Sunday, 27 June 2010

Kelways' Peony Valley

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Wish You Were Here?

As it's quietish at work, I took some time off and headed down to the West Country. I have many happy memories of a dippy hippy summer there when I was 19, travelling round the area by local bus which is a great way of exploring. Now that I'm an old lady, this time I took a little more than the sleeping bag which was all I needed then. My only regret about that holiday was not spending more time in Wells, so I made a leisurely tour of it, and ended the day with Evensong in the Cathedral. Magic, if that's not too heretical a word.
Then I visited Kelways, THE peony people. I've already placed an on-line order with them, but couldn't resist buying just one more and some iris. I popped in to their trials ground, which was a dreamworld of colour and scent. Led, literally, by the nose, I wandered happily, finding another two varieties to add to my list, Coral Charm and Felix Supreme. Life as a public sector employee feels very insecure these days, and my house is tied to my job, so maybe it's foolish to invest in the garden but I can't help it. The next day I went to Hestercombe, a beautiful place which has a wonderful landscape and a formal Lutyens/Jekyll garden, pictured above. And yes, I couldn't resist some bargains in the shop, galega, sisyrinchium and another iris. With the car now resembling a greenhouse, I trundled back up the motorway then home through winding Borders roads.
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Friday, 18 June 2010


Recently we were discussing "The No Brown In Town" rule on Edith Hope's brilliant blog. How I   wholeheartedly agreed, having always thought that brown carex in particular was vile. To-day however, I realised there was one brown I'd never be without - Bronze Fennel. It's been a mainstay in my last three gardens, where it fills me with joy to see its feathery new growth each spring. The rabbits love it too, but are easily deterred by leaving the old stems in place for a while. These stems then make wonderfully aromatic kindling.
Mmm. Have to go and see a man about Brown Trout.
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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Leaf it out

The garden seems terribly quiet now those rackety squaddies, the Praestans Fusiliers, have completed their tour of duty. It's the first time I've grown these gorgeous scarlet tulips, but from now on there will always be a place for them. I bade them a fond farewell like a Victorian maiden watching the garrison leave town. To the regiment!
Meantime, I'm learning to appreciate the textures created by the (entirely unplanned) juxtaposition of foliage. Could I be developing Good Taste? Fat chance. Round the corner my rescue rhoddendrons are billowing masses of Barbara Cartland pink and Papaver orientalis Brilliant is hovering in the wings.
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