Tag Archives: plants

  • Sheffield - EU funded gardens

    I have written about the EU funded gardens before, but being unable to make it up the hill to the Botanic Gardens, I photographed these again in their winter cloaks. There is a newer area that is still unfinished, which appears to be using recycled materials and is quite interesting, but not yet planted up. In fact work seems to have stopped, and I hope this has not been abandoned owing to loss of EU funds.

    In the rest of the planting, the grasses are shining. Yucca filamentosa was looking strong too, the greenest plant in the garden. The tree trunks, still extremely slender, are showing interesting colour. The Artemisia should come with a warning sign and I fear it might take over the garden, some of the plants planted in April 2016, are already 60cm (2ft) or more across. Its feathery foliage is, however, to be admired. Buds are beginning to appear and although it is still cold, there are signs that spring is on its way.  The spring Primula are doing their thing. I still cannot believe that flower on the Phlomis, it has been there at least two weeks now. We can always depend upon the garden to give us something unexpected.

    The EU funded gardens are outside the Magistrates Court in Sheffield.

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

  • When Autumn Leaves Turn To Gold

    I dillied and dallied and autumn turned to winter too fast. One moment the leaves were turning to glorious colours and I was thinking, wow I must do an autumn post. However I was wrapped up in my new book Woven Textiles of Tunisia, and suddenly it seemed that autumn had vanished.

    To be fair we have still only had one night of frost (although I might have escaped a couple of nights at the beginning of November as I was in sunny Greece), but one night last week changed the landscape of the garden from dazzling colours to silvered and nipped with frost, plants limp and reeling from the cold. Those blazing fiery hues of autumn leaves fell to the ground and became brown and wizened and often wet and soggy. I had been astonished to see asters, cornflowers, red hot pokers, verbena bonariensis and rudbeckia still going strong to the end of November.

    One is reminded of the eternal cycle, the return to earth, the renewal that follows. But for a while it will be frosty photos. So I recall the beautiful colours of autumn. I particularly love the rusty colours of Taxodium.

    You can enjoy year-round colour with my gardening books

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2016

  • Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2016

    Still a bit achy from my day in Chesire, but I braved the drop in temperature to go to the Harrogate Flower Show, my favourite excursion in spring. I did not know they were building a new Hall and the plants had been moved into a marquee, but the lighting was far better, so better photos. Despite the hail and freezing weather, I had a wonderful day.

    You too can have a super day at the show, tomorrow is the final day. If you can't get there this spring, the autumn show is fantastic too and there's always next year.

    The displays took my breath away this year from the Fritillaria and Cypripedium on Jacques Amand's stand, to Taylor's Clematis, Dibley's Streptocarpus and so many more. Some plants were definitely must-haves, so I have made a list of most of those here. They are not in order

    1. Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) Blossom Quinn from Warmenhoven

    2. Petunia Black Knight from Iddon's

    3. Cypripedium from Jacques Amand

    4. Heuchera Sweet Tea, I thought this was the best, a few nurseries were showing it

    5. Incredible Erysimum I had not seen before, being sold by a few nurseries including Hardy's, this one is Red Jep

    6. Breathtaking Clematis Pink Champagne from Taylor's

    7. Muscari Bling Bling again sold by three nurseries

    8. Primula 'Slack Top' from the nursery of the same name

    9. Pelargonium (need to decipher the name, sorry)

    10. Streptocarpus from Dibley's

    11. Iris sold by two nurseries and just unimaginably beautiful greenish and faded denim

    12. This amazing bonsai of Acer

    Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2016

  • Walking Cromford Mill

    It was the epitome of grey, but there was something to celebrate. As it was so cold, I elected for an inside rather than outdoors venue. Driving towards Matlock is a pleasant drive, even with the steep descent into the valley. The scenery is fabulous and I am reminded of Shakespeare's 'This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England' and of William Blake's words for Jerusalem 'England's green and pleasant land'. Blake's 'pleasant pastures' do still exist. This is what people who do not live in England imagine it to be like. Green and quaint, countrified and gentile. Not a garden to visit as such but an area where one can walk and enjoy the scenery.

    Ah but is was greyer than grey and cold, with a northerly wind. Green maybe, but not pleasant. Still I could not help admiring the landscape and wishing I could wake up every day to gaze on such a scene.

    Cromford Mill was Arkwright's Mill but when it closed all the machinery was taken away so there is little left except a display with an annoying over-excited actor's voice-over. The building is still very imposing, but apart from the building itself, what is there now does not reflect the history or heritage of the place at all. The shops are dismal and smell of damp, the cafe is too small even at this time of year it was full by 11.30am and it is all very disappointing. The best shop by far is the quilting shop - that is really good. There is a small plant shop. The spring plants were adding much needed colour and the owner obviously had a liking for Primula. The Ranunculus were looking perfect too. On warmer days there are many walks along the canal and more. There is an estate church, but it was closed. There is another cafe across the road by the canal, a tiny cheese shop and probably the tiniest shop in the world selling canalware art.

    There is some redevelopment of the site, so I hope it improves with a new vision. This has to be the most disappointing venue for a World Heritage Site.

