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Gardening articles that may not include tips

My Yorkshire Garden in April

Favorite shrubbery view.

Scent of spring

I went around the whole garden photographing areas where I could plant bulbs for next spring

Area for growing on rubbish and Auricula

Corkscrew for wine bottles (not).

Plum blossom sadly frosted over a week later.


Green and Red Compliment your Spring Garden


The two best complimentary colours are Red and Green.  There are many ways this is demonstrated in the spring garden and they will be sure to draw compliments. The Peonies are just opening under a bit of shelter and shade.


The early Rhododendrons escaped frost damage and the red flower is set off by the texture and green of the healthy leaves.

This flowering Quince gave strong colour before many leaves had opened light green but the surrounding grass had been trimed with neat lines in the lawn and the effect was stunning.


See also Colourful Tips for other complementary colour combinations.


These lime green leaves are complementary to the Azaleas bright vermilion.

Some of the best art work by Georgia O’Keeffe is her paintings of Red Poppies. I recommend you try growing Oriental Red Poppies the for your Red – Green garden.

See also Colourful Tips for other complementary colour combinations.


A Splash of Floral Yellow sans-narcissus

You may see a splash of yellow if the Fawn decides to take a spring dip in the pond. The skunk cabbages are reputed to stink but these Lysichiton americanus are also named swamp lanterns so they flower well near the boggy pond.

The Erythronium bear long, strong stems producing canary yellow flowers that compete with late daffodils and the pink azalea.

Magnolia hybrids  can have spectacular yellow flowers in the familiar magnolia cup shape. Aptly named variety ‘Yellow Bird’ looks like it says on the tin.

‘Hotei’ is a famous yellow Rhododendron that I aspire to grow successfully in my Yorkshire garden – space and chance would be a fine thing.


Some colour schemes should never be seen

How do you plan a colour scheme when gardening with a wide palette of colour. The answer is to use complimentary colours that are directly opposite on the colour wheel. This give a lie to the old phrase about red and green which is about dress sense rather than gardening nous.

Other colour combinations that work well include yellow and violet or deep purple and for the adventurous blue and orange.

wallpaper tulip

Continue Reading →


Stumped by Trees?

The artist Subodh Kerkar has several new installations at the Himalayan garden in North Yorkshire, many miles from his home in Goa.  I couldn’t say what type of tree trunks these 18 carefully and vertically  place ‘logs’ were!

Even walking through the gap I was still stumped. The message on these ‘Logs of Dialogue’ is that ‘terrorism is a product of non-communication between  nations, groups, regions religions and ideologies’.

Take a leaf out of another sculptural installation. Or take another leaf from my inspiration and visit these Grewelthorpe gardens, infant arboretum and sculpture trail during April or May as the open season is quite short.



Photogenic & Aromatic Lavender

Some flowers look best in groups or large swathes. These fields of cultivated Lavender demonstrate the point clearly. Imagine the scent from all these individual stems of flowers a heady experience. For commercial purposes growing in rows makes Lavender easier to mechanically crop and maintain.

Uses of Lavender include: dried-flower production, fresh flower displays,  fragrance, lotions, soap, oils and perfumes, edible flavoring, potpourris relaxation products and bath bags you can even make some pet products but for our purposes garden plants and small ornamental hedges are some of the prime uses.

Other pages with photographs worth viewing

British French and Spanish Lavender

8 Amazing Lavender farms


bee lavender


Who Cuts the Grass

Woodbank Nursery in Harden W. Yorkshire has an interesting line in old garden equipment and mechanical ephemera. The various items are best seen over afternoon tea in the cafe where they complement the good healthy stock of plants. The exception is this lawnmower ‘recycled’ for the missus to use. The sign says ‘Does your wife cuts the lawn? If the answer is yes, why not spoil her rotten and buy her a ride on mower? You can even treat her again next year by adding some gears.’

Another feature of this nursery come retail destination is the stock of inanimate animals and the very animated ‘Elvis’ the shop parrot.

Every year Woodbank grows over 2 million plants on their 10 acres across an extensive range. Woodbank partners with the parent operation ACW in Bradford which has less space but quick through put sales of annuals, shrubs and trees.


