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German Lanhshan bantam chickenThe Edible Gardening Show kicks off today and continues all day on Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be talking throughout, alongside many others: James Wong, Pippa Greenwood and Christine Walkden for starters, and they’ll be gardening demonstrations and cookery talks aplenty too.

This is the show’s first year at Alexandra Palace in London (having moved from Coventry) and I can’t wait to visit the chickens again, as well as stock up on seeds, groovy wellies, herbs and loads more. Hope to see you there!

RIP Des

 Snowdrops on the Avon Bulbs standI don’t often write personal blogs, but my lovely husband Des died unexpectedly this weekend and posts may be erratic for a while to come.

I’m planning on planting snowdrops where his ashes will be scattered, and although he wasn’t a keen gardener, I’ll be able to sit with a cup of coffee and cake (cake being one of his true loves in life!) and think of him at snowdrop time in the years ahead.

RIP Des 1962-2014

Narcissus cantabricusI tweeted this gorgeous Narcissus cantabricus (white hoop-petticoat daffodil) last week as it was such a joyous (and early) sight to behold.  The cone shaped, slightly crimped petals have diminutive sepals dancing around their base and their delicate, wispy leaves highlight these showy little blooms (about 6inches high) to perfection. I glimpsed this arresting clump amongst the alpine planting at RHS Wisley (luckily on one of the drier days last week), but a little research has revealed that they’re a tad difficult to get a hold of. Annoying. Yellow versions of these bulbocodium daffodils, such as ‘conspicuus’ and ‘Golden Bells’, happily, seem much easier to buy.

Wisley don’t sell any N. cantabricus in their plant shop and Avon Bulbs don’t have them in their catalogue, but if they take your fancy, the very friendly Kevock Garden in Scotland will be stocking bulbs later in the year (from their new listings in April), so do get in touch with them and they’ll email you when the bulbs are for sale online again. They also have many other delightful and intriguing bulbs for sale, so definitely worth visiting their site. Kevock Garden, just south of Edinburgh, is open for group visits (and now definitely on my garden visiting list).

Rhododendron dauricum MidwinterOther stunners in flower at Wisley were this delicate Rhododenron dauricum ‘Midwinter’,

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Harry'this rich yellow Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Harry’,

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Harry' uprightwith a very pleasing upright habit,

Daphne Spring Heraldand this white Daphne ‘Spring Herald’, pumping out a deliciously strong, all-pervading winter perfume.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digynaSarcococca hookeriana var. digyna has to be one of my all time favourite scents though, and I think the more pointed leaves and softer tone of green (and slightly messier shape) just wins out over a Sarcococca confusa.

Wisley car parkFinally, as the light was fading, even the car park had its own wow factor (Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ flaming away here). RHS Wisley-always worth a visit.

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