Wordless Wednesday: The Glasshouse.

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Wordless Wednesday: Dicksonia antartica

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The Classic Rock Garden.

It’s Back and very little has changed.

Yep, another one of those pointless ‘Rock Garden’ posts. One thing I will say, is that in this post there are some beautiful little gems that would look good in anyone’s,  house, garden, conservatory or greenhouse.

Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’

A beautiful, coral pink, flowering Salvia with fragrant foliage. It is an upright vigorous Salvia that has an eventual height and spread of approximately 2-3 ft.  Native to West Texas and is sometimes known as the ‘Autumn Sage’, this plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. This Salvia is definitely on my ‘must buy’ list, that’s if I can get hold of it.

The Troggs ‘Wild Thing’

The Troggs were an English rock band formed in 1964. ‘Wild Thing’ was originally recorded by the American band ‘The Wild Ones’ but it is the cover by The Troggs in 1966, that it is best known for reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July and No. 2 in the UK charts. After the sad death on the 4th February this year of  their lead singer Reg Presley …. I just had to include this song.

Dahlia ‘Boom Boom White’

A soft white ball Dahlia that can reach a height of 3ft, the flowers can get up to 10cm in size and you can also get them in red and in yellow. Not so long ago, I would have had nothing to do with Dahlia’s, but then slowly I started to like some of the single flowered ones and now I am on to some of the more posy looking Dahlia’s.

John Lee Hooker ‘Boom Boom’

John Lee Hooker, born on the 22nd August 1917 and died 21st June 2001. He was a very influential blues singer, his trademark was the ‘Talking blues’ which he developed.  Boom Boom was released in 1962 in the US, then again in 1992 in the UK.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia the ‘ZZ (Top) Plant’

A tropical perennial from east Africa. It is grown as an indoor/greenhouse plant, but it can can be left outside in the warmer months. Grown specifically for its foliage, this plant can grow to 60cm in height. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested. For more information on this plant read this article from this interesting website that I found …… The Daily South.

ZZ Top ‘Sharp Dressed Man’

Released in 1983 ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ was a hit from ZZ Tops multi million selling album ‘Elliminator’.

Allium ‘Pinball Wizard’

This one will tolerate most soil conditions, it likes full sun and partial shade and is a beautiful Allium for any border. It can grow to approximately 60 cm in height and it has good sized purple flowers. Good for cut flowers and butterflies and bees love this Allium …. this one is also on my ‘must buy’ list.

The Who ‘Pinball Wizard’

From the Who’s 1969 rock opera album ‘Tommy’. The album tells a story of a deaf, dumb and blind boy. In 1975 ‘Tommy’ was made into a film where Roger Daltrey played the role of Tommy. The album since its release has sold over 20 million copies.

Scadoxus multiflorus (The Fireball Lily)

Native to South Africa, this is a stunning Lily that has beautiful red fragrant flowers from July – September, reaching an approximate height of 60 cm. In the UK, they are often grown in containers and conservatories, they can be planted in the ground but will need protecting from the frost.

 Deep Purple ‘Fireball’

In a previous Rock Garden post I was rather mocking of Deep Purple, this time I will be more respectful towards them. The Fireball album and the song of the same name was released in 1971. It is the song that has the noise of an air conditioning machine at the beginning. John Lord unfortunately passed away on the 16th July 2012 …. another great rock legend we have lost recently.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Glam Rock’

A multi coloured, flowering, hardy Hydrangea, where the colour will differ slightly depending on the soils ph level. Flowers from July through to September  reaching over 1.2m in height, this is a wonderful shrub that will look good in any border.

Glam Rock

Where do you start with this one? Glam Rock developed in the UK in the early part of the seventies, with such bands like: Sweet, T Rex, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Mud; with bands like: Slade, Mott the Hoople and Roy Woods Wizzard coming a little later. In America the likes of: New York Dolls, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop were beginning to make their mark.

There is one artist that I have to include in this and that is ….. Suzi Quatro.

In the late seventies Glam Rock slowly went into decline only to give way for Glam Metal acts like: WASP, Cinderella, Poison and of course Motley Crue.

Now you won’t find too many horticultural type blogs with the following video in.

Wordless Wednesday: Crocus tommasinianus

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The Dark Side of the Garden.

From a very young age I knew gardening was for me. Although at that stage in my life, I hadn’t realised that gardening would be a constant battle, both within the garden and with myself. It is battle that you do not always win. It can be both physically and mentally draining, it can heartbreaking and if you garden professionally …. it can also be financially very hard.

Inside the garden, you are constantly under attack by the weather and the wildlife. You question many of the methods that you use to tackle the problem: is it bad for the environment?; is it bad for yourself and others?; and we are not just talking about chemicals. There are many other factors: what we plant and where; the introduction of new plant species and wildlife to tackle a particular pest/problem; the use of machines; its affects on others and the environment. Also, this is mainly aimed at the professional horticulturalist, there is also the financial cost, the affects it has on you and your family, plus can you support and provide that safe and healthy standard of life we all need.


Sounds all very dark and gloomy doesn’t it, but even saying this all, where there is dark there is also light. For many of the problems we have in the garden and in life, an answer can always be found … just sometimes the answer can be a little difficult to find at first.

One of the best ways I find that helps is by talking to others, especially listening to those from the world of horticulture. Everything from gardening issues, right down to the problems that life can bring outside of the garden. Life is hard for many at the moment and I’m not saying that gardeners have it any worse than others, but life for those in the horticultural trade has often been very tough for many. I myself have had to do battle with the wolves at the door, admittedly things did improve slightly when I was made up to Head Gardener in 2010, but with a young family …. the going is still very tough. There are many organisations out there that can help those in horticulture: Citizens Advice Bureau, The Professional Gardeners Guild and Perennial (Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society). For those of you who have not heard of Perennial, they are the national charity for those who have worked in horticulture and their spouses/partners when they face adversity or need.

As for the gardening problems we do have many organisations we can turn to. We also have books, magazines, TV (not my most favoured), the internet (including Twitter and sometimes Facebook) and of course lets not forget …. the Library. My most favoured method is listening to others, both professional and amateurs alike; the one unlikely source for me …. is doing tours of the gardens at Trinity. I do approximately half a dozen tours a year taking round both professional and amateur gardeners, on the way round you often pick up tips and those little gems and golden nuggets of information that can help with your problems within the garden. So talking to others with the same interest and passion is a great way of learning and we can all learn from each other.

As I mentioned earlier, to have a dark side there must also be a light side. I have mentioned some of the difficulties that come with gardening, plus a few ways they can be helped So lets not forget about the rewards that gardening can bring because gardening for me is the most rewarding/educational job there is.

With a title like “The Dark Side of the Garden”, I had to include the following song. Especially as some of it’s  meaning is about- the importance of living one’s own life and not being afraid to care!