Six on Saturday: Fairweather Gardener

I am afraid I have to confess I have been a fairweather gardener this week. Grey skies, cold drizzle and high winds have kept me inside. I am waiting for the better weather we have been promised next week.

Fortunately, I was given lots of gardening books for my birthday to keep me occupied indoors, as well as an interesting selection of seeds. So this week’s Six are not so much things happening in my garden, as part of the planning process. You will see that I am very lucky to have a husband and mother who indulge my gardening obsession.

Now I know that our host The Propagator is a proper, all-weather gardener, as are most of his esteemed followers, who join him each week to feature six things from their gardens around the globe.

  1. Brilliant And Wild: A garden from scratch in a year

I am so excited to have been given this book by Lucy Bellamy, the editor of Gardens Illustrated, which I have wanted to read ever since it came out. I have been flicking through the pages this week and I particularly like the way in which she group plants into the shapes they make in the border: umbellifers, spikes, dots, panicles, grasses and bulbs. Bellamy has some original and interesting suggestions for low-maintenance but high impact perennials, which can easily be grown in your garden this year. There are also sumptuous photographs by Jason Ingram, which make me want to plant pretty much everything in the book, although Bellamy warns against having a ‘mishmash’ of plants, advising instead to choose two or three different shapes and then use plenty of different species that share that shape.

2. Gertrude Jekyll collection

As an aspiring garden writer, it has long been my ambition to get to grips with one of the all time greats in the field. My lovely mum bought me five of her books which I spotted in the window of a second-hand bookshop. I am looking forward to steeping myself in Miss Jekyll’s gardening philosophy over the coming weeks and months.

3. David Austin: Old Roses and English Roses

Another birthday present from my mum, who had two copies of this classic book. I love David Austin roses – I planted three new ones this year: Emily Brontë, Lady Emma Hamilton and Felicité Perpetue – and I am already eyeing up next year’s roses in the new David Austin catalogue. This book is just what I need to help me care for my growing collection.

4. Petersham Nurseries Spring Vegetable Patch seed collection

My husband bought me this sweet little seed collection, which comes in a useful tin, with very tasteful ready-made plant markers. It includes Goldena courgette, Paris Market carrots, the interestingly named Crapaudine beetroot (??!), two types of Italian tomato: Principe Borghese and San Marzano and Pimento di Padron peppers. Perfect for the raised beds in our front garden.

5. RHS seeds

My mum also gave me this trio of seeds from the RHS: Salvia nemorosa, Angelica archangelica and Dianthus carthusianorum. I have so many seeds to sow now and in the absence of a greenhouse, not enough windowsill space to sow them all.

6. Sweet pea seedlings

Speaking of seedlings, you may remember the sweet peas I sowed in our garden shed. It turns out that despite my blithe insistence that they would germinate there, they did not, so I had to bring them in to the kitchen windowsill, where they have now burst into growth. The transition from cold to warm has made the toilet roll inners I planted them in go mouldy, so I am going to have to rethink this plastic-free potting solution for the next batch of seeds.