Monday, 12 February 2018



As we head through winter in the knowledge that spring is not too far away, we look back at happy moments over Christmas and New Year; great events that cheer us up on cold gloomy winter days. However Valentines Day is the next great event, especially for those of us with a romantic nature. Age is not a barrier for romantic notions.
Say it with flowers
The weather is on our side as wee feel just a bit of warmth on those few sunny days and the garden begins to come alive. Romance and creativity are closely entwined whether through art, music, dance and gardening where those with green fingers and a creative mind design landscapes to please the eye of many admirers.
Dahlia My Love
The gift of flowers at Valentines Day is a hugely romantic gesture, and there is plenty to choose from as shops, nurseries, garden centres, gardens and greenhouses are amass with them for this event. The romantic gardener can plan ahead to make sure he has a few selected pot plants in flower, such as snowdrops, aconites or even a red Amaryllis if you can get your timing right. A pot of scented red or pink hyacinths is also feasible, but again timing is crucial. There is also plenty pansies and primroses in flower at garden centres ready to pot up for instant use. Another favourite for this occasion is an orchid in full bloom available in a wide variety of colours, and with good care the flowers can last for many months. Cut flowers of daffodils, tulips and lilies are always welcome as they
Japanese maple
have impact, bright colours and many come with a beautiful scent. Cut flower roses are also popular, especially red ones for this occasion, but it is just a pity no-one has bred a scented cut flower rose. Whilst it is a great achievement to grow our own flowers for Valentines Day, we have to work with the weather and it is not always in our favour, so if flowers from the garden are hard to find, resist picking that massive cabbage from the vegetable patch even though it has been grown over many months with love and care and a fair bit of manure, as it will just not get you many brownie points. However all is not lost as we can still purchase a large bunch of red roses from the supermarket,
but for garden lovers with a bit of spacem, select that special garden plant that will always bring back loving memories. We travel abroad on holidays and honeymoons and may see some wonderful flower or plant which sets a memory, or the name of the location may well be used in a plant name. Another
Rhododendron Elizabeth
option is finding a plant with your partners name such as Rose (Margaret) Merrill, (Dawn) Chorus, (Evelyn) Fison, Anna’s Promise, (Anna) Pavlova, no relation to the Russian dog!!! Then there is Rhododendron Elizabeth and Viburnum Dawn, and many more.
Plants associated with memories of a location are always favourite. Rose Lovers Meeting fits the bill as does Celebration. I grow shrub rose Wisley as that’s where I sat my National Diploma exams, and I always grew an Atlas Cedar as I was very impressed by one at the College in Essex where I
Red camellia
studied, but after ten or more years they just get too big for a small garden.
Plants can also be bought if you know your partner has a favourite such as oriental scented lilies. Another romantic gesture is to buy that red scented rose bush for the occasion, such as E H Morse, Alec’s Red, Deep Secret and Thinking of You. If you have spare wall space the red climbing rose Dublin Bay, which unfortunately has no scent though climbing rose Ena Harkness is highly scented. There are plenty other plants to mark the occasion which may be more expensive but then more memorable such as the red Camellia Adolphe Audusson, or pink Donation, the red twigged maple Acer Sango Kaku, or the pink flowering cherry Prunus Amanogawa.
Rose Dublin Bay
However on a more practical note the bramble Helen is thornless with smooth skin and the fruit is very sweet.

Wee jobs to do this week

As daylight lengthens we are all looking for some signs of the arrival of spring so to what could be better than a trip to the Snowdrop Festival at Cambo Estate open from end January to 11 March 2018 to see over 300 different varieties as they hold the national Collection. As well as snowdrops they have winter gardens and numerous activities arranged for adults and the kids.
For further information check out the website at


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