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Archive for the ‘Hedging’ Category

Camelia sasanqua

I’m not a great Camellia fan. I find their dark evergreen foliage can be relentlessly gloomy, especially in our winter months. But when you’re greeted in a garden by these playful blooms, you can’t help but feel uplifted. I’m strangely enchanted by their offbeat flappy petals and their in-your-face winter colour. And when the sun does shine, they have a gentle, slightly cloying (heading towards mothballs) scent, which is no doubt great for early pollinators.

Camellia sasanqua flower after the snow in January

A week later, and these brilliant blooms haven’t survived the snow,

Camellia sasanqua flower opening in January

but new buds have toughed it out, and are ready to put on a show once more. And despite myself, I’m finding it difficult not to love ‘em.

Here’s a great article by Noel Kingsbury on how and where to grow Camellia sasanqua, with a helpful list of Camellia nurseries too.

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Sumptuous curves of Amsterdam

Inspired by Wellywoman’s Golden Welly awards, I thought I’d have a look back over the year and round-up some of my favourite horticultural experiences. So in no particular order (other than what first pops into my head)…..

On the third weekend every June, usually hidden Canal Gardens in Amsterdam are open to the public, so I popped over to Holland with fellow blogger Veronica (you can just see her there in the background) to have a look. (In 2013 Open Canal gardens are 14-16 June ).I have to admit, the omnipresent box parterres were slightly overwhelming by the end of the weekend, but I loved the giant curvaceous sculptural box forms in this garden at Kerkstraat 67.

Sumptuously curvy hedging in Amsterdam 2

Impeccably maintained, this garden was the most inspirational by far out of the 25 gardens or so that we packed in over the two days.

pots in Amsterdam 2

I haven’t been to Amsterdam for years, and I’d forgotten what a fantastic place it is just to hang out. And maybe the real horticultural treat for me over the weekend was not so much the canal gardens (although some were stunning), but the great planting that you see in the streets throughout this beautiful city.

pots in Amsterdam_

At every turn, pots were bursting with blooms,

Streets of Amsterdam

and roses adorned all manner of objects, seemingly springing out of deep concrete. Amazing!

De Kas Restaurant in Amsterdam

To complete our horticulturally themed weekend, we dined at De Kas restaurant, a short tram ride just outside the city centre. It’s a fabulous spot. Vegetable beds surround an enormous revamped municipal greenhouse and dining in this open airy structure added to the joy of eating their delicious meals, where fresh produce from the gardens is used as much as possible.

Black Krim tomatoes

Back in Blighty, I know it wasn’t a great year for tomatoes, but Black Krim, a beefsteak variety which I’d tasted the previous summer at Victoriana Nurseries , was another curvaceous delight. It looks wild and tastes great. Really meaty and rich. I’m definitely growing these again next year. (more…)

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The last time I sojourned on the East Anglian coast was in West Mersea in Essex last June, and I was interested to see which plants would be flowering later in the year as summer starts to move into autumn.

Above is the glorious Holkham beach on the north Norfolk coast. A true antidote to London with its huge skies and endless sandy walks (and supplying handfuls of razor shells which will make fantastic plant labels for next year’s sowings in spring).

Well into September and Valerian is still giving great shows of colour just down the coast in Blakeney,

although hollyhocks and roses are definitely at the tail end of their flowering season.

It was good to see a new generation of these flouncy beauties lining up in preparation for duty next year.

Despite the sandy soil, roses seems to thrive right by the sea, and even their hips offer a gorgeous contrast in texture and colour to this yellow Verbascum.

A few miles inland in a village called Binham, I had to do a quick u-turn in the car to gaze a bit longer on this wondrous espalier pear tree.

It was absolutely dripping with fruit and I wished I’d knocked at the door now to find out how old the tree was and who looked after this beautiful specimen, growing in such a surprising public space!

Back to the coast and Erigeron karvinskianus was climbing out of walls nearby what I think is its slightly larger clump forming relative Erigeron ‘Azure Fairy’. Jolly lovely combination.

And seemingly growing out of a bit of moss by a none too gorgeous drain, was this delicate white cyclamen. I wonder if it will be forming a bulb under all that concrete?

And finally, this lovely common chicory was doing its horizontal best along a coastal pathway,

whilst a blackbird filled up on elder and hawthorn berries in a wind breaking hedgerow. I certainly do love to be beside the seaside, although I might need a lovely walled garden if I wanted to grow some of my favourite flowers and veg.

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