About Me

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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Does playing FreeCell really count as being busy?

Or does it count as anything useful in the scheme of things? No, don’t answer because I have inkling as to what the answer might be but I am sure that at minimum it keeps a couple of brain cells from snuffing it just yet.

I should really be out there in the over-crowded space I call a garden, because as usual there is much to be done. What I am having to do instead is wait in for a parcel to be delivered (third attempt). It is all very well having a MrB who can always buy everything more cheaply on the internet, but these useful & very reasonably priced items do have to be delivered: not always easy & even if you are at home, it is inevitably when you are in the shower, or, as last time, when you are de-frosting the freezer with your hair-dryer.

One of our favourite places to visit is Kew Gardens; an oasis of calm with lots of things to wander round & see. Actually, I suppose I should revise the calm description because, particularly at weekends, plane after plane after plane flies low over the gardens on a fairly frequent basis, & that is far from quiet.

We had not been for a while so were due another visit but were prompted by the flowering of one of the titan arums which we had not seen in the flesh, or should that have been smelt in the rotting flesh! We went on Sunday; it wasn’t, flowering that is! It was there in all its towering glory but tightly closed up. We were there early, it was cloudy so were we just unlucky or had we missed the party?

Never mind, there is always lots to see & we spotted this little chap just sitting in the middle of one of the walkways, not batting an eye lid as we wandered past.

I love the Princess of Wales conservatory: the shape of the building makes it one of my favourites.

Another favourite area is the Duke’s Garden, a little way off the most popular areas, which has lovely swathes of seasonal planting.

But I do wish something could be done with this pond. I’m afraid it does annoy me, just sat sitting there in the middle of the grass with no redeeming features.

To get to & from Kew Gardens we drive through Richmond Park: we are so lucky with all these green spaces. On a lovely Sunday morning the roads are brimming over with Lycra clad cyclists, buttocks wiggling as they hurtle round at speed. The driver of our vehicle, the aforementioned Mr B, began fuming on the way there as the 2-wheelers were 2 & 3 abreast & it did make tricky driving. On our return however a higher level of fuming was reached: so, he drives at exactly 20mph, the park speed limit, & then as each athletic figure zoomed past yelled loudly out of the window, “20 miles an hour you know!” I was the figure shrivelled up in the passenger seat!

Oh well, the garden may be suffering from a bit of neglect & I may have suffered a bit of embarrassment but produce is flowing from the allotment thick & fast courtesy of that same Mr B. What a good egg really!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Show Must Go On!

Having started this blogging business you do feel you have to keep going: pride rather than anything else. I did attempt a garden diary once, but just like an angst ridden teenager you start off very keenly noting every little inconsequential but oh so important detail & then after some stops & re-starts it trails off very quickly. A bit like my life & gardening really! The possibility that this whittering might have a slightly wider audience than yourself, waiting for your every word (!) does make you think a bit more about what you have achieved, or not.

Well I have thought, & the answer is still ‘Not much!’

I blame the weather! Very showery, some very very heavy so a bit tricky to get out & get things done when you have the time to do it. I know, I know, if I was a TRUE keen gardener I would be out there whatever the elements were chucking at me trying to get things done.
I did manage to train/tie in my ‘Wonga Wonga’ vine (Pandorea pandoreana Ruby Belle) as it had been waving all over the place.

This exercise involved me putting a chair on the table to reach the appropriate bits. Sounds precarious but not too much so & a damn site easier than getting the steps out of the carefully packed shed! So, progress - but that still leaves the wisteria & the rose (banksiae lutea) to get the tidy treatment.

They are still tapping on the window reminding this lazy trollop to pull her finger out!
I sowed some foxglove seeds from one of the old plants of Pam’s Choice a few days ago & they have germinated nice & promptly.

