Monday, 30 May 2011

Moving mountains

I have spent the weekend making a rock garden...

Friday afternoon

Saturday evening

Sunday afternoon

Sunday evening, first plants: Agave parryi var. huachuchensis 'Huachucha Blue' in the centre.

Glumicalyx flanaganii: got to love a plant called Glumicalyx - even if it does stink.

First plants: Primula marginata in the crevices

Monday evening, after a day of rain.

The last barrow-load: eight tonnes of ballast, three tonnes of topsoil, and a lot of stone...
... and now I am going to bed.

Friday, 27 May 2011

And back at home...

View westwards this morning

Wild-type Papaver orientale

Dactylorhiza purpurella

View eastwards this afternoon
Benjamin Darnault Pure Viognier 2010

Gardens at Chelsea 2011

A Monaco Garden (designed by Sara Eberle).
I thought this really captured the feel of a luxurious Mediterranean, with lovely use of oranges and blues in the planting.
The papyrus in the swimming pool looked great, but how would they cope with chlorinated water?

I didn't care for the orange and white flooring in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's Australian Garden, but the planting, using Australian species,  was diversely interesting.
Cleve West won the Best Show Garden with his Daily Telegraph Show Garden, blending modern materials with classic - but superb - cottage garden style planting.

Dianthus cruentus, here with white Centranthus, is sure to gain a lot of attention after being used so strikingly in the Daily Telegraph Garden.

The Times Eureka Garden in association with RBG Kew, designed by Marcus Barnett, somehow didn't work very well, although the planting was attractive. The garden structure, with inspiration from plant cells was interesting but not terribly atrractive.

Judging in progress: the result for the M&G Garden (designer Bunny Guinness) was a surely disappointing Silver-Gilt.
Although perhaps impractical in several respects, I enjoyed the dense plantings of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees in the M&G Garden, especially when the sun came onto it later in the day.

The Laurent-Perrier Garden, designed by Luciano Giubbilei, was very simple and elegant, with a subtle bronze and pink paletter below beautiful multi-stemmed Parrotia persica standards.
James Wong's Tourism Malaysia Garden was a wonderful evocation of a tempting tropical scene, with the limes in the background suggesting clean-stemmed tropical trees. Not at all appropriate for the British Isles, but that is irrelevant in the fantasy-land that is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The severe lines of the structure in the Tourism Malaysia Garden contrasting with the softness of the green wall beyond.

I liked the intertwing rills leading to the bathing pool in The Homebase Cornish Memories Garden (Tom Hoblyn, designer).

The planting was also delightful: anyone appreciating Asplenium scolopendrium cultivars gets good marks from me.

The inlays in the walls in Nigel Dunnett's RBC New Wild Garden were beautifully detailed.

Covetable fountains and sculptures by David Harber.

The cardiovascular suggestions in the British Heart Foundation's garden did not greatly appeal, but the pulse of peonies in the 'artery' is clever. I wonder if they thought about using Dianthus barbatus 'Heart Attack' in the scheme?

The show-off pod in the Irish Sky Garden by the egregious Diarmuid Gavin for Failte Ireland.

Ignoring the pod, the planting in the Irish Sky Garden was outstanding - an exquisite combination of shapes and textures in green.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ambrose Congreve 1907-2011

Ambrose Congreve, one of the greatest and grandest of gardeners, has died at the age of 104 while in London for the Chelsea Flower Show. Sadly I never met him, but I have heard many tales of the splendours of his home and garden Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford, Ireland: he lived and gardened on a heroic, Edwardian scale that has almost completely disappeared. A splendid obituary appears in today's Daily Telegraph, available online.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Chelsea 2011 - more from the Great Pavilion

The fabulous rock garden presented by the Alpine Garden Society, whose team was led by Ray Drew. It well deserved its Gold Medal, with a superb range of immaculate plants presented on impeccable rockwork. But the 'rocks' are artificial, being made of painted plastic, though this is undetectable until you feel them. A sufficiency of sizes and shapes of 'stones' are available to be able to create a natural-looking 'outcrop'.
Alan Street's 25th (I think) Gold Medal-winning stand for Avon Bulbs.
Blom's tulips were as good as ever - and staged exactly the same as ever...

The sumptuous display of lavenders from Downderry Nursery was awarded a Silver-Gilt, but it was outstanding.

Part of the huge Gold Medal display by Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants, beautifully presented in great diversity.
The Verbascum is the tried and tested 'Gainsborough'

Raymond Evison must be considered the all-time greatest breeder of Clematis, as demonstrated by this remarkable display of large-flowred cultivars surrounding a tunnel made of C. viticella cultivars.

Meconopsis and Primula japonica on Kevock Garden Plants' stand - a treasure trove of delights from Stella and David Rankin, first -time Chelsea exhibitors, but  noted plant collectors and growers.

Winchester Growers' dahlias from the National Collection was a mass of colour with some really lovely cultivars on display; the smallish-flowered white 'Etheral' (centre left) caught my eye for the second year in succession.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nice - or at least interesting - plants at Chelsea 2011

Primula sikkimensis red form,
with candelabra primulas behind (Kevock Garden Plants)

The yellow form of Stellera chamaejasme,
one of the most challenging of all plants to grow. (Kevock Garden Plants)

Meconopsis punicea (Kevock Garden Plants)
These are a few plants I saw at Chelsea yesterday that I particularly liked AND managed to get a passable image of: light conditions in the Great Pavilion are not great for photography.

Cypripedium reginae (Jacques Amand)

Polygonatum curvistylum 'Wakehurst'
(Harveys Garden Plants)

Briza media 'Golden Bee' (Knoll Gardens)

Disporum smithii 'Rick' (Alpine Garden Society)

Begonia 'Reine de Neige' (Rhodes & Rockcliffe)
Nepenthes hamata  (Borneo Exotics)

Trevesia burckii (Crug Farm Plants) - the hardiest Trevesia, according to Bleddyn.

The extraordinary flower of Lilium 'Doubleen', in which the normal flower parts are replaced by structures intermediate between leaves and perianth segments, forming a wheat-ear effect rather like in the old L. candidum 'Plenum'. Only for the lovers of curiosities! (HW Hyde)