Welcoming in the new year:2016


After about 20 years of garden writing, I am not sure I have anything to say about new year’s gardening resolutions that I have not said before, so instead I will send out generalised wishes of enjoyment and pleasure in gardens and gardening, along with a plea to think carefully about environmental impacts of the activity. Gardening is NOT synonymous with being environmentally responsible. In fact many common garden practices are downright unfriendly and my hope is that we will see more people move towards modifying their activity and their expectations to work with nature, rather than being driven by a determination to control it or, worse, to conquer it.

On this day of welcome gentle rain (we have been unusually dry, sunny and hot of late), I offer you the prettiest of hydrangeas. These are from the You-Me series, originating from a Japanese breeder. Which is which, I am not sure, but they are all very pretty indeed and grow on obligingly compact bushes. There is quite a bit of variation on individual bushes, depending on the maturity of the flower heads. They also pick well. I have just refreshed my Christmas vase of these hydrangeas with pink alstromerias. IMG_6711

IMG_6723 Having just posted the pensive message above, I walked into the kitchen to find Mark arranging flowers. Umbellifers! Which one, I asked. “Manchester Table, to be precise,” he replied. Daucus carota subsp. sativus – in other words carrot that was bolting to flower and seed. It did strike me that there was a certain symmetry between my words and Mark arranging his floral display of Manchester Table, Yorkshire fog, Lotus major and linaria.