About Me

My photo
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!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

We had lights, we had cameras…….


The place: Wisley.

The time: 18.30.

The problem: too many small people & Surrey type 4x4 buggies in the dark.

 Image1089 DSCN1729 Image1086 DSCN1716 Image1107 DSCN1717 Image1085 DSCN1720

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Separated at birth




One of these is a baobob tree, one isn’t!

Who knows which one isn’t & what tree it is? I know, there aren’t any leaves which doesn’t help this tricky question. The ‘I am not a baobob’ was photographed in Kew Gardens.

Additional picture clue:

DSCN1753Now it’s easy!


The answer:

DSCN1754I confess to being surprised that it was a London Plane, common in London & many other cities. I have never seen one with quite such an odd shape; I am used to seeing tall rather magnificent specimens with the mottled bark being a main feature. I wonder why this one reached this particular shape & size.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Stuff & Nonsense


It is quite a while since I ventured to put finger to keyboard to recount to you, my dear reader, the further adventures of a Lazy Trollop. I can only put it down to sheer exhaustion after trying to get the most monthly visits on this blog. Now how ridiculous is that; I don’t really write this for other people but because it is inevitably flattering when people do visit it can sometimes go to your head. I apologise un-reservedly for my lapse. It is even better when visitors read the content & so exciting when they also comment, even if it is just to say ‘crap’**


Since I last wrote a glorious autumn has turned into an early & bloody cold winter; an enormous shock to the system particularly here in a normally balmy SW London. This has forced me into an early hibernation mode as far as gardening is concerned.


We are currently having a new path laid. So what is so interesting about that you may quite legitimately ask. On its own merits not a lot to others, but it has brought to mind the debate which  often simmers in & around organisations like the National Trust & in many discussions about historic houses & gardens; should we preserve them in aspic & restore every tiny detail as it was at a certain period in time or should we try to move forward whilst still reflecting & respecting what has gone on in the past.

Our house is part of an Edwardian terrace with some modest but attractive original features like a stained glass front door & nice detail on the windows. Part of this was the black & white tiled front path which had been patched by us many times but reached the end. It has been replaced by a modern version of the black & white tiles. Was this the right decision or should we have attempted something more contemporary?

DSCN1655 Image1081

This historical accuracy/contemporary conundrum is no doubt constantly in the minds of the custodians of 2 stately homes I visited over the summer; Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire & Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Blenheim163 ChatsworthPeak Ditrict holiday July 2010 097

Now I will not bore you even more by wittering on about them in any detail & there is lots of ‘stuff’ happening at each estate but what I found most interesting was some of the directions in which they were moving. Blenheim has a new(ish) exhibition in the house using lots of new-fangled technology to bring the past to life & give visitors a real taste of history. Chatsworth has taken a very different tack & is very keen to put the modern in with the historic particularly with works of art both indoors & out. Personally I found Chatsworth seemed to  have more dynamism  whilst keeping true to its historical roots.

Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 080Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 131 Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 153 Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 099         Modern sculpture in the grounds at Chatsworth.


*The winter photos were taken at a snow-covered Wisley gardens last week

**For an interesting discussion on the use of the word ‘crap’ to describe, in this case gardens, please look  here, here & here at some related articles on the Thinking gardens website.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Arboreta, who needs ‘em.

Autumn in the city…..

DSCN1521It is a fantastic year for autumn colour; it’s all about the right combination of sun & frosts at the right time of the year. People are dashing off to arboretums*, woods & tree filled gardens to see the glorious colours. But hang on, even in the middle of the city they are there right in front of your nose…..or possibly feet.

I thought I would capture some of my local colour before it all disappeared in a puff of wind.

We have an enormous variety of street trees here; I once spoke to the council tree man who said they had been given a ‘job lot’ some years previously.

DSCN1520  DSCN1524 DSCN1518 DSCN1525 DSCN1528

There are lots of older trees, including the London Plane, which get pollarded every year & can look rather odd…


Trees more recently planted are usually some sort of Rowan whilst  Amelanchier are also quite popular. The Magnolia stellata below is brilliant in spring but turning rather nicely here.


The peach, yes, you read it correctly, the peach is not looking too good!

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The Gingko is rather odd as a street tree with its right-angled branches, but we have several. The butter yellow leaves look almost good enough to eat, but most are on the pavement!

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Image1017Addendum: this one in a nearby street has more leaves!

I have saved my favourite tree until the end. It is quite truly stunning.

DSCN1529 DSCN1531

DSCN1534 This tree positively glows at the end of the road. I hope you agree; small yet perfectly formed.

Actually, not quite the last because I am sure you are wondering how my own (1 tree) woodland is looking…DSCN1511 ….I am considering re-designating it as an arboretum.








*the plural of arboretum can be either arboreta or arboretums.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

An apple a day…..

……can be used to make one of these, a Squidgy Spiced Apple Cake

012 I was given lots of windfall un-named cooking apples by a client. With them I have made jars of apple & rosemary jelly, frozen several pots of apple sauce & made a number of variations on the theme of Apple Crumble & stumbled upon this recipe whilst browsing. Apple requirements; 1 large cooker.


Not high-end dining I know but this was delicious served with a blob of creme fraiche & some sliced cox fried with honey & calvados. The cake apparently improves with keeping so am looking forward to testing that hypothesis!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

False Alarm

Chelsea Flower Show 2010 230 (2)  Chelsea Flower Show 2010 233

Is the trend for pretend & plastic in all things gardening increasing/getting worse? It certainly seems so to me. Indeed the poor taste brigade seems to be muscling in more & more. Actually, I am not talking about ‘all things’ gardening, I am referring to plants here…..you know, those things that grow, flower, die back; in other words they are living things that change with the seasons & the years providing huge enjoyment & also a little frustration to us mere mortals.

It all began earlier this year….

Image0484 Image0483 ……….I was quite horrified to see these lurid green balls in a garden centre. Who on earth would use these? I was soon to find out…..the biggest culprits seem to be pubs, or at least these are the most visible users of the panoply of plastic planting.

April Break 2010 043 Look at just a few of the things I have seen…………..





April Break 2010 049 April Break 2010 051 April Break 2010 048 Image1002 Image1003  Don’t you just love the 2 varieties of ‘ivy’ in the last picture & the ‘double bubble’ hanging balls!

I have always admired the planting outside pubs…

Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 287                                     Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 286

This is more like it!





So do you think we will see an even more widespread proliferation of this tasteful & easily maintained greening of our pubs & other premises?


**The green balls at the top are made from actual plants & were on show at the Chelsea Flower Show.