Archive for May, 2013


Dark Pea Sticks


One little trend that I noticed for the first time at Chelsea this year is the preference for dark coloured Pea Sticks. I saw them in several gardens. With green Peas and with Purple Podded Peas too. I particularly liked these planted next to red-flowering Broadbeans.


They look very ornamental and the dark wood stands out against the green Peas. They weren’t very tall so I’m hoping that these Peas were a dwarf variety otherwise the sticks would be inadequate to hold them.


The question is where do you find little dark sticks like this. Anyone got any ideas on the type of wood? I usually use twigs stuck in the ground but these little wigwams have won my heart.


Chelsea Flower Show


Heading home from a lovely time at Chelsea Flower Show. There seemed to be lots of Strawberries in unusual places this year. But the show gardens were as lovely as ever. I’ll post some more photos soon. But for now here’s a photo of some berries in some old boots. And some stuffed in an old suitcase!



Marvel of the Four Seasons


This is our first real harvest. We’ve had a few Spinach leaves but once the Lettuce start coming in, I consider the season to be well and truly underway. This is one of my Marvel of the Four Seasons lettuce. It was planted at the same time as the Rouge d’Hiver but is ready sooner.


I love the mottled colour of these Lettuce. This one has a somewhat upright habit, almost like a Cos lettuce whereas the ones I grew in the UK were softer and rounder. I wonder if the same variety grows differently in different climates or is the seed different. Anyway, the colour is the same and the taste too. Amazing!


It’s nice to have a little helper when it comes to harvest time too.


Beginning to Like Roses


I always said I didn’t like Roses. Not because I don’t like the flowers but because the bushes look pretty bad in the Winter. My new garden has lots of mature Rose bushes in it and they are all flowering right now.

I have white, cream, scarlet, pink, yellow – fragrant, spray, climbers, ramblers – you name it. I must admit I’m coming around to the idea of Roses. They really are blowing my mind. And such a great cut flower too. My house is literally full.


We have been having unusually hot weather here in Portland. It’s been lovely to get out into the garden and start enjoying the outdoors, planting things, harvesting things. But unseasonably hot weather is not without its downfalls. Firstly, you’re never sure when it will end. Did I put those plants out too soon, will it get cold again (yes, probably). The plants in the greenhouse need watering twice a day, at least. And my Tomato plants are so big I’ve run out of pots in which to ‘re-pot’ them.


Also it has been so dry that many of my vegetable plants that were in the ground needed a lot of water to survive which meant turning on the irrigation system for the first time. An exciting event in our house since I’ve never owned (or needed to own) an irrigation system before. Once we had figured out the timer situation we turned it on one evening after the boys were in bed (because we all know what would happen if they weren’t!).

Like magic the tiny watering heads slid up and started to water my garden. Ten minutes later my whole garden was watered and happy. Something that would have taken me at least an hour probably more by hand. I was mesmerised and ran around taking photos like a crazy lady.

Then I noticed my husband with a smug look on his face. He smiled and said, ‘Welcome to America baby.’ That made me laugh.

It’s true irrigation systems are both good and bad at the same time.

Most people turn them on too often and for too little time – say for 10 mins every morning. But actually 30mins once a week for an established garden will be better for the plants and will encourage deeper roots which in turn will help the plant be more drought tolerant. Young plants and annuals (like vegetables) still need regular watering though.

They also blanket water the entire garden which means that you’re watering the weeds as well as the plants. It’s much better to spot water plants or use a drip system that targets the main plants. And… water is expensive.

But there’s no denying that irrigation systems are amazing for watering gardens quickly. Especially, lawns. They are labour savers just like lawn mowers, blowers, chippers. The fact that you can zone them, time them and regulate how much water you use is amazing. And like all labour saving devices it frees me up to do the interesting stuff like sowing seeds, planting, planning and pruning.

I know it’s a luxury but I love my irrigation system!


My Old Tulips, Flowering


Back in November (a little late) I planted some pretty special Tulip bulbs that my neighbour gave to me. I didn’t know if they would flower or not or even if the ground was going to be too heavy for Tulips. Well, they flowered and they were beautiful.


Each one was a deep burgundy colour with yellow stripes running through it like ribbon. So perfect.


I’m a cut flower kind of person – I see a flower, I cut it and bring it in. So they all came indoors and looked beautiful in my new McCoy tulip vase. An object made for purpose!