Flowers, Garden blogging, Photography

Six on Saturday in Vivid Colour 30 June 2018

A regular Six on Saturday can leave a bit of a challenge when you only have patio pots.  I didn’t really do myself any favours last week when I posted close up photos of my pots, leaving me not a lot new photos to post this week.   However, always one for a challenge, the idea this week was to take macros of six carefully chosen flowers.

On downloading I realised I had the camera set on vivid colour mode – I love the exceptional bright colours so rather than edit them here are my Six on Saturday in vivid colour!

1.  Dahlietta ‘midi pinta’


2.  Patio Rose ‘sweet wonder’


3. Scaevola ‘euphoia blue’


4. Gaillardia ‘Arizona sun’


5. Fuchsia ‘genii’


…and for a spot of cool colour on a hot June day:

6. Angelonia ‘’angelface’


With thanks to The Propagator Blog for hosting this weekly meme.  Please use the link to his blog where you will see some wonderful photos of known and unknown plants shown by him and other contributors to Six on Saturday.


Personal blogging, Photography, Places to visit

This is Where I Now Live – Emsworth, Hampshire

It really is Flaming June at the moment and after an hour on the allotment this morning I was beginning to feel completely sapped of energy so came home. No more gardening for me today!   After lunch in fear of falling asleep I decided it would be good thing to go for a walk instead and take a few photos of my new home, Emsworth.  Disappointed that the tide was out and the whole harbour had turned green, I still decided to take photos.



Emsworth is part of Chichester Harbour and was built in 1215.  It has had a number of small industries over the centuries including boat building, brewing and oyster fishing. However the oyster industry ended in 1902 when sewage polluted the oysters.   These days it is well known for sailing and has two yacht clubs.

It is a tidal harbour and as you can see from above the tide was well and truly out today.  If you look carefully  the Spinnaker Tower  in Portsmouth is in the distance.


There is a harbour walk ‘promanade’ which runs between the Mill Pond and the open harbour.  It was odd today to see the difference between the water level on one side and the other. I walked along here with a friend earlier this year before I moved here, and it was icy cold. Today although hot there was a cooling breeze, which as much nicer.

Emsworth is quaint in many ways, lacking any shops of substance and no banks. Amongst the few old fashioned shops there is a baker, a couple of butchers, a fish shop, hardware store (a bit jumbly like and Aladdin’s Cave) a Co-Op and a chemist – all you need really.   There is however no shortage of cafes, pubs and restaurants.  I have included a photo of The Flintstones Tearooms which is on the harbour and a rather expensive but good restaurant called Fat Olives.  I’ve not been there, but I understand it is tiny, it certainly looks it from the outside.  There is a hotel in the centre of Emsworth called The Crown which is a Grade II coaching inn dating back to the 16th century.


This is the Mill Pond taken from the other end as you leave the town.  So tranquil with its ducks

There is is no shortage of flower displays in Emsworth and placed along the main road are delightful rowing boats planted up with colourful petunias and geraniums.

Next time I decide to go for a walk to take photos I will check the tide time first.  It really is a delightful place to live and even more picturesque when the tide is in.

