Never say ‘Never’

A few years ago I cleared out my greenhouse following the losses of the winter and dumped in my compost the remains of pelargoniums and other dead items. It’s always a little sad to lose much loved plants which have given you their best. I then had some fun ordering new plants to replace the old ones (and some others!). A couple of weeks later, I found several of my ‘dead’ pelargoniums lying in the compost and sprouting new shoots from the roots. Of course, I swiftly took them out and potted them up to achieve lovely healthy plants. I am now a little less impatient to discard anything that looks dead.

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May 2023 Talk: Tresco Abbey Gardens

Dr John Hughes, an RHS judge and a long term friend of CABAHS, gave an entertaining and informative talk on Tresco Abbey Gardens in the Isles of Scilly, situated just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. Benefiting from the Gulf Stream and Atlantic Drift, it has a mild climate and the magnificent garden is full of exotic and glorious plants from every Mediterranean garden zone, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. It has been called a ‘Kew without the glass’. It is also home to a range of fauna including the red squirrel.

Augustus Smith, the founder  of the garden, bought the island from the Duchy of Cornwall in 1830 and it has been in his family, who have remained keen horticulturalists, ever since – though all the land, except the garden and house which he had built on it, was given back to the Duchy in 1922. The seventeen acre garden has been designed around a ruined Benedictine Abbey and within a sympathetic hard core of paths and arches, including statues supplied by the latest owner.

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Plant Sale and Community Day 2023

THANK YOU to everyone who supported our Plant Sale and Community Day on May 21st at Charlton House. Whether you donated plants or bought them, you are all heroes! Your generosity will help the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, the Walled Gardens and our speaker programme, with many thanks!

OPG in morning light
The garden first thing, looking beautiful and calm..

Set up started early, we had sooo many plants to get out to the Back Lawn, and all the tables to position according to Mandy’s Grand Plan.

11 am rolled around quickly and the selling started..

We shared the day with lots of community groups as well as stalls from the Producers Market and everyone had a great time networking and selling their wares.

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A Visit to Perch Hill

A few weeks back Vija and I went to one of the open days at Sarah Raven’s farm Perch Hill in East Sussex. The preceding evening had seen torrential rain and an email arrived on the morning of the visit warning people of the muddy conditions and that a four wheel drive was essential. And they weren’t exaggerating…the field we were to park in was a mud slide with a tractor towing cars out of the mud! 

But the rain hadn’t affected the garden. The tulips, many of which were in pots,were stunning with the same colours used repeatedly throughout the garden. They were well labelled  so we could make a note of them and there seemed to be loads of new varieties and quite a lot in oranges and shades of reds. There were lots of pots with pastel shades too and it wasn’t just tulips. There was a whole bed planted with a tall variety of fritillary which you don’t see very often and is certainly different.

Additionally there were displays in pots of some lovely frilly violas and the glasshouse was planted with ranunculus and  other early varieties of annuals. There were displays of early vegetables but they were small and obviously affected by the cold spring. And the tea and cakes were good too!

All in all a stunning display and worth a visit despite the mud and flooded roads.

Pat K

Spring at Exbury Gardens, Hampshire

Lawn at Exbury Gardens

A visit to Exbury Gardens in the week between two May Bank Holidays was a treat for the senses.  I last visited after the summer drought and before the winter storms and asked myself, ‘how would everything look?’  In short, everything looked thrillingly fresh.

There have been some losses, which, while regrettable, have provided opportunities to the gardeners to open up views, plant new (drought-resistant) species and create entirely new gardens. 

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Members trip to Petersham House and Nursery 23rd April 2023

A group of CABAHS members enjoyed a visit to Petersham House recently, open for one day under the National Garden Scheme. It was a bit of a challenge that the day chosen was that of the London Marathon, but everyone made it on time to meet at Cannon Street station. The crowds were mostly going the other way and very friendly!

The 17th century house near Richmond was bought by the Boglione family in 1997, and turned into a family home next to their renowned Petersham Nurseries. The gardens have a long walk, large borders set into yew hedging against the walls, topiary and a kitchen garden. The tulip displays were beautiful! Despite the drizzly weather, members had a great time wandering around before decamping to the tea rooms at the Nursery.

Continue reading Members trip to Petersham House and Nursery 23rd April 2023

Preparing for our Plant Sale and Community Day 2023

Sunday May 21st from 11 am – date for your diary!

Our annual plant sale takes place on the back lawn at Charlton House on Sunday May 21st and this year it promises to be our biggest (and best?) yet. We are being joined by Blackheath & Greenwich WI as usual, with their scrumptious cakes and savouries. The following groups will be there, and perhaps a few more!

The Charlton Society, Charlton Community Gardens, Charlton Toy Library, Blackheath Flower Arranging Club, Friends of Charlton Park, Friends of Greenwich Park, St George’s Garrison Church Woolwich, Charlton Central Residents Association and Neighbourhood Watch, Charlton Neighbourhood Forum, Repurpose Silvertown Tunnel and Charlton House Beekeepers

On top of this, stalls from the Producers Market will be there, with face painting and hot food, Frilly’s cafe will be open and you can view the brand new “Ottoman Journeys” exhibition in Charlton House.

St Luke’s Church will be open, you can climb the tower to see the panoramic views and the wonderful Millenium tapestry will be on display too. You can download the poster here, please share it widely.

Continue reading Preparing for our Plant Sale and Community Day 2023

Labour of love – Keukenhof (2)

A visit to Keukenhof for the second year running found a different garden, although the visits were only a week apart. Spring has evidently come later and most of the narcissus and hyacinths were still in full flower. Last year there were very few remaining in flower. The scent from both filled the air.

swathes of daffodils

Even where some of the tulips had gone over they were still exquisitely beautiful – like a Dutch still life painting.

"still life" of tulips

At home my hyacinths have been swept around by the rain and wind, but at Keukenhof they stand firm.

swathes of hyacinths

But then I looked closer. Each individual hyacinth has been individually staked, so discretely that it is hardly noticeable!  What a labour!

pink hyacinths staked - to stand firm