The Useful Euphorbia

E. myrsinites in full flower

E. myrsinites

This is the time of year when euphorbias really come into their own as a perfect foil for spring bulbs. The larger varieties, including E.mellifera and E.wulfenii provide structure throughout the year, but with their spring topping of flowers, they add that wonderful acid green that works so well with tulips and narcissi. This year’s mild winter means that mellifera is flowering earlier than usual and the garden is already filled with the scent of honey on warm days. E. polychroma is a favourite in the borders where it looks great among the newly emerging herbaceous plants while the scaly-leaved stems of E.myrsinites coil sinuously over walls.


E. wulfenii in flower

E. wulfenii

E. mellifera in flower

E. mellifera

E. polychroma in bloom

E. polychroma

Tulip Colour Combinations

by Daniel Carruthers

tulips in border with daffodils
I’d like to think I am fairly organised when it comes to the garden but last year I left my annual tulip shopping a little late. Not too late though, according to Fergus Garrett you can still plant tulips up until Christmas Day. Those of you that read the blog regularly will know our go to choice for tulips is Peter Nyssen who offer a huge range of bulbs at very reasonable prices. I’m still experimenting with tulips so this year I opted for two complimentary colours. They’re mixed up in this bed with some daffodils beneath a dormant iceberg rose bush.

The red/pink tulips are Dior & Albert Heyn whilst the lighter ones, which aren’t quite through yet are Pink Diamond. Here’s a few more of our favourite tulips from previous years.

May the Force(rs) be with Me

rhubarb forcers on display in a shop windowGreat excitement the other day when I spotted a stunning collection of vintage rhubarb forcers in the window of one of our local antique shops. They weren’t all that expensive (1/3rd London prices) but I was in a sensible mood and persuaded myself that much as I liked them I didn’t NEED them.
rhubarb forcers in use at Gravetyeearly shoots of rhubarb under a forcerHowever, the next day I was at Gravetye Manor where they were using their collection of antique rhubarb forcers in the walled garden and I felt my resolve slipping a bit.
two rhubarb forcers on display in the shopWhich is why I found myself in the shop the next day buying two of them.
two new rhubarb forcers in my garden I certainly don’t need them and they are not being used to force rhubarb at the moment but they are such lovely objects that I am sure I won’t regret the purchase. And yes, I do realise the lids are newer but they will weather down in time.

Plant Me Now to the rescue

polaroids of viola and hosta minutemanI’ve had a spring delivery of plug plants from Plant Me Now and will be planting up some new containers and filling in gaps where the wet winter did it’s worst. The plugs are good size and well-established so with warm weather forecast I should be able to plant them out after they have had a few days in the cold frame. I’m planning to plant the white-margined Hosta Minuteman in pots with an underplanting of Viola Labradorica – the deep coloured leaves and purple flowers will be a good foil for the hostas. On the basis that a shady garden can never have too many foxgloves, I’ve also got some of the Dalmatian series foxgloves, while the plants of Campanula Blue Bell are destined for a sunny spot in the border. I love campanulas, so I’m not sure why I’ve not had any in the garden up to now. If they like it here I will be delighted.

Buying Compost Direct

1 ton bag of compostAs someone who once asked her husband for a ton bag of manure for her birthday (inexplicably he didn’t oblige) I am a great convert to the usefulness and convenience of having compost delivered in bulk, as opposed to driving to the garden centre and lugging several small bags home in the boot of the car. It is more environmentally friendly – one delivery lorry going to multiple drop-offs instead of numerous individual car trips and no need to dispose of numerous empty plastic compost bags. And it’s not just compost blends that can be delivered in bulk, there are soil conditioners, bark mulches and topsoils too. Compost Direct is a nationwide service that supplies British products that are organic, peat-free and from sustainable sources. Their Veggie Gold, a blend of compost, well-rotted manure and top soil is ideal for anyone planning to install some raised beds for vegetable growing while their Jubilee Compost is a blend of soil improver made from composted organic matter with added grit to help open up heavy clay soils. Anyone got a birthday coming up?