    We were directed to Masson Mill to see textile machinery but we arrived at the wrong time to see the machines working so opted not to go in. There is something akin to an outlet centre here, all smelling very musky. Not at all what I expected, but the setting is fabulous. It seems a shame that the Mills' current usage has not been developed by someone who loves textiles, who could have created an experience for this site that includes the former most prominent cotton mill. As it was the best thing about the venue, apart from the views, was an antiques shop outside the centre across the road.

    Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2016

  • A Winter Walk

    There is nothing better than a bit of sunshine in winter. Days can be so grey and wet. As soon as the sun comes out I like to go for a walk.

    As the sun came up this morning, it was clear that it was going to be ok for a while. I decided on a rather long walk uphill to the Botanic gardens. They were looking neat and trim, all the hedges had been cut and a lots of the borders tidied. I was searching for purple plants for my new book, but no luck except for one iris unguicularis hiding amongst its sword-edged foliage.

    However, I took about 100 photos outdoors and in the glasshouse. The light beyond coming over the hills was beautiful and very inspiring. The tracery of bare branches was simply entrancing.

    Hellebores were looking good, snowdrops were just beginning to open. I was saddened to see the darkest hellebores had disappeared, theft from the gardens has been a problem for years - the maroon and pink ones are still there and the green ones increase year on year but people obviously filch the dark ones.

    The ridge and furrow glasshouses are in need of a paint. I hope they are not going to be allowed to fall into disrepair after they were rescued and renovated by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    I'd love to see more purple in the garden. Who's in charge of planting?

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2016

  • Heritage Pears

    At the Yorkshire Sculpture Park there is a selection of old varieties of pear trees, dating from the 1800s. I know one pear looks much the same as another, but I found them fascinating. This is the pleasure of growing your own fruit and vegetables - you can grow heritage varieties that you cannot find in the shops. Some of them are planted very closely, so closely that the branches are intermingling. They are all grown against a wall. Most of the sculpture park is rolling hills, with very little 'garden' so it was wonderful to come across these fruit trees that I had never noticed on previous visits.

    In order of appearance from left to right, top to bottom, they are

    Pyrus Buerre Rance, Buerre Diel, Emile d'Heyst, Fondant de Cuerne, Laxton Early Market, Le Lectier, Marguerite Marrillat and Marie Louise d'Uncle

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2015

  • Top 10 Gardens to Visit Yorkshire

    I love gardens and often visit them. I just love to see the way different people interpret gardening. Too many years ago I started writing a Yorkshire Gardens book - must get that finished. Meantime, my top ten Yorkshire Gardens in alphabetical order:

    1. Burton Agnes Hall

    2. Castle Howard

    3. Harewood House

    4. Harlow Carr

    5. Helmsley Walled Garden

    6. Newby Hall

    7. Scampston Walled Garden

    8. Sledmere House and gardens

    9. Worley Hall

    10. Yorkshire Lavender

    If you want to find out more about plants and gardening styles as well as garden design, all the know-how can be found in Lifestyle Gardening featuring over 220 gardens around the world, 200 plants and gardens by style illustrated with over 375 sumptuous photographs. Get your copy half price by entering code 50OFF at checkout on the website

    Words, images copyright Karen Platt 2015

  • Over The Wall - Chester

    I walked the walls of Chester last week and these are the plants I saw from the wall. Gorgeous trees, a fabulous canal-side garden, plants clinging to the walls and the Roman gardens. There were a smattering of black plants - some of the dark Acers were putting on their greener summer cloaks, so I did not photograph them. There was a marvellous specimen of Ligularia 'Britt-Marie Crawford' in the Roman gardens. If you love Lichen, there is plenty on the wall.

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2015

  • Sheffield in Flower

    I love going shopping and noticing wonderful plants and flowers. On a recent walk around Sheffield to photograph architectural details, I nipped into the Winter Gardens and the old Peace Gardens to take a few pics of plants.

    From my favourite tiered pine to the glorious colours of Anthurium, bromeliads and exotic Aechmea and Strelitzia, the planting does not disappoint.

    All photos copyright Karen Platt 2015

  • Harrogate Flower Show Spring 2015

    This is one flower show that never disappoints. It just goes from strength to strength. Discover the fabulous plant displays in the Halls. On a rainy day, you'll head straight under cover and this is the place to come. Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far in the north but the Halls were still full of people. They flock to buy the fabulous plants by the dozen. Here's my top dozen to buy from the Harrogate Spring Flower Show, which runs until Sunday.

    Anemone obtusiloba Pradesh from Edrom Nurseries

    Muscari 'Bling Bling' from Jacques Amand

    Sorbaria sorbarifolia 'Sem' if you buy just one plant make it this one, spotted on a number of stands

    Hosta 'June Fever' from Micklefield Hostas

    Meconopsis x cookei

    Pelargonium 'Spellbound'

    Tulipa 'Angel's Wish'

    Heuchera 'Pear Crisp' from Plantagogo

    Dicentra 'Burning Hearts'

    Primula belarina 'Nectarine'

    Begonia sizemorae from Dibley's Nurseries

    Neoregelia 'Medusa'

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2015

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