A Garden View


Another one of our gardeners has sent me images of what her garden looks like this week.  Let’s see…


Meg's garden mixed Digitalis Firebird, selfsown cosmos A

The pink stems of flowers here are one of the new inter-generic hybrid foxgloves, Digiplexis ‘Firebird’, or is it called Digitalis x valinii?  There seems to be disagreement.  Probably the latter, since one of its parents, Isoplexis canariensis has now been reclassified as Digitalis canariensis, having shown that it could successfully be crossed with Digitalis species.  It was bred in the UK.

The Cosmos plants are self-sown – the seeds seem to happily survive the winter, since this gardener makes a habit of doing this every year.


Meg's Rose Lichfield Angel A

This David Austin rose is ‘Lichfield Angel’.


Meg's roses ThankYou and Lichfield Angel, Allium Millenial A

‘Lichfield Angel’ again on the right, and ‘Thankyou’ on the left of the bird bath.  Allium ‘Millenial’ is about to open up next to the bird bath.


Meg's Campanula Dwarf Pink A

This is Campanula lactiflora ‘Dwarf Pink’.  I know it well – it was one of the range of seeds that was included in the seed sowing exercise that I set the groups three or four years ago.  Here, the word ‘dwarf’ is definitely relative.  The plant grows about 6 inches shorter than normal C. lactiflora.


Meg's monarda A

Monarda, probably ‘Adam’, that seems to really be enjoying itself.


Thanks for sharing!



Tuesday Treats


Last week we had a mystery plant assailant, chewing discrete chunks out of the juicy midribs of plants such as Hydrangea aspera and Rodgersia pinnata.  That mystery remains to be solved, so thinking caps on, please.  Mind you, that matter has been referred to the RHS’s Advisory Service, and they don’t know either.  Perhaps it’s a really small vegan alien.

This week, we are reverting to form with a Nature Table of plants to identify.  See what you make of these.


1  Edited to add

Sempervivum flowers.  These succulents have flowers with an almost alien beauty.  Each rosette grows for a number of years, and then flowers, but only the once.  Having flowered, that rosette dies, and if you’ve given away all the offsets to friends, you’ll be left without.  So, no matter how many offsets the plant grows, remember to keep some for yourself.

Tony's 5 A


2  Edited to add:

A white lacecap hydrangea.  It is exactly the same as the more familiar mophead hydrangeas – they are both cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla.  The small flowers are the actual flowers.  The large white ones are sterile bracts.

Hugh's H Felley Priory(9) A


3  Edited to add:

This caused some head-scratching, but I kno0w it well, having wrestled with it, nursed it to health many times, and eventually composted it. (This one is Felley Priory’s, not mine.)  It’s Fuchsia arborescens.  It’s probably striking as a large’ish tree, but as a pot plant, it’s interesting to grow, but not interesting enough to buy a second time round, in my opinion.  It flowers only on the very tips of the branches, so flowering is sparse, and it gets woody very quickly, so if you try and limit the size, foliage gets a bit sparse, too.  But it is interesting.

Hugh's H Felley Priory(12) A


4  Edited to add:

This is a martagon lily, that wonderful woodlander.  Lilium martagon ‘Album’.

Hugh's H Felley Priory(24) A


5  Edited to add:

This is a Cornus, a flowering dogwood.  It looks a little bit like ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’, but I’m just guessing there.

Hugh's H Felley Priory(37) A

And a closer look:

Hugh's H Felley Priory(38) A


6  Edited to add:

A Lychnis, but its name didn’t accompany the picture.  If I were guessing again, I’d suggest Lychnis chalcedonica ‘Carnea’.  ‘Carnea’ means ‘flesh-coloured’.

Judy's Lychnis chalcedonica Carnea A


7  Edited to add:

‘Potentilla’, the email said.  Ah, but which one?  It looks like nepalensis to me, so I’m going to have a stab at ‘Melton Fire’.  Thompson and Morgan have been pushing this for some years, certainly long enough for the plant to be planted and the name forgotten…

Judy's Potentilla A


8  Edited to add:

Catananche caerulea, Cupid’s Dart.  Might be the variety known as ‘Major’.  A pretty, but short-lived perennial, needing well-drained soil to persevere.

