Rose of the week-Koenigin Von Danemark 

This weeks Rose of the week  is another shrub rose, this time it’s a great alba rose, Koenigin Von Danemark or the Queen of Denmark. The alba roses are thought to be from an very old cross between rosa damascena and a form of rosa canina. They have certainly been around for many centuries and indeed rosa alba ‘Maxima’ is thought to be the white rose of York. Koenigin Von DaneMark was bred from seedling from another alba rose, Maidens Blush in 1816 by the Scotsman James Booth. He had a nursery in Flottbek near Hamburg, Germany although at the time, it was part of Denmark. The new seedling started like as Great  Maidens Blush and was changed to its current name after James Booth asked permission to name the rose after the Queen from the King of Denmark and was sold from as this from 1826. 

Koenigin Von Danemark is indeed one of the truely great heritage roses. It has the most beautiful buds that open up to sometimes quartered flower of a clear pink with sometimes a green button hole in the middle, the scents flowers are borne just from 4 weeks around about mid summers day in June. The foliage is also very good, a dark blue/green colour with a grey sheen, just like all other alba roses. It doesn’t tend to suffer too much for fungal diseases but those can be treated easily,  just click here for details. Growthwise it is pretty lax grower, making a shrub up to 6ft in size, but it can be (and is much better) grown up a wall, archway or just cascading out of a small tree. Like all others in the alba group, it can take North facing sites pretty well and same with semi shady spots. 

The Queen of Denmark or Marie Sophie Frederikke of Hesse-Kassel as she was born in 28 October 1767, eldest daughter of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Louise of Denmark. She married her first cousin, Frederick, crown Prince of Denmark On 31 July 1790 in Gottorp, she married her first cousin Frederick, then crown prince of Denmark. In 1808, his father, Christian VII of Denmark passed away and Frederick became Frederick VI of Denmark on 13th of March, 1808 and Marie became a much loved Queen of Denmark and served as Queen until her husband died in 3rd of December 1839 after which she disappeared from public life, she died a few years later in 1852

Rose of the week- Jeanne de Montfort


Well we have had a couple of climbing roses so far in this series, so I think it’s time for a shrub rose. One of my favourite types of shrub roses has to be the Moss roses, with their soft sticky fragrant moss like growth around the buds, have a special place in my heart. They take me back to the hours of spent bloom removing, with the moss roses, leaving their spicy sweet scent on my hands for days after. The Moss roses are a sport of the centifolia rose, with the mossy growth is really the enlargement of the glandular projects over the flower stalk and bud.

Jeanne de Montfort was bred by Monsieur Robert in 1851. Robert worked for the famous rose breeding family Vibert, from which he took over the nursery in Angers around 1851. It is one of the taller Moss roses, reaching a grand height between 6-7ft in height, not quite as vigourous as ‘William Lobb’. The clear warm pink beautifully scented flowers are borne over shiney green leaves and soft browny/red thorns and mossy growth. The flowers have their main display in June but also will sometimes flower later on in the season as well. Does suffer a little with foliage problems like most roses but information to treat them can be found here.

But who on earth is Jeanne de Montfort and why is she named after a rose? Well Jeanne de Montfort was born in 1295, her father was LouisI, Count of Nevers and she married John of Montfort in 1329. In 1341, the Duke of Brittany JohnIII sadly passed away, being childless, there was no clear accession to the throne and this lead to the War of Breton Succession (thought to be the start of the 100yr war between England and France) between the Montfort and Blois family. After her husband was captured, Jeanne donned on a suit of amour and carried on the fight in her families honour, she enlisted the help of the English during some of the battles and to break the siege of Hennebout. She became well know as a very good military leader and a good fighter even during hand to hand combat during a sea battle on the way to England. After her husband was killed in battle in 1345, she became the leader of the Montfort family. The was continued but she moved to England and the fight was carried on by English lords on her behalf. Although she came to England as a heroine, she was conifined to Tickhill Castle on the Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire border by King Edward III, mainly to increase his power in Normandy. She sadly passed away in 1374. She has been discribed by mainly people as having “had the courage of a man and the heart of a lion”, thought to be a heroine of Joan of Arc and was a role model for Victorian feminists. The folktales of her life are still told in Brittany today.

