Thelma and Aunty Louise


One of the many benefits of my job is that, whether I’m looking for them or not, I acquire new friends along the horticultural way.  As a matter of course my employer ends up becoming my buddy as well as my client.  Perhaps I should warn people of the risks involved before they take me on.

Tomorrow I am going on a road trip with Nancy Nightingale.  We are going all the way to Cardiff to what I believe is called a “gig” in modern parlance, after which will be staying at an, almost inevitably, dodgy hotel.  The band is a Swedish sisterly duo called First Aid Kit and one of their songs is on my “imagined” greatest hits album.  This is in partnership with my esteemed singing teacher who sings over my mistakes.  My Mum, with tongue firmly ensconced in cheek, said “if they need a break you could always take over”.  It will be risky to rely on them to need the toilet on demand, we may need to plan a stage invasion.  I just have to work out how to get a step-ladder through security.

It should be a fun couple of days, involving music and plants and laughing, some of my favourite occupations.  However, I am a little nervous.  NN is a fully paid up, card holding, Rock Chick.  I am, a rather scruffy, definitely uncool gardener.  This presents one almost insurmountable problem.  Seriously folks, WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!!!

This Tibouchina urvilleana, gifted to me by one of my clients turned friend, the lovely Penny (Mrs Fish).  She headed south for the summer and hasn’t returned.  And I miss her and her gang.


Tibouchina urvilleana

Some plants are very late coming into bloom in our garden.  As we live in a blame-blame culture I am going to point the finger at a hard winter, a late spring, followed by a sweltering summer.  It could be one, the other, a combination of any, whatever, they are tardy.  This reluctance to flower may have been exacerbated by inadequate cold protection and lack of watering during the great drought of ’18.  Unlikely though, it couldn’t possibly be anything to do with my poor husbandry or lack of enthusiasm after tending to other peoples’ little darlings all day.  Crazy talk.

Dahlias, fuchsias, salvias, are all dawdling along as if they had all the time in the world.  Well let me tell you something my lovelies, you laid-back-to-vertical slovens, the winter is fast approaching and do I need to remind you what happened last year!  Get a move on, flower, shut down and prepare for the worst!

A beauty that is often late on parade is Tibouchina urvilleana, the Brazilian Glory Bush.  A gift from Mrs Fish before she headed south for the summer, the buds are almost as glorious as the flowers.  Not quite.  But almost.  Won’t be long.

Six on Saturday – The Nearlys

Salvia corrugata

Saturday again and here is my contribution to The Honourable Mr P‘s Six on Saturday.   There is a thread running through this post, all my featured plants have something in common.  They are all Nearlys.  Not quite flowering.  Bearing in mind the recent weather, I can quite understand their reticence.  In the hope that by next week at least some of them may be in bloom, I will keep my words sparse.   It might help build the drama.

Our first plant is Salvia corrugata which is a little way off blooming, but with a sun-filled week it might be performing by next time.  So it is likely to be the week after.

Catananche caerulea 'Alba'

Catananche caerulea ‘Alba’

Next we have a white cupid’s dart, Catananche caerulea ‘Alba’.  It was grown from seed so we will see if it comes true.  Soon.

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

On to the delightfully diddy, dwarf Tibouchina urvilleana.  I will try and find out its cultivar name for next time.  Looking hopeful for an imminent flowering.

Salvia atrocyanea

Salvia atrocyanea

Now for a salvia, Salvia atrocyanea, which is not only looking like flowering for the first time this year but for the first time ever.  Maybe a couple of weeks, fingers crossed.

Bulbinella frutescens

Bulbinella frutescens

What next, oh yes, Bulbinella frutescens, grown from seed this year.  Just beginning to show off its starry yellow blooms.  Perhaps by next week it will look a little more impressive.

Hedychium greenii

Hedychium greenii

And finally Hedychium greenii, perhaps my favourite ginger lily.  That I have met so far.  You never know what is around the corner waiting to tempt you.  Also a little way off flowering, you may have to wait a few weeks to see this little beauty.

Which makes six (I did check).  Thanks Mr P.  Same time, same place?


Missed Again


I have been waiting patiently, well OK not that patiently, for the Tibouchina urvilleana  at Max’s to flower.  One bud was showing a little colour, it wouldn’t be long before I could bask in its deep indigo light.  But it was not to be.  I missed again.  Never mind, there are other buds coming, a couple more chances to appreciate the silky violet blooms of the glory bush.  Unless of course ….. surely that couldn’t happen….. not again…..could it?