Lesley's Catananche A


9  Edited to add:

Diascia personata.  Most diascia are relatively tender, and relatively short, good for summer baskets and containers.  Not this one.  It can grow up to 4ft tall, and it never stops flowering.  It comes from South Africa, where it is pollinated by just one species of bumble bee with the right sized tongue to reach the nectar.  That bumble bee does not occur here in the UK, so the plant never sets seed.  It just keeps on flowering.  Mine is regularly in generous flower in December.  it’s hardy, too, although somewhat short-lived.  A cutting or two is a good idea.

Meg's Diascia personata A


10  Edited to add:

Another hydrangea, but quite different to the lacecap above.  This is Hydrangea paniculata, with longer, pointed flowerheads.  The cultivar is ‘Pinky Winky’, and the white flowers do, indeed, fade to deep pink at the end of the season.  Unlike Hydrangea macrophylla, this is not a woodland edge plant, and it needs full sun to give its best.  It flowers best on new wood, so has a different pruning regime to H. macrophylla.

Meg's Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky A


Good luck!

Edited to add:  So, how did you do?  If you got any of them, have a chocolate biscuit!  Well done!

More from Felley Priory


The thing about Felley Priory is that not only is it lovely, and inspirational, but also the staff are cheerful and helpful, the tea shoppe (yes I think it deserves ‘shoppe’) is crowded but the food delicious, and it isn’t far away.  For me, a 20 minute drive.  Clearly, when we are asked to stay close to home, our gardeners like to go there, too.

Here are a few more images – like most images, they came to me unlabelled, except that I know where they came from, so I’ll leave you to just enjoy the pretties, or to have an extra Nature Table to which you may never get the answers.

Hugh's H Felley Priory(28) A


Hugh's H Felley Priory(35) A


Hugh's H Felley Priory(2) A


Hugh's H Felley Priory(5) A


Hugh's H Felley Priory(30) A


Hugh's H Felley Priory(33) A


It’s worth a visit.

Containers not by design


As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m rubbish at design.  But, I keep trying to improve…

This year, I thought I would have some baskets at the front, full of the hot colours of red cascading geraniums, Begonia ‘Cascading Embers’, Fuchsia ‘Thalia’ and Surfinia petunia ‘Victorian Yellow’.  To cut a long and dismal story short, the plants were ordered, then lockdown stopped the shopping.  Trying to get mail order hanging baskets was a nightmare (presumably most of them come from China, also in lockdown at the time), and those that arrived had very little wire and enormous gaps in between, so planting through the sides wasn’t at all practical.

The baskets went into the shed, and the basket plants, now in burgeoning growth, were consigned to double fill eight containers that were meant to hold a calmer collection of whites and greens, pinks and purples, most of which were also in burgeoning growth.  All except for the Caladiums, which had, to a man, rotted.

Well, they’re all looking full of themselves now, even if not as planned.


This was a month or so ago.

Jo's container A


And this is now.

Jo's container 2 A

Not showing to best advantage, I know, but they’re too heavy for me to heave around.  Crammed in there, we have unlikely bedfellows.  There’s Colocasia, with the large leaves; Zantedeschia ‘Picasso’, with the purple-throated white trumpets and spotted leaves; red balcon geraniums (the sort you get hanging from window boxes in Switzerland); surfinia petunia ‘Victorian Yellow’; the dark leaves and orange flowers of begonia ‘Cascading Embers’; fuchsia ‘Thalia’ with its red-accented leaves and emerging trumpets of scarlet-orange flowers; and fuchsia ‘Annabel’, just starting to open pink-tipped white flowers.

All things considered, I’m amazed they’ve grown as well as they have, the colocasia needing a lot of water to fuel those leaves, and the geraniums and petunias, not so much.  Hopefully, next year I’ll do better!

