Friday, 27 June 2008


Well, we certainly have had a lot of growth in the garden here at Northfields this June, as you can see by the fact that this wisteria is threatening to bring down the telephone wires!

(Remember that if you don't keep your plants under control, your neighbours might complain again about their superfast broadband being adversely affected.) 

So why not get your Felcos out this weekend as it's the perfect moment to get that wisteria tidied up! 

Alan Titchmarsh's rule is back to an arm's length in July, a hand in January. Here's the way I do it -out the front window, unlock the secateurs and hang onto the sash for dear life. 

You can also spit on your neighbour's car from here, if you get a bit of an arc on it. (Say just for example if he's been on Skype all day with the windows open again.)

Remember to keep picking your sweet peas, because it genuinely does help to raise your level of inner smugness when you walk around the house and there's fresh flowers in every room. For a moment, you can pretend you're Sarah Raven, that you own a hugely successful mail order business and that you're married to Adam "Don't worry darling, I'll man the cake stand" Nicholson! Really, give it a try!

It's also a time when lots of your plants are going to need extra feeding, however much donkey poo you managed to work into your flowerbeds earlier in the season. Keep the Miracle-Gro by the sink at all times, but don't confuse it with the lime cordial. 

Some plants won't want feeding, though - I wouldn't give Miracle-Gro to spiky things like sea hollies, agaves or any other gravel garden plants. And I don't think Beth Chatto would either, thank you very much.  

If you want to keep the garden looking great, it's really important to deadhead. As you can see, I deadheaded this rose really thoroughly earlier in the month, and what a picture it is as a result!

On the other hand, if it rains, there are several jobs you could tackle. Firstly, there's the annual bank-breaking bulb order to be considered: mine is coming from Avon Bulbs and cost £89.45. Calculated price per square foot that's on a par with Canary Wharf, but there we go. 

It is mostly alliums because I am dreadfully boring and my old ones were massacred by the men who put up my new fence. However a few experiments: Tulipa marjoletti, which I saw at Kew this year, and two lily-flowered tulips, Burgundy and Maytime, because I think lily-flowered is the future of classiness. And I am Veronica Corningstone, so I should know. 

Their website is really good and fast with tons of cultural info. You also get free Tulipa linifolia if you spend over a certain amount, I think £60 - but it doesn't tell you that on the website, it just suddenly appears as you fill in the order form. Whoopee! We love free stuff!

Another job you could be getting on with is writing any letters of complaint: say for example, to Wyevale or other garden centres about the colour of your sweet peas compared to the label. Please see the sweet peas above to really appreciate the level of trades description infringement I believe to have been perpetrated. 

But if you do just one thing in the garden this weekend, plant some of that bloody stuff you've been buying at plant fairs and shows and open gardens during the last two months and that you keep saying you're going to plant and then end up going to more plant fairs. Come on now! Show some self-discipline and moral fibre! 

But put it in the bucket first, my friends: that is the best best tip I can give you for summer planting survival.

And lastly, don't forget to enjoy your garden: get outside and smell the summer - though probably remember to take your hayfever pills first. Achoo!


The Garden Monkey said...

Miracle-gro is Satan's love juice.

emmat said...

Miracle-Gro is amazing though. It's like there are all these products in the world that I always thought I didn't need, because my mum would never have bought them when I was little.
1) Miracle-Gro
2) Pepto-Bismol
2) Cillit Bang
are you beginning to see any pattern emerging? Yes, they all have stupid names, come in fluorescent packaging, are full of chemicals (hence my mum etc) and REALLY WORK.

emmat said...

oh look, how sweet. They really are Satan.

The Garden Monkey said...

Yea, and they have ripped off Gayla Trail's style with their ads.

And we LOVE Gayla at Monkey Towers.

I would rather hug Dr Mengele's disenterred corpse, than have anything to do with them.

Hiroshima was amazing too.

emmat said...

You sound just like my mum.

The Garden Monkey said...

Well you'd do well to listen to her young lady and get your life in order!!

In my day.... (I'll stop now)

Wanders off muumbling about Nazis


VP said...

I met a Hiroshima survivor on the train once. He made a living from going round peace conferences, talking at the United Nations etc etc. I never quite worked out what he was doing on a train from Newcastle to Birmingham though.

Emma - you're so thoughtful to provide an alternative GW whilst the telly's so rubbish. I particularly like the combination of archive footage and your Adam Pasco style photos of you at home trolling about your gardening activities. Your wisteria technique is soooo cutting edge!

The Black Finger Nail said...

You've got to be really careful with Cillit Bang. I accidentally spilt some onto a Middlesex town in my AA Road Atlas 2009 (not planning much road building then).

It wiped out Staines in minutes....

emmat said...

ha ha ha ha

When I run Gardeners World I think I'll get Barry Scott in to build pergolas and things.

I also really like Vanish, which is extremely pink.