Archive | Art and Sculpture

for gardeners interested in art. Sculpture to enhance the garden

The Iceman Cometh

Norwegian Iceman Sculpture Cardiff

As if all the heavy rain has not been bad enough the icy weather is just around the corner. Jack frost will be nipping into your garden this month and may stick around for 5/6 months or so. It is worth revisiting some of the issues and options gardeners face.

Early Preparations

  • Consider your water features including both still and moving. I start by lagging my outside taps and draining hosepipes.
  • Be prepared for frozen bird baths and ponds with means of breaking the ice.
  • I have cleared moss of the paths and hope to reduce icy slips.
  • Check out hessian wrapping and/or horticultural fleece stock. I always remember to buy it when the frost has bitten.

Plant Protection

  • Every gardeners tip says do not walk on frozen grass the stems become brittle and snap.
  • Give tender plants shelter in a greenhouse, cold frame, window ledge or under some cover.
  • Mulch well to protect roots.
  • Sweep snow falls off the leaves and branches to stop them being permanently damaged.
  • Wrap banana plants, tree ferns and exotics in sacking or other frost prevention measures.
  • Some plants, particularly alpines, suffer more damaged from water than frost . So maintain drainage and don’t panic in the frost
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Long and Short Gardens

Begonias look best in groups or where they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their colourful dexterity. (Most of my photos are produced uncropped but in this case I done some editing).

Honeysuckle tends to ramble upward and is not easy to do it justice with a photograph. Here are two attempts.

Long vistas benefit from repetition of planting. These dwarf rhododendrons and primula denticula make the point

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Public Green Spaces in Britain’s Floral Resort

As befits a town with the sobriquet ‘Britain’s Floral Resort’ Harrogate is again a picture of vibrant colour in most of its green public spaces. Despite the crown (hotel and garden bed above ) it can not be called Royal Harrogate nor can it usurp Britain’s Floral Resort for it’s exclusive use.

Blood red features strongly at the beginning of August in the Brexit era of 2019. Back in the day 2003/4 Harrogate won a gold medal in the Flowery Alliance of Europe horticultural competition  for excellence in horticultural display. I wonder if that was a bloodless coup?

Continue Reading →

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Looking for the Unusual

Visual nature can be found all around in your garden, local park or field. Keep a look out for interesting or unusual shapes, patterns and textures and take a camera around with you. I like the contorted Hazel branches that weave their own pattern.

This log in parkland had an amazing pattern created by the symmetry of the old bark. The teeth shapes remind me of cogs on a rustic wheel. Continue Reading →

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Delphiniums Plural

Stately and statuesque, the blue Delphinium is one of the best tall features in a herbaceous border. I questioned my English teacher whether they should be called Delphinii as there always seemed to be several upright stalks like the chunky dark blue examples above. As regular readers will know spelling is not one of my greatest strengths.(nor is grammar).


The keen eyed will spot one of the secret ways of helping these 6 feet high giants stay upright. At Newby Hall garden a great deal of time and effort is expended on good quality staking and support and delphiniums are no exception. There is 3″ square mesh of fine filament placed at about 3′ high and the flower stems allowed to grom through. There is no need to support individual blooms.

There are many shades of blue from the dark almost purple to powder blue and even white.

Slightly gone over these flowers were displayed in a white border. Delphiniums have been a minor success in my flower vases this year and I will try again next year after feeding and water the plants extra sustinence.

Varieties courtesy of Old Farmers Almanac

  • Belladonna Group: Upright, loose and branching perennials with single flowers that grow 3 to 4 feet tall. ‘Blue Bees’ is a Belladonna producing clear blue flowers with white centers.
  • Elatum Group: These are the tallest spiked hybrids growing to 6 feet or more. ‘Blue Nile’ is a medium plant bearing semi-double, bright, and mid-blue flowers with white centers (called bees). ‘Bruce’ is a tall Elatum bearing semi-double, violet-purple flowers, paler towards the center, with brown bees.
  • Pacific Hybrids: Similar to Elatum Group, although not as tall, this hybrid is short-lived and often grown as annuals or biennials. ‘King Arthur’ bears plum flowers with white bees with 5- to 6-foot tall flower spikes.
  • According to the RHS Delphinium x ruysii  ‘Pink Sensation’ is a short-lived perennial with deeply divided leaves and slender spikes.
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