Next Year

The Bishop's Garden, Wells Cathedral

There was a problem with my dahlia order.  Last autumn I selected a modest amount of mainly species varieties, plus one cultivar.  These would arrive in the spring as rooted cuttings, young and adorable.  Time trickled by and I began to wonder if I had been stood up.  I emailed, I was placated.  I was let down again.  I emailed, they confessed.  Some of my order was not available.  This did not surprise me, it has been a difficult year for growers.  We agreed on replacements.  Still I was a little forlorn as I was looking forward to growing merckii again.  There is always next year.   There is always, always next year, that is one of the wonderful things about gardening.

Now that little problem had been sorted out, I was told they would arrive forthwith.  Great news as I was going away for a long weekend on Friday morning.  Like a child waiting for Christmas, each day I rushed home “are they here?” only for my little face to fall when I was told “not yet”.  Thursday snuck up and still there had been no box of horti-bonbons delivered.  There was no other option, I would have to pass the potting up task to OH.  Not ideal.  He would try his best I am sure and beggars cannot be chosers.  Then, a tap at the door.  It was 9.15pm who could that be?  I had told Tom Hardy that I couldn’t go to the pictures with him that night, but he has been known to be rather persistent.  It was none other than my neighbour from across the road and he was clutching my parcel.  Before he had time to explain, I grabbed the packet, yelled some suitable platitudes and dashed to the shed to get the compost out.  Before long they were all potted up, well watered and given some suitable words of encouragement.

Baby dahlias

Let me introduce you to my charming crèche:  2 x  Dahlia dissecta, 1 x D. purpuseii, 1 x D. sorensenii, 2 x D. campanulata and 2 x D, ‘Candy Eyes’.  They might not all have been first choices, but each and every one of them is most welcome.  Although, a merckii would have been nice.  You are right, I must move on.  As Luther Vandross once sang, you should always “love the one you’re with”.  The following morning I would set off for Somerset knowing that they at least they had been planted the right way up.

On Saturday we visited Wells and The Bishop’s Palace.  A glorious day and an equally gorgeous garden.  And then, as if to rub salt into the wound, who should be blooming its little heart out in one of their sumptuous borders?  Yes, my almost, nearly, should have been me, Dahlia merckii.  Next year, definitely next year.

Dahlia merckii

Weeds and Wildflowers


One of my first tasks on Button Moon was to pick out the weeds from a sowing of wildflowers.  I was stumped.  Wildflowers.  Weeds.  Aren’t they the same thing?  I was worried that my dumbfounded look was not impressing my new employers.  Pickle the Jack Russell looked disappointed at my reticence.  The silence was awkward.

Inaction was not an option.  I did my best. We decided that the perennials were a disaster, mostly nasturtium and dandelion.  The annuals more promising.  Some were obvious, I shimmied around others.

This linum survived, as did many others.  All beauties, none of them weeds, as few of us are in our mothers’ eyes.



Taxodium distichum

Today was the kind of day that a towering Taxodium distichum to shelter under would have been most welcome  As my garden is the size of a pocket-handkerchief and at the moment more Gobi than swamp, it wouldn’t do.  Still a modicum of shade was provided by my bloomers on the washing line.  It sufficed.

It was also the culmination of the period that I like to call “waiting for signs of plant life before I hoik out the dead”.  This was my last chance for any full-on home-gardening for a while.  I am away at the weekend and thereafter the diary is full of fun and frolicking adventure with a fair amount of amusing anarchic work thrown in.  Action needed to be taken immediately.  Gaps in the beds are becoming more and more pronounced whilst waiting for the dawdlers.  Quite frankly it is becoming embarrassing.   Are you dead or are you alive?  A sign perhaps?  One little shoot would do.  My patience tank had run dry.  Out came the border fork, no prisoners would be taken.  My limit had been reached.


Back pedal, replant, water, cross fingers, curse my impatience.


Tulbaghia violacea – Society Garlic

Tulbaghia violacea

Mrs Bun volunteers at Marwood Hill Gardens.  A noble occupation.  A wonderful garden.

When she first started I said “and don’t you come back here saying Mr Head Gardener says this and that and you shouldn’t be doing that and you should be doing this and it is unnatural to chastice or serenade your plants!”.  She hasn’t.  I do sometimes wonder if she is thinking it.  Best not dwell on the subject.

Marwood has several National Plant Collections, tulbaghia is one of them.  This example in Mrs B’s garden flowers for months on end, no trouble, no back-chat, no chasticing or serenading necessary.

Six on Saturday – Rush 2

The chilli is made, the guest room is ready, the shopping done, the fridge well stocked and the washing is on the line.  That leaves me a small window of opportunity to contribute to this week’s Six on Saturday before my nephew and his girlfriend arrive to stay for a couple of days.  Take a look at The Propagator’s blog and all will be revealed although it really is quite simple.  The concept, wait for it, is Six …… on ……. Saturday.  So here are mine.

The white lobelia in the front planters have eventually begun to flower.  As an added bonus this particular shade of white appears to be white and blue, which I am not complaining about, in fact I am really quite pleased.

Next we have a dark leaved geranium that I grew from seed.  It is in its second year and this is the first time it has flowered.  Again I am not disappointed by the ethereal blue, especially set against the moody foliage.  Looks like the molluscs have enjoyed it as well.

Eschscholtzia californica 'Red Chief'Another seed grown lovely is this california poppy,  Eschscholzia californica ‘Red Chief’, won in the same seed war as the nasturtium in last week’s Six on Saturday – Raindrops keep falling on my flowers.

Potentilla 'Volcan'

Now we have the deep dark Potentilla ‘Volcan’, with Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’ in the background.  The grass is looking surprising healthy, considering it is frequently used as a cushion by Fat Ol, the ginger not-tom-anymore, from next door.

Primula capitata 'Noverna Deep Blue'

A new purchase this week is this Primula capitata ‘Noverna Deep Blue’.  An impulse purchase.  But then they generally are.

Leucocoryne 'Andes'

Lastly a fluke photo.  Leucocoryne ‘Andes’ and friend.   Sometimes luck is on your side.

Bit of a rush through, but needs must.   Thanks again to Mr Propenstein, has he invented a monster?  It certainly is growing and growing and growing and growing …..