Design Tips for a Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic garden

The design of the Chesea Physic Garden dates back to 1673 when it replaced market gardens and orchards on the same spot alongside the Thames. Intended to be a physic garden ‘pertaining to things natural as distinct to metaphysical’ it is exceptionally practical rather than being design led.

Design Features With Appeal

  • Many excellent descriptions of plants with their practical or medicinal uses, in my view put it ahead of the RHS show gardens.
  • Rectilinear beds are arranged and labeled in botanic classification.
  • Old walls and old trees give shelter and help create a micro climate but there are also hot houses for exotic tropical plants.
  • Because the garden is not about gardening in a modern sense there are many features that need to be studied to take in the benefit from a visit to the garden. I liked the slate beds for pot plants, the variety of berries and seedheads (see below) and the statuary.

Incorporate Helpful Plants

  • Plan your garden with a good herbal or read up on plants before you select your range of subjects.
  • Consider viewing points and natural aspects of your garden.
  • A few of the plants that profit from being grown together include:
    • Marigolds and roses, aphids are lured naturally by roses, and these feed on the flowers and leaves. By planting marigolds around the roses, they will keep at bay insects.
    • Garlic, when grown in annual and perennial gardens, aids in warding off insects that feed on leaves.
    • Monarda or Bee Balm is not only an herb but also a striking flower, and this plant draws bees, and butterflies to the flower garden to assist with pollination.
    • Dahlias hold off insects and enrich the soil with nitrogen but otherwise are big drinkers and feeders. Continue Reading →

Newer Garden Terms and Garden-pedia

Garden terms with  Japanese Roots

There are many interesting terms that may have uses in our UK gardening.
We  have probably all experimented with Bonsai aiming for the perfection of small trees in small pots as a demonstration of bonsiers art. I have used the root restriction technique to get miniature or smaller shrubs for a smaller garden but stopping short of root pruning.

  • Yohaku is the use of empty space found in art forms such as garden design especially dry gardens.Such space is common in other art forms like flower arranging as well as Japanese and Chinese painting and calligraphy,
  • Two words are used by the Japanese to indicate Japanese maple species and cultivars, and these words reveal something of the reverence they evoke: Momiji (usually refers to maples which have leaves with deeply separated lobes) and Kaede (usually refers to most other maples).
  • “Kaede” stems from the ancient language term “Kaerude” – (Kaeru = frog, de = hand). The lobed leaves of maples brought to mind the webbed hand of a frog. As the centuries passed, this was shortened to “Kaede.”
  • “Momiji” may literally be translated ‘baby’s hand”, but it is not correct in this case to apply the meaning directly. Instead, one may apply it as “Little baby extends his tiny hands which are like the leaves of momiji (maple).”meaning “becomes crimson leaves.
  • Practiced in Japan for centuries, the art of tea ceremony –also called Chado, or The Way of Tea– is imbued with harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. 16th-century master Sen no Rikyu refined Chado, and the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic of simplicity with a yin/yang balance.
  • Feng shui  harnesses the invisible energy or chi dragons breath –
  • Tong Shju the thousand year calendar takes a the longer term view try that in your garden
  • Shar chi is a term that implies ‘the killing breath of straight lines’
  • Japanese topography enhances natural good features and seeks to diffuse bad

Garden terms from Art and Design

  • Perspective both aerial and linear are practiced in art that cam be studied in many local galleries.
  • Topography optimises natural and introduced features to be seen from many points.
  • tromp oiel  create the optical illusion often of 3D imagery.
  • chiaroscuro is light,  shade and shadow  a gardeners staple tool
  • Ha ha is not to be laughed at as it creates a natural barrier without spoiling a landscape view

Book Cover

Garden terms from Life and Nature

  • Allergenicity or a substance such as pollen that causes an allergic reaction
  • Clints and grykes are fissures or gaps in limestone pavement. Typically ferns and mosses with the occasional stunted tree can just about get a foothold in these cracks.

From Old Gardeners

  • Epigeic  worms are living at the soil surface to breakdown leaf litter. Endogeic worms live underground and help aerate the soil by making horizontal burrows.
  • New vegetables  ‘pot 8 eau’
  • The pigment Delphinidin is not produced by  roses, lilies, tulips, carnations, chrysanthemums and gerberas so these plants never produce blue flowers.
  • Achines a small, dry one-seeded fruit that does not open to release the seed.
  • Monocarpellate seed formed from one carpel.

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