Monday, 27 August 2007


This week a row of streetlights has appeared on my road and one of them is right outside the front garden. I must confess it is taking some getting used to. You should see how the marigolds glow in the orange fluorescent light! I don’t have to switch any indoor lights on in the evening, and I’m able to go on my midnight slug hunting expeditions without my torch. I know it will be safer for the kids walking home on those long winter evenings, but being the old traditionalist I’ll miss my stargazing.

My tunnel is a pleasure to be in at any light at the moment though, all because of one plant, an aromatic lily (Lilium Henrii) this striking flower has an almost overpowering scent that fills the tunnel. Originally these plants were from China (I managed to salvage this one out of a skip last year) and they prefer well drained soil .As they are bulbs they can be prone to rotting if conditions are too wet. The best time to get the bulbs, if you grow them yourself, is in late summer-October is probably the best time. Pick healthy bulbs, not bruised or shrivelled. If you are out visiting garden centres in the near future it’s worth checking out the flowers in full bloom, or you will also see them in florist shops in cut flower displays.

Cutting flowers
Cutting flowers and decorative leaves to take indoors for arranging is one of the pleasures of gardening. This form of summer pruning generally does no harm but there can be pitfalls. Taking too much, not only diminishes the garden display but it can also harm next year’s growth. Of course some keen flower arrangers grow flowers specifically for cutting and it is worthwhile putting aside a bed for this purpose. Of course as I mentioned last week sweet peas love to be cut and some flowers such as Lupins and Delphiniums if cut at this time of year can encourage a second blooming. Deadheading flowers can prolong displays too but of course it is not practical for all plants for example, Poppies, Honesty and Chinese Lanterns are often grown for their seedpods.


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