I also ‘nicked’ some little teeny primula babies from a client yesterday (she doesn’t mind me doing this I should make clear) & popped them into a seed tray. They are white drumstick flowers which looked really good when the slugs weren’t chomping them so thought I’d see if I could nurture some through to adulthood. This particular client frequently likes to get rid of plants so I have a number of rejects in my garden & currently have 3 orphans sitting in water whilst I decide their fates!
So there we are, 3 things I have achieved in the garden this week. I must rest on my laurels. Actually, as I don’t have any I shall go for resting on my settee with a glass of something delicious instead.
But before I do that, a couple of plants looking good this week. Geranium Rozanne is a real ‘doer’ & flowers all summer. Handy in a small garden

Crocosmia Lucifer is a much more exotic looking specimen which will look ace in that re-vamp I will be doing come autumn!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Home Sweet Home

Who needs to travel the highways & bi-ways of the country on garden visits when you can stay at home & hide away in a veritable oasis of greenery, cup of tea in hand, the tinkle of the fountain in the background, the scent of lilies filling the air, a cat purring happily close by........ actually that last bit should read cat escaping over fence as if pursued by rabid dog but lets not be picky.

Not bad for a little terraced house, even though I say so myself. You see even lazy trollops can be proud of their achievements, even more proud than most in fact as these are gained at great cost to the individual!

This little bout of self-congratulation was brought about as I spent a large part of the day wandering round Borde Hill gardens with a good friend. The weather was lovely, the company was scintillating (I really should check the meaning of that word) & the award winning gardens were, well, disappointing. Now purely by chance we had got into the garden for nowt: free to RHS members until the end of July. Think how much more disappointed we might have been had we paid £7.50. I expect the place looks much better in the spring when the azaleas & rhododendrons are out but it really looked quite neglected. Even the borders round the very nice pond were half empty when they should have been full of colour. I don't expect perfection but I expect something better than that. I am not posting any pictures of it. You got mine instead.

Now for a little advice for other lazy gardeners. Grow Group 3 clematis: they grow, become a mess because you failed to carefully train & tie them in, they flower beautifully, you cut them right back in the late autumn/spring & make all sorts of resolutions to do better the next year & so the cycle continues. Here are some of mine.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Stains & spokes & rain, go passing by.........

……..not forgetting the bloody trolleys.

A slightly damper Hampton Court than I had anticipated/hoped for but that‘s weather isn‘t it!. We missed the show last year for the first time since its early days but as we felt so deprived we re-joined the happy throngs once again.

One of the first things we saw was the display of planted undies: I expected something quirky & amusing, a triumph of under-wiring & Y fronts, a cornucopia of brightly filled cups & boldly planted boxers. It was in fact a bit pants, a sad affair of bagginess & unmentionable stains. The dampness & grubbiness brought to mind a mass infant class accident, although I think that even in this advanced day & age 5 year olds do not wear basques!

In the show gardens I was completely enthused by the planting in the Sadolin Nature to Nurture garden. The square beds were a riot of colour in quite a very naturalistic way. I am going to be ripping all the plants out of one of my beds in an attempt to emulate this casual but no doubt very carefully planned bit of planting. It was very me! Well, perhaps not the carefully planned bit!
The Growing Tastes Allotment garden, which won Best in Show, was quite remarkable. I am always so impressed when veg look as though they have been in the ground since planting. It was packed to the gills with flowers & veg of all sorts, a greenhouse, cold frames, chooks, a children’s area. What was interesting was that there was not a raised bed in sight.

I always enjoy the conceptual gardens: they make you think a bit more. It’s Hard to See was a triumph in my eyes. It was the old’ simple yet effective’ approach to design & difficult to reproduce in a photo. Concreation was also one I appreciated.

There were no water gardens this year which was a shame. ,Instead we had the Six Wives of Henry VIII Gardens which were fascinating designs based on different aspects of each wife’s life, or indeed death! What was real fun though was seeing the scarecrows designed by local schools.

More excellent small garden’s: Pepa’s Karst Garden was particularly good & The Rain Chain was an excellently designed sustainable front garden. I would be very happy with that.

No Daily Mail pavilion this year which certainly did not bother me: although sometimes the planting can be excellent I was a bit tired of seeing some twee cottage surrounded by different areas of planting. The floral marquees were home to some terrific displays & although we were in them when it was chucking it down outside there was still room to move around reasonably well.
I think at this point I will have a rant. Bloody plastic fold-up trolleys. Now I know they are really handy for carrying stuff around & I know there is temptation all around but other than the slightly irritating ‘dededededededede’ sound of the wheels on the metal walkways outside, inside people do not have a clue as to what the trolley is doing to people behind them. As Mr B tripped over another one we heard a “Can’t you see that?” Duh, no we can’t actually, & why should we be looking at the floor all the time! Which brings me round to the brollies. Well it did rain a fair bit of course, but the first drop brought out them out by the score, with spokes at eye level: a dangerous game. At minimum they could at least wait until it was actually raining properly. One women even had her brolly up in the marquee until I put her right! Now I am sorry about the ranting. I am usually a very sanguine person, unlike Mr B, but just occasionally you have to get these things off your chest.

