Garden blogging, Garden Visits

Parham Gardens on the Last Day of April

On Sunday 30 April, my friend and I dusted off our season ticket and paid a visit to Parham Gardens in Pulborough.  We are lucky that it is only 20 minutes away and makes for an enjoyable afternoon out, without much driving. 

There is a small restaurant called The Big Kitchen at Parham that serves a light lunch of soup, quiche and salad, with some delicious looking cakes.  So we tend to eat first and then wander around the garden.  There was a kitchen issue on Sunday, sadly only sandwiches and cake were on offer, but it didn’t stop it from being busy.  The little cafe just by the main garden entrance was also closed.

In the open entrance one of the building walls was covered with wisteria and a week earlier must have looked wonderful.  Sadly it had been caught by the frost, but those flowers that had avoided the frost looked spectacular.  

As we walked through the gate into the garden,  the purple tulips made a splash of colour, although they were almost over.   I love tulips at this stage, the petals are floppy and more colourful than when they are closed and the traditional tulip shape. 

It was here, it struck us as to the amount of frost damage which hit Parham.  We also wondered whether some of the wilted planting, especially the Buddleia, were also suffering from lack of water.  It hasn’t rained for weeks in our area so all gardens must be very dry, not what is needed during the growing season.  

Last year, May 2016,  I wrote about the tulip trials held at Parham (click here) and it was lovely to see the best of the tulips in flower beds in the walled garden.  Considering all my tulips are over, including the late varieties, it was so good to see these still in bloom. 

I managed to find the names for most of the tulips but the fringed orange one escaped me.  It is similar to my favourite tulip I grew at home this year called ‘Bastia’. 

There is a bed of Alstromeria with the tulips and that too had succumbed to the sudden frost last week.  It will recover but I wonder if this year it will flower as prolifically as it usually does. 

At this stage, my friend checked me in and I was told not to take anymore photos of frost damage, especially if I was going to blog about the garden, because it wasn’t fair, the garden is still beautiful and interesting, which of course it is! 

One very bright, striking border was the one above.   The black and orange tulips contrasted so well against the green.   These varieties are in my notebook for 2018. 

You will have already seen on the first photo of this post the meadow full of camassia.  Such an impressive plant and one I never think to have in my own garden.  This is probably because I first met camassia in this meadow and assume meadows are the place they grow.  There are also a lot of alliums planted here which will be in flower very soon.   

There is always a lull in the garden  between the colourful spring displays leaving a mass of green.  The clever planting of orange Geum breaks up the green until the alliums and peonies open, and they are not far off.

Talking about alliums, my one and only dislike are their leaves which always look so untidy.  I noticed in the Rose Garden (sorry no photos) that some of the alliums had their leaves stripped leaving just the flower stems remaining.  An interesting idea and one I might try.  

A season ticket is really good value if you are going to visit a garden regularly.  Ours cost £42 and weighed against the ticket price of £9 each for the garden only is excellent value, and has more than paid for itself, and you get 10% off plant sales!

Opening times:  Parham is closed Monday, Tuesday and Saturdays unless there are events, see below. 

House | 14:00 – 17:00
Gardens | 12:00 – 17:00
Big Kitchen Restaurant | 12:00 – 17:00
Last Admission | 16:30

Parham Nursery & Garden Shop open to visitors free of charge from 10:30am to 12 noon on standard open days and from 12 noon to 5pm for paying Garden visitors.

Parham always has interesting events, which you can find HERE.

Garden blogging

Tulips from Worthing

Unfortunately my plans to tick a visit to the Amsterdam Tulip fields off my list went awry this year.  I have consoled myself with my tulips from Worthing.   I am more than delighted with the display and the thought I had gone overboard buying bulbs last year has proved me wrong.  You can never buy too many tulip bulbs! 

As well as using containers, I planted bulbs in the open border and these are Sweetheart, Purissima and Yellow King with a few pink Botanical mixed.   They have combined well with the white narcissi Botanical Thalia.

On the side patio most of the containers have tulips left over from last year – the pink are Angelique which are not as good this year.  The new bulbs are lovely red Tulip Kaufmanniana and you can see there is also a white one.   The yellow/white Tulip is Sweetheart and I think is a perfect partner with narcissi. 

 There is one solitary Grand Perfection left over from last year.  I like this one so will make a not to buy more for 2018.   I grew them in 2016 with Ronaldo and the combination was quite striking. 

This interesting tulip is a double fringed variety called Bastia – it isn’t quite open so as I write this on a Sunday morning I can’t show it to its full glory, but if you check out the link you will see what it will look like.  I suspect it’s a tulip equivalent of Marmite, you will love it or hate it. 

I found this year that the tulips took a while to open but once open, the petals fell quite quickly. Perhaps it’s because it’s been really quite warm this last week.   I hope you’ve liked what you see and would be interested in seeing your favourite tulips to give me some ideas for 2018.  

Garden, Garden blogging

A Tulip Surprise

It’s surprising what little it takes to produce the feeling of sheer delight together with some frustration on occasions.

After growing just a few tulips in pots in 2016, last autumn I went mad and bought a lot of tulip bulbs.  I didn’t spend a lot of money from well known websites, and went to my local garden centre instead and my planting ‘scheme’ was to distribute them in no particular order across the flowerbeds.   The fault in this planting came to light this morning, when I found two tulips in flower that I didn’t know the name of, hence the sheer delight coupled with frustration.