container planting, Flowers in the Garden, Garden blogging

Six on Saturday – Patio Planting 23-06-2018

I am an infrequent contributor to Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator Blog but coming back from my holiday and welcomed by a glorious display of colour on the patio I have to share them with you.1. My Container Garden 28550C20-5A53-4A9D-83C9-F2F2DE717D7F2158B714-66B3-4929-90B3-B9158559B776It wasn’t deliberate that the brights are on one side and the gentle shades are on the other, somehow it just developed that way.2. Gentle bluesF9BC0163-68ED-4CB9-9ACE-4B42085B75E3The above container has hidcote lavender, white petunia, scaevola and brachyscome.  I had been looking for a Salvia when making up the planting but it wasn’t in the garden centre at the time so I plumped for the lavender.3. Black and white2FFA7EE2-EF1B-4E88-90FA-F2CF882AB9BDThis is my black and white pot with petunia ‘black velvet’, angelonia ‘carrara’, the beautiful vanilla scented nemesia ‘Wisley vanilla’ and calibrachoa ‘black cherry’.  4. Sunshine3B41B16F-9686-42A8-9299-A97C6A3CA813I call this my sunshine pot.  It needs much more attention than the others because the bidens need regular deadheading and, as you can see, having been away there is a lot of deadheading to do.  I have overplanted it with the bidens ‘charm’ so that is another job to thin it out.  The other plants are dahlietta ‘coby’  and a trailing golden  lysymachia. 5. All the CoralsDDD1E61A-B6CC-41D0-A483-E0FC5146A618I found a beautiful coral ‘pelargonium’ in the garden centre tucked behind loads of reds so grabbed it quickly and hunted around for matching plants.  I came away with a trailing verbena ‘peaches and cream’ and calibrachoa ‘orange’ .6. A Rockery collection31F04DC0-CAD1-4F84-9363-3DCD979D1ECDThe last of my six is a small collection of rockery plants.  My patio is south facing and bakes in sunshine all day, apart from a couple of hours in the middle of the day when the sun is behind the trees, so this little collection are more than happy.  There is a white osteospermum, a very pretty lewisia in shades of pink to peach flowers and an armeria ‘ballerina lilac’.That’s my Six on Saturday for this week.  Hop over to The Propagator Blog to check out the Six on Saturday posts from other bloggers.

Garden blogging, Garden Visits, Saga Holiday

Summer Gardens of Dorset – Day Three

A coach tour of six gardens in three days is just enough, I feel all gardens-out now. It has been a really wonderful holiday, meeting interesting people, eating lots of cake, drinking copious cups of tea and coffee as well as a lot of laughs playing impomtu very silly games in the evening.  The last two gardens of the  Saga Summer Gardens of Dorset tour were Compton Acres and Cranborne.

  • Compton Acres, Poole, Dorset


Built into the side of the Poole cliffside, Compton Acres  has five area, an Italianate Garden  consisting of a Roman Courtyard, a Grotto and a Grand Italian Garden pictured above.  Here you will find the traditional topiary, statues and pond, all giving the balance and symmetry required to create a peaceful and calm atmosphere.  Water is also hugely important in the garden design creating a relaxing mood.   I wasn’t sure about the bright red begonias, I find them too bold and certainly not conjusive to a calm feeling.  However, the experts know best, although I do wonder if the original Italian gardens had bright flowers, and if so maybe they used pelargoniums rather than begonias?


The Japanese Garden has lots lush greenery and water. It seemed that wood painted red was a recurring theme of this garden tour, found on the Monet style bridges in Abbotsbury and Bennett’s Water Gardens (Summer Gardens of Dorset – Day Two) and today at The Japanese Tea House.

Apart from the Italian Garden, if you are not expecting lots of colour and flowers and are happy with woodland areas, waterfalls and a sub-tropical style garden then Compton Acres is just for you.  Personally, I was getting weary of all the green and longed to see flowers other than rhododendrons and azaleas.    I was therefore looking forward to our last garden, Cranborne Manor Garden.

  • Cranborne Manor Garden, Cranborne, Dorset

Although usually only open to the public on a Wednesday, we were granted the privilege of being able to visit when closed.

Cranborne Manor Garden surrounds the old Manor House (not open to the public) and has a number of different areas managed by two gardeners.

The kitchen garden, as expected, had a cutting flower patch with a fabulous border of roses underplanted with dianthus, making for a wispy effect.

The garden is not regimentated, all the planting was soft and gentle, giving a natural effect – just my type of garden.   Walking around you will come across a Sundial Garden, North Garden, Cottage Garden as well as several others.  As with touring holidays you are quite time restricted : “…you need to be back in the coach by xx o’clock..” so sadly the chance to have a good old amble and see everything is lost.