Box blight- Managing and living with it 


Box parterre at Cliveden House
Box blight is now one of two major problems for one of the most important hedging and topairy plants we have in the garden, the other being the box moth, that is causing a lot a problems in London at the moment. To the rest of us, blight is the biggest concern in the garden if we have box hedging or topiary, is that browning  of the leave tips the start or just leaf scorch?

So what is box blight?

Well it is a fungus that causes problems to the stem and leaves of members of the Buxus family. It doesn’t effect the roots of the plants thankfully. There are two blights that effect the Buxus, first one is the main blight, Cylindrocladium buxicola and the second one is called Volutella blight, this one is a little less serous. The signs that your hedge maybe infected with Box Blight (Cylindrocladium) are first of all, small patches of dieback appearing on the hedge. IMG_1179

These little patches will soon spread and the dead woody growth waill have black streaks visible though the spilting bark. This can spread over the whole plant quickly.  The tiny spores form under the leaves during wet mild spells, these are white. Volutella blight differs from not losing as much leaves, lack the black streaking and also have pink spores under the leaves instead of white.  Box blight tend to spread by water splashes due to rain or over head watering, this can be wind blown as well. Like  a lot of other foliage fungi,  the younger leaves are much easier for the fungus to gain a foot hold and infect the plant. While Volutella blight, tends to be also spread on the open wounds after cutting.  With Box blight, the spores can be viable on old dead leaves for up to 6years! One other warning is that Box blight isn’t just on Buxus but can effect other members of the Buxuacaea including Sarcococca,

Box hedge really suffering
So that’s the problem, so what about the effects on them, well it can be pretty bad with Box blight, whole sections of the hedging can die back, slowly spreading but again depends the weather and where the garden is based in the country,  mild and damp really help the spread of the fungus, which does make it more at home in the damper areas areas of the uk. Volutella blight tends to cause smaller areas of dieback that can be cut out easily

bad dieback but life still there 


However good the treatments can be, it’s far better and easier to prevent it in the first place.  Some good methods can be used to both prevent it coming into the garden in the first place and also reducing the spread of it around the garden.

  •  First thing is selecting healthy disease free stock in the first place, try buying one or two plants to start with and place them away from other plants in quarantine for a couple of months to see if they develop the blight, many of the commercial sources of Box, do spray regularly as a preventive measure, so will be ok until this wears off.
  • If you are looking at adding or replacing bits of existing Box hedging, topiary or indeed plants and your current stock is blight free, well worth propagating your own plants via hardwood cuttings to stop the disease coming in.
  • If you are starting a new parterre, hedge or topiary, it’s well worth using Buxus microphylla hybrids like Faulkner, have been found to be less susceptible to both fungi compared to Buxus semperverens.
  • Also try not to plant too close, increase the planting distance will help to reduce the density of the hedge.
  •  Once planted, box is a hungry and thirsty plant, something that we tend to forget, good feeding and ground level watering will help to keep plants stress free and growing them in a healthy soil again will keep them in better condition, a strong healthy plant is more able to fight pest and diseases it just also be careful not to overfeed as this can encourage the plant to put on lots of soft growth that’s also more susceptible to the fungus.
  • Think about adding a soft mulch under the hedge, something like Progrow, compost and mushroom compost rather than bark mulch or stones, the soft mulches will reduce the height of water drop splash back onto the plant.
  • Avoid watering the box using overhead watering systems, something like leaky pipe or drip irrigation is better and avoids water splashes.
  • Good husbandry by clearing out all the dead leaves at the base of the hedge and also not blowing the leftover trimmings back under the hedge! While on the subject of using blowers, try to avoid the use of them when the hedge is wet from rain or heavy dew.
feeds and liquid feeds 


