Jan 212012
 

 

Staffordshire

Ever since I set myself the challenge of only featuring winter pots that don’t feature all the usual suspects such as ivy, skimmias, pansies, cyclamen and so on, output on this blog has dropped dramatically. So it’s just as well that I came across these winter containers at John Massey’s garden.

John isn’t a fan of pansies as they often get mildew, so he prefers to use other plants. In these pots, he’s got a few winter stalwarts such as skimmias, carex and ivy, but to them he’s added flotsam and jetsam from around the garden: seed heads of grasses and perennials, leaves, berries and pine cones. It’s a technique that florists use all the time, and one I’m definitely going to adopt.

Oct 142011
 

Bath

I lived in Bath for three years when I was a student, and never knew it had a Botanic Garden. I wasn’t interested in gardening then – at the time the University offered a BSc in Horticulture and I used to think that all the glasshouses looked a bit boring. Mind you, I thought the boffins in labs tapping away at something called the ‘World Wide Web’ looked a bit boring, too. Thank heavens I didn’t embark on a career as a trend forecaster.

Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of botanic gardens as I’m not that interested in plant collections as such – more how plants are put together. But Bath Botanic Garden was set up (over 100 years ago) with the aim of being an attractive garden with botanical interest, rather than a garden that is purely of botanical interest. So it has an interesting layout and lots of nice features such as a scented walk and some surprisingly contemporary herbaceous borders.

Apparently it looks its best in spring but it was looking pretty good at dusk on an October day. The borders were still looking good and there was lots of autumn colour, berries and grasses, plus some amazing scents from the likes of a huge Abelia x grandiflora.