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Archive for the ‘Perennials’ Category

wendy-shillams-rooftop-shed-and-flowersI first heard about Wendy Shillam’s wonderful rooftop garden via the Chelsea Fringe.  It’s a small, but perfectly formed fruit, veg and flower garden, 5 floors up, and just round the corner from Oxford Circus in the heart of our metropolis.

writing-shed-on-wendy-shillams-rooftopI say perfectly formed, as this bijou veg patch also comes with a fully equipped writing shed,

wendy-shillams-rooftop-mini-greenhouseand a very productive greenhouse.

wendy-shillams-rooftop

It’s hugely impressive and utterly delightful.

lettuces-on-wendy-shillams-rooftopEach time I visit, I’m wowed by how much veg Wendy grows in her 6 inch raised beds,

wendy-shillams-rooftop-planting-to-cope-with-windand how, over the years, she’s developed strategies for taming the wind on her rooftop to allow her to grow such a wide variety of plants.

This Spring, Wendy is running a number of workshops on growing year round salad leaves, edibles for a healthy diet, yoghurt making using herbs for flavouring and ‘preserving sweet flavours that are a million miles away from shop-bought cocktails and sugary colas’. Booking is now open, and I’m really looking forward to going on the first workshop in March.Chelsea Fringe Day 2013 Ambler Road London N4And talking of the Chelsea Fringethe website is now open for signing up events if you’d like to participate! This year it runs from 20th May until the 4th June. Our community veg growing project joined in in 2012 and 2013. It’s massively enjoyable to take part,

Anmnarose's fernery in the toilet 3

and also great to see as many as possible of the hundreds of events that pop up each year (fernery in a toilet from 2013 above).

geoff winning 2nd Prize

I can’t wait to see what the Fringe has in store for 2017……(Above-Geoff at the Inner Temple Gardens Dog Show in 2013)

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topiary-vie-win-to-field Some gardens just make your heart sing. Bryan’s Ground is one of those amazing places. It’s a heady mixture of formal, intimate rooms (about three acres of these),inula-and-giant-fennel-at-bryans-ground-upright

and planting chaos, where self-seeders are left to do their own thing (Fennel, teasels and Inula (?) above),

veronicastrum-and-clematis-at-bryans-ground-upright

blousey perennials wilfully flop into pathways

bedsprings-as-trellis-at-bryans-ground

and climbers scramble up old bedsteads.

irises-at-bryans-ground

I first read about Bryan’s Ground on The Patient Gardeners blog, some years ago, and it wasn’t until last July that I finally managed to find my way over to see the gardens which are on the Welsh border about 20 miles from Hay-on-Wye.

Originally I’d been wowed by an image of a whole room full of Irises (have a look at Michelle’s pics of these) and planned to visit in May, but by the time I’d coordinated my plans with Veronica from Through the Garden Gate, summer was upon us and the irises (above) were well and truly over. We didn’t mind at all.

I’m sure whenever you visit, there’ll be gorgeous planting to see,

rabbit-pillarsand sculpture and follies aplenty to enjoy.

3-rabbits-at-bryans-ground

gargoyles-at-bryans-ground

hanging-watering-cans-at-bryans-ground

This truly inspiring garden has been created by David Wheeler and Simon Dorrell (who also are the writers of the quarterly Hortus magazine) since 1993.

plant-bench-at-bryans-groundAt every turn there are playful vistas and great planting ideas,

potager-2and I know it’s a garden that I’ll want to return to time and time again. Veronica felt the same.

pond-area-at-bryans-groundOnce you’ve wound your way all the different rooms, paths then lead you into the arboretum and another five acres with a large pond,

clearing-at-bryans-groundstylish mowing, and many specimen trees.

two-chairs-in-the-arboretum-at-bryans-groundIt’s a lovely calm spot.

When you’ve finished your wanderings, there’s also delicious cakes to tempt you and a small nursery area. Plan your visit well, as Bryan’s Ground is only open Sunday and Monday afternoons, this year from mid April until the end of July. Group visits can also be arranged by appointment. Most definitely worth making the trip.

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rubus-ulmifolius-bellidiflorusI first espied this intriguing plant back in 2011 at Hampton Court and incorporated it into my front garden a couple of years later.

Now I’m a fan of a Rubus (Japanese wineberries, raspberries and blackberries), but planting this in my urban front garden has been a bit of a mistake. Yes, there have (eventually) been some pink pompoms (which originally attracted me to this plant), but it’s been a quick grower and, similarly to my Japanese wineberry, it starts rooting each time a tip of a cane hits the ground. In fact, it seems to be even more successful than my wineberry, flipping over, seemingly at will, and spreading itself all over the place. And it comes with some rather nasty thorns. What’s more, although decorative (up to a point), it doesn’t produce oodles of edible berries, so what was I thinking?

As space is tight in my front garden, I’ve called it time on Rubus ulmifolius Belliddiflorus and have spent a good few hours digging it up, untangling it from other plants (noticeably a wild rose and my Oregon Thornless blackberry) that it has artfully woven itself into, and yanking rooted canes out of a slightly crumbling wall.

Its purply/pink stems and pompoms are, indubitably, attractive features, but it’s definitely a case of right plant, wrong place and I shall have to wait until I get an extra acre or two before I start growing this beast again.

The other morning I watched a grounds maintenance crew as they attempted to cut back some Rubus cockburnianus (lovely white stems in winter, but also viciously thorny), cursing as they got scratched and caught up in their clippings. These plants are amazing, but like Rubus ulmifolius Bellidiflorus, best  left to their own devices in a scrubbier bit of land where they can happily do their own thing.

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