Mar 162014


A few weeks back I posted a picture of my violas (Viola deltini ‘Rose Pink’), which had been blooming their socks off for weeks come rain or shine (mostly rain). I had put some crocus bulbs (Crocus tommasianus ‘Whitewell Purple’) underneath, and they’ve come up a treat. They’re exactly the same colour as the violas, which I kind of like, but next time I think I’ll plant yellow or orange ones as more of a contrast…

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Jan 192014


These violas have been flowering non-stop since November. The winds of late have created a bit of a vortex on my patio and there have been pounding rains as well. But they’ve withstood it all. I planted some crocus to poke up through them – no signs of them yet, though.

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Dec 152013


I’ve been pondering what to plant around my front door, and had been thinking of one climber, maybe two. But then I saw this house and realised that I need to be more imaginative than that.

There are least three climbers here – a passionflower, a cup-and-saucer plant (Cobaea scandens) and a wisteria – all still looking good in early December. The dark-leaved plants complement the yellow grasses and the yellowing wisteria. The dark pots complement the black surround of the door. It’s all very well thought out.

As so often happens with this blog, the owner came home just as I was admiring her handiwork. I got the impression she was used to her house attracting attention and said it’s going to appear on the front of the 2014 Bradford-on-Avon calendar.

The house is part of three terraced streets on a hillside overlooking the town. They’re a mix of weavers’ cottages and merchants’ houses, built from the 17th century onwards. Each house has a small, south-facing garden on the other side of the pavement. It was practically dark when I visited but they all looked really different – everyone had dealt with the slope in a different way, and had come up with ways of creating privacy (lots of walkers and tourists use the path). As luck would have it, some of them will be open for Secret gardens festival in Bradford-on-Avon next year, which is a nosey blogger’s dream. I’ll be first in the queue.

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Aug 052013
Strawberries in a hanging basket

Nunney, Somerset

It’s a brave and generous person who grows luscious-looking strawberries in two hanging baskets right next to a busy pavement. Nunney is a pretty village with a very grand ruined castle, and it attracts its fair share of tourists. People must be walking past these tantalising berries all day – I wonder how many have succumbed to temptation?

I think the variety is strawberry ‘Toscana’, a new-ish everbearing variety that has pink flowers (you can just see one to the top right of the pic). Something this pretty and edible is the holy grail of gardening as far as I’m concerned, and I will definitely be growing some next year. They will be residing in my back garden, though. I’m not at all generous as far as soft fruits are concerned.

Jul 262013


After a hot and sweaty walk to the post office along a busy main road mostly devoid of plants, this white rose stopped me in my tracks. It was planted in the shady stairwell of a basement flat, and looked as cool as a cucumber. I don’t know if it’s because was against a cream wall, or because it was planted with the dark red dahlia, but its brilliant whiteness was dazzling.

As I was taking this pic, the owner came home. As with most people I’ve met via this blog, she was very nice and said that she can’t stop taking pictures of the dahlia. She’s a bit obsessed by them, and has lots more in pots around the back of her flat. She let me go and have a look.