  •  Trimming is another job that’s pretty crucial in reducing both the risk of introducing and spreading the fungus, not only just from the trimming and the open cuts it’s produces but also from the fact that you encourage new softer growth, which being so soft, allows an easy way for the fungus to gain a hold.
  • And also regular trimming encourages a very dense front to the plant, that is pretty difficult for sprays to penetrate. Traditionally the time to trim your box is late May but trimming at this time of the year tends to produce 2 lots of soft growth per year, one just before trimming and one after, changing the time to late summer/early autumn will only produce one lot of growth in the following year and therefore reducing the risk, yes it will look not as sharp in mid summer but if it cuts down the risk, it must be worth it.
  • Also try and cut it on a dry day, once any early morning dew and rain has dried off from the foliage.
  • Another big tip on cutting box, must be to ensure the equipment is clean, both sap being cleaned off the blades regularly with something like Niwaki’s cleam block to avoid build up.
  • Also worth sterilising the blades using either something like white spirt on a cloth and wiping over the blade or my favourite method of using bleach, either in 5% solution in a bucket so you can dip the hand tools into the mixture every few minutes or every time you move on to another plant or section of hedge. Powered equipment can be easily treated using bleach in a spray bottle and sprayed on the blades as per hand tool use. This is well worth asking and making sure your contractor does this if you are using one!
  • One other tip to do 7-10 days before trimming the box, is to spray with a fungicide (see later on for recommend ones) and then repeat 7-10 days  after, this again will help on reducing the spread of the fungus and checking the establishment on newly cut areas. Just one more reminder not to blow the trimmings under the hedge after you have finished! Indeed, never be afraid to tell you contractor that as well!
  • One last tip on prevention, think about maybe starting up a regular foliage feed spraying of the box to feed the leaves and make them stronger, again stronger healthy leaves are much better at fighting dieseases, products like Uncle Toms Plant Tonic, that helps to encourage tougher new growth, liquid seasweed, that adds lots of trace minerals as well as a general feed, Topbuxus is also a great produce to spray every 2-6 weeks (depending on product) during the season.
Infected Box hedge with top opened up to all airflow and spraying for treatment 

Management if you already have it

Well with most fungi problems, you would have the cure of the disease here, but there is no cure for Box blight just management of the fungus. If it’s already in the garden, most the information above will help to slow down the movement but the diseased plants need a bit of treatment, this varies depending on how bad it is.

Beginning of an infection can be treated by removing diseased material and burning it, then clearing away old dead leaves, then start regularly foliage spraying as per prevention and also using some of the fungicides that are now on the market for domestic use including Bayer Fungus Fighter that can be sprayed 6 times a year. Professionals will have access to chemicals like Signum, Bravo 500, Switch and Amistar

A severe infection needs a little bit more work, all dead branches need to be removed, indeed it maybe worth renovating the section, cutting main branches back to the stem on half the plant, encouraging new healthy growth to come though and allow better access to both remove old dead foliage, adding mulch to the plant and allow the chemical/liquid feed to penetrate all areas of the plant easy. Once it started to regrow nicely, then that’s the time to cut back the other half. It is then a case of carrying out the preventive advice  above on the box for the life of the hedge
Yes admittly it’s a lot of work to keep a plant in the garden, but if you are keen and want the best from what’s growing in the garden. There are always a few alternatives to plant instead of buxus, plants like Taxus can make a good choice if another tight sharp looking hedge is required, but to be honest, there’s nothing that looks as good as a box parterre or edging. If you want that look, it’s just worth taking the time to either keeping your ones safe or managing the problem. The days of planting and forgetting are now sadly gone but maybe we shouldn’t of done the ‘plant and forget it’ in the first place, we dont tend to do this for all the other plants in our gardens do we? so why our hedges and topiary, the important framework of our borders.

