The peony dilemma: To transplant or not to transplant

white peonies

This year’s peonies have been disgracefully beautiful. Must be something about the harsh winter. Peonies grow very well in Russia, so I assume a hard frost suits them.

This one is growing in my garden, and it’s gorgeous. So gorgeous that I’m toying with the idea of splitting the clump and planting half on the allotment.

Just one problem, as peony fans will know: this flower HATES being transplanted, and can sulk for up to 3 years before it flowers again.

Question: Have I got the patience to wait?

Posted on 17th June 2010
Under: Flowers | 9 Comments »

Greetings from Morocco

Jardin Majorelle in MarrakechOK, time to ‘fess up: I’ve been in Marrakech, Morocco. A very special treat in February for a SAD sufferer, and a huge boost to my flagging morale.

The sun shone every day, and it was glorious. Interesting from a gardener’s point of view, too; this is a shot of Yves St Laurent’s garden, the Jardin Majorelle (which contains a rather dignified and touching memorial to the man).

The yellow and blue theme runs throughout, with cacti and limpid pools making a rather special visual experience. Bizarrely, there seemed to be only French tourists there… which seemed a waste. If you’re ever in Marrakech, don’t miss it.

Posted on 28th February 2010
Under: Flowers | 9 Comments »

Lily seed right on schedule

Lily seeds in their podsLilies are marvellously predictable. Their seed pods ripen and split a day or two either side of mid October. They’re metronomically reliable.

I’m passionate about lilies. I’ve bred some of the varieties in my garden myself, and it’s a thrill to see them thriving. There is no flower more dignified, beautiful and elegant.

Posted on 21st October 2009
Under: Flowers, Seed saving | 3 Comments »

Doomed: rosebuds in October

Last rosebud of the yearI hate seeing rosebuds in October. They’re as gorgeous as ever, but – to corrupt the song lyrics – their lovely promise won’t come true. One sharp frost and it’s all over.

On another note: when did Jerusalem artichokes become so popular that they’re at risk of theft?

I ask because I dug some up for my mother a week or two ago, and somehow – perhaps when I left the bag unattended at the plot for a few minutes, or after I loaded them in her car – they were swiped.

Which blows my mind. I mean, Jerusalem artichokes?

Christ, it’s not the crown jewels. Whatever next? Are my gold fillings safe? Should I perhaps nail my car tyres to the driveway?

My only consolation is the sure and certain knowledge that if the thief eats that many artichokes at one sitting, he’ll fart his colon out of his arse.

Posted on 18th October 2009
Under: Flowers | 1 Comment »

Lilies in June

Regale lily Asiatic lily

Doesn’t get much better than this. I have six pots of Orienpet and Asiatic lilies on my patio and a flower bed full of Regale species. My pride and joy are the Black Dragon hybrids, which are 7ft high.

The smell at dusk is take-your-breath-away sweet. I’ve been under the weather today, but had to drag myself from my sickbed for 5 mins to breathe it in.

There really is no lovelier aroma in all Creation, fact fans.

Posted on 15th June 2009
Under: Flowers | 5 Comments »

Heatwave approaching!

RosebudsHurrah! It’s going to be a long, hot summer. The UK Meteorological Office says so. It must be true!

Bloody hope so. After the deluges that passed for summers in 2007 and 2008, we’re owed a Jamaican-style tropical meltdown, I reckon. Confess I’m daring to hope, because I’ve had a feeling since February that the summer would be good. I can’t point to one single thing on the allotment that’s been, well, ‘different’. It’s just been a feeling.

There’s warm weather in the air. I’m sure of it.

Posted on 30th April 2009
Under: Flowers, Summer | 7 Comments »

Indoor gardening

Cymbidium King's LochThe weather turned nasty. So I’m stuck with indoor gardening again.

I have a week off work next week, which is exciting; I expect to finish the infamous bramble digging and mix in some good compost.

Well, that’s what I expect. In reality, I’ll probably achieve bugger-all. Except perhaps a few blisters.

Posted on 26th March 2009
Under: Flowers | 3 Comments »