The weedy plant just behind is truly a weedy wildflower – ragwort.  I’ve left it there because the clumps of ragwort in the drive that are currently being consumed by Cinnabar moth caterpillars are now down to almost stumps.  I think I may have to move the starving hordes to another food plant, and this one is big enough to see them through.



Felley Priory


Felley Priory seems to have been a popular day out for our gardeners this summer.  These came in two batches from the same person, so I’ve had some of them for a little while.  Still, they show how nice the gardens are, and some of the lovely flowers to be seen there.


Glynis's Felley Priory 1 A

Aconite and what looks like a cultivated form of rosebay willowherb

Glynis's Felley Priory 2 1 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 2 2 A

One of the newish hybrid foxgloves, Digiplexis ‘Firecracker’.  Yes, I can read the label… That’s a tutor’s best friend.

Glynis's Felley Priory 2 3 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 2 4 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 2 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 4 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 5 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 7 A

Geranium – sorry, the label is too out of focus for more!

Glynis's Felley Priory 8 A

Papaver somniferum, allium seedhead and geranium

Glynis's Felley Priory 12 A

Orlaya, I think

Glynis's Felley Priory 14 A

Variegated weigela and eryngium

Glynis's Felley Priory 15 A


Glynis's Felley Priory 17 A


Thanks for sharing!  I really feel as though I’ve been there this year…




Breezy Knees


We had a little look at the Breezy Knees Garden last year.  Now, another of our gardeners has emerged from lockdown and paid it a visit.

It’s a set of gardens within a garden – 20 different areas set in 20 acres, I’m told.  Afternoon teas are available, and there’s some real social distancing of 3 metres.  And a lot of walking.

Here are a few snaps of this year’s look.


Hugh's Breezy Knees (5)


Hugh's Breezy Knees (15)


Hugh's Breezy Knees (25)


Hugh's Breezy Knees (27)


Hugh's Breezy Knees (31)


Hugh's Breezy Knees (28)


Hugh's Breezy Knees (40)


Looks like a good day out.  Have fun if you go.

Thanks for sharing.

Chilopsis linearis


A little while ago, I was surfing the net over breakfast (well, okay, brunch), and came across Chilopsis linearis, the desert willow.  I’d never heard of it, but it looks very lovely indeed.  It’s a small tree with willow-like leaves, and large trumpet flowers.  It’s in the Bignoniaceae family, which includes the Catalpa, and the Trumpet Vine, Campsis.  I wanted one.

So, I checked the availability of seeds, and there they were, offered by a nice lady in Texas.  A fortnight ago, they arrived, in an envelope bearing some pretty stamps (Does anyone collect stamps?), but the weather was biblical rainstorm, and when they went into the mail box at the bottom of the drive, they plopped into a puddle.  The instructions are strict – ‘Do not overwater!’  Heigh ho…

I sowed them the next day.  Various sites had said they were tricky to germinate, or that they would germinate in about a month, although the instructions in the envelope were more encouraging.  And they needed a minimum temperature of 70F, when the temperature here has been November.

Here’s what happened on Sunday, 10 days after sowing:

Jo's Chilopsis linearis


Thank you to that lovely lady from Texas!

Will they survive and prosper this side of the Atlantic?  No idea, but we’ll give them a go, even if it’s only as bonsai!

Excited?  Me?  Yep – I’m always excited with new plants.

PS – have you noticed they seem to have four seed leaves?  Why is that, I wonder?  Looks like research time.


Lockdown has strange effects on people.  A lot of us have been starting projects we wouldn’t previously have time for, or doing things to keep ourselves amused (and sane) that require a bit more of a push on our bravery button.

One of our gardeners has spent time remodelling parts of her garden during lockdown, and has now taken the bit between her teeth and entered her project into a competition.  Well done!  And fingers crossed for success.

The competition is here:


It’s the International Garden Show run as a lockdown project themselves by the London College of Garden Design in Melbourne, Australia.

There’s a link to all the entries on that page.

Our redoubtable competitor is here (yes, she knows she’s going public here…):


Pictures of the project have already appeared in the blog here:



I hope it does well.  And it’s so good to see one of our gardeners putting themselves out there, having a bit of anxious fun.