A couple of us tried a plant finder app PlantSnap.  Once I got the hang of the correct way to snap and upload a photo it worked fairly well. An internet connection is important and a lot of the gardens didn’t have any reception which was a bit frustrating.  The above were correctly identified as Philadelphus, Sweet Pea and Penstemon. I had hoped it would tell me the varieties but it wasn’t always that sophisticated, although it did correctly identify a salvia as ‘Amistad’.   With an iPhone and a good clear photo it is a very useful app and fun to use.

  • Saga Special Interests Holidays

I really enjoyed this tour and going on my own wasn’t a problem at all, everyone was so friendly, but then we did all had a common love of the garden.  The age group was mixed from about late 60 to late 80 and it didn’t matter at all, the more able helped the less able and everyone joined in.  Our Saga Rep, Sue, was a bundle of fun from beginning to end, hurding us up and skilfully dealing with any issues.  We had a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable host, a horticulturalist of 35+ year experience, who walked and talked us around the gardens.  I will certainly go on another one – maybe Gardens of North Wales next year.

Garden blogging, Garden Visits

Summer Gardens of Dorset – Day Two

  • Abbotsbury, Sub-tropical Gardens

Before I started this garden tour I told friends that one of the gardens was Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens the first reaction of those who had been there was “Oh, you’ll love it!”. They were not wrong.

The weather was a mixed bag – just right for wandering around but it was misty with low cloud so the promised views of Chesil Beach and St Catherine’s were not there.

Most of us, (it was a Saga holiday after all), managed the steep slope to the top of the magnolia walk for the view of Chesil Beach, a piece of geography we probably all learned about at school. Even I was breathless at the top and I walked up with a 87 year old lady who did better than me.

Being a sub-tropical garden, and mainly in shade, as well as the many unusual plants there were well known and recognised shade loving plants including Hostas which, most annoyingly, were not being ravished by slugs and snails. I wish I knew how they managed that.

The tree ferns Dicksonia were magnificent and looked especially good in this dell with the red Monet style bridge in the background – you have to look carefully to see it.

What was special was that we were able to see how our every day garden roses would grow in the wild. It never occurred to me that roses would naturally clamber up tall trees. The above rose is called Rosa Spring Bride. Isn’t it wonderful!

The other climber that was particularly striking was a honeysuckle which I unfortunately failed to take the name of. Shortly after we arrived we met with Stephen Griffith the curator of Abbotsbury. He told us that Roy Lancaster gave them this honeysuckle saying it would flower eventually and when it did they would be in for a treat. This year it did just that!

Just a few more photos above of the lush plants at Abbotsbury, started by the 3rd Earl of Ilchester in 1808 and added to by the 4th Earl, who was a botanist. The 5th Earl of Ilchester devoted time to the care of the garden and trebled its original size. It became home to one of the finest plant collections in England.

Feeling very brave some of us, including me, walked across the rope bridge. I did feel a little sea sick when it started to bounce and swing.

I was struck by the tranquility of the garden, a silence and peace broken only by the birds. I only wish I knew more about birdsong other than only recognising the most common birds such as blackbirds, magpies and blasted seagulls! I’ve added a snippet video for you to listen to.

  • Bennett’s Water Gardens

After lunch these gardens were the second garden visit of the day. Bennett’s Water Gardens hold the National collection of water lilies. It is a small garden with a number of ponds transformed in 1957 from an old brickworks. I admit I was a little dubious about looking at water lilies as they have never been of much interest to me, but have completely changed my mind. Sadly this is one garden that needs to be seen in person as my photos really don’t do it justice. The eagle eyed of you will see another red bridge in the background, it seems a common theme of today.

I jokingly made a comment about not being able to label these plants as the were all in the water … WRONG! Amazingly every variety was labelled.

Water lilies always look like waxed flowers and I was surprised as to how many varieties, colours and sizes there were. Definitely you would find one to suit any water feature whether large or small.

