The Planty Stuff


Yesterday, as I walked out into the garden on a glowingly golden afternoon, I thought of the Parable of the Sower.

No, I’m not going to get all religious on you. My family always laughs when I quote the bible, because I am, as Lady Bracknell would say, ‘ quite irreligious’!

But when, as a child, I sat rather unwillingly in church listening to the vicar, I used to look at a large painting pointedly placed just beside the pulpit.

It was a copy of a painting by someone like Holman Hunt or his ilk. You know the kind of thing? An extremely realistic, but idealised and  sentimental painting. A Victorian ideal of an anglicised middle eastern farm worker, flinging seed around. Some fell on stoney ground, some amongst brambles and so on. You get the message.

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With work on our design for the hospice garden in Weston super Mare now in full spate, sensory plants are very much on our minds.

Since, at the request of many of the staff there, they are a key element in the new garden.

Of course the planting plans were completed months ago.

But the thing lives in your consciousness.

So it was that when I was gardening beneath the trachycarpus the other day I was especially aware of its sensory nature.

And it does the lot!

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As the days crisp up,

the old guy next door begins his endless bonfires of damp leaves

and the sun sinks lower,

the appearance, big time, of the border daisies is a poignant reminder of all we are losing.

The real, reason for showing you this collection was:

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I overheard two pasty-eating builders lounging outside Tesco Express the other day:

‘She’s tidy,’ said one laconically to the other, glancing across the road.

I followed his line of vision and saw a short skirt, vertiginous heels and blonde hair.

Now, maybe I have led a sheltered life, but I had never heard that expression used for that purpose before!

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I am forever teasing Lesley about her Bay Tree.

It is always immaculate!

Never a hair out of place.

Like a busby on parade.

And then, low and behold, when I visited early last week it actually looked quite unkempt. The top in particular was quite ragged:

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Sometimes humility wins through.

 Erigeron ‘Profusion’/mucronatus/karvinskianus ( call it what you will!)

grows where very few other things have grown:

in a crack between the bottom of the garden wall and the paving, outside the door of the city studio. It faces North and gets only a smidgin of sun from the west on summer evenings: (more…)

Change is in the air.

The lazy, hazy, slightly blown garden of late summer begins to zing in early autumn.

Our choice of favourites is again limitless.

In fact we could show you as many plants as The Sun could tell you secrets that you didn’t know about Cheryl Cole.

But instead here are just  seven stars in the September garden: 

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