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!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Remembrance of things past

No, this is not a 7 volume autobiographical novel containing a lengthy description of eating petite madeleine with tea.** More a gentle reminder of a little of my past. Well, I can indulge myself on my own blog!

You have probably forgotten dear reader, but some while back I mentioned how my mum had moved from rural Norfolk to a care home in busy SW London. Recently we returned to her house to begin clearing stuff; always a difficult task but also one that evoked many memories of times long gone. Hankies out!

Amongst the many things we came back with were some garden memories.

DSCN1154We gave this little potty chap to my step-father several years ago & he sat on a pillar in their garden since then, falling off once & having to be carefully resuscitated with glue & garden wire. He could not be abandoned to an unknown fate.

The other memories go back to my grandparents & their garden.

DSCN1155  This little plaque always sat in a little sunken section in the middle of my grandparent’s garden at their house in Carlisle before following my mother from Cumbria to Norfolk.

My grandfather was a carpenter & made lots of little wooden toys & other items, most of which have long gone. These 2 birds remain. My daughter thinks they are creepy.

DSCN1151  DSCN1153

But best of all …..

DSCN1149 This frequently re-painted policeman twirls & whirls in the wind & used to stand on top of the gatepost at our house when I was small, & medium come to that. I believe I have mentioned that I lived in extremely rural part of N Cumbria where my parents were teachers at the small village school, although there was no actual village. We lived in the school house, a little way down the road from the school. Those were the days when doors weren’t locked & one day my mum sent a 6 year old down to the house to collect something & bring it back to the school. He was a little longer than she thought & he ran back puffing & panting. “Sorry Miss” he said on being asked why he had been so long, “I had to wait for the policeman to let me go through the gate.”

So my garden memories will now find a place in my garden & the policeman will always bring a smile to my face.

**I am just so chuffed at that literary reference; you all know it of course!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Chelsea to SW19 via Ikea & the Peak District

Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 018

I think I must have, no, I know I have serious delusions of gardening grandeur; last year enthused by a garden at Hampton Court I dug up & re-planted one area of the garden & this year I have moved on to do my Chelsea thing.

I know dear reader, the show gardens are supposed to inspire us amongst other things, but when you have a pocket handkerchief sized garden there is surely a serious limit on the amount of inspiration that it can handle.

My problem was this; I am also a serious plantaholic & just cannot resist buying plants at almost every opportunity. This, coupled with the size of the garden has meant that over the years clear areas have gradually been eroded to be filled with as much plant life as I can cram in. My daughter constantly moans that we even planted a tree in the middle of the already teensy lawn so she cannot gracefully drape herself over it, scantily clad of course, during the warm heady days of summer. Now, where was I? Oh yes, plants, loads of them. The result is that the garden is very busy & frequently, due to my rather lackadaisical attitude, rather overgrown. I needed to try to simplify & calm down one or 2 areas. I would start with the small bed nearest the doors, reduce the varieties of plants used to a minimum, but then needed inspiration……it came after this years Chelsea visit.

Chelsea Flower Show 2010 081

I loved these clouds of box in the Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith & whilst I was musing on my little problem it came to me that I could have my own version of box clouds. This would produce a calm yet sculptural element to the garden. This was the way forward.

I had decided but I thought I had better consult other parties involved, namely MrB. Initially he was rather dubious but eventually he was persuaded by my obvious design talents & as is usual, threw himself into the problem of sourcing material with great gusto. Now box balls are quite pricey & even the relatively small number & size that we wanted was going to cost more than a couple of quid. But before I had even planned the numbers & sizes needed the intrepid MrB came home from a trip to Ikea with 2x30cm box balls for the extremely reasonable price of £10 each. Result! (Don’t tell me that small children worked for weeks in appalling conditions & were paid a few pence to help their starving families to produce these because I don’t really want to know.) We had to return to said store & hoped they still had the balls; sadly they did not but they did have some larger untrained plants for a similarly reasonable price. They would do & we could do our own trimming & training so 2 of those were purchased. The final 3 smaller untrimmed plants were bought whilst we were on holiday in the Peak District; well it’s cheaper up North isn’t it. So, we were ready for off.

The first bit of planting was done yesterday &  I got rather excited, probably over-excited about how good it looked already. What do you think?

009 This is not the whole area of course, it is a work in progress. No doubt later blogs will keep you up-dated on what is happening. I should probably produce a progress report on the Hampton Court bed too! I’ll bet you can’t wait!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Is it better late than never?

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 006 I am sitting in a very lovely cottage in the Peak District whilst my husband watches a ‘very crap game’ of football. We have no mobile phone signal but we do have Wifi & a laptop.

This situation has led me to write a little something about the Hampton Court Flower Show which I visited LAST TUESDAY! I know, why bother now you are probably thinking, but I have done my little bit about the trolleys so thought I might try something a little more serious for my own benefit, if nobody else’s.

Along with many others I did enjoy the ‘Conceptual’ gardens. These have always been thought provoking & not obvious gardens in the traditional sense

The Pansy Project was just spot on…..Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 030Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 028  Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 035

Many large gardens were disappointing.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 019

Dull & pedestrian.






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Plonky planting (& this was Best in Show!)





But there was some fun too

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For once I will remember the theme of this garden!





Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 061  Who can fail to smile at Lego people





And lovely design in my opinion……

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 133 Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 043

The floral marquee was filled with fantastic plants although it had been moved from previous years so we couldn’t find it for ages! Poor soul, I know.

There were lots of shopping opportunities which we took on with great gusto. For once most of the plant purchases were planted almost immediately. I am now hoping that my daughter is watering satisfactorily whilst I am absent!

I also met the delightful Michelle Wheeler at the show which was an added bonus.

If anyone has read to the end of this ramble I apologise. This is not really the proper time or place for this, but it had to be done. I mean it is extra time!


 Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 136Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 147Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 137

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 152Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 150  Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 145

As has recently been the case, my Hampton Court Flower Show experience was interrupted by the sound of trolley wheels on the metal walkway & the necessity of having to avoid the bloody things as whoever is pulling them does not have a clue where they are in relation to people’s legs.

There are other ways of transporting your many purchases..

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 156 Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 148 Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 154 

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 153 including the ‘official’ wheelbarrow pusher or penniless student.




This looked to be about the best transportation I saw: maximum capabilities!

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 159 But I couldn’t leave this without the most colour co-ordinated trolley/outfit…..

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 049