The little ‘pink perfection’ would be ideal for a tiny water barrel. Whilst if you wanted impact the wonderful red Chateau Rouge below couldn’t be missed by anyone walking by.

My favourite was Sunny Pink. I saw this peachy/yellow water lily from the other side of the pond and made a beeline for it – definitely my number 1 choice.

There were also some interesting marginal plants including deep purple irises and lots of pretty pink flowering rush.

Bennett’s was certainly a most enjoyable surprise and whilst it may only take a few hours to visit it is well worth it.

Tomorrow we are visiting Compton Acres and Cranborne.

Garden blogging, Garden Visits

Summer Gardens of Dorset – Day One

Last year in July I went on my first Saga holiday to the Peak District on tour of six restored gardens and blogged about it when I returned home: A Garden Restoration Story. This year I decided to book myself on another of their special interest breaks and am in Bournemouth visiting six Dorset gardens. Rather than write one long blog post at the end of the holiday I have decided to write about our visits at the end of each day.

  • Minterne Gardens, Minterne Magna, Nr Dorchester

Minterne House is a private residence and not open to the public. The garden, accessed by fairly steep paths, is a sub-tropical garden Himalayan and Chinese plants brought back by Victorian plant hunters. It is full of rhododendrons and azaleas, although sadly most of them are now over. There were a few spectacular clematis scrambling up supports which added colour instead.If you have visited Leonardslee Gardens in West Sussex (due to reopen again early 2019 after being closed for several years) I think you may see a marked similarity, I certainly did. There were patches down in the bottom of the woodland walk of the most beautiful delicately coloured Candelabra Primulas. Such a pretty sight amid all the greenery of the Gunnera and ferns. Our guide had the idea we should pretend we were also trepid plant hunters suggesting we keep an eye out for plants. In the sub tropical growth we were able find (clockwise) Tradescantia Virginiana, Cornus Kousa, Northern Marsh Orchid and Primula Vialii.

I enjoyed my morning walk around Minterne and could have spent more time there but time was running out and we had to be back on the coach for our next garden of the day.

  • Athelhampton House and Gardens, Puddletown (yes really!)

This is a 15th Century Manor House with a 19th century Arts and Crafts garden, consisting of various rooms. We had lunch in the excellent cafe/restaurant before setting off on our second garden tour of the day.

The pretty 16th century dovecot, complete with doves, is covered with the most wonderful small white roses.

As you enter the gardens, the first garden has 12 giant Yew pyramids carefully placed so you can see the next garden through the gate opposite.

The above coronet walled garden room was circular, very sheltered and would not have looked out of place in the Painswick Rococo Garden. The colours in this room were mainly shades of pink and maroon with astrantia and a magnificent deep maroon Sweet William. The iris were almost over and the dahlias yet to flower; I bet they are also in shades of pink and maroon.

There is a white garden with a mass of white lavender in the throes of flowering and a small but packed rose garden. Whenever I’m gardening I always have secateurs in my back pocket ready to prune and deadhead. I was just itching to deadhead the roses a job which was badly needed to be done. It was fortunate I didn’t have them with me as I would have had to be held back!!

The delightful cottage in the grounds, with roses around the door, could also be seen from another garden room framed by a wrought iron gate.

Each garden room was colour themed and the above was full of purple salvias and yellow alchemilla mollis.

I could wax lyrical for hours on the above borders with their bluer than blue delphiniums, stipa grasses and deep red monarda contrasting with the silver blue of the eryngium. There is some debate on the red flower which has a heuchera leaf and I think it’s a heuchera ‘ Tokyo’, our Horti guide of some 35 years experience said it was London Pride but I beg to differ – what do you think?

Needless to say although I liked Minterne House and Gardens given the choice I would return to Athelhampton like a shot.

Tomorrow we visit Abbotsbury and Bennett’s Water Gardens.