I am sorry to say that 2018 was a terrible year for many of the daffodils grown in the UK.  The daffodils that were grown for my 2018 Scented Daffodil Trial experienced snow at the end of March, at a time when many of my trialled daffodil cultivars were grown, some of my daffodils stood poised and ready, just thinking about blossoming and coming into flower. 

A great many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but daffodil flowers’ fragrances vary greatly, with some daffodil fragrances being more powerful than others, and some scents being more desirable and more pleasing.

Through my Daffodil Trials I have encountered a number of daffodils, which were listed as being fragrant, but when I grew the bulbs myself, I was disappointed to find that I was unable to detect any scent from their flowers however close I got to their blooms, and however many times I examined them. 

April is such a magical time of year!  It’s quite simply awe inspiring to see the landscape being painted by mother nature in every beautiful shade of green, as more leaves unfurl and the view becomes ever greener each day.  I love to be outside, surrounded by the birds singing and bees buzzing.  On warm days you may see butterflies flying: look out for the green toned Brimstone butterfly this month. 

Why Peat Free Compost?

There are many wild, beautiful, and fascinating areas of our planet that are diminishing due to human destruction.  These precious natural areas require our protection urgently, before it’s too late and they are destroyed or lost altogether.  There are relatively small areas of rainforests, peat bogs and peatlands remaining on our planet, yet these areas are continuing to be destroyed by humans. 

As autumn turns to winter, days shorten and the prospect of warming ourselves by the fire may be more enticing than being outdoors, take time to warm your heart with thoughts of elegantly perfumed roses.  This is the perfect opportunity to order roses as bare root plants to plant during the winter time, while the plants are dormant, to deliver charming, beautiful rose blooms and delectable fragrance to your garden or allotment next summer.

I love growing sweet peas!  I hope to inspire and encourage you to grow your own sweet pea plants, so that you can experience these wonderful plants for yourself.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are beautifully fragrant, hardy annuals.  Throughout my ongoing Sweet Pea Trials, I work to provide my readers with a wealth of information to help you to learn how to grow the healthiest, most floriferous sweet pea plants, that will produce the earliest flowers, with the tallest flowering stems over the longest flowering period!

Inside the Floral Marquee at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, I met Jackie Currie, a passionate Allium expert and Garden Designer from Surrey.  The RHS judges presented Jackie with a Silver-Gilt Medal, for her first ever exhibit at Hampton Court, which featured a selection of Alliums, from Jackie Currie’s National Collection of Alliums.

Beth: Congratulations on your beautiful Allium exhibit and your success here at Hampton Court Jackie!

I am particularly fond of scented daffodils; last year I conducted a Scented Daffodil Trial, to showcase beautiful and enchanting daffodil