Wednesday 22 May 2024

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show! And a bit more! ๐Ÿ˜


So what do you think about this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show? I think I’ve seen better but nevertheless there are some lovely displays and there is much to inspire.

I try to push aside the woke/ celebs/ illnesses/ etc etc aspects. I’m afraid that gardening, for me, is an escape and the last thing I want to be reminded of is my illness…or any illness. I find it rather tedious that you can’t look at a garden and just say, ‘What beautiful planting..that’s stunning’… I hate that you have to ‘ go on a journey’! Going ‘on a journey’ seems to be the flavour! I prefer to sit quietly and take it all in, simply rejoicing in the efforts of the designers, the construction workers and plantsmen and plantswomen.

And as for the celebs...I wonder, how many get down on their hands and knees and really get stuck in? They always seem to feature the same old celebs…why? I wish they replace them with plants…such as new plants, planting ideas, colour combinations etc!

This year, so far, I’ve loved seeing how certain plants are being used to full effect. Take the beautiful Geum, for example. The range of colours have improved enormously and for me they are a garden must.

I also watched, avidly, whilst a lovely man from Peter Beale Roses, showed us how they do the grafting on to rootstock; I thought that their new rose, ‘With Courage’ was beautiful. 

It was good to see the young, Lithuanian designer, Ula Maria, winning gold with her ‘Forest Bathing Garden’…

I quite liked the mgr ‘Changing Tides’ coastal garden, below…

I liked the planting in The Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with The National seen here, below…

But I have to say that I do miss my two, favourite garden designers, Chris Beardshaw and Andy Sturgeon!

I also cast my mind back to the late 1970s / early 1980s, when I visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show a number of times. Teaching in Surrey at the time, I could hop on the train, after school, and spend the evening at Chelsea! I remember one delightful evening, sitting and listening to the band that was playing music in the bandstand. It was lovely. I also remember the tube trains being jam packed with people and their purchases…plants everywhere! 

I will never forget my first visit to RHS Chelsea and walking into the Great Marquee…the colours hit me!A real WOW! moment!

Yet, back in those days, everything was far more simple! I have some old programmes from those days…my treasures! They have some very interesting adverts in them!

And this is in the 1977 programme…suggesting an alternative to peat!

I’m sure that we all used Baby Bio products!

Apparently, the garden that we all want is…

The Woolworth Garden!

How different that is to the show gardens of today!

I guess that many of us remember Percy Thrower?

It will be interesting to see the result of, ‘The People's Choice’ garden! 

This morning, I popped to Plant World, my favourite little nursery. The main reason was to have coffee and a natter with my son and my daughter. We don’t often have the chance to get together and I treasure these moments more than anything! 

The cafe overlooks the River Teign; it’s a lovely spot to sit and chat. As we did that, the skies became darker and darker and then came to rain. So we didn’t get the chance to walk around the plants for sale.

I did however, take photos on my way into the cafe. They really do this so well…

And finally!

Early this morning, just after 8am, Nich sent me this, saying, ‘A Poppy has popped! ‘ 

I’m rather excited for him as he has always had the gardening bug and he and his wife are now planning their new garden…isn’t this lovely? 

Tuesday 21 May 2024


When we moved to our present house, almost two years ago, I inherited one large compost bin. I think that the previous owner had obviously used it for garden waste as it was pretty full. However, on further investigation, when I opened the window at the bottom , there was so much compost pouring out and it was lush...absolutely wonderful!  I have to add that I’m no expert on compost and I am learning as I go! 

My aim has been to buy less and less bags of compost. I use a lot of compost and I haven’t been particularly happy with the peat free, even though I think it’s the right thing to do!  Whether my own home made compost will be any better, who knows? But I don’t see why not!

The original bin ( above) must’ve been sited in the right place as since then, every six months ish, I’ve been the lucky recipient of a number of bucketfuls of rich compost and it therefore seemed a good idea to buy some more compost bins. I did this last autumn; since then I’ve been using the second bin for kitchen waste but I’ve not yet started to use the third bin. That will happen soonish.

Anyway, yesterday, was the day to deal with the compost! Out poured the usual, rich, lush compost from the largest bin. But what we did notice was that there were few worms in it! When we went to the second bin, it was full of worms doing their job…and this was the bin where we’d been putting the kitchen waste.

As the first bin was now only half full, we decided to transfer some of the contents of the second bin, into the large bin, to try to give the second bin more worms! 

After a little bit of tamping down and also watering the compost, I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires in a few months time!

Meanwhile I’ve been reading this little book in order to ‘gen up’ on compost…hopefully, I’ll become more expert,very soon! 

If you have any tips on making compost, please share! 

Monday 20 May 2024

The start of the Rose season…

Gertrude Jekyll was a British horticulturalist, garden designer, writer and artist who created hundreds of gardens in her lifetime. It is therefore fitting that this most beautiful rose was named after her. Bred by David Austin, in 1986, it has large blooms and a strong scent and is usually one of the first roses to bloom. And this year, mine started to bloom in early May!

Living very near to Gertrude, in my garden, is another stunning rose, ‘ It’s a Wonderful Life’.
This one is a fairly new breed, bred by Colin Dickson, and produces long lasting, apricot coloured flowers, which are lightly scented. And this one, too was blooming just after Gertrude came into bloom.

  Aren’t they both lovely?

 I love Roses and I have various others in bud, about to burst into flower! As many people know, my favourite Rose, ever, is ‘Peace’. If I could choose only one rose then it would most certainly be ‘Peace’!

But for now, I’m delighted that the pruning in February as well the feeding in the spring, appears to have paid dividends! 

Watch this space for more blooms! ๐ŸŒน ๐Ÿฅ€ ๐ŸŒน