west Green Gardens have some wonderful examples 


Rose of the Week – Gloire De Dijon 

rosa gloire de dijon (3).JPGThis weeks Rose of the week is indeed another total classic rose, again one of my favourites (well to be honest there’s not many I don’t like!). This tea noisette Rose does need the support of a wall the get the best from its maximum size 5mx7m size that’s covered in deep buff 10cm wide flowers that take on a pink and apricot during warm spell. These highly fragrant flowers have a main flush during June and then have the odd flower repeating the for the reminder of the summer months, up until the first frosts. It will take a full sunny spot or indeed one with a bit of shade and most types of soil as well. The foliage is a good glossy green colour.  Disease wise,the normal problems can effect this rose a bit, but does show a good resistance to the problems (please see here for treatment suggestions) indeed all the above make it one of the best climbing roses you can plant in your garden.

It was bred by Monsieur Jacotot, a Frenchman born and died in Dijon, hence the name meaning  glory of Dijon. It was cross between the noisette rose ‘Desprez a fleur Jaune’ and the bourbon ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ in 1853 and with parents like those it was always going to be a special Rose.  So special that the poet D H Lawrence wrote the following poem about it

Gloire de Dijon


When she rises in the morning

I linger to watch her; 

She spreads the bath-cloth underneath the window 

And the sunbeams catch her 

Glistening white on the shoulders, 

While down her sides the mellow 

Golden shadow glows as 

She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts 

Sway like full-blown yellow 

Gloire de Dijon roses. 
She drips herself with water, and her shoulders 

Glisten as silver, they crumple up 

Like wet and falling roses, and I listen 

For the sluicing of their rain-dishevelled petals. 

In the window full of sunlight 

Concentrates her golden shadow 

Fold on fold, until it glows as 

Mellow as the glory roses. 

What a lovely pose! Again it can be found growing in gardens like Mottisfont Abbey Gardens and I believe Hidcote has a great specimen. It can be brought from most good rose suppliers like David Austin Roses and Trevor White Rose.

rosa gloire de dijon.JPG


Rose of the week- Climbing Lady Hillingdon 

rosa lady hillington (3)

Well as it’s coming into the main rose season, so I decided to change the Plant of the week to the Rose of the week to really highlight some of the beautiful, historical, romantic and scented of all our garden plants.

Decided to start it all off, with one of my most favourite of all roses, Climbing Lady Hillingdon. From childhood, this beautiful rose has adorned all of main houses I have lived in and still even now, I have one flowering delightfully flowering away in my back garden


lady hillington

There are two forms of this beautiful tea rose available, a bush form and the climbing form, the bush form was bred first in 1910 by the English Rose breeders Lowe and Shawyer, using Papa Gontier and Mme Hoste as parents. It sported the climbing form in 1917. This Hardy rose has the most beautiful plum coloured young foliage that turn a dark green colour when they mature, the young stems are also this lovely plum colour before going a dark red/brown colour. The flowers have a great tea rose shape, with pointed buds that open into the soft apricot colour that keeps on flowering from May up to the first hard frosts. The scent of her ladyship is often described as ‘freshly opened tea with a hint of Apricot). Growthwise, it can get up to 20ft  tall over a bit of time, her ladyship does need a couple or 4yrs to settle into her new home before growing away quite strongly.  soilwise, most soils do fit her ladyship as long as it’s not too wet! She does prefer a nice sunny spot on the wall of a house. Pest and disease wise, the normal Rose diseases do effect her a little but she’s not over susceptible to them. Please see my earlier blog on managing foliage problems on roses.

rosa lady hillington (2)

Rosa ‘Lady Hillingdon’ was named after Alice Harbord-Hamond, born 1857she married the 2nd Baron Hillingdon in 1886, where they lived in their Norfolk estate, Overstrand Hall, built by Sir Edward Lutchens on land given to them as a wedding present by her father. She was most known from a section of her diary where she wrote  ‘I am happy now that Charles calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs and think of England.’  In 1912

