Lovely lily of the valley


Lily of the valley

Sometimes the simplest plants are the loveliest. I have a patch of lily of the valley under the camellia in the front garden and it never fails to delight. It is unassuming in the garden – quite a lot of leaf to a small flower. But pick a few of the strangely wiry stems and you’ve got one of the loveliest Spring posies possible.

The little white bells are so perfect…and the scent! I drove down to my parents this weekend and brought my mother a little bunch. The car was heady with their scent.


Lily of the valley






Regal splendour – gold and silver laced polyanthus


Silver laced polyanthus

Sometimes a plant suits being kept simple. And I think you appreciate the beauty of these gold and silver laced polyanthus best when there’s just a stem or two in a vase by your bed.

I bought two plants this year, one gold laced and one silver. Wild primroses do really well in my garden so I’m hoping these thrive and multiply in the same way, though I’ve heard these laced polyanthus can be more tender and harder to establish.

The one I’ve picked in these photographs is the silver laced one. I can’t quite decide which one I prefer but both plants look like they should be adorning a Tudor cloak.


Silver laced polyanthus

A very pink posy

imageThis is a very pink posy!! I think it is just saved from looking sickly by the refreshingly acid lime green spurge.

It really isn’t us to new stems cut short and plonked in a jam jar. The three camellias first – their wood stems and foliage then supported the two tulips and three stems of euphorbia.

I cut the the euphorbia carefully and  did steer their stems to try and reduce the ooze of white sap – I’ve not suffered a reaction to this sap yet but don’t want to risk it as I have heard it is unpleasant. But I wouldn’t be without this euphorbia, or common wood spurge, in the garden in spring. It’s a lovely foil to many flowers, making reds, blues and even pinks like this sing.

It is a bit invasive though and I must dig up some of the patch this year to slow it down a bit.

Narcissi “Yellow cheerfulness”

imageA beautiful primrose colour and a delicious Spring scent. I’ve planted two clumps of these – one of the yellow and another of the white cheerfulness. The White isn’t out properly yet, but I don’t think I like them nearly as much as these buttery charmers.

This particular case is from the pot by my back door. A sudden overnight hailstorm cut them down so I had to cut them – otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to bring myself to pick so many at once.

It’s what I call the “plonked in a vase” school of arrangement. An old fashioned wedding present vase that used to be my mothers, a couple of the whippy growths from where the plum tree pruning went wrong, a couple of white daffs from the back of the veg patch and then a handful of scented narcissi. I didn’t condition the stems or do anything about the sap that leaks out of cut stems – haven’t even changed the water and it’s lasted brilliantly for a week now.

I took the pic in the dining room – better light – but the vase is on the bookshelf in the hall at the bottom of the stairs. So every morning when I come downstairs or when we move from room to room, we’re greeted by their cheerful little faces and their happy scent.

Tulip: Exotic Emperor

Isn’t this a beauty. I planted this container up late last autumn – unlike other spring bulbs tulips are best planted in November. I’d spotted the variety in the Sarah Raven catalogue but bought the bulbs locally.

It’s a fosterina variety so I should be in with a chance of the bulbs lasting at least a few years (I’m feeding the pot weekly now it’s in bloom). The stems are shorter than some tulips, so they suit pots and stand up to poor weather. We had a hailstorm the other night which flattened a swathe of “yellow cheerfulness” narcissi, but this pot was unscathed.

The flowers are creamy rather than the pure white you get with pureissima, but they open up like peonies. The’re extraordinary in bud too – little green and cream globes. I love it!