Chris and I have been huge fans of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) charity for a long time. You can read about some of the NGS gardens we’ve visited in my articles here. If you don’t know much about it, basically avid gardeners open their gardens for a small donation to the charity. Those donations get distributed through the NGS to care charities like Hospice UK and Alzheimers UK. You can read more and find gardens near you on the NGS website or by downloading their app. Continue reading NGS September Open Day – #DahliaFest
It’s been three years since I first set eyes on a dinner plate Dahlia at the National Dahlia Society Annual Show 2014. They kinda look like the worst hats you could ever choose to wear… although saying that, I think I’d look rather fetching wearing one. Might try it… Continue reading National Dahlia Society Annual Show 2017 at RHS Wisley
No one else but me had set foot on my allotment since I’d owned it – I’ve just never really thought anyone would be bothered to come and it’s also a horticultural nightmare with old junk and weeds galore. However, driven by a surplus of Dahlias people have been, and it’s been great. Continue reading Dahlia swap!
Opening our garden to the public to raise money for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) was both an honour and a total mind-blitz to the senses. After all these years blogging about the NGS, it’s funny to add the ‘NGS’ tag to our own garden. It’s even funnier and lovely seeing other people’s photos of the garden after being the only person to photograph it over the last four years. Continue reading Our first NGS open day: a weather miracle, cake and allotment cut flowers
I used to be a foliage boy. I’ve changed (well, a bit). In the past I saw flowers as extravagant, expensive purchases that didn’t last for more than a couple of days. Now I grow my own – especially the flowers I like – my world is different. Bringing flowers into the house is fun and highlights the strength, colour and architecture of each flower – particularly the Dahlias I love. Fresh, they last for ages too. There’s something so precious about a flower in a little vase. Showing off each individual flower was my key discovery, rather than losing them in a large bunch. Focus on fewer stems is purer, bringing out the fragility and wonder. Here are some of our cut flowers from our garden and allotment this year. Continue reading Why I’ve fallen for cut flowers
Down the side of our Victorian maisonette is a narrow alley way. It’s where I started our garden so I know its seasonal patterns well. The side wall is pretty much south facing so gets blasted with full sun in the summer. The alley is only 1.5 m wide at one end and 2m wide at the other. The six foot boundary fence creating full shade on the other side. This creates two opposing conditions packed tightly next to each other, something very common in urban gardens. Continue reading Having fun with shade and sun
In late 2013 I discovered Dahlias. As unbelievable as that might sound to gardeners who have grown up with them for decades, somehow I’d missed them throughout my life. I don’t think I’d even simply ‘not recognised them’, I’m fairly sure I had avoided them almost completely – perhaps a sign of how out of fashion they had become? Continue reading Dahlia experiment: cultivars put to the test!
When I discovered Dahlia’s properly in 2013/14 it was love at first sight – so an entire book on these plants with ‘pow value’ was a must buy. The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias is one of the latest in Kew Gardens’ new series of books exploring a single genus or family of plants in depth. Continue reading Book Review: Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias
MASSIVE tidy up this weekend! The building work is almost finished and for the first time since spring I could sweep up and clean up. The garden is very calm with all the plants now dormant after a hectic growing season. Continue reading November
I returned to the National Dahlia Society’s Annual Show today after being totally gobsmacked last year. Though trying not to, I am becoming a bit of a Dahlia connoisseur. And I have to say, this year’s standard felt higher than last year. Continue reading National Dahlia Society Annual Show 2015 & RHS Dahlia Trials
It’s the last day of 2014 and I’ve been really interested in plants this year (no sh*t Sherlock) and at the start of the year I really struggled to identify even one plant that I really liked. A year later, and I still don’t have a huge list of favourites yet. However! There are a handful that have planted themselves in my head as essential picks. Read on to find out what they are… Continue reading 10 favourite plants of 2014
Here are 25 things I spotted in September and October that I thought were beautiful for all manner of reasons and managed to quickly snap on my camera. Continue reading 25 Photos of interesting autumn sightings (and what I thought at the time)
It’s not often something knocks my socks off and genuinely makes me say “wow” out loud but then I have never before come face to face with a Dahlia flower larger than my own head. Continue reading National Dahlia Society Annual Show 2014 at RHS Wisley
In the summer of 2014 we had a staycation in the UK, roadtripping it to Yorkshire, Northumberland, Scotland, the Lake District through to Buckinghamshire. We’d recently joined the National Trust and we massively made use of our membership on this road trip, visiting more than a handful of manors and estates in the week. But one that stood above most, inspiring me greatly was Biddulph Grange. Continue reading Biddulph Grange