Rosa ‘Climbing Lady Hillingdon’ can be found growing in many gardens, although there are 3 lovely speicmens at Mottisfont Abbey gardens, 1 in the walled garden, 1 near the cellarium and 1 I planted on the lodge house at the top of the drive. Buying wise, both David Austin Roses and Peter Beales can supply

Plant of the week- Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’


crataegus monogyna coccinea plena'
The plant of the week this week is a beautiful small tree that’s in full flower at the moment and really looking at its best at this time of the year. It is a form of the Midlands Hawthorn and was discovered in 1858 in the garden of mr Boyd, Waltham Cross, growing on the double pink form (possibly ‘Punicea Flora Plena). From there it was progated by the famous nurseryman William Paul and then show in the 1866 international horticultural exhibition.

It is a slow growing tree, getting up to 8m in hieght in about 50yrs, with attractive leaves that turn yellow in the autumn months as well as small bright red seeds in the autumn months. It is indeed a native of the uk and Europe, where it is now mainly found in old woodland. In the garden, it is happy in light shade to full sun and again will be happy in most soils as long as it’s not too wet!

Care wise, it needs little pruning, more thining out the branch network within the plant, removing crossing branches and any dead wood. Pest and disease wise, it can be effected by the horrible fire blight and the odd bit of leave spots, caperpilliers epsically the sawfly love eating the leaves on the tree, with gall mites and aphids also being problematic at times. That said it is still a very good tree for a small garden,

In can be found growing in most botanical gardens as well as widely planted as a roadside tree. Again may good tree nursery will be able to stock the tree both bareroot and containerised plants. and are both suppliers.

Tool review- DeWit border handfork and handspade

Well for many years I had a slight problem weeding, well apart from weeding itself! It was finding the right tool to use, hand forks, well they dug into my palm of my hand causing blisters the size of well of course the size of handle, the vibrations from hitting the hand fork into the soil, inflamed my tendinitis in my wrists and arm. They are good for a hours weeding but all day nah, such a small working area as well from them, then there’s a border fork, so much better, bigger working area, easier to dig down to the odd deeper root but such a pain with a big handle, just getting in the way when trying to weed on your hands and knees.  I wanted something in between and I could never find anything that was ideal, until one day looking online at crocus store, when I came across DeWits border handfork, almost as wide as a border fork at 17cm wide, but with a short dumpy handle giving it a total length of 52cm, even better there was a spade as well. The fork and spade are both hand build in Holland, by a company that’s been around since 1898 and still owned by the family. It’s made from boron steel, one of the toughest out there, they are shaped perfectly and unlike most modern tools, well sharpened and even nicer, given a nice black patina finish, that again is so much nicer that the modern stuff that grips and holds onto the soil so badly. The handles are made of ash and fitted into the socket using a handy bolt, ideal to tighten up if the wood shrinks. Both hand made tools have the their short handles finished with a T shape. What makes these tools idea, is that they are designed for working on your knees or in the very popular raised beds 

So how did I get on with them? Well I have used them for the best part of two years now and they are still going strong, the fork has been prefect for all my hand weeding needs, light, very sharp, so strong and a delight to use, the small T shape handle fits prefectly in my hand, the shape reduces the stresses and shocks from the impact of the tool on the ground, making it easier for my wrists as well. The sharp points easily penetrate the hardest of ground, the width of the prongs are indeed prefect for weeding around plants and for not taking up that much soil. They are so good for any gardening work on your hands and knees, from removing or lifting up herbaceous plants, using the handle as a lever to take out even the most stubborn of plant and even lifting the odd big shrub where it’s too close to others or close to a wall, spots where it’s very difficult to get to with a normal size fork. It’s such a useful little tool and has survived without any damaged after all I have put it though! The spade hasn’t been used as much and I found ideal for planting out small bareroot plants, and pots up to 3ltr is with ease, even sliced though roots of brambles in tight spots. All again without any problem. Only fault I have had, is the handle on the spade goes a little loose when it’s dry, could do with a little more glue, might even get it swapped as they both come with a lifetime guarantee from DeWit. 

