May 2012

May 10th, 2012

Good colour combinations 2: Grey, green and white

I've heard cleverer gardeners than me pointing out that the reason the White Garden at Sissinghurst works because it is actually grey, green and white. If it was white only, it would look like a bad accident between a meringue lorry and a milk float, messy, frothy, indistinct, we've all seen them. Box and artemisia as well as the lovely brick paths set off the lilies, roses and other beautifully grown plants to make for an atmosphere of elegance and serenity at Sissinghurst some of us try to create in our gardens.

At Charnwood in April, the lovely willow leaved pear, white, green and grey are all together in one plant and make for a subtle but stunning combination that many of our garden visitors comment on. Underplanted with white daffodils and bluebells in the spring green grass, the planting scheme works well, albeit for a short time.

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May 8th, 2012

NGS garden opening at Charnwood great success despite the rain!

Gardeners are such hardy souls. We had around 180 visitors on Sunday 6 May for our garden opening, the rain stayed away, hooray! On Monday 7th when the rain did NOT stay away we had 100 more, complete with brollies, what stars you garden visitors are! Many thanks to you all, and not forgetting Friends of South Wolds who provided the yum teas and music students from South Wolds School who played the sax so beautifully in the garden on Monday in the rain. Also a huge thank to our many loyal friends and family who helped out so cheerfully despite the damp!

The stars of the garden were 2 large pots of 'Burgundy' lily flowered tulips, at their peak in the little courtyard on the day and the new Jungle Hut.

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May 1st, 2012

NGS garden open with Kates Cuttings book launch 6 and 7 May

Whenever you read this you can be sure that one of the following is happening here at Charnwood. I am either:
• panicking that the garden will not be ready or will look awful when we open on 6 and 7 May;
• weeding;
• chasing the rabbits, pheasants, pigeons and/or squirrels off the plants;
• watering (if it’s dry) or praying for sun (if it’s wet);
• driving Peter mad (actually that applies most of the time) or, if it’s after 10pm:
• asleep, assuming I can nod off in the midst of the aforementioned state of panic.

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April 2012

April 20th, 2012

Tulips are fab

I absolutely can't resist tulips. Their colours sing out at this time of year when everything is so green and fresh. I'll have a go at naming the ones pictured, but to be honest I don't really care what variety they are, they are all lovely and so easy. The only problem we have at Charnwood is that the squirrels eat them, so I soak them in tonic water with quinine first, they are not supposed to like the taste and it works to some extent.This year I have also tried planting them in pots with smelly alliums, that seems to have worked too, although I'm not sure if they will flower together as intended! The advantage of planting them in pots is that you can give them the well drained soil they like, and you can move them round to where you want them and out of the way when done.

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April 19th, 2012

Thanks to Fennel and Fern

For featuring 'Charnwood' so elegantly on their website. We are open here on 6 and 7 May 2012, from 1-5pm. The garden can be found in Nottinghamshire in the NGS 'Yellow Book', 120 Cotgrave Lane, Tollerton NG12 4FY. Cream teas and plants for sale all aid of Friends of South Wolds School as well as my Kates Cuttings first book launch!

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April 10th, 2012

Good colour combinations 1: white, orange, blue

Getting good colour combinations can be great fun, very satisfying, or, if it goes wrong, horribly disappointing. Your careful plan may not allow sufficiently for the fact that some plants respond to unseasonal weather conditions more obviously than others, so your pink tulips may be well over by the time your forget me nots flower.Or the rabbits may eat them, or the colours may not be as expected or.... I could go on. But us gardeners are optomists enough to keep trying, aren't we?

I love green, white, orange and blue. Forget me nots, orange tulips such as' ballerina' next to the white blossom and green foliage of our espalier pear. Or more exotically Orange Dream acers just comng into leaf next to pheasants eye daffs and brunnera (pictured). The trees are very small at the moment, but when they have grown a bit this picture can only improve - can't it?

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April 6th, 2012

Thalia daffodils under the weeping pears

Thalia is probably my favourite daffodil. Pretty and elegant among the bluebells under our weeping pears.It's an easy and reliable variety, gently increasing here and looking good in most settings. At its best now at Charnwood.

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April 2nd, 2012

Beetles and cherry trees

I’m designating April as beetle alert month; especially two that are currently the most destructive in my garden, the red lily beetle and the viburnum one. Both do loads of damage unless you get on their case early. The red lily beetle is unmistakable and aptly named; bright, bright scarlet. If you don’t eliminate them they will munch your lilies until they are soggy brown heaps. They will then will bonk their mates on your remaining lilies in front of your very eyes, reproduce, and then their offspring will also nosh the leaves. The larvae look really yukky, like bird droppings. So remove and dispose of pdq! Be careful, they are good at dropping to the floor and disappearing. The knack to getting the devils I find is to put your hand underneath and shake them gently into it.

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March 2012

March 29th, 2012

Armandii clematis today looking and smelling fab!

Peter took this today, such a pretty sight at the moment and a gorgeous smell too, especially in the evenings. Someone told me it is called armandii becuase it smells of almonds - sounds a bit of a likely story? And anyway, it smells more of nutmeg to me. Nutmegii doesn't sound as good, I'll admit.

Dead easy, this plant in a sheltered spot. Needs no pruning unless it gets out of hand, but it will want some strong support, especially when it gets to this size. Last year it fell down in a spring gale complete with a nest full of baby blackbirds. Not good.

This variety is called 'apple blossom' - there are white ones too.

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March 28th, 2012

The generosity of penstemons

A lovely day in the garden at Charnwood today potting on penstemon cuttings for the plant stall when we open on 6/7 May. These are such generous plants, they flower and flower all through the summer and into the autumn. One of the best is 'Firebird' - the colour of crushed raspberries. Also Blackbird (pictured) - gorgeous pink/purple flowers, quite tall for a penstemon at around 90cm, but absolutely beautiful. I have it with Rose' Tuscany Superb, a similar colour and a gorgeous, fragrant companion. There is a bird theme going on here you may have noticed, Raven is another good variety. They tend to be in the pink/purple colour scheme so fit well in most borders.

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