Friday, 25 June 2010

Plant Focus: The Regal Lily (Lilium regale)

The Regal Lily (Lilium regale)
There is no questioning the fact that we are currently in the gentle grip of one of the nicest periods of weather we have had this year so far and I’m hoping that it continues for a few more days at least.  This has led me to spend many enjoyable evenings in the sun soaked garden or up at the allotment, often with a glass of wine, and it is at specific moments like these that I really begin to appreciate what has been created around me and the particular plants that really shine.  The Regal Lily is definitely one of those plants that earns its keep and helps to make this picture even more perfect.

This Lily makes a fantastic addition to any garden adding splashes of white and a degree of temporary height to borders.  I often use it as a cut flower to bring in to the home and, in fact, I’m planning to grow quite a large quantity of these in the cutting garden planned for the allotment plot  along with other flowers I use in the home (watch this space).  

The reason I write about this plant is because it has everything that most gardeners ask for from a flowering plant.  It’s beautiful, fully hardy, very easy to grow and it produces an intoxicating scent that fills the air, whether it be in the garden or home.  In my opinion it is one of the finest Summer bulbs available at present.

Unlike other Lilies that often require additional drainage and a bit more care, the Regal Lily is quite tolerant of moist soil and is likely to grow happily for years to come once planted in to its final position.  The height of its flower stems and the number of flowers produced will vary year-to-year depending on its growing conditions, soil fertility and available moisture.  Plant it amongst other border plants as they will protect emerging shoots from early frosts or alternatively you can grow plants in pots and place them in to bare patches of earth previously occupied by other seasonal displays, which is what I plan to do with Lilium 'Starburst'.  These plants are fairly easy to come buy from various retailers, even including pound shops, and they are also quick to grow from seed, flowering after two years in some cases.  

If you are looking for a Summer bulb that adds colour, height and scent to the garden I would most certainly recommend the Regal Lily.  Do you grow these plants? What other Summer bulbs would you recommend to other gardeners?

Please don't forget that you can enter the latest Ryan's Garden competition by clicking here and leaving a comment.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Shopping at Gardeners' World Live 2010

Lilium 'Starburst'
Gardeners' World Live is a shoppers paradise.  Stall after stall of stuff you didn't even know you needed, top quality plants and lets not forget the Good Food Show.  

After last years show, where I bought a fish tank, and no I didn't expect that either, I was determined to be a little bit more restrained.  A morning of battling the weather and dashing around the gardens put me in the mood for spending a little cash.  The intended restraint waivered slightly but in general I did pretty well.

I purchased the beautiful Lilium 'Starburst', pictured above, and I cannot wait to add it to the garden.  I grow several Lilies but this one appears to have a much larger and striking flower compared to my smaller Asiatics.  I also bought several Seseli libanotis, Trifolium ochroleucon and three Gooseberry bushes ('Invicta', 'Hinomaki Red' and 'Hinomaki Yellow'), which are headed for the allotment.

I had a great day at the show and you can read more about my visit on blog.

Below are a few picture highlights for you delectation.  
Peony 'Bowl of Beauty'
'Room for Nest Eggs' by Heather Appleton
Beautiful Salad Leaves
Incredible India by Yvonne  Matthews Garden Design
Did you attend the show?  What were your highlights and what did you buy?

Please don't forget that you can enter the latest Ryan's Garden competition by clicking here and leaving a comment.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Competition and the Perfect Green World Cup Gift

Courtesy of Aimee Furnival
The FIFA Football World Cup is upon us and as the opening matches unfold the focus of many is placed firmly on the telly box.  Homes and gardens alike are transformed, with some painted in support of national teams, to facilitate our voyeuristic pleasure, give us a sense of belonging as a nation and unite all planet Earth.  

In honour of this global sporting phenomenon the good people at Postcarden have produced a new creation entitled ‘Football’, pictured above.  Perfect for sending to friends and family, locally or internationally, the Football postcarden makes for an interesting and topical gift that will allow even the most football averse of individuals to join in with the World Cup spirit.

The postcarden team use several illustrators to design their stunningly precise multmedia creations and in support of my nation, who incidentally do not feature in the great sporting contest, each postcarden is printed in South Wales making them a great deal more attractive to me at least.  All other materials are sourced nationally also.
Courtesy of Aimee Furnival
If you like the look of postcarden please check the other designs in the range.  The allotment design is particularly nice.

You can also enter for a chance to win a postcarden by entering a comment in to the comments box on the Competition Page here.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Colour of the moment: Red

My gardening footwear
Red is the colour of the moment. 

Do you find that dominant colours change significantly in the garden as seasons pass?  At the moment my garden is coming through its purple phase and moving in to the much hotter red/orange phase.   Large drifts of Alliums and Iris, dainty Primula denticulata, Dodecatheons and Anemones, and the ever prolific Cerinthe are giving way to hot  Geums, Blood red Asparagus pea, rows of red lettuce, Asiatic Lilies and many others.

In keeping with the red theme I have pictured my current choice of gardening footwear.   Of course the good old wellington boot (green) is my general choice for tougher tasks but my ever faithful Vans, of which I have many pairs, serve me well.   A recent post by Charlotte Germane of Daffodil Planter focussed on the footwear of gardeners and I was sad to see that Vans didn't make the cut.  I'm also yet to try Crocs but seeing that Billy models them so well and quite possibly has shares in them I may have to give them a go.
The winged seeds of Acer palmatum
Back to the garden and this little Acer was is really putting on a show at the moment.  Its pendulous winged seeds hang from its branches soaked in sunlight.  
Asparagus Pea flower
The Asparagus Peas (Lotus tetragonolobus), which I planted earlier in the year at the front of the border, are doing really well and their deep blood red flowers are a welcome sight.  Planted more for their ornamental use, these little plants will produce small seed pods that give the plants their name.  Apparently they taste very much like Asparagus but I have heard contradictory stories.  Have you grown these plants?  I would love to hear your stories and I will let you know what my findings are soon.
A beautiful 7-spot Ladybird
Last but not least, even the wildlife has been supporting the red theme.  In fact, I have been praying that ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies get busy in the garden as at the moment blackfly is quite a problem.  Last year I found that by leaving the evil aphids in place the beneficial insects responded well enough to prevent any lasting damage, an approach that I want to replicate for future years.

What colours dominate your garden?  Are there colours that you refuse to grow? And how does colour change how we view gardens?
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