Tiny bee on cow parsley

Photos from the lane outside my garden gate. 


Tiny bee and cow parsley. 


Sweet smelling dog roses in shades of white and pink 


Dog roses tumble from the Hawthorne hedgerows 


Dog roses as beautiful as any cultivated form


Loved by bees. I think this is called hawkweed. 


Wild sorrel. Leaves can be used for delicious soup.

Wild sorrel ripens to this beautiful red colour 


Pink cow parsley – as pretty as any garden flower 


Tiny wild geraniums  

I hope you’ve enjoyed a walk along our country lane in June. Are there any wild flowers when you live? 

The view today

It’s been torrential rain here all morning. The ditch has overflowed and resembles a fast flowing stream, and my veg plot is half under water.

I’ve been watching a young buzzard, sitting on our hedge. Every now and again, it shakes itself and raindrops go flying. 

Suddenly the downpour halts. The buzzard looks about and stretches its wings to dry them. And then it’s off. With only three flaps of its wings it is gliding over the hawthorn hedge. Such power. By the time I get to the gate post to watch, the buzzard is only a tiny speck high up in the sky. But we can hear the cat-like mewing sound.  And now there are three. The young buzzard has been joined by its parents. 

We’ve been watching these buzzards for the past few years. They’ve made a nest in a small wood in the fields at the back of our house. Last year there were two pairs nesting, and they each produced two chicks. 


We will take a walk there later to see if we can spot their nests-without getting too close to bother them.

Anyway, the sun’s come out now, and suddenly there’s activity all round. There’s bees buzzing in the cotoneaster around the office window, the fledgling swallows are making wobbly flights past. We hold our breath, in case they crash. They just miss, by inches. The busy, twittering sound they make reminds me that I must get going too. I must dash off to work, before the next deluge. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick glimpse into my morning here in my garden. It’s our wildlife haven. 

Wild geranium,tiny but Jewel like. White clover, buttercup and grasses. Perfect for bees, butterflies and insects.


Pink-tinged  cow parsley. As pretty as any cultivated flower. 


Wild geranium maculatum, like crinkled silk. Also known as cranesbill because of its seeds. As beautiful as garden form.

Hoby Open Gardens

On a still summer’s evening, the church bell sounded the hour, and a flock of geese took flight from the lake. 

I was standing on the edge of the ha ha at Glebe House,  looking over the pasture lands that would once have been owned by the clergy. It’s a sight that gladdens the heart. Undulating wildflower meadows with contented sheep asleep in the shade  of ancient oak and lime trees. 

This is the perfect place to stand and survey the garden. Scent drifts from the roses planted all along the old brick walls. And there’s a tantalising view through an archway, wreathed with honeysuckle and climbing roses. 


Rosa Shot Silk makes a glorious background for the drifts of allium Purple Sensation. 
The hypocaust wall would have once had peaches, apricots and figs. Food for the clergy at the rectory next door.  Owners Steve and Diane  Horsfield say the clergy would have had rather a nice life here. They dined on shellfish from fishponds in the meadows below. The couple have been digging up quantities of shells all around the garden ever since they moved in. 


Rosa Mutabilis with euphorbia, alliums and nepeta. There’s a first floor garden room to take in the views.

 


The views from the ha ha. 


Rosa Crown Princess Margareta in the foreground.

Crown Princess Margareta. 

Glebe House in Hoby, Leicestershire, will be open on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th June 2016 from 11am t0 5pm along with 11 other gardens to raise funds for All Saints Church. Tickets cost £5.  There will be lunch in the village hall and cream teas at Glebe House and Redwood. Pimms, ice creams and  a plant stall  can be found around the village, and an art exhibition in the church. The car park will be in Thrussington Road (LE14 3EB) 

I was lucky enough to have a preview of the gardens when I joined the BBC Radio Leicester Down to Earth gardening team. You can hear more on the programme today  (12th June) at 12 noon on 104.9FM and on i player. 

A favourite of mine was Clematis Cottage.The Montana clematis (I think it’s Marjorie) seems to be trying to climb in through the bedroom window. Just heavenly! Don’t you agree?


A Visit to the Garden of Ninfa

These photos are for anyone who, like me, can’t visit the RHS London Rose Show this weekend. 

Curated by Rachel de Thame, the second annual show at the RHS Lawrence Hall, promises to be a “celebration of England’s favourite flower.” I’m really sorry to miss out, as Rachel tends to have an eye for all things elegant, and is well known for her knowledge and passion for roses.

Instead, I’m beavering away at work – but in my tea break, I thought I’d share my photo album of Ninfa. 


