Friday I’m in Love: The English Hedgerow

The perfect English hedgerow is an ephemeral thing and this year I was lucky to be on the spot at the right time. The ingredients are:
Hedges (of course!)
IMG_0329 Key trees are oak, ash, blackthorn or sloe, beech, hazel and the occasional horse chestnut, but absolutely vital to a spring hedgerow is hawthorn, or as it’s known when in flower, “May”.
IMG_0330 Occasionally the “hedge” is a wall…
IMG_0331 …and there should be the odd gate or gap to allow a view of the fields beyond.
IMG_4657 Wild flowers peeping out from the grass;
IMG_0332 And last but by no means least: cow parsley. Not that spectacular seen singly,
IMG_4659 but in drifts…beautiful!
IMG_0333

Descanso in April

More technical issues this month, but I did manage to make one successful trip…

I fell in love with some new trees. This (I think) is the redbud I photographed before, now in full leaf.

P1020365What a beauty!

A strawberry tree in the entrance courtyard.

IMG_4623

This is a magnolia, I think. Just beautiful.

IMG_0279

A huge bottle-brush tree by the Bird Observation Station.

P1020357

And I was captivated by the tulip tree outside the Boddy House.

P1020370 - Version 2

 

 

Friday I’m in Love: Pool-friendly plants

I’m planning a planter to go alongside our new hot-tub (on which more next week). From a practical point of view the plants need to be hardy, drought tolerant and evergreen. Ideally they should be tall or visually interesting, to disguise the boring wooden sides of the spa.

I’m leaning towards succulents. Nothing spiny or sharp, but there are some beauties out there that would make a striking display. Here are some inspirations from Pinterest…what do you think?

IMG_0229

 

 

 

March at Descanso

March is a colorful – and busy! – month at Descanso Gardens. While the camellias are still giving their best, joined now by the clivias planted beneath them,

IMG_0209

other trees and shrubs are getting in on the act. The cherry blossom in the Japanese Garden warrants a festival all to itself, well-deserved when you see how beautifully they combine with the azaleas and acers with which they share space.

IMG_0210

This

IMG_3933

is holly. I’ve never seen it blossom before.

And horse-chestnut

IMG_3970

– a real reminder of English springs!

The dogwoods (though not strictly a blossom) deserve an honorable mention.

IMG_0211

And a relatively new plant to me – the redbud.

IMG_3968

And don’t get me started on the bulbs…!

Friday I’m in Love: Tulips

If bluebells are the shy beauties of spring, tulips are the chorus girls. They are typically colourful and wildly effective en masse. Attractive enough to have caused arguably the world’s first speculative bubble and to have inspired some of the world’s most best artists.

I was late planting mine and so I’m only just seeing flowers.

IMG_2146

Descanso Gardens is more organised and the results are spectacular!

IMG_0208

 

 

Friday I’m in Love: Mystery Fruit

A true mystery this week…I picked up these

IMG_3960

in the car park of Descanso Gardens this week, some of the few not destroyed by being run over by cars. Clearly some kind of seed pod, and from a tree since that’s all that grow in the car park, but I couldn’t identify which tree they’d fallen from. They are cuboid, approximately 1.3cm or 1/2 inch per side, and the longest one is almost 40cm or 16 inches long. Very hard, and they rattle when shaken so obviously full of seeds! Does anyone have any idea what they are?