In all I love my border hand tools, they are prefect for my gardening needs when working on my hands and knees, no matter what task I am doing with them. The tools themselves are quality made and that quality comes though and they are really a joy to use at all times in the garden 

If you would like them, they cost £24.99 for the fork and £29.99 for the spadeand can be brought from crocus,  and from the RHS shops.  The rathe excellent DeWit holds some great other tool eye candy for the gardener who love to use quality tools.

Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

osmunda regalis


IMG_3628This plant of the week isn’t one full of flowers but is indeed one of a stately manor, adding a touch of class to any waterside. Indeed this British and European native, is better know as the Royal fern and so rightly deserved. In my mind, it’s the spring time when the ferns start to show their beauty off, the fonds, slowly uncurling their beautiful fronds, in a light green with light brown hair covering them. Once opened, they go a slightly darker colour before going a beautiful buttery yellow and a tinge of brown.

Osmunda is an ancient plant, dating back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the world dating back to 260 million years ago indeed many fossils have been found around the world including parts of the uk. It differs from other ferns by the fact the have fronds that are there to photosynthesise only and fronds that only are there to produce spores, these sporagia, are brown in colour and indeed look like the fern is flowering.

The name Osmunda is thought to of come from the Saxon god of war, Osmunder! Regalis is from the stately royal look of the fern. It loves growing in damp places including woodland, grasslands and of course, near water courses, it will also survive on limestone outcrops. It is indeed a native of the uk as well as the rest of Europe and into parts of Africa and Asia. In the uk,  it is making a come back after years of collecting both For the plant and for the it’s roots. Why it’s root? Well it made into Osmunda fibre which was used as a potting fibre for tropical orchids. But that’s not its only uses. It can be eaten in its young state and has a taste of asparagus but it’s the sporagia that has the most interesting use, for many centuries in Slavic traditions , the sporagia or Peruns flower was thought to have magical powers from unlocking demons to understanding trees. These had to be collected on Kupala night (thought to be 24/25of June), the collector, had to draw a circle around themselves and the plant, protecting themselves from the taught of demons! Kupala night was changed to Easter eve after Christianity.

In our gardens, it’s best planted near its favourite waterways, around ponds, lakes and streams, where we can enjoy both looking at the plant head on and from the reflection in the water. They just need a dampsite with a good amount of humus present, doesn’t  need much looking after either, just the old fronds removed In late winter. No real pests and diseases either. Some great forms are also available including a couple listed below,  purpurascens, that starts of with purple stems and fronds, with the foliage turning green, leaving the stems a shade of purple, love this form! Cristata is a form with more divided leaves

They can be seen widespread in different gardens, two of my favourite places to see them are Savil gardens near Windsor and Lockstock water gardens, near Stockbridge, Hampshire, also most good garden centres or nurseries will sell them. is also a brilliant place to buy

Plant of the week- Geranium phaeum 

geranium phaeum.JPG

My plant of the week this time is one of a personal favourite. I have loved the mourning widow geranium for nearly 30 years, not sure what it is about the plant I like so much, whether it’s the foliage or small but perfectly formed flowers, but whatever it is, I think it’s a special little plant.

It’s one of those plants that are indeed overall pretty easy to grow. It’s native environment is the wooodlands and low mountainsides of Europe, mainly though the Baltic countries but can be found naturalised in some parts of the uk. It will growin pretty  dry soils to dampish, alkaline or acidic again from light sunny spot to one of full shade. It’s one of those plants that is so flexible within the garden.  The small flowers are borne in may-June on 2-3ft stems and come in a such a wide range of colours from white to black and many forms of red and blue as well.

It’s pretty easy to look after as well. It suffers very few pests and diseases, the worse has to be mildew in a dry summer, cure is easy, you cut the infected foliage back and you are awarded with new fresh foliage a while later, worse is the vine weevil, that will eat the roots just below the surface and kill the plant off. Looking after is pretty easy, I cut them hard back after they have finished flowering, lifting and dividing the plant if required at this time. I tend to feed the beds they are growing in rather than the plant itself. Doesn’t need any staking. Maybe a little bit of water after I have divided them.

