Plant Profile: Tulipa fosteriana ‘Zombie’

Tulipa 'Zombie' in bud

Do you remember, several months ago, when we were all potting up our spring bulbs …. each and every one of us full of excitement at the promise of the floral display that would follow? Well, here we are in springtime, confined to our homes and gardens (I refuse to mention the ‘c word’) which […]

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Seedy Thoughts

There’s not much that January is good for, apart from cosying-up by the fire, drinking the Christmas drinks cabinet dry and browsing seed catalogues. The minute New Year is over, hot off the press, brochures start to arrive at The Watch House by the sack-load. And since we’ve acquired an allotment, the fruit and vegetable […]

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The Watch House in Early May

I’m a little bit stuck at the moment. I don’t so much have writers’ block as writers’ constipation; that is, lots of posts backing up that are part written but not yet ready to publish. Like the unfortunate biological condition, I am finding the situation rather uncomfortable. The proverbial prune in this scenario would be […]

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RHS London Orchid Show & Plant Fair 2018

Orchids are extraordinary flowers. They display remarkable diversity in colour, size and form. Some are scented, some are designed to entrap insects and few, like vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), produce edible seed pods. Among the 28,000 currently known and accepted orchid species, many are cultivated and inevitably there are still new species to be found in […]

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The Late Late April Show

Spring is arriving in slow motion at The Watch House. I’ve been watching a single bud of Narcissus ‘Golden Ducat’ striving to open for ten days, willing it to reveal the acid-yellow petals tightly furled within. My clematis have been held in suspended animation since early February, their tender shoots primed and raring to go. […]

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Running to Stand Still

  With April bright on the horizon I am already having to get a wiggle on to keep up with what needs doing in our garden. Within a fortnight that wiggle will have become a jog, and by early May I’ll be sprinting just to stand still. I feel exhausted just thinking about it. At […]

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Coughs and Caterpillars: An Hour in the Garden

  It’s all going on in the garden right now. The plants have had a sniff of spring and now they are intoxicated, thrusting out of the ground, sending tendrils hither and thither and scrambling up in search of light and warmth. They’ve discovered the powerful drug that is spring. The energy that was quelled […]

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When Is Too Late to Plant Spring Bulbs?

If you are reading this post now, in late January, the answer is ‘not yet’, for tulips at least. Originally published in November 2016, ‘When is too late to plant spring bulbs?’ has become one of my most read posts of the last eight years. For the next few weeks I am pinning it to […]

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Daily Flower Candy: Narcissus ‘Elka’ AGM

Narcissus: daffodil, daffadowndilly, jonquil, Lenten lily Daffodils are synonymous with Easter. In England they are associated with Lent and occasionally referred to as Lenten lilies. Legend has it that the first daffodil bloomed on the night of The Last Supper in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort Jesus in his hour of sorrow. Whether one […]

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The First Day Of Spring

Early each year comes that single, magical, joyful, often unexpected day when winter turns to spring. It doesn’t come when the astronomers or meterologists tell us so, but when nature decides the time is right. The first day of spring can come as early as February and as late as April, but gardeners know it’s […]

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