Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ A.G.M.

Laura knows a good rose when she sees one! A few years ago she spotted a neglected specimen which was just about surviving near an aircraft hangar at Shoreham airport. It was autumn, the perfect time to take rose cuttings, and they thrived. She gave one to me and we all called it Rosa ‘Shoreham Airport’ until some time later I spotted it growing in a friend’s garden in London … and there was the label still on the shrub. Once seen, never forgotten, it is the most beautiful rose, bred by Robert Holmes in the UK, named after...

Continue reading
yellow roses

Grow-How Tips for Early June

It’s roses, roses all the way, now that June is here! You can stay in the garden till late on warm evenings, admiring your efforts with a pleasant glass of something. But do not think your work is done, Dear Reader, oh dear me, no. There are all sorts of tasks you could be getting on with, between your little sit-downs. Here are a few: CHELSEA CHOPPING (I said ‘Chelsea chopping’, Caroline, not ‘Chelsea shopping’…..) This is the name given to a sort of pruning of herbaceous perennials at about the time of the Chelsea Flower Show, and the...

Continue reading

Three cheers for Chelsea

Chelsea meant boots when we were teenagers – fast-forward 50 years or so and now it means a fantastic day out for all three of us at the Greatest Flower Show in the World! This year it was definitely all about the lupins but Laura wasn’t impressed: “The trouble with lupins is they put so much of their energy into that slightly mutant, supercharged flower stalk that a) they eclipse all the more subtle plants around them b) they collapse into an ugly bug-ridden heap after their moment of glory,” (oh dear, this won’t happen to Meghan, will it?) But...

Continue reading

Clematis ‘Black Tea’

If I wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, I take a mental tour of the garden; and as it’s May I start by counting clematis. I get as far as C ‘Black Tea’ … beyond shadow of a doubt, it’s this week’s star plant and can only be described as ‘sumptuous’. It’s not just the depth of colour and subtle variations as the light changes, the flower petals have an amazing velvety texture. It grows to six to eight foot and is a prolific flowerer. It wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century...

Continue reading