scented.

Angels Wish.

Angels Wish.

Another favourite Tulip of mine, which I have yet to actually plant in my garden is Abu Hassan.

Abu hassan.

Abu hassan.

Hosta Dream Queen.

Hosta Dream Queen.

I spotted a lovely Hosta, but knew I had to resist, or did I.. ;-).

There were stunning Acers on display.

Acer Species.

Acer Species.

 

Dibleys Nurseries had a stunning display of Begonias, Coleus and other tender lovelys.

Begonia Rocheart.

Begonia Rocheart.

And I saw a rather unusual Coleus with strap-like leaves.

(Solenostemon) Coleus 'The Fume'.

(Solenostemon) Coleus ‘The Fume’.

A lovely display of succulents from Trewidden Nursery.

Another Gold Winning Stand.

Another Gold Winning Stand.

I also found a first timer at Malvern who was very busy and selling lots of plants.

Bluebell Nurseries.

Bluebell Nurseries.

I bought a lovely Euphorbia that I had spotted a few days before mentioned in a Gardening Magazine and secretly coveted.

Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl'.

Euphorbia characias ‘Black Pearl’.

Now I just need to find somewhere where this plant will do well, full sun and free draining not always an easy combination to obtain.

I also came across this rather striking Purple leaved Heuchera.

Heuchera 'Sugar Plum'

Heuchera ‘Sugar Plum’

It was on the Plantagogo stand and was selling fast, I’ve never really warmed to Heucheras before but I did buy a plant, and hope mine will grow into a nice purple mound like the display plant above.

Whilst I was wandering around the showground, trying to stay dry, I kept coming across the presenters from Gardeners World TV show who were filming the plants. One of my favourite presenters, Carol Klein, who was wearing a very striking red top appeared almost everywhere during the day filming.

Lady in Red.

Lady in Red.

Here is Carol filming a segment on Polemoniums.

In Between rain showers I managed to get a good look around all the outside stalls, but I was unable to find exactly what I wanted as plant supports, I did however find a rather striking bit of garden sculpture…..

Underfed..?

Underfed..?

Not somthing I think I want in my garden.

I battled through more showers, and made quite a few plant purchases, I found some Variegated Canna Rhizomes for sale, bought a few nice plants, and slowly got wet.

Rain.

Rain.

I decided to make a move home slightly earlier than planned, due to me buying quite enough plants, and the prospect of motorway driving in the heavy rain.

My plant purchases were:

Hosta Dream Queen…. (Yes a Hosta!).

Tiarella ‘Pink Skyrocket’

Cornus Canadensis

Persicaria Microcephala ‘Purple Fantasy’

Hosta ‘Firn Line’….(Yes another Hosta!).

Abutilon ‘Patrick Synge’

Heuchera ‘Sugar Plum’.

Euphorbia characias ‘Black Pearl’

Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’… Been after this plant for years.

Geranium Himalayense ‘plenum’

All in all a very good, if wet day out.

Plant Purchases.

Plant Purchases.

Now to plant them all….. if this rain ever stops.!

End of Year Review : 2013 Pt.1


End of Year Review : 2013 Part.1

January to June. January started fairly mild but wet, then on the 18th a heavy downpour of snow changed everything. Any sort of gardening activity was put on hold, only snow shoveling took place. Some night-time temperatures were recorded at -10°c and I had to bash a few shrubs to remove the heavy covering of snow in order to prevent branches from being snapped.

Snow.!

Snow.!

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