Marianne is coming to visit!!

Huzzah! What a treat, what a great big treat. Soon too.

So, yes, you probably know all about this, this is when it begins: what on earth will the garden be like when she comes?

O, whoops – she has chosen the cusp. This is why Chelsea Flower Show is at almost the same minute – it is on the cusp between spring and summer. A bit of a flowering gap. Exhibitors and garden designers can either hold plants back for the show or with clever management bring them forward.

Hellebores in cold store for Chelsea copyright Anne Wareham

Hellebores in a nursery’s cold store – in preparation for Chelsea.

Of course, every year the hort press is delighted to get useful copy as people complain that the season is very late or very early. Or too wet or too cold. Too windy. Such hard times they have.

But it’s just the same in the garden.

And I haven’t been holding things back or bringing them forward – they are just doing what they do right now and maybe it isn’t much. Horrors. The disappointment will be reported back to the whole of America. Or maybe not, which might be worse?? 

Cue for many anxious trips round the garden. Will the Camassias be looking derelict?

Camassias at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

They’ll be over. But this is a nice pic of mine, don’t you think?

In two weeks? Very likely. You can see the dead flowers on the stems already. Will anything have taken over? Or will the meadow have all gone dull? Will the roses be out??? 

Rose bud copyright Anne Wareham

Or will they be covered in greenfly??

Our major feature at this time is usually the Clematis montanas:

Clematis Montana at Veddw Garden copyright Charles Hawes

Thanks for the pic, Charles.


Frost blasted clematis copyright Anne Wareham

Frost (?) got them.

There’s quite a bit of foliage – does she have subtle tastes?? Will she disapprove of things??

Josie disapproving copyright Charles Hawes

Disapproval. (Thanks, Josie)

Will she hate my hostas?

I keep remembering her love of Dixter. I think about how totally different Veddw is. I have never had five gardeners in a bed. Nor borders stuffed with many flowering plants all carefully judged to flatter one another, all in carefully timed succession to ensure there’s never a dull moment. No, we have vast expenses of just a few plants, hopefully working together but probably all green at the beginning of June. 

Shades of green at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

We’re good at shades of green.

Ah, I guess she will feel judged too, if we’re not careful.

Do I dare consult her about garden problems? She may suggest something I hate the very thought of. But at least from her home in America she won’t be able to see that her idea was ditched. Will she fail to admire or notice my very favourite things??? Will she turn out to be a tidy gardener? Well, if so, she may find a fellow spirit in Charles and they can moan together about the special problems that brings. I asked Charles what he was anxious about in the garden in relation to The Visit. He said – it needs a bit more tidying yet.

Charles Hawes copyright Anne Wareham

Charles, tidying…….

What if it pours with rain the whole time??

Flood IMG_8460

My great friend Pat, a great garden tour guide, admits that it does really shape your view of a garden. Spring sunshine lifts the whole show and may make our various interesting shades of green look glamorous. But when it rains just now we still put a fire in and pretend it’s winter. 

Woodburning stove copyright Anne Wareham

Can I buy something and stuff it in quick, in the hope it will lift everything? Or at least distract attention. This is the deceptive time of year when there are still spaces in the garden, looking as if they just need some yummy additional plants. It’s not actually true – any yummy additional plants quickly get smothered as the season develops – but it might work as a temporary measure??? 

Ferns in Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

These will make all the difference. Definitely.

Well, ok, she can always admire my ‘hero’ plants…..

Bindweed copyright Anne Wareham