Planting outside!

Planting outside!

Whoop, whoop, I’m pooped! Another landmark day. BE had its main beds planted into. Dianthus ‘Doris’ as a heritage variety of pink for its beautiful edible flowers and ‘Devon Wizard’ because, with a name like that, who wouldn’t? (and yes you can eat the flower too)

It was a special moment seeing the first rows take shape. Benjy and I lined up the plumb line and measured the spacing carefully. No reprobates here. We began inter planting with the first of a series of hemerocallis. These day lilies have wonderful blooms and today’s plantings were ‘Stella de Oro’ a slightly shorter, more compact variety than is usual, with a lovely scent. Her flowers when they open towards the end of spring will be just like sunshine. I can’t wait. Look at the zingy green of her leaves – a great contrast with the tastefully restrained glaucous tone of the dianthus.



Like brave pioneers we went into the bee bed early on. Last night there was a frost and at 8am all was quiet in the shade. Thought you might like to see my highly inadequate protective clothing…



Directly in the firing line!

I figured that the only part of me to risk being bitten were the tips of my fingers or my cheeks. A particularly satisfying dock and nettled pulling session was brought to its usual abrupt halt by the first rays of sunlight. It’s amazing to see. As soon as the first light approaches the hive a single bee flies out and then returns. After that all the others follow suit. He must be a scout. Today they were particularly welcome in the garden because the all-important pollination is about to begin. Hello spring! The bright sunshine by 10.30am saw us throw open the doors of the peach house at both ends. Hoorah, flashes of hot pink everywhere as the first buds teeter on the brink of breaking.

We tried to take a pic. It’s not great, but you get the  idea…


Bud burst in the peach house

Yesterday I went to Howards and selected us some incredible blue and white flowered Agapanthus amongst other things. This is my kind of shopping. Here in Suffolk we are lucky enough to have nurseries of national renown and this is one such. Each year Howards, famed for its herbaceous perennials, supply designers at the Chelsea Flower Show. They asked if I was planning on doing the show in future. ‘Yes’ I answered without thinking. I don’t know how, but I’m sure we can do a Novikov/BE garden in the future. Surely a microcosm of what we have here would fascinate anyone.


Getting right in there. I’m only bringing the very best back home to BE.

Charlie is busy, busy, busy filling the largest brand new polytunnel. Like a cathedral it’s a pretty awesome space. All who enter are required to worship at shrine of the potting machine. I share Beth Chatto’s view on potting machines. They are not for those of us with a nervous disposition. Too much could go wrong (see Garden Notebook) I’m much more of a potting bench kind of girl. However I can see that for the micro herbs the potting machine will be the bees’ knees. When Charlie next fires it up I will film it in action.

Like an owl, swallow, osprey or rook each year at this time, I feel the need to return to my beloved Cornwall. Spring there is totally breathtaking. Miles of coconut scented gorse, sparkling clear sea and valley gardens leading to hidden coves. Just think of all the cuttings and seeds I can smuggle back, not to mention horticultural inspiration and ideas. Hmmmm I was going to take the train, but in light of essential plant collecting perhaps it should be the van or a lorry or a double decker bus or…


Early sun spotlights this old pear. On the outside of the wall, its been neglected for so long that you could be forgiven for thinking that we were espalier fan training ivy! Beautiful though.

Here’s the first lines of a beautiful poem by John Burnside, entitled ‘Unwittingly’

I’ve visited the place/where thought begins: pear trees/ suspended in sunlight…

Have a great weekend X

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