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Lake swimming last night. Water lily flowers tight shut. Vast pike leaps out of the water lily pads beside me.

Now I will stick to admiring my own mini lilies, by day, from my pike-free garden.    

Design speak

Andrew Fisher Tomlin, who helped pull this debate together, has been hired by the RHS to tutor the Shows Department in design speak. Good thinking. Cuts down misunderstandings. Maybe this new urge to communicate properly will avoid future appearances of dreary plots like the Plastercine garden.    

Chelsea wednesday James Alexander Sinclair Mark Gregory and Ian Dexter

Gorgeous pouting (GP) James Alexander Sinclair, author of outstanding garden blogs for the BBC and himself … ment_layer as well as being a famous, fabulous person, is co-chairing Chelsea’s Gardening Matters forum with me today.
Mark Gregory and Ian Dexter are first up to talk about the Marshalls garden – The Street The Street is buzzing.
I’ve admired Mark’s excellent Chelsea construction work (and more recently his own eco designs) for years. And I loved Ian’s Marshall’s garden last year with its clever climbing frame/ pavilion. But what I liked most about seeing these two on stage together is that they were still speaking – just a couple of days after the exhausting marathon of a Chelsea build which has a lot of designers and constructors ripping each other limb from limb .


Cool thoughts

although I am too hot to think. Writing about no-chemical swimming pools is heating instead of cooling my brain. And I cannot remember the name of this plant.

I’m told that it seeds everywhere. I was told that about Nicotiana sylvestris and I can’t manage to get it to flower let alone seed.
Then there’s the enigma of the Monkey ‘C’.    

Plant free

It was Ian, staunch defender of the RHS – that hallowed heaven of all things horticultural – who said that we should broaden our horizons and not reject a garden without plants. Blimey. Post-Chaucerian treble negative apart I enjoyed this radical sentiment from the editor of The Garden.


Chelsea rosearian

The great rosearian Michael Marriot is the next speaker. He reminds me about my love affair with roses. Years, ago when I bought my first David Austin roses, I reckoned that they were fashionable but useless but now….I would not be without their voluptuous scent and petals. And I certainly wouldn’t be without the advice of brilliant Michael

Not that we always agree. Michael once banned me from planting the thornless, heavily scented Zepherine Drouhin rose in a client’s garden. I have never really forgiven him but, on the other hand, David Austin’s … showr=5084 Young Lycidas is roughly the same colour – but deeper pink maybe – and the scent is mind blowing.



Which plants to leave out? Can’t bring them all in. The orange tree has retreated inside, ditto a couple of scented leaf geraniums. The eucomis are sitting in a sheltered (I hope) area beside a brick wall.
But the wormery will grind to a halt and there’s nothing I can do about it apart from bringing it inside…    

ThinkinGardens in the Coach and Horses

The Coach and Horses is an innocuous name for the Soho pub where reputations and livelihoods are regularly made and destroyed. Jeffrey Barnard was regularly unwell here along with Francis Bacon, Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan. And then there were the Private Eye lunches.

Which is why Andrew Fisher Tomlin chose the pub for last night’s ThinkinGardens‘s first salon/debate. I was expecting the C&H’s usual informed debate involving F words, flying fists and alcohol-sodden bodies being loaded into taxis. I imagined Ian Hodgson, illustrious editor of The Garden, being removed by the police after outraging Soho with his views on hardy plants.
Chairman Stephen Anderton, whip in hand, kept everyone well disciplined: frisson without the fighting.
The Question:
Is it possible to have a garden without plants?