This year’s maxim could be “out with the old and in with the new”.  Any plant I’ve been kidding myself will work in a windy north facing garden and clearly isn’t will be be gifted to colleagues, friends and family. Anyone who suggests it’s an excuse to buy more plants such slander.

The Blowsy bloomers were back but are they worth it?

As we say goodbye to spring, I’m looking back beginning to wonder whether Rhododendrons are worth it. Once again, a freak shower and strong winds have brought a premature end to the flowering season.  Often out of vogue, I’ve been a big fan of these blowsy bloomers. I justify their space in my tiny garden by growing them in pots, which can be moved once flowering is over. I’m now thinking they would might lovely birthday gifts this year.

Chelsea flower show

The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual treat that seems to come around faster every year.  My highlights this year included The Telegraph Garden by Marcus Barnett, The Beauty of Islam by Kamelia Bin Zaal, and The Pure Land Foundation Garden by Fernando Gonzalez, a small poetic garden that combined emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way. It reminded me of Barcelona, one of my favourite cities wonderful architecture of Antoni Gaudí. I loved it and think they would have got more than a silver gilt medal if they had focused more on the Gaudí influence.  I spoke to the designer about how difficult it is to get sponsors for a Chelsea garden when you’re an unknown name.

Dan Pearson won Best in Show for his Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden, inspired by a Trout Stream and rockery in corner of the garden of the Derbyshire stately home Chatsworth House.  It wasn’t to my taste but disagreeing with the judges is part of the fun of Chelsea.  I think this garden won Best in Show because it took a fresher approach than The Daily Telegraph Garden, which was my best in show.

Sean Murray’s garden, the winner of the BBC’s Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, both delighted and surprised. It delighted with its beauty and surprised by being sharp and contained.  It highlighted the issue of front gardens being paved over for off-street parking. It was lovely that the other contestants from the show were on hand to support Sean. I do hope the BBC and the RHS make this an annual event.

Slugs and Snails!

The first of the early Hostas are out and as ever they are a thing of beauty and wonder that give so much joy.  Protecting these beauties is challenging. So I’ve decided whilst I’ll never win the war I’m determined to win at least one battle. So, I’ve bought the big guns out, home made garlic spray, coffee grinds, wood ash, pellets, petroleum jelly, crushed egg shells, coffee spray, diatomaceous earth, copper tape and lots of hope. Watch this space!

Aster de la vista snails

For a host of reasons I didn’t get round to planting any tulips which I adore so I’ve adopted a friend’s lovely display as my own.

There was a real buzz when I was approached to take part in a new BBC gardening show but the excitement was short lived as the timing meant I couldn’t be fitted into the filming schedule.

Never mind here’s to glorious days that lay ahead for those of us who like gardens and those of us who maybe slightly addicted to gardening.

Update on my war with the snails and slugs 

My war with slugs and snails continues.  Whilst I don’t want to tempt fate, thus far I seem to be winning the battle as the Hostas seem to be in better condition than they were at this stage last year.  The next challenge is identifying which of my vast arsenal of weapons has been successful: was it the homemade garlic spray, the homemade coffee spray, coffee grounds, wood ash, pellets, petroleum jelly, crushed egg shells, diatomaceous earth or copper tape.  Perhaps I’ll worry about that later.

The naked banana

‘Gardening is playing with colours’ Oscar de la Renta

Welcome to my blog to promote my open garden that this year is on Sunday 19th July.

I open the garden to support the NGS charities and to share my garden with others. A so-called friend once suggested opening your own garden was a terribly vain thing to do but nothing could be further from the truth. I never thought my little garden would be accepted into the NGS. Over the past three years over 500 people have been kind enough to visit/revisit my garden and I’m still a little surprised when anyone says they like my garden

I was born in Jamaica and wanted my garden to remind me of my roots. But it’s not an exotic garden because I also love English cottages gardens. I wanted the fusion of the exotic living cheek by jowl with traditional cottage plants.

Thinking ahead to this year’s opening also means looking back and every winter means some things have struggled whilst others have surprised by simply surviving.

This winter I took the brave decision to not protect my larger banana plants [Musa Basjoo] and my tree ferns [Dicksonia Antarctica].  With the expectation of one tree fern (that damage that could be due to a lack of watering) this experiment seems to have gone very well as the bananas are once again beginning to show signs of life.

The Ensete ventricosum [Ethiopian banana] however, were protected by the top & tail method I’ve grown to embrace and would recommend to anyone. To the joy of everyone in my house the smaller banana plants are once again back in the garden after their annual bathroom winter holiday.

The realities of gardening means each growing season starts with the boring job of improving the soil as a little time now rewards later.

So in preparation of moving and replanting my gardening year started with shoveling manure.

What is it about gardeners never being satisfied? This year like every year I’ve moved and replanted a host of things that have either got to too big or no longer work in their original spaces.

‘The true gardener, like a true artist, is never satisfied.’ H.E. Bates.