Archive for the ‘Carrots’ Category

Carimine quinquefoliaFriend Julia, who has an amazing memory, pointed out that I’ve mentioned this delicate spring perennial before. And so I have, back in 2011, first glimpsed when volunteering at Great Dixter. However, it’s such a gorgeous (and useful) plant, that I’m mentioning it again!
Cardimine quinquefoliaThese lilac blooms seem to pop out of nowhere in early spring, flower for a good few weeks, and then, equally swiftly, vanish after giving their sterling performance.

En masse, they look wonderful with snowdrops and hellebores and strangely this year, with the rather early appearance of Leucojum (just nodding there in the background, and normally flowering in April). Along with the hellebores and snowdrops, it’s happy in shady parts of the garden and its lilac petals are such a welcome splash of colour in February and March, when the rest of the garden looks so dull and monochrome.

Cardimine quinquefolia upright

Over the last few years, it’s slowly increased its mounds of gently serrated green foliage, and as soon as it’s finished flowering, before it does its vanishing act again, I’ll be dividing a few clumps to plant in other parts of the garden (and maybe a few divisions will be winging their way to Julia’s garden too.)



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Lovage flowers with carrots and cornflowers

Last year I heard tell of beautiful flowers from parsnips and carrots, so I left some carrots in the ground and I’ve been monitoring their progress ever since. I popped along to the allotment this week to see how they were coming along and was equally wowed by this lovely hub of a flower from my Lovage plant, which seems to be its own little universe. It somehow reminds me of ‘Blade Runner’ and for all those Trekkies out there, ‘Deep Space Nine’.

Carrot flower head beginning to open

Meanwhile, back at the carrots. They’ve looked pretty impressive at all stages of growth and although I love the flower heads once fully opened, this verdant promise of what’s to come is completely enchanting.

Carrot flower head

As the myriad of florets start doing their thing, the umbel starts to be revealed,

Carrot flower head 2

until the full gorgeousness of a dome is formed. I had to bring a few home so that I could gaze at them for a little longer. They look great in a vase with some self-seeded cornflowers too.

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Plant belles rusty wire cloch supports with bamboo

I love this show. I always seem to find what I’m look for, and then some more. I’ve been debating whether I should use a cloche for my winter leaves or not and then I came across this nifty and stylish solution for those with petite growing (and storage) spaces. Some bamboo canes and a bit of fleece (or plastic) added to these rusty wire hoops will do the trick perfectly.

Plant Belles rusty cloche supports in different sizes

Plant Belles supply hoops in different finishes and sizes to suit all needs and have other gorgeous plant supports online too. I plumped for a set of 5 smaller hoops for £15.00 and I know I’m going to use these time and time again.

Pachysandra axillaris 'Crug Cover'

I’m always irresistibly drawn, as if by a magnetic force, to the Crug Farm Plants stand, and this year I was delighted by this deliciously scented Pachysandra axillaris ‘Crug Cover’. So similar are its flowers to that of a Sarcococca, that I thought it must be related, but the Pachysandra genus is part of the box family. The ‘axillaris’ leaves are sizeably larger than the more common Pachysandra (terminalis) ground cover that you see in many gardens, and growing in light to dark shade, to about a foot high (and of creeping habit),  this new plant discovery is definitely on my ‘shady bits of the garden’ must-have list.

Chilli Peppr seeds

After a bit of plant gazing and shopping, I was onto the serious business of seed buying. I do want to start some mustard leaves off soon in my mini greenhouse (and new cloche) and called by to the very friendly Sea Spring Seeds stand. They always have  a really good selection of leaves and I plumped for some ‘Broadleaf’ and ‘Red Knight’ Mizuna (fast becoming one of my favourites) and Flaming Thrills and Golden Streaks Mustards-always very decorative. But Sea Spring Seeds are also a Chilli specialist and I’ve ordered some Super Chile plug plants to be delivered later in the year for our community veg growing project. I think they’re going to look fantastic in sunny window boxes and pots along our street come summer.

Pennard plants stall

I also dropped by Pennard Plants to discuss seeds potatoes. These will be for growing in growbags at the end of March and I’ve plumped for Salad Blue Early (a handsome dark purple tuber for some great lilac-coloured mash), which I can collect at the Potato Day at the Garden Museum in Lambeth on Sunday March 10th.

Rainbow mix carrots

And I picked up plenty of packets of seeds so neighbours can grow these gorgeous rainbow coloured carrots this year too.

Lathyrus vernus at the RHS Feb show

As ever, there was a glorious array of spring-flowering bulbs and perennials on offer, and I snapped up a few Lathyrus vernus for another shady spot from the Hardy’s stand. And a few of the darkest of Hellebores and some Hollyhocks for tree pits from The Botanic Nursery. This is my favourite sort of shopping!

Woodland planting in nearby street in Victoria

As you leave Vincent square, there’s a garden nearby (attached to some grand old purpose-built flats in Ashley Gardens-thanks for local knowledge Nicolette) that always looks as good as the show stands. This year was no exception and the cyclamen, primroses and hellebores made the route home a perfect ending to a very enjoyable day.


Irises at the RHS Feb show 2

Following Claire’s comment below, here’s a pic of Jacques Armand’s lush Iris display. Have a look at her fab blog for her review of the show.

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