Garden News

Nov. 6th, 2012 03:04 pm
Memo to self: today I planted tulips 'Ballerina' and 'Abu Hassan', plus some fritillaries.

In spite of a big frost and actual ice this morning, anemones, fuchsias, penstemons and a couple of hardy geraniums are still flowering.


Photo of 'Abu Hassan' from Sarah Raven, who sold me the bulbs.
The gardener is the only person to whom time gives more than it takes away.
Beverley Nichols

That’s quoted from memory, may not be quite right. It’s a strange thing about gardening, that on a hot day (too much for me, but I daren’t complain), you can suddenly picture snowdrops as something to look forward to. These thoughts were provoked by the arrival of Sarah Raven’s autumn catalogue.


So, with the garden awash with summery pinks and mauves, I’m sitting plotting combinations of tulips and wallflowers. I think I have to have this fritillary. So weird!

Are we nearly there yet? In my book, if you’d rather be outdoors than in, it’s spring. After another frosty start it turned sunny here and was almost warm if you stayed in the sun and kept out of the stiff breeze. Last month the garden centre was selling pots of tulips and daffodils at half price to people with loyalty cards. I picked ‘Johann Strauss’ tulips and they've grown like mad. When the sun is on them, they open right out, looking like little suns inside.

pests & others )

Top Tulip

Apr. 21st, 2011 07:49 pm
How gardeners plan ahead and then reap the rewards! As described here I ordered my tulips last August and am loving them this month. The warm weather is hurrying them along and only a few common red ones, not planted by me, are still to come.

I ordered the Venetian Collection and I'm giving the prize, 10/10 to Cairo. It's a lovely mix of amber shades on tall, strong stems and lasts a long time. I'm also very impressed by the lily flowered, very dark purple one, whose name I've lost.

Big disappointment: I also ordered some of my favourite 'Ballerina' tulips. These have turned out spindly things, not at all like the beauties I used to grow. Perhaps they're in the wrong soil, perhaps I'll try another supplier for that variety next year.

I should be able to gloat over the jewel colours of tulips for a little longer, and from both kitchen windows!
It's just started raining! At last! Also turned very cold but that will make the tulips last longer she sa looking on the bright side. And speaking of bright, this tulip is 'Couleur Cardinal', a very old but very beautiful variety.

more )

Chaenomeles speciosa or Flowering Quince. I think this one is ‘Geisha Girl’. It’s a huge shrub here and very pretty just at the moment. I took the photo yesterday afternoon when I got back from the Spring Flower Show. Oh dear. Entries and attendance were both down and I felt bad about not entering anything. I could fully have won the class for Primroses and I’m sure my patterned socks would have beaten the only other knitted entry.

I see from Jane Brocket’s blog that she’s already picking large bunches of tulips from her garden. So far I have one in flower.
Cairo )

photo Sarah Raven

Nearly September! I have a lot of wallflowers ready to plant out. Yes, the old 'Blood Red' seed proved viable. Next year, I'm determined to have tulips with them and I've just put in an order with Sarah Raven. Not only does she have wonderful taste, the bulbs are good value and she has free postage this weekend. Of course I've included my favourite 'Ballerina', which you can see in today's icon.


Feb. 5th, 2010 09:57 am

Tulips from the Co-op.

'Scandinavian' socks I'm knitting, using two skeins of contrasting variegated wool. I thought this would be challenging but I'm loving it.


May. 2nd, 2009 07:45 am
I've been looking at gorgeous photos of tulips on people's blogs. Sigh. Yet again I have a garden which tulips will not like. They like a light, free draining soil and I'm fated to live on clay. I can't tell you the money I've spent on tulips over the years only for them to disappear. Ordinary red ones seem to survive anything and these have just popped up in a bed here.

Not very exciting but then, who needs flowers when you can have foliage like this?


Apr. 25th, 2007 09:15 am

Tulips in a Staffordshire Vase by Dora Carrington.
Carrington is best known these days for her infatuation with Lytton Strachey and her suicide after his death. Let other pens dwell on Bloomsbury boringness. What interests me is that she was mad about tulips and filled her gardens with them so that she had plenty for the house and for painting.

I love this picture and found it in an old copy of The English Garden, a superior magazine which I don't buy because it is too expensive and full of advertisements for things I can't afford. If I do buy a gardening magazine these days it will be good old Amateur Gardening. I have been turning out because it's the end of the NCCPG season. I run a book stall for the grouip and a lot of what we are given is really unsaleable to our highbrow membership, so I have filled six carrier bags with books for charity shops and shall have more space over the summer. All gardening books are hard to sell, even the good ones, as I am learning to my cost on eBay.
Contrary to certain miserable prognostications, the tulips I bought the other day are still standing up straight and giving pleasure. Fans of Adrian Mole will of course recognise my title as a quote from Barry Kent's prize winning poem from The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Nice, red, tall stiff,
In a vase,
On a table,
In a room,
In our house.

'According to Henderson, Kent's poem shows Japanese cultural influences! How stupid can you get?
The nearest Barry Kent has got to Japanese culture is sitting on the pillion of a stolen Honda.'


Mar. 21st, 2007 03:23 pm
It may be freezing cold but you can buy a cheerful bunch of a dozen tulips for £3.00. It'll be ages before they're out in the garden, if they survive at all, so spoil yourself, I say. For a wonderful read about the history of tulips, all the gorgeous varieties and how to grow them, try The Tulip, by Dorset's own Anna Pavord. Read more... )
Of course, it rained all day yesterday, so no gardening got done. Today all I managed was to deadhead the daffodils which needed it. I wish other people would follow my good example. Daffodils delight us long enough as it is and the sight of dead ones is grim indeed.

The new usericon is Tulip 'Ballerina'. (It's actually a subtler colour than the pic suggests, with more orange in it.) This is currently my utter favourite, partly because it has actually survived our clay soil and armies of slugs to come up three years in a row. Last year I had wonderful wallflowers with it, which was quite a Riot of Spring but, as reported earlier, there are no walflowers this year. I have spent a fortune in the past on tulips, especially the lovely Viridiflora ones, but they shine for a season and then succumb. Some people hold that you should lift all tulips, dry them off and store for replanting. This is supposed to prevent disease but who can possibly have the time or space? I'm sure mine would rot rather than dry.

I absolutely love species tulips and have grown quite a few in the past, usually in pots. Tulipa acuminata is a gorgeous little thing with narrow, pointed petals flamed red and yellow. Tulipa clusiana (named for the Dutch botanist Clusius) is a very pretty pink and white. For a rockery, if you have one, Tulipa batalinii (I suspect this has been reclassified as something else) is fab: I love the form 'Apricot Jewel'.

Heigh ho, every year I drool over the catalogues and resolve that next year I will have more tulips. The problem is planting. With daffodils, the earlier you get them planted, the better, so you can do the job in pleasant September sunshine. Tulips are the opposite and too often foul weather in November/December means soggy ground and, I'm ashamed to say, sometimes tulips I have bought remain in the shed, unplanted.

For people who like to read about plants, Anna Pavord's book The Tulip tells you everything you could want to know about tulips and their history and has some ravishing illustrations.



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