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Garden on a windowsill

The January to March period in Britain is pretty dreary, its the dark getting you down as much as anything. Flowers growing on windowsills can make such a difference, and given my growing interest in bulbs, there is huge scope for making the most of light windowsills. We’ve got a nice long south-facing one in the kitchen which is ideal. The classic one is the hyacinth which we always get started in September to try to get them to flower for Christmas. Well, not managed that yet, but some started performing in January. The scent is fantastic and they last for weeks; and there are some good new colors too, like dark purples. Continue Reading →

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Lily Gluttony

I got “the look” tonight. It was delivered by the lady who walks here somethingorother-poo and it’s given to all of us who have too many lilies in life. You know “the look.” It combines a stare of disbelief, a roll of the eyes, a covetous sigh, and the growl of sheer, unabashed envy (the growl might have come from the dog). For a few fleeting minutes, I felt a whole lot like Marie Antoinette. But then I got over it.  And I fell back into wallowing in my lilies, the hell with the fact that the rest of the world was drooling. Let them eat hemerocallis.

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Losing the Lawn

My neighbor pulled beside me on my daily walk and rolled down her window. “Sorry,” she said apologetically, “but my lawn mower is on the fritz.” I ask you = Do I look like the type of person who loves a lawn? Do I strike you as the type who goes ballistic at the first hint of a dandelion? So I had to respond, “Have you looked at my lawn lately?” She rolled up her window and went home. Hopefully, she then noticed for the first time that my lawn has disappeared. In its place have sprouted alliums, heucheras, ornamental grasses, herbs and bulbs.

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Fritillary Gallery

By Andrea Jones

I love fritillaries – they are so elegant and graceful. 

Most of the species below were photographed at the nursery of Jim and Jenny Archibald in Wales, JJ Archibald Seeds. Very sadly our friend Jim died of cancer in August  last year; so this was a particularly good opportunity to pay tribute to him.

He was an extremely knowledgeable plantsman, plant hunter, and an all round lovely, kind man with a wicked sense of humour who my husband Alasdair and I had the good fortune to know for a very short while.

Fritillaria yuminensis
Fritillaria yuminensis – China

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Spring Contained

Tulipa vvedenskyi 'Tangerine Beauty'

It was a serious fumble. In bulb-planting terms, it was as close as I ever want to totter on the brink of disaster. Are we all in agreement that autumn bulb planting is akin to gambling? You continue ordering bulbs until suddenly the game shuts down. In a good year, the stakes aren’t shut down until mid-December. Last year, snow pulled the plug early. I was caught with a superfluity of bulbs and an embarrassing lack of open ground. Time to regroup.

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