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These are a selection of pink plants from my recent trip to Ramster gardens. The rhododendron above reminds me of strawberry ripple ice-cream.

I think this pink azalea would go very well with a dark purple flower, any ideas?

This rhododendron looks lovely against the burgundy of the Japanese maple.

I love colour clashes in a garden. I like to see hot pink with orange.



Whilst I sit on my PC I have the privilege of being able to look out into my garden, and for the past fortnight or so the sparrows have been a huge distraction to me. Every year is the same, I sit marvelling at the spectacle of parent feeding their quivering young who are begging for food. Then watching the little inexperienced flyers attempt to take off, struggling to get their undercarriage off the ground. It just brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

Young sparrows leave the nest when fully feathered and are not able to fly for a couple of days. The parents generally look after them for a fortnight. I hope the majority survive in my garden although predators are always lurking, the magpies have been making their presence known.

Unfortunately what was a once a common sparrow has now found itself on the red list here in the UK, although I must say there seems no shortage in our garden. I put this down to the fact that we have a very wildlife friendly garden with lots of hedging, shrubs and trees which goes to encourage wild food for the very young, aphids, flies, grubs and spiders. I top up the birdbaths and I put bird food out all year, although I don't use peanuts, sparrows will eat seeds and grain.

The image I have used for this post is called Feed Me, courtesy of Nic from London Daily Nature Photo. Please click on the link to discover his great photography, but please do not use any of Nic's images without his permission.


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A beautiful mature woodland garden at Chiddingfold on the Surrey/West Sussex border.

I have visited two lovely gardens in the space of a week. The weather was warm and sunny for my visit to Highdown gardens, but on Friday when I visited Ramster gardens the temperature had definitely taken a plummet and it was cloudy, cold and damp. Today the sunshine is back, so with lifted spirits I am showing you my photos of yellow azaleas and rhododendrons, both acid loving plants.

In May the garden reaches its peak where the azaleas and rhododendrons provide a brilliant display, while the carpet of bluebells fill the air with their scent (although unfortunately these were over for our visit).

There are many rare trees and shrubs at Ramster and wonderful wild flower areas where in June bring orchids. There is a bog garden with giant gunnera leaves which I have featured in my post below.

The gardens at Ramster were laid out in the 1900s by Gauntlett Nurseries of Chiddingfold, who were pioneers in importing new shrubs, trees and ornaments from Japan. One hundred years on many of the original plants are still thriving in the garden today.

The house which is not open to the public is based on a Jacobean farmhouse, but the Long Hall is a popular venue for civil marriages, wedding receptions, dinners and corporate events.
Admission to the gardens is £5 but you can come and go as you please which we did having a picnic lunch in the middle of our visit, but if you have no picnic there is a tearooms. I resisted but there is also a plant sales area too!


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The magnificent gunnera (giant rhubarb) needs warm soil on a damp site with lots of space!

The makings of an impressive stumpery.

The woodlice are going to love it in here!


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I would like to show you the photos of plants growing on chalk downland soil, taken on my outing to Highdown Gardens in Worthing, which is open to the general public free of charge (although donations are very welcome). Above the most blousy tree peony I have ever seen.

Highdown Gardens is one of the least known about gardens in the area, but it is one that offers a unique collection of rare plants and trees. The views from the gardens are beautiful and include the sea and the South Downs. Above is a very pretty herbaceous peony.

The garden looks its best in spring and early summer when there is a colourful succession. A lovely yellow peony this time.

The whole garden has been deemed a National collection. Above a vivid orange rhododendron.

A beautiful purple bearded iris. The garden was created during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayan regions collecting rare and beautiful plants.

Volunteers meet once a month on a Friday morning to assist with a variety of light conservation work within the gardens. They are always on the lookout for new helpers. The pink cherry blossom above was hanging in clumps from the branches.

The beautiful handkerchief tree (also known as the dove or ghost tree) with white bracts which hang down and flutter in the breeze. Discovered growing in China in the 1860s by the French explorer Pere Armand David. This tree first flowered in England in 1906.

This is the most amazing tree and I would very much like it in my garden.


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Remember my mutant parsnip post? Parsnips modelled on the well known Dr Who character The Ood. Well this one has forked, but it is the longest one I have ever had, from the top of the foliage to the root of the parsnip, it measures just over 55 inches, and is in danger of taking over my garden bench, if not the world! My ever so slightly clay soil must half be fertile!

Thanks to Na at Shadows and Clouds, I now know these parsnips are going to seed!


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Michele from Cowboys & Custard, who correctly guessed five out of the six mystery plants I asked you to name? Well done Michele, you have got the birdie, and she will be winging her way to you next week. Luckily the birdie hasn't had too much time to settle here in my garden, although she had enough time to earmark a very comfortable, if not rather small, nesting box!

The answers are:
a) lamium maculatum (deadnettle) - an evergreen ground cover with yellow flowers
b) geranium (cranesbill) - a hardy perennial with small pale pink flowers
c) sedum spectabile - a succulent foliage with pink clusters of flowers
d) echinops ritro - a spiky-leaved architectural plant with purple thistles
e) potentilla (cinquefoil) - a strawberry-like leaved perennial with red flowers
f) centaurea montana (knapweed) - a clump forming perennial with deep blue cornflower-like flowers

Michele has created a beautiful garden on a slope in Bath, using a very well thought out landscape design with well stocked borders, which contain some very healthy-looking plants. Take a look at Michele's latest post where she has some photos taken from different vantage points. Lovely!

Thank you to everyone else for having a go, you all did very well!

Louise x


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Do you always wear gardening gloves when working in the garden? That was the question I asked in the April poll. It turns out ten of you do, and thirty-five of you don't.

There is no doubt that gloves are a necessary piece of gardening apparel, but most of the time I don't wear them for general gardening, which shows on my hands, dirty fingernails and rough skin, and have to buy handcream by the gallon! The gloves above were bought for me, they fit me perfectly, and I will wear them, sometime?

Subject to the contrary if the soil is very wet, I do wear the very handy latex gloves you can buy in boxes. If the soil is dry I'd much rather get my bare hands in. Of course when handling shrubs and trees with thorny prickly branches it is necessary to wear the thick leather kind of gardening gloves, otherwise hands and arms are torn to shreds, and I do keep a pair in the car for when I pay the refuse tip a visit, they come in handy when emptying out the bags.