Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ravishing peony

In our current rental garden, one of the few plants that was in it when we arrived, was this.

Huh? Yes, my thoughts exactly. Andrea, my gardener, helped me clear the grass and weeds and we realised it was probably a peony. We hoped by clearing it we were giving it a new lease on life.

The buds were amazing.

Then, voilà!

I've not always been a fan of peonies, as they can get so ruined by frost. But this one, oh yes, I see the attraction now.

What a beauty. If anyone knows the variety, do leave a comment below.

I'm considering digging it up in the autumn to split and take a section for me.


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Dovedale, and 20th revisted

Back in January, Kevin and I tried to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. I say try, because our quiet few days in the Yorkshire Dales was ruined by our car conking out. It died on the day we arrived. We had to be rescued, blah blah blah. The upshot was we didn't really get to celebrate anything as we spent most of our time dealing with car troubles.

We agreed that we would try again once life had quietened down, after we sold our previous house and moved etc. On the weekend, we managed to revisit our 20th, staying at the Izaak Walton Hotel down in Dovedale, on the edge of the Staffordshire and Derbyshire Peak. And it was just wonderful.

We spent a quiet day pottering around nearby Tissington, including Tissington Nursery (separate blogpost), then relaxing in the hotel and enjoying the incredible views.

Tissington Hall

Pygmy goats!

Dovedale and the view from the hotel

By the way, the food at the hotel was superb. We had a three course meal, including Amuse Bouche (tiny horses-d'œuvres), which we'd not had before. It was all very delicious and for the food alone I'd return to the hotel.

Dovedale and the Izaak Walton Hotel are only an hour away from Sheffield, but it felt like another world. Importantly, we felt we had finally celebrated our 20th anniversary in a manner that was both beautiful and peaceful.
20 years

Nursery: Tissington Nursery

On our recent visit to Dovedale, we also had a little look at Tissington Nursery. I mean, it was there, and it would be rude not to go.

The nursery is housed in Tissington estate's walled Old Kitchen Gardens. It is a small family-run nursery, and whilst there I met Mairi, who appeared to be quite knowledgeable about the hardy perennials that she grows.

Ducks feeding. I'm guessing they would be useful for slug patrol too.

I obtained some useful advice on growing Sanguisorba in pots (a large one). I'd been warned off trying them in pots because they do like space, but Mairi said if it's for a year or so it will be ok. I thought I'd risk it, as hopefully by this time next year we will have moved into our own place. I've been wanting to grow Sanguisorba for a while, and Mairi chose a handsome Sanguisorba hakusanensis 'Lilac Squirrel' that has flower heads just developing, for me.

My small collection of plants. The largest plant is the Sanguisorba.

The nursery has an interesting selection of plants, including a number of Sempervivums (I chose Sempervivum Triste) and a delightful Oxalis, Oxalis adenophylla. This has pretty pink flowers, but it was the foliage that won me over.

Oxalis adenophylla

I also picked up Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland', and we chose this lovely alpine planter below as a memory for our 20th Anniversary.

The nursery was selling these planters for a retiree who was trying to make a little extra income to supplement his pension. I won't go into a political rant about how pensioners shouldn't to have to find ways to make ends meet... I will say that he has created some gorgeous alpine planters and I expect he will do well out of selling these via the nursery.

Not sure what type of Ameria this is, but, pretty!

The nursery is currently 50% peat free. Mairi is on the way to converting to 100% peat free, hopefully by next year. She likes Sylva Grow peat free compost, as do I.

They helpfully looked after our plants for us so we didn't have to leave them in the car overnight. Over dinner we found ourselves discussing the Trollius we saw, and decided it also needed to be purchased, so we picked that up the next day, along with the rest of the plants. I was advised that it likes damp soil, so I'll keep an eye on watering when I pot it up.

Trollius × cultorum 'Alabaster', which turns yellow as the flowerheads open.

The nursery/Mairi will be attending RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in June, so do visit her stand in the floral pavilion. Otherwise, the nursery is open daily from March to the end of September, 11am to 5pm.

Tissington Nursery is a delightful small nursery in which a lot of perennial gems can be found. Beautiful plants and helpful advice, what more could you ask for in a plant nursery?! I suspect I'll be dropping in again (and again) when I'm in that part of the Peak.

Friday, 12 May 2017

ME Awareness Day 2017, and my gardening clogs

12th May marks ME Awareness Day. In particularly, the #MillionsMissing movement aims to raise awareness for M.E., an underfunded and ignored disease. Today we ask for increased government funding for research, clinical trials, medical education and public awareness.

It's timely as my ME has been pretty bad recently and I've had little energy to do much at all, hence the lack of blogging. As I am not well enough to attend any actions, I'm taking part in the #MillionsMissing campaign virtually. The idea is to show a photo of some shoes, with a note that expresses a way that you are missing from the world.

If you could learn one thing about ME, I urge you to read Sally Burch's post: Well enough to drink coffee? Because ME is an invisible illness, and whilst I might look normal, I'm actually constantly exhausted to the marrow, and in most days, in lots of pain.

So if I'm not blogging much, this is why. Coz when I do have some energy, well, you'll find me in the garden :)