Sweet William, a stonking good cut flower

Sweet William from the cutting border

Sweet William my new no.2 all time favourite cut flower (nothing can knock my treasured Dahlias off the top spot!). This is my first year of growing them; I’m not sure why I’ve not grown them previously they just seemed to have passed me by.  I‘m now smitten, they’ve sent up bloom after bloom since May with a vase life in excess of two weeks and smell divine.  The seed packet says they’ll flower all summer so I’ll report back on their summer performance in a few months.

Sweet William Auricula Eyed MixedSweet William in the cut flower border

Sweet WilliamI love the whispy acid green flower buds that set of the blooms perfectly

Sweet William Auricula Eyed Mixed 2What a beauty!

This is the time of year to start sowing Sweet Williams. They’re biennials which will germinate quickly and easily. Transfer the seedlings to individual pots, and leave outside to grow until Autumn when they’ll need to be planted in their final flowering position. Biennials may seem a bit of a faff but they really are worth it, I think Sweet William must be one of the hardest working cut flowers in the kitchen garden. I’ve had twelve plants of ‘Sweet William Auricula Eyed Mixed’ in my cutting border this year and apart from two white ones the others have all come up in different shades of pink and red. I understand that if you wish Sweet William to take up a permanent position in a border, just leave a few flowers to set seed and they’ll self seed for you.

Sweet William SeedlingSweet William seedlings ready to be transfered to individual pots

Whilst you’re sowing your Sweet William it’s well worth sowing a few foxgloves too. Another must have biannual; I love the white ones in borders at this time of year.

White foxgloveWhite fox gloves lift a border at this time of year and stand out like ghosts at dusk

Pink foxgloveA self seeded invader. pretty but not white!


A quick and easy garden transformation

It’s that time of year when the weeds are fighting back and doubling in size on a daily basis. It’s time for a quick fix. Mow the grass and cut the edges, the garden gets an instant lift and you’ll barely notice the pesky weeds!

Before edgingBefore edging the lawn

After edgingAfter cutting the lawn edges, a huge improvement. Shame the boys can’t tidy up their toys!



The first Dahlia of the year

Dahlia unknownThe First dahlia of 2016 and it’s a stunner! The variety is unknown as the tuber was kindly given to me by a friend who’d had a garden clear out. It’s currently residing in a pot as I’ve run out of dahlia space (there are secret plans afoot though, I just need to evict my children from part of the garden!). Currently a pot is the best place for dahlias; the slugs are worse this year than I’ve ever known. A mild winter has failed to keep their population to a manageable size; they’re decimating my dahlias that were left to overwinter in situ and munching through my squash and courgettes. It is therefore with great guilt that I have succumbed to slug pellets, sadly they have become essential. I was up at the crack of dawn after applying the dreaded lurid blue poison, collecting dead slugs before the birds got to them. I managed to fill two flower pots. It was a revolting job but it did seem to work, there have been very few slugs the following mornings and my treasured plants are looking better already. Fingers crossed using such horrid chemicals will not have impacted too much on the wildlife.

Garden honesty stall open for the summer

The Produce from the Garden £1 honesty stall is open again for business. Today’s delicacy is Rhubarb. Flowers and much more to come in the next few weeks.

We’re on Claygate Rd on the way to Laddingford.

Honesty Stall

St Michael’s Mount Gardens

St Michael’s Mount attracts your eye wherever you are in Mounts bay, Cornwall. So it was top of the list of things to do on our family holiday. I was expecting a boat trip as the tide was in, a steep walk up to the castle and fun exploring the ramparts, but I wasn’t ready to be wowed by a garden on this windswept, sea salted island. It was a tropical paradise and we loved it, steep winding paths for boys to explore, amazing beautiful plants so well tended I can honestly say there was not a weed in sight. The Walled Gardens are a fabulous subtle and sophisticated surprise, sandwiched between the exotically planted East and West Terraces. St Michael’s Mounts Gardens have jumped right up there into my all time top ten gardens.

St Michaels MountSt Michael’s Mount

St Michael Mount garden

St Michael Mount garden

St Michael Mount garden

St Michael Mount gardenPictures of the East and West Terraces

St Michaels Mount Walled Garden 3

St Michael's Mount Walled Garden 2

St Michael's Mount Walled GardenPictures of the Walled Gardens

St Michaels Mount Geranium MaderenseGeranium Maderense, a tender perrenial which seems to thrive in West Cornwall

St Michael's Mount garden AeoniumAn enormous Aeonium (I think) growing out of a wall

Lotus BerthelotiiLotus Berthelotii, I love the firey red colour

St Michael's Mount AlliumA miniture Allium

Aloe PolyphyllaAloe Polyphylla, a geometric wonder