Well my TV appearance on Love Your Garden this week is over thank heavens ( I spent most of it watching from behind the sofa!) And by way of distraction from my new found fame ( !!!) we’ve had two lovely Italians staying with us ,so we’ve spent lots of fantastic evenings in the garden, drinking wine and chatting . I even served up roast beef and all the trimmings on what was probably the hottest day of the year. Well I had to give them a taste of our national dish didn’t I? Two other Italian visitors also came to look round the garden which is, I’m happy to say, looking and smelling lovely right now.
I was intrigued to discover that one of them owned a house on Lake Como! I wonder if he knows George Clooney, and if so, how on earth I can engineer a visit so that I can spy on his loveliness from afar? Any ideas most welcome! Mr. Lake Como seemed to like our modest plot and said “Anna, you have managed to concentrate such a lot into , how shall I say….. a very compact site.” And he’s right, I have rather crammed everything in. In fact, a small space is an opportunity to pack the plants in, BUT, you must make sure they have a really long period of interest and pleasure. Currently, here are my top 5 lovelies:
I’ve never tried this before and although I doubt that it’ll survive our soggy winters, it’s been fabulous for sheer flower power and is set to go on for many weeks yet. I’ll definitely grow it again.
Did you know that Begonias like shade? So, on this shady north wall , I’ve planted pots and baskets of these hot red feathery ones ( I don’t like those fat stodgy ones that seem to be grown by old men with string vests and knotted hankies on their heads…… so steer clear of them.)They just seem to flower on and on and make me feel happy every time I look at them. Another one to repeat next year.
3.Lemon verbena & Blackcurrant Sage.
Every time I sit down to eat outside ( and here’s Mr.fruitygardener doing just that) I pinch a leaf off these two and am transported back to childhood. The lemon verbena reminds me of sucking fingers covered in lemon sherbet dip and the Blackcurrant sage of eating illicit fruit from the bushes in next door’s garden. You should always have a couple of ‘pinch and sniff’ plants near where you sit…..
I got these Cosmos plants in a farm shop for only £1.50 each ( yes, really!). I saw them for sale by the side of the road and nearly caused a crash when I did a hand brake swerve into the entrance worthy of a scene from Miami Vice – well, I was desperate not to overshoot and miss these beauties. Aren’t they lovely? And they’ll last for weeks yet. I’m going to team them with some purple Verbena bonariensis to contrast.
Three years ago I spent a small fortune on clematis at http://www.taylorsclematis.co.uk who have the most brilliant and informative clematis website ever. You can key in your conditions, the colour and size you want, and they’ll come up with a selection of suitable varieties for you to try – brilliant!
For the first two years my new clematis plants sulked. But this year they’ve really come into their own and are flowering their socks off.
p.s. A BIG BIG tip is – you can’t overfeed clematis as they love really rich living . So, instead of getting fat like me on rich food, they flower their socks off. All you have to do is give them a liquid feed of tomato food every three days or so.
And finally, here is Bobbi !
Bobbi featured in her own close-up on my TV appearance in Alan Titchmarsh’s ‘Love Your Garden ‘ this week. She’s obviously now a major celebrity, with her own agent and a three film deal with Pixar. Hahaha-I’m joking of course. Trouble is , Bobbi has gone all diva-like on me and is refusing to eat her Whiskas now. I think she may be holding out for caviar? ( You can still catch Episode 2 on the ITVHub if you missed it).