The name geranium comes from the Greek word meaning crane and the seed head looks like a cranes bill while phaeum comes from the Latin for brown after the colour of the flower.

There are so many forms (over40!) I will only go though a few below

geranium phaeum sambor (3)


Samabor. (left)This form was discovered by Elizabeth Strangeman near the village of Samabor, Croatia. It is indeed the most commonly grown form, mainly down to the striking black sponge print on its leaves. The dark flowers really make it a great culitivar

geranium pheaum alexs pinkAlex’s Pink. (right)One of the best pink forms with some mottling on the leaves


geranium phaeum lilly lovell


Lilly lovell, (left) named by Trevor Bath after his mother.a beautiful form with more of a yellow green foliage, with purple  flowers borne above.

geranium phaeum joan baker2



Joan baker, (right)another famous form would in Bill Bakers garden and named after his wife, the leaves a plain green.

phaeum rose madder


Rose Madder (left), a distinct form, some feel isn’t a phaeum more of a hybrid, leaves are more shiny and the flowers slightly more swept back

geranium phaeum margaret wilson (2)

Margret Wilson (right). One with striking varagition in the foliage, needs to be kept out of full sun. Can be trying to grow!

geranium phaeum connie broe


Connie Broe.(left) One with yellow veins and a marble like foliage

Phaeum 'alba'Alba(right) is the pure white form

Why a being a gardener, is so frustrating!!

Well to be honest, it is one of the best jobs in the world, working outside in all weathers, seem the natural world in all its best and worse moments, seeing big trees admired for 100’s of years, reduced to a pile of splinters in seconds, the plant you have grown from a cutting, nursed it from the brink of death after forgetting to water it, bloom for the first time, a garden turn from a tangle of brambles to a site worthy of any gold medal at Chelsea, with clients that are so happy.

So what is so frustrating about being a gardener then? It’s not even the time meeting new people at parties, they tell you about their garden and what’s wrong, what can they do? Not even the question What’s that pink flower with spiky leaves? Yes we all get them at every event, que, sat in the doctors waiting room? Well no actually, I quite enjoy it, hearing about people’s gardens and their plants, it’s all part of the job and it’s a great part of it.  

Slug damage

For me it’s the simple fact, you can’t switch off! You look at a prefect job, the lawns are mown straight, edges trimmed, beds forked over, shrubs pruned to prefection……………………….. but no, you spot one little weed hiding underneath a leave out of site but it’s there and YOU know it’s there, it has to go………… and then you spot another and then another, then there’s a little bit on that box ball that’s not quite right, so out of come the shears again and snip oops hang on there’s another bit, hour later they go away again. You just can’t help to see the fault in the job and you hate leaving it not right. Not even to mechioned the pests, the slugs that within seconds wipe out the carefully sown seeds that’s taken 3 weeks to germinate, or the ones sown in January, carefully pricked out and potted one to bigger pots, then slowly hardened off for a few weeks, into the ground with much care and love, buckets of fertiliser, and then overnight reduced to a stub 100mm tall after the deer or rabbits have had themselves a midnight feast. Then is the overal look, the garden is looking prefect, everything is flowering to perfection, everyone says how prefect it looks, the colours, the shape, indeed just everything but………. is that yellow one just a little to yellow? Or the pink just right? The drive to perfection is always there and no matter how prefect it looks it still could be so much better!!  Then at the weekends you go for a visit to a public garden, that borders a little weedy, how come the hedges aren’t cut yet? Why on earth would you plant that there? And it goes on…………. that’s why being a gardener is so frustrating, it’s like an artist working on a picture except we are working with a living landscape that moves and changes with the seasons and time, every time we get close to perfection, goal posts move and we start again, so frustrating but such a wonderful job!