Tulip Kaufmanniana ‘Ancilla’
After posting a couple of photos on Twitter to ask what this pretty white tulip was called and getting no response, which is not surprising really, it’s Monday morning and most people are working, I then searched out the old bulb packets which I had carefully stored in a drawer and not thrown away.  Eventually I found one labeled mix of 25 bulbs called Tulip Kaufmannia ‘Mixed’, and turning to Google found this white tulip was ‘Ancilla’.


The difference between the closed flower and when it opens is spectacular. I love the red and yellow ring around the stamen which is very eye-catching and if you look very carefully there are tiny little pink dots on the tip of the petals.   According to the pack, the other tulips will be orange and red.

Kaufmanniana Tulips are also known as a water lily tulip.  They have short sturdy stems and, as proven today, are usually the first tulips to flower.   Ideal for ground cover, they are also good for containers and window boxes and will gradually multiply if left in the ground.



This little photo on the left is courtesy of the Thompson & Morgan website, gives you an idea of the other colours that are yet to come.  Spring is such an exciting time.

Garden blogging

A Tulip Conundrum

Although I have been gardening for many years, for some inexplicable reason it was only last year I decided to have tulips in pots on my patio.  I only had a couple of pots in 2015 and was so delighted with them, I went tulip bulb crazy last autumn and had a bit of a spending spree.

Now here are a few salutary lessons I have learned:-

  1. label the pots as you go, not once all 6 are planted up, especially if your memory is not that good;
  2. double check you have written the correct names on the label, and put them in the correct pots;
  3. make sure you have used an indelible, waterproof pen, if the name washes off it’s a long time between planting in October to flowering in April;
  4. keep the bags your bulbs came in, they are useful and sometimes a necessary reference to use.

Some of you reading this may well be tutting and thinking the points above are elementary.  However, points 1-3 will give you an idea of the problems I am coming across now and thankfully I did keep the bulb bags (point 4).  At least I can see what bulbs I bought and match them to the photos.

There are a few pots that have left me scratching my head.  I have some tulips that are not supposed to be where they are, not that it matters too much, it’s a pleasant surprise what does appear, even though not as planned and some pots I have no idea what the tulips are.

My first surprise are the David Dolmoney bulbs, purchased through Waitrose Garden on-line.


This box contained Ronaldo, described as a deep burgundy and Grand Perfection, described as a red and white ripple tulip.  Even the box shows Grand Perfection as a creamy colour with a burgundy stripe.

Great Perfection
Great Perfection and Ronaldo tulips 2016
You will see immediately from the photos above, that I have yellow and red striped tulips. It was only when I took to Google to check out Great Perfection, I saw that the majority of them are yellow and red, although there were a few photos of cream and burgundy striped tulips, which I found a bit confusing to say the least.  All said and done, I am pleased with the outcome despite not what I was expected.
Sweetheart and Angelique with white Anemones
Above is anomaly #2.    In this pot I planted Sweetheart, Princess Irene and Menton, together with white anemones as under planting.   What has come up are the very pretty lemon and white Sweetheart, and surprise surprise, pink Angelique!  Whilst I am more than happy to see them, and the combination of the yellow and pink is beautiful, I am wondering where the Princess Irene have got to.  The peach coloured Menton, being a late tulip, are yet to make an appearance.

Pot 3 has the labels, Havran and Golden Artist.   The Havran are coming out slowly with, fingers crossed, Golden Artist, a ruffled golden-orange with green and hints of sunset-pink about to appear soon.

In hindsight I am not sure if the mix of Havran and Golden Artist will look aesthetically ok and I’m beginning to wonder if I should have put Black Parrot with the Havran.  I will make a decision for next years planting when Golden Artist is out, the contrast may look good.

Black Parrot
Black Parrot
The Black Parrot are planted with Blue Parrot which are yet to make an appearance.

Now, below is anomaly #3 – the tulips I thought were Red Impression, although I couldn’t see the black base to the flower which it’s suppose to have, are in fact  Seadov.  I know this now because this afternoon I found a white label tucked very deep into the pot with Seadov written very faintly.  This means the other unlabeled pot is Red Impression.

Here is the biggest anomaly of them all!  If the pot next to the Seadov are Red Impression, how come I have a tulip that looks very like it could be China Town or Groenland, as suggested by Harriet Ryecroft on Twitter after I posted a photo and asked for assistance.  Considering the number of gardeners I follow on Twitter, I was disappointed that only two people came up with possibilities.   It is definitely a Veridiflora but doesn’t really look like either of the two suggestions – what do you think?  I didn’t buy either of these tulips, but although it doesn’t fit my criteria of what a tulip should be, I quite like it, I think.



It could, of course, be a rogue bulb and Red Impression is just waiting to burst into colour.  I do hope so, I was really looking forward to a pot of striking red lipstick coloured tulips.


Finally, there are a couple of pretty pink tulips flowering in the raised bed.  I do recall having a few bulbs left over and scattering them in this bed, but these don’t match any labels, so a spot of head scratching again.


Gardening, like life is a funny old thing and unpredictable, but exciting.