Thursday, 17 November 2011

More autumnullyness

Alright, maybe I was a bit harsh on autumn. It's the middle of November and the majority of the leaves are still on the trees, which is a bit unusual. Yesterday the sun was shining and I waddled about the garden taking snaps of everything that was looking stunning. Think I'll ask for a better camera for Christmas...

An avenue of sunlit lime trees.
If that's not inviting, then I don't know what is...

Could this be a morel? Slightly past its best, maybe...

Hosta seed heads with ladybird.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'
Generally I find this plant a bit... vulgar. Maybe it's the colour. But whatever
you think of it, it's a plant that demands you stop and look at it
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this combination of Euphorbia wulfenii and Cornus sibirica just about makes me want to pee myself with excitement

Lovely autumn berries of Cornus sibirica 'Westonbirt'

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn colour

It's fairly grey and dismal in the garden today. Autumn colour, I think, has been less than showy and quite short lived this season. At least in the East. So I thought I might cheer myself up by posting some pics I took this time last year, to remind myself what autumn's supposed to be all about...

It's been a fantastic year for small-leafed limes (Tilia cordata). Ours were absolutely thrumming
with blossom and bees in the spring - and their scent is absolutely gorgeous. 

Another cute little lime.

A fab contrasting autumn colour combo:
Rosa 'Frensham', Melianthus major and Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'

POW! Take that you boring native trees.
Nothing does autumn colour quite like Taxodium distichum

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Catching codzilla

Catching fish out of the fountain today. It's a smelly job, but someone's gotta do it. Altogether we netted about 500 fish, mostly goldfish but there are three bigguns that have (so far) survived the heron. This fellow here is the biggest. He's a koi carp and about 10-15lbs. All the fishies have gone into a holidng tank while our 18th century fountain is emptied and given a good scrub.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Back to the Bishops Garden!

I've already said that the Bishop's Garden is one of my fave gardens in Norwich (and not just because I often get a custard cream doughnut and a cup of tea from Simon when I visit).

Me standing next to Tetrapanax papyrifer, a gorgeous hardy tropical
that can get absolutely enormous. Watch out though, it tends to sucker.

Euphorbia x pasteurii 'Phrampton Phatty'An unusual hybrid Euphorbia with an awesome name.

Indigofera howellii

Lonicera hildebrandiana, or "Giant Burmese honeysuckle"
Not hardy but dramatic climber with dark green leaves and gorgeously scented yellow flowers.

250 year old pear tree surrounded by wildflower maze - this is a lovely feature of the
garden  and looks great almost throughout the year. You couldn't really ask for a finer backdrop
than Norwich Cathedral, either - could you!?

Hot off the press.

The light was absolutely gorgeous this morning, when I got to the garden. couldn't resist taking a few snaps... feels as though autumn is almost upon us.

Anemone hupehensis - I know this plant is happiest in semi-shade
but it looks simply stunning when the sun shines through it

A squirrel feasting ground...

Tomatoes worked well this year.

A chilli plant whose name has long since been lost.
For some reason we call it 'Donkey'

Dahlia 'Karma Sangria'

Check out the colour of this bad boy! It is Vitis coignetiae 'Claret Cloak'

Lunaria annua, doing what it does best.

This deep blue Aster looks incredible in the shade of a yew hedge -
the colours really pop. Having trouble identifying the variety... will get back to you.

Saturday, 24 September 2011


I'm being nagged again (Bainbridge!) that this needs updating. So here you go!

Beautiful Eupatorium purpuream. This is a cracker for the back of the
border, as it can get more than 6ft tall

Love the texture of these two together: Yucca filamentosa and Limnanthes douglasii "Poached egg plant"

Robin's Pin Cushion (Diplolepis rosae), actually a gall caused by a tiny wasp which causes a chemically induced distortion of an unopened leaf axillary buds. Purdy ain't it?

This enthusiastic plant is Phytolacca americana. At least we thought so, but it could also be P. decandra, since americana seems to have panicles hanging down, rather than pointing, erm, right up into the air. Maybe someone could clarify... Nevertheless, this plant causes a bit of a stir at this time of year, when it can get up to 3m tall.  

For garden designers, I've heard it's a bit of a faux pas to put pink and yellow together.
But I think this Sedum spectabile and Rudbeckia deamii look a treat.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

veg is beautiful!

Kale 'Cavalo nero'
Courgette 'Costata Romanesco' is ridged, so you get this cute star shape
when you chop it. I had this one for dinner last night. It was yum.

I am in love with this bean. It's a dwarf bean called 'Yin Yang' and it's
absolutely gorgeous, to look at and to eat.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Today's haul

Ahh summer. You just keep giving and giving. In today's box we have: cabbage, purple beans, kohl rabi, radish, summer squash, lettuce and courgettes. Always courgettes. A never-ending amount of ruddy courgettes.


Red admiral on Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta'

Bumbleybees on Echinops ritro

Orphan field mouse on my palm. Mouse lived a week in a basket in my kitchen, and we
fed him puppy milk from a tiny paint brush, but eventually he gave up the ghost.
Three bishy-barny-bees sittin on an apple
(reckon thass wor we call ladybirds in norfolk, my gell)

One of the (now enormous) chickens, aged 18 weeks.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Bishop's Garden

I've been copping a bit of flack for not posting anything in a while (Harris!), so I thought I'd get stuck in again with a bit about this gorgeous, completely hidden four acre walled garden right in the heart of Norwich. It's manged for the Bishop of Norwich by gardening chums of mine, head gardener Simon and his assistant Will.

The double borders are stunning, and Simon is an excellent plantsman. I love going to visit because he fills his shrub borders with all kinds of rare exotics and subtropical wonders. The top soil in this protected walled garden is black and crumbly and about 2m deep, having been cultivated for about 1000 years by monks. Hence Simon can grow pretty much whatever he likes, and I'm so jealous I could spit.

The garden is open at certain times of the year for charity, and is well worth a visit. More info here.

The herbaceous borders

Pachystegia insignis, beautiful felty-leafed perennial native to New Zealand.
When they open, the flowers are white with yellow centres.

Musschia wollastonii, a rare shrubby perennial also called "Madeira Giant Bellflower".
Will return and photograph when it flowers - it's a spectacular sight, by all accounts.

Slightly fuzzy shot of Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine', an unusual hybrid between
Calycanthus floridus and Sinocalycanthus chinensis (say those names with your mouth full).

I simply love the flower buds on this Grindelia chiloensis, which are filled with a hard, smooth resin,
which is extremely soft to the touch. Bright yellow daisy-like flowers follow.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


1200 square miles of the most amazing landscape I have ever seen. Go. At once!

Grizzly Giant, one of the oldest Sequioadendrons in Mariposa Grove -
likely to be more than 2,000 years old. Yup, really.
It's 64m tall  - that's more than 200ft!
Beautiful wind patterns made in this grass
A species of Lupin native to California
This luminous green lichen was absolutely everywhere
Me, in front of the Fallen Monarch which dropped more than 300 years ago.
Because Sequoias contain extremely high levels of tannin, they are resistant to decay.
Sarcodes sanguinea "Snow Plant"
Read about this amazing parastic plant here

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

San Fran street flora

Even street trees - usually the dullest of dull - are exciting when you're in a foreign country. I snapped loads of pics and got more than a few funny looks. Still...

Callistemon citrinus

Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'. This delicate tree looks amazing
against this cream coloured house. In fact quite a few houses
seemed to colour coordinate with their street trees...
See what I mean?

Mystery trees... Never managed to identify.
Cute and slightly bonkers shoe planters on Alamo Square
Who plants a shoe? Honestly.