Archive for the ‘Perennials’ Category

Geranium psilostemonI’ve always found Geranium psilostemon a vibrant, uplifting plant to have in the garden. Fellow blogger Veronica visited recently, and wrote a lovely post appreciating the combination of this intense pink against the acid yellow of Euphorbia palustris, now happily self-seeded throughout the garden.

Geranium psilostemon sport

Sipping an early morning coffee, I was delighted to see that this Geranium had also started dotting itself around, but although retaining the same colour and dark inner markings, the petals have morphed into an entirely different shape.

I’m completely charmed by this variant. Gaps between the petals, accentuated by the now revealed green sepals, add an even more joyous nature to this already lively bloom. I’m going to see if I can take some cuttings as I love this new form and try to remember to collect seeds for further experimentation.


On a rather different, but equally exciting note, The Chelsea Fringe continues this week up until Sunday 8th. There are still plenty of horticultural happenings to go and visit (mostly free!) and I’m particularly looking forward to visiting Wendy Shillam’s rooftop garden which is open Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June, 1-6pm. She’s growing oodles of veg right in the heart of London (Great Titchfield Street) and I can’t wait to see it all!



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Tomatoes at Chateau de la Bourdaisiere

I love visiting gardens, but it’s not often that a garden completely exceeds all your expectations. However, the field of tomatoes at Château de la Bourdaisière in the Loire really took my breath away and I’m now yearning for a larger, sunnier garden (preferably walled) to try out a fair few of the 630 varieties that were on offer. Yes, six hundred and thirty!

Toamto Beams Yellow Pear

I can’t say that I counted them all, but there were row upon row of beautifully trained (and labelled) fruits in all shapes, sizes and colours and although I try to avoid dumping loads of gratuitous photos, I’m going to have to share a fair few pics of cultivars that caught my eye. Above is the mini light bulb shaped Beam’s Yellow Pear. Not quite as tasty as its natty looks suggest, but I’d be very happy for it to grace my salad bowl any summery day for its form alone.

Toamto Banana LegsYellow tomatoes kept on catching my eye as we gently wandered around the garden. Banana Legs was firm and delicious and available from Nicky’s Seeds, (who stock around 150 varieties of tomatoes). Definitely a good UK seed supplier to start with if you’re looking to try out a few different tomato varieties.

Toamto Black Zebra

Striped Black Zebra was good and tasty, as were many of the larger ‘black’ varieties. Without a greenhouse, it can be a bit of a gamble as to whether the larger black varieties will ripen in the UK, but one of the cooks recommended Ananas Noir, a big meaty brute of a fruit, and of the varieties we tasted, this was the most delicious. Also on next year’s list.

Tomato Veronique

Loved the look of Veronique,

Tomato Grinta at Chateau de la Bourdaisiereand Grinta.


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Hollyhocks growing in a tree pit

Hollyhocks planted in tree pits in our streets are looking glorious this year,

Lindsey's garden full of Hollyhocks

and they were inspired originally by Lindsey’s Hollyhocks in her front garden. Seeds were gathered and a few years on are looking great elsewhere in the neighbourhood.

Not all our tree pits are looking at their best this year though (some keen planters have moved away and the very cold start to the year did dampen gardening spirits!), so we’re planning a big push to get more planted up next spring. We’ll be sowing more Hollyhock seeds so we have plenty of small plants to give away, and we’re also thinking about other drought tolerant, tough plants such as Lavender,

Erigeron in pots close-up

Erigeron (above), Verbena bonariensis and Salvias. Any other suggestions gratefully received!

Chicory in a tree pit

I’ve grown Chicory (Chicorium intybus) this year too,

Chicory in a tree pit 2

and although the intense blue flowers are truly gorgeous, I think they’re a bit too floppy for this type of street planting, so I’ll transplant this elsewhere and make room for more Hollyhocks. According to Nicky’s seeds, this native perennial grows on waste land and field margins and is excellent food for tortoises (and sheep says Farmgirl Susan in comments below!). Always worth experimenting though to see what survives, and indeed thrives, in this tricky growing environment.

Damaged Hollyhocks in tree pits

We don’t get a huge amount of vandalism, but I just popped out to take a pic of these lovely plants and was really disappointed to see the damage.

Damaged Hollyhocks in tree pits 2

They were beautiful blooms (which I was hoping to collect seed from), but worth noting that Hollyhocks can be tempting candidates for a bit of snapping and it’s also a good idea to mix up the planting to have blooms throughout the seasons. Shame to see though!

tree pit sown with wildflowers

And whilst the perennials are growing, we’ll be giving away annual wildflower seeds,

Fairy Toadflax AKA Linaria moroccana 'Fairy Bouquet Mixed'

which will always help to beautify our streets. Above is Pictorial Meadow’s ‘Candy’ mix, which has two waves of flowering for double the interest and supplying colour in our neighbourhood well into the summer months.

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