Taking a summer holiday can be a traumatic prospect for the gardener. But with a bit of preparation, there’s no cause to worry that your plants will die of thirst in your absence. What’s more, a decision to step aside momentarily from the perpetual onward march of the gardening year creates the thinking space in which to reflect on the current season, and plan for the year to come.
Flamboyant, fabulous – on occasion demurely restrained – the dahlia is an exquisite conundrum that encapsulates the vibrant energy of the garden as high summer turns towards autumn. In her latest book, Naomi Slade explains her fascination with the flower, and introduces us to over 65 captivating varieties.
Seven acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in Kent, boasting award winning perennials and more late summer colour than you can shake a stick at. When an opportunity came up to meet the garden’s curator and the man behind Dyson’s Salvias, I wasn’t about to refuse.
Pauline and Paul McBride know how to do summer perennials, and I’ve been keen for several weeks now to get down to Sussex Prairie Gardens to see how the plants have been coping in the heat. We chose a sweltering day for it. There may also have been cake.
Do we need another gardening podcast? The question is moot – we’re getting one anyway, and I’m afraid it’s all my fault. With a blend of slow radio and garden musings, the Gardens, weeds & words podcast will offer a soundtrack to this blog, with the first episode due in early Autumn.
You may consider the assemblage of flowers and foliage won from the garden into posies an appropriate activity for a big ’airy gardener. You may not. But if it’s good enough for that Dan Pearson, it’s good enough for me.
Monday – press day at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, beneath a sun that shone with almost cruel intensity upon the show ground. So intense was the light that I’ll have to ask you to forgive this year’s photographs for being a little more washed out than usual – golden hour shots would have done the gardens more justice, but I was on site neither early nor late enough to catch the low slanting rays.
Simplicity and delight in a flower, or a weedy menace? As is so often the case, it depends on your approach to gardening. One thing beyond debate is that, once established, this doughty little daisy will flower its socks off all summer long.
With so much to take in at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, one visit is rarely enough. I was fortunate enough to be able to get there for a second time, this time later in the day, to catch up on those gardens and plants I’d missed on press day, with a change of camera lens and a mind to focus on the details.
If Chelsea is to be any more than the (admittedly rather fabulous) latte froth upon the upper lip of the horticultural industry, it needs to have something to say, not only to gardeners like you and me, but to homeowners with an emerging interest in their outside space, to indoor gardeners with not so much as a balcony and, I’d venture to suggest, to park bench philosophers.
Behind every glorious garden, whether the overriding style be neatly formal or wondrously wafty, there’s a machine-wielding gardener keeping the underlying structure in trim. It’s as necessary in a small domestic garden as a large public one, and in this post I’ll be putting machines aimed at both ends of the spectrum through their paces.
Gardening? It’s not the career of choice for most people. Especially when there are so many other ways you could be earning a living. In this post, I explain why I took the choice to make a career of it, and try to gain an understanding of why this decision seems to cause mild discomfort for others.