Hooray, hooray, hooray

Bearded-irisJust quickly got to comment on the ‘Best in Show’ at Chelsea this year. It has been awarded to the ‘Laurent-Perrier Garden’ designed by Luciano Guibbilei. It is a beautiful garden, I love lupins and foxgloves, but it is his comments to the press that I have really appreciated. He is not a fan of the so-called low-maintenance garden and said,

“This idea of low-maintenance gardens – I’ve no idea who told this to people. It does not exist. The people that want no-maintenance gardens, they should go and play golf. That is what they should be doing.”

Just when and why gardens were supposed to be low-maintenance I have no idea. Most of that type look like supermarket car park plantings to me. I am just over the moon that a leading garden designer has stridently pointed out that gardens are also about gardening. Hooray, hooray, hooray – rant over!

Here’s a flower, bearded iris, from my very much NOT low-maintenance garden.


Beautiful flowers for Chelsea Week

Bearded-irsToday is Press Day at the Chelsea Flower Show and it’s always exciting to get the first glimpses of this year’s garden designs on the television. Every year I wonder at the tremendous horticultural skills displayed as plants are held back or forced forward to be at their best for this week in May.


These photos are some of the flowers in my garden at 7.00 am this morning. All the hard work done by mother nature!

And, here’s a bud, the perennial cornflower (centaurea dealbata), full of potential that will take over as the alliums and aquilegias fade away.


Chelsea, Flowers and a late English Spring

This week in London it’s the Chelsea Flower Show. I’ve only been once in 1981 and that was before I had my first garden.  However, I’ve always appreciated flowers and floral displays.  What pleasure there is in the delightful diversity of colour and form often enhanced by a glorious scent.

Bellis perennis & myosotis
Daisies & Forget-me-nots

Interestingly, this year many of the show gardens at Chelsea seem to be all about green foliage, clipped box, yew hedges, and controlled spaces.  Perhaps these straitened economic times together with the long winter and unusually cold spring in the UK have combined to give us a flourish of densely green gardens, but gardens with few showy flowers.  For me, after viewing the photos on the RHS website, the most inspirational garden was the ‘Stop the Spread’ garden. http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2013/Gardens/Garden-directory/The-Fera-Garden–Stop-the-Spread  This garden, sponsored by The Food and Environmental Research Agency and designed by Jo Thompson, combines both the capture of a naturalistic aesthetic restrained for an urban space with a message about the impact of the invasion of non-native species into our local environments. Superb.

Madame Isaac Pereire
Rose bud of rosa Madame Isaac Pereire

Green has come late to my garden this year in East Anglia and flowers that are normally in full bloom during Chelsea week are still only in bud.  Most notably I have the beautiful, strongly scented old rose, Rosa Madame Isaac Pereire, in a large pot under my bathroom window, normally the first rose to bloom in my garden, but a couple of weeks late this spring.

Dark pink rose bud
Rosa Madame Isaac Pereire about to bloom

Unfortunately and unusually for East Anglia at this time of year we are experiencing quite a bit of rain this week and all the full bursting buds of the old roses are very likely to ball. They will remain wet and tight and the buds will rot before they can open.  Still the frogs are enjoying the weather.

Pond in rain
Late spring garden in the rain, East Anglia