I love a good gardening book. Over the years I’ve read quite a lot, especially when I earned my living as a Garden Designer. When I needed to know all sorts of technical details learning from others who generously shared their knowledge in a book was brilliant for me. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies and each year there are lots of new books to choose from. Many of them are very practical giving instructions about HOW TO tackle a particular task. I find it fascinating to read how others approach their garden. I’m also very interested in WHY gardens mean so much to some people.
Giant Pink Wallflowers are still available in the Pink and White Biennial Flowers Collection. I have a few boxes left and they will sell out fast so to be completely fair it’s first come first served. Sow them this month then your young plants will carry on growing whilst the soil is still warm this autumn. All the seeds in this collection are Hardy Biennials so they will not only survive but thrive outside throughout the winter months then burst into life again in spring. You’ll have a good selection of early pink and white blooms which are lovely in the garden with tulips, perfect for pollinators and excellent for cut flowers of course. There are 6 packets of seed in this collection for £9.95.
A Red Admiral butterfly kept me company whist I sat outside enjoying the sunshine and my mid morning coffee today. The beautiful creature fluttered from plant to plant seeking nectar to drink and occasionally rested on the lawn enjoying the sunshine just like me I guess. The butterfly above is a Peacock and the Red Admiral is below on the top left of the square picture.
We visit the Lake District a LOT… we’re less than an hour away so it’s very easy to drive to. We enjoy weekend jaunts to visit beautiful places we have’t seen before and of course we love relaxed lunches in welcoming county pubs! Even so there are some areas we haven’t explored yet and there are gems to uncover.
Summer is the time to sow Iceland Poppies and here are my favourites right now. I love this new variety Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’. They really are the most beautiful flowers to grow from seed. Poppy seeds are so tiny it’s hard to believe that such beautiful blooms are produced in just a few months. I was completely blown away by the large colourful flowers when I took these photos in April in my greenhouse. They have gorgeous open papery blooms which open like crumpled silk. Flowers are all shades of orange, pink, yellow, red and white. They are extremely hardy and will tolerate cold winters. Flowers are produced in late spring and early summer before the rest of the garden really gets going. I’m always looking for some early plants for my garden and these fit the bill beautifully. If you’re looking for some colour in your garden in spring and early summer too then Iceland Poppies may be just the thing for you.
Now is the time to sow Biennial Seeds. But what exactly are they and why do we need to sow them in summer?
What are Biennials?
Biennials are hardy plants which are grown from seeds sown this summer. They produce roots and foliage this year then burst into life next spring with masses more foliage, long stems and lots of flowers in late spring and early summer. Sown this summer they have eight to ten months to grow into super strong, healthy plants.
One of my plans this year was to attract more Butterflies to our garden. We are very lucky and already have a very wildlife friendly garden with wild creatures spilling in from neighbouring hedgerows, fields and woodlands. For the past 13 years we have planted hedges, gardened organically (zero chemicals) and provided food, fresh water and shelter for insects, birds and mammals. Despite all our efforts we have noticed that the number of visiting Butterflies has been falling each year. Declining numbers of Butterflies seems to be a UK wide problem for a variety of reasons ranging from adverse weather conditions to loss of habitat and food plants for adults and caterpillars.
There is nothing quite like the sight of an English woodland full of Bluebells. Deciduous trees with fresh lime green leaves unfurling with a carpet of deep blue flowers so beautiful it takes your breath away. There’s patches of sunshine with ferns unfurling and dappled shade with mossy fallen trees. Bluebell woods are usually full of wildlife making the most of the early supply of nectar and pollen. Look closely and you’ll see bees and butterflies and wild birds taking advantage of the glut of insect life to feed their young. I was lucky enough to visit Bluebell Cottage gardens yesterday where the Bluebell Wood is in full bloom right now. If you know of woodland in your location where there are Bluebells then the end of April and beginning of May is usually the best time to see them in full flower. Times vary slightly from year to year depending on the weather conditions.
If you visit my blog now and again you’ll already know that I love bright colours. However I’m not usually a fan of purplish red and yellow together… but somehow they seem to work in this little jug of spring flowers.