Beamish Museum Leek Show 2017

Giant leeks, beautiful blooms, misshapen veg – September 9-10

Giant leek
Cor, what a whopper! Picture; Beamish Museum

A sight to gladden any true North Easterner’s heart and a vivid memory of my childhood – giant leeks.

The traditional shows may be dwindling, but Beamish Museum’s event is alive and kicking this weekend.

As well as the headline performers, the giant show leeks, there’s a range of competitions to enter, including onions, carrots, tomatoes, the heaviest marrow and the best misshapen vegetable! Continue reading “Beamish Museum Leek Show 2017”

Hampton Court: new roses & top bloom tips

Four new roses unveiled at RHS Hampton Court

Lovestruck Rose of the Year 2018
Lovestruck Rose of the Year 2018. Picture; RHS Media Image Collection

Everyone loves the first flush of roses, even in these days of perpetual flowering plants that don’t have to rest before giving another display – and there is always excitement when new varieties are released at Hampton Court and Chelsea.

It’s simple to get the best out of your roses and a little work done earlier in the year means you can be reaping the benefits now – but first, here are seven new roses to pique your interest, including Rose of the Year 2018. Continue reading “Hampton Court: new roses & top bloom tips”

Sweet peas: heritage v new varieties

Old or new flowers – which are best?

Sweet peas Night Sky and Prince of Orange
Sweet peas Night Sky and Prince of Orange (background)

This summer’s sweet peas are just starting to bloom and I was intrigued to see whether heritage types or a new variety would come out on top.

I’ll judge again at the end of the season but here are my findings so far. First, the contenders:

Night Sky (Matthewmans,, £3)

A new introduction, an unusual mauve flake colour (speckled white/blue), bred by David Matthewman in Yorkshire. Described in the catalogue as ‘highly scented, almost shimmering florets set on long stems’. Continue reading “Sweet peas: heritage v new varieties”

Suttons new plants to rescue a dull summer garden

get your skates on for late summer colour and donate to cancer research!

Helenium Short 'n' Sassy
Helenium Short ‘n’ Sassy. Picture; Suttons

Fallen behind with your garden plans and think it’s too late to plant for summer colour? Well, it’s not – these examples for Suttons Summer/Autumn Catalogue will rescue your garden from the doldrums.

Everyone likes something new and these four varieties will give your garden great late season highlights.

Apart from eye-catching blooms, the Impatiens and Cosmos plug plants make a £1 donation per pack to Continue reading “Suttons new plants to rescue a dull summer garden”

Dobies Bulb Catalogue 2017

Vibrant Ranunculus and Anemones not to be missed

Ranunculus Mirabelle Vert Mix
Ranunculus Mirabelle Vert Mix. Picture; Dobies

I’m completely guilty of overlooking some late spring/summer flowering bulbs, partly due to my dad massacring some Ranunculus when I was a kid.

However, no more! Dobies of Devon’s Bulb Catalogue 2017 is released in August with some real stunners.

Bulbs are a decent size for good flowering – an easy way to bring vibrant colour to your garden and home.

The summer bulb catalogue carries varieties for spring planting and summer flowering next year – here are Continue reading “Dobies Bulb Catalogue 2017”

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2017

Top new flowers, fruit, and veg of the year

Zantedeschia Dubai Nights
Brighter Blooms’ Zantedeschia Dubai Nights. All pictures unless otherwise stated RHS Media Image Collection

One of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show is the Plant of the Year competition and this year sees a host of bigger, better and brighter blooms, veg and fruit to tempt you to part with your cash.

Not all of the new plants get entered into the competition but those below have been. The winner is picked on Press Day, Monday, May 22.

Good luck to you all!

Zantedeschia Dubai Nights, Brighter Blooms, Walton-le-Dale, Preston,
Flowers are a rich velvet purple with an outer margin of cream, held well on very speckled foliage. The plant is nice and compact.
Continue reading “RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2017”