A fair bit of HRT took place: plants to suit my new bed, some nemesias which I had been planning to buy since having a long chat with a very nice man at Chelsea, some chrysanths & pinks for the allotment, sundry vegetable seeds at bargain prices, & the rest……………..
A thoroughly enjoyable, if exhausting day. I’m glad we went, even in the rain!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Lazy lily lover

I have a weak spot for lilies & have several pots full of the scented oriental varieties. Despite a lack of TLC they flower well for several years, the perfume filling the air on the deck area & in the back room when the doors are open. Lily beetle is rapidly dispatched with a firm squish! This year a pot at the back of the garden has not been dealt with quite so avidly (difficult to get to over all the pots of bits the tend to accumulate there) resulting in faeces covered grubs. Uuuuugh! Interestingly these do NOT get squished. At Chelsea I once again succumbed to buying some new lily bulbs. Did they get planted? Ha! From experience however I know that a late planting will mean flowers in late summer which is great so eventually looked at the bulbs yesterday with a view to relieving them of their current living conditions. Damn, the little bags they were in did not have the usual multi-perforations to allow air in: 1 lot are fine & shooting beautifully, the others not so good. Hmmmm. Does this mean I have to buy some more at Hampton Court on Tuesday!

My once fashionable Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum' has finished flowering & yesterday I cut the foliage right down. Cirsium Mount Etna however has just begun. It doesn't have the same impact but I love that gentle 2 tone effect. The bees really love it too.

A delightful morning was spent at Wisley where there is always much to look at & admire. The herbaceous borders are beginning to burgeon! We took 2 friends who had never been & it made us look at everything with new eyes. Other than essentials only 1 plant was bought: Verbena Edith Eddleman, a glorious scarlet.
Books, another favourite pastime. Have just finished the excellent Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. A good read which keeps you guessing to the end. I chose this as a direct result of reading The Suspicions of Mr Whicher based on an actual murder mystery which influenced both Collins & Charles Dickens in their writings.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

In for a penny........

Having pondered this great adventure for some time, I might as well write something 'proper' or I will be even more of an LT than usual & give up before I have started. But what to write about?

I am very embarassed to say that I still have my 'winter' window box & hanging basket out at the front of the garden. They look rubbish as you can see. Not a good advert for someone who has twice won the front garden competition! Now this is not all pure laziness I can assure you. It is a combination of working alternate Saturdays, driving up to Norfolk to see aged parent at least once a month & finally knowing that we were going away for a week & realising that the remaining occupant of the house could just about see the need to feed the cat but would not be able to place much importance on watering.

In the past Mr B & I would get up early on a Sunday & visit Columbia Road Flower Market: a truly enjoyable experience accompanied by a very nice breakfast. We would get loads of cheap bedding for pots & infills. There was also a lovely plant shop which sold rather more unusual plants. An example is a lovely purple leaved Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' bought there a few years ago, sadly no longer with us. After our market trip we would often go to Tate Modern as it was opening, have a second very delicious breakfast (early rising makes you hungry) & then take in some art before home & the Sunday papers. Always a very satisfactory day. With the time constraints already mentioned & a slight change to the parking situation near the market which would have meant an even earlier start we have not been so I had to look elswhere for a few plants to restore some pride in my front garden. Where else to go but a very nice local garden shop for a few basics to provide a little 'better late than never' colour.
I anticipate posting some improvements to the situation very soon!


The only answer is 'Why not?'

I have been following other blogs for a while & just felt that I should have a go. It's not that I think anyone will be particularly interested in my ramblings: my family aren't & I have no new take on life or gardening. What I really want to do is to prove to myself that I can do these things & just maybe it might make me think a bit more. Of course thinking does not lead to doing!

When I joined Facebook I got a couple of 'Muuuuuuuuuum's in response. I might just keep shtum about this little adventure.