I was lucky enough to be invited on an Italian gardens tour at the beginning of May. Family commitments and work means I’ve not ventured abroad for around 10 years. I’m not complaining, I love British countryside and gardens.

But when a friend decided to celebrate her birthday with a tour of gardens, and invited 12 pals along, I couldn’t turn down the chance to go along.

We spent a week touring the gardens of Lazio near Rome. On our last day, we visited Ninfa. 

The garden planted among the ruins of the ancient town of Ninfa, is the work of generations of the Caetani family, most notably, Princess Lelia. Virtually every wall, tower and tree is draped in roses. They look as if they have grown naturally-all on their own- with no help from anyone. 

The approach to the garden is down a path with white rambling roses engulfing the boundary wall.

It was our lucky day. Our guide was the Director’s wife, Stella. Wherever there was a Sign saying no entrance, Stella lifted the rope barring our way and ushered us through. What a treat to see the secret areas of the garden, not open to the public. Such kindness is always appreciated, and never forgotten. 

The whole garden is filled with such fragrance. 
American Pillar, possibly. So beautiful against the blue/green walls. All the roses look so healthy.


Rosa Mutabilis- an old fashioned China  variety-quite often called the butterfly rose. 


We ducked down under this cloud of tiny red roses to cross the bridge.

The garden of Ninfa is open infrequently to protect its delicate environmental balance. More information from http://www.fondazionecaetani.org. We travelled on a bespoke gardens trip organised by  Success Tours  www.successtours.com accompanied by tour manager  Wendy Viney. We had the most luxurious coaches ever  and the best driver, Enrico (who saved our lives at least five times a day).Coaches by http://www.corsiepampanelli.it . We stayed at Villa Vecchia Hotel http://www.villavecchia.it   

Read more about Ninfa in RHS Lessons from Great Gardeners by Matthew Biggs, published by Mitchell Beazley.  www.rhsshop.co.uk 

Look out for next year’s RHS London Rose Show. http://www.rhs.org/shows-events/rhs-london-shows/rhs-london-rose-show. I’m determined not to miss it next time.

Have you been to any gardens that have had a big impact on you?  

My Favourite Photos from Chelsea 2016

These are the plants and gardens that caught my attention at Chelsea this year. 


I love these purple beech mounds. A masterclass in planting by Jo Thompson. I am not using box, because of blight. I’m experimenting with yew and ilex green gem, and will now add beech to the list to try out. 

I’m not going to pull up my wild geraniums after all. I love the woodland edge planting by Cleve West, inspired by his childhood memories of Exmoor National Park. 


Step over fruit and the most glorious herbs in Jekka McVicar’s Modern Apothecary garden. 


I would love to grow more clematis plants 


More amaryllis for the greenhouse 


Peonies do well in my garden. They can be grown in shade, and don’t mind cold, windswept conditions.


Such a beautiful colour. Coral Charm.

More tulips are on my shopping list for this Autumn. 


Mum grows begonias like this. Some are five or six years old. She just dries them out over the winter, and starts them back into growth in spring.


Delphiniums and begonias from Blackmore and Langdons. This beautiful pale lilac and  blue one is called Spindrift. http://www.blackmore-Langdon.com 


A few more fuchsias. This was the Roualeyn Fuchsias display, from Conwy, North Wales.


New pelargonium from Fibrex Nursery, a family run business from Stratford on Avon,UK. Holders of national collections of pelargoniums and hedera. 



The scent from these violas was just amazing. From Wildegoose Nursery,  www.boutsviolas.co.uk.


I lingered by these sweet peas for quite some time. This is a display by Eagle sweet peas, from Stafford. http://www.eaglesweetpeas.co.uk 


What a colour!


Foxgloves higher than me from The Botanic Nursery, Wiltshire . http://www.botanicnursery.co.uk 


These caught my eye. A new strawberry called Cupid for a late cropping. From Ken Muir. 

Hardy’s nursery new white Cirsium Frosted Magic. 

Hardy’s gorgeous white Centurea Montana Alba.


Hard to miss this Geum Scarlett Tempest. New for Hardy’s.  www.hardys-plants.co.uk 


Thyme path -A Modern Apothecary by Jekka’s Herb Farm.  This garden will be relocated to St John’s Hospice in London.  


More potatoes – a display by the James Hutton Institute, Dundee.


A bouquet for the Queen. I was lucky enough to watch this being created. 


Container heaven.


And finally. Where can I fit one of these in my garden. I’m sure I’ve got a space- somewhere…..

What were your favourites this year?