Cleve West, its designer, dared to leave well alone again this year and won Best in Show for the second year running. There's something going on here. Joe Swift's irises (above) look very happy with a bit of park sand around them, the euphorbia keeping a respectful distance, the cornus far enough away not to plunge these sun-loving plants into shadow. The gravelly sandy stuff they use in French parks is an excellent foil for the flowers and trees.
panoramic: possibly the best way to see the Chelsea show gardens without being there in person. Photos and tv can only focus on the broader picture or the minute detail of say, Nigel Havers. Three more panoramic gardens:
All images by Jim Powell.
26 May 2012
20 May 2012
Yesterday was possibly the most fun I've had at a fete and I think it was to do with the mad weather. My son was ensconced in fake fur (the hood on his parka was firmly up) and people were drinking tea with gloves on. The plant stall did not sell out in five minutes flat because people have rather given up on seeing flowers ever again. But the atmosphere was good, with friends, friends' parents and children's friends milling around and it was just as busy as it would have been in glorious sunshine.
13 May 2012
I had never noticed the existence of the hairy bittercress before reading Children and Gardens by Gertrude Jekyll. In her seductively bossy way she illuminates the virtue of the root: 'Put between two bits of bread and butter it is delicious.' The book is addressed directly to her audience of children, an attentive generation of proto-gardeners. No interruptions please as she further instructs: 'You eat it for nursery tea.'
Nursery tea may be enhanced by this perma-flowering weed but the same cannot be said of its constant companion, the shepherd's purse. Unless you can grab the latter before it flowers, the taste is dreadful. However: its healing qualities are immense, concerning the life force of a human being. Read all about shepherds' purse, cousin of the hirsute bittercress, in my 'Way of the Weed' latest, available to look at for free on the Observer Organic Allotment blog. See also what a real shepherd's purse was made of in the Comments section: this is often the most edifying part.
For genuine card-carrying herbalism visit Botanical Bird.
08 May 2012
01 May 2012
|Tulipa 'Prinses Irene'|
|Clematis Alpina 'Pamela Jackman'|