Sunday, 19 April 2009

Royal Horticultural Society Cardiff Flower Show

Today's blog has been dedicated to the annual Royal Horticultural Society Cardiff Flower Show.  

This is my local show and I look forward to it every year!  Today was by no means a let down. The weather was absolutely fantastic.  Clear blue skies and temperatures hitting 19 degrees celsius (66 Fahrenheit)!  Quite nice it was too! 

The show is relatively small by RHS show standards but I think this just improves the feel of it.  You get plenty of time to indulge in the exhibitions and chat to sellers.  I found my self lost in the marquees, chatting to anyone who could spare a few seconds as the frantic crowds grapple to buy the "plant of the moment". It appears that the show has grown since last year with  more stands, more quality and most definitely a higher attendance!

Below is a picture of what greeted us as we walked through the gates.  This rugby player was planted with succulents, mainly Sempervivum.

This was probably my favourite entertainer.  "Venus" cycled her way around the show chasing a fly whilst her CD player boomed out Bananarama's Venus.  Amazing!  She had also stolen Alys Fowler's glasses I believe!

The fly being prayed upon!

The famous BBC 'Dig In' van!  I've got my seeds, have you?  The lady in the van was more than happy to pose!

This was the best in show garden titled: Law of motion. Designed by Lisa Madsen this was most definitely the best of the show gardens.  Not much emphasis is placed on the show gardens at Cardiff and it was a delight to see something of this standard at the show.

Another of the show gardens that I enjoyed.  I really like the driftwood fence surrounding the garden.

The show dedicates a large proportion of the grounds to the children's wheelbarrow competition.  The number of entries has increased threefold in just one year!  This year there must have been around 50 or more barrows.  Some of my favourites are below.

A dedication to Darwin.

The hungry caterpillar.  The caterpillar and the butterfly were knitted.

The Easter tree barrow.

There were two floral marquees, each filled to the rafters with flowers, plants and people. Generally the quality was high and there was very good representation by UK nurseries.  I could have spent days in the marquees, chatting, spending a lot of money and generally standing in awe, mouth open, lusting after some of the specimens on offer.

So many daffodils!  A new cultivar was on display, somewhere, named after the singer Duffy.  The cultivar was named the 'Duffydil', get it?

A great succulent stand.

Echinopsis pachanoi cristate.  This is quite possibly the strangest succulent I've ever seen.

The most exquisite selection of Bonsai were on show at Cardiff today.  Many mature specimens that illustrated Bonsai at it's finest.  A well deserved Gold medal.

An Acer over fifty years old.


Bulbs were well represented at this years show and proved to be my highlight.  Many bulb nurseries were at the show selling and competing.  The variety was excellent but it was just my luck that the Arisaema I wanted was out of stock!

A fantastic Tulip cultivar.

Another Tulip.

Gloriosa superba.  I love this plant but unfortunately I don't think that it would fit with the scheme in my garden, or withstand the frost.

Avon bulbs.  An excellent display and stand and very helpful staff.

The Arisaema that was out of stock.

And finally,  the star buy!  I have been looking for this tree for a few years now and this specimen was perfect.  This is my favourite tree and I am so happy that I finally have one.  I could dedicate a whole post to this plant alone.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum.

I can't wait for next years show!  Lets hope that this years success means a bigger, better and equally fantastic show!

Gardener's World . . . gone mad?

I'm watching Gardener's world on demand right now, and some bits really do wind me up!

Since the start of the new programme we have have had many features that seem just a little incongruous to the rest of the programme and its history.  So far we have had a Top Gear style "hot and not" board, speed planting of trees and a 60 second makeover challenge, to name but a few.

This week however, we have Carol live judging contestants who are auditioning to receive her expert tuition.  The whole thing went a bit X-factor complete with over-exaggeration of anything, masses of drama, tension music and a complete sense of "this is such a difficult and important decision".

A step too far? A little disappointing?  I think so.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Ryan's Garden in pictures!

I haven't updated the blog for a little while as I've been far too busy.  As a result I thought I would show you all a glimpse of what's going on in my garden at the moment.  

It has been a glorious day and I felt I would let the pictures do the talking and relieve you from listening to me ramble on!

Hope you enjoy!

My Office (I wish)

Emerging fern

Bluebell in bud


Pulmonaria officinalis

 Blueberry in blossom

Unknown Aeonium

Tulips (Courtesy of Bimbling guru)


Euphorbia x martinii



Pulmonaria officinalis

Myosotis sylvatica

Euphorbia x martinii

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Eccentric Brit? Or just thrifty?

I bought these metal spirals at a car boot sale recently and I have been waiting and looking for an opportunity to use them.  Well, today I found that reason!

I had intended to use the spirals as stem supports for flower spikes and tall perennials, but my plants don't really need it.  Most of the plants I grow are fairly hardy and I don't go in for all that massive engineered blooming that modern cultivars are designed for.  I did however have a quite untidy and uninspiring Raspberry patch; well Raspberry/Verbascum patch!  The Verbascum just appeared and I quite like it there really.

So, I removed the old wooden post and wire contraption designed to keep the Raspberries in check and I opted for a more natural "support yourself" effort.  But then I thought why don't I use the spirals in the Raspberry bed!  Inspired, I know.  But what else can you do but potter in the garden when the sun is shining?

Now, the spirals aren't designed to support the Raspberries, and as you can see from the pictures they don't, but they just add a quirky twist to the picture.  I also think that the colour in the Verbascum and Raspberry leaves contrast quite pleasantly.

By placing the spirals at different heights, and in great numbers throughout the patch, it creates quite a nice effect.  It is almost as though another species of plant has crept into the mix.  I quite like the effect created and it goes very well in a modern garden.

So, eccentric Brit or just thrifty?  You decide!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Beautiful British Spring Morning!

This just had to be done.  I constantly take pictures when I'm out and about but today was something else!  It was the first day of the plant sales at my local botanical gardens, a five minute walk from my house, and I grasped the opportunity to take pics as I walked through the park and in the botanical gardens!

The standing stones in morning light.

The mighty Oak.

Close-up of the Oak.


A trio of Magnolias.

Pigeon on a bridge!

The colour on this plant is fantastic!

Amazing pearlescent berries.


White orchid.

This orchid was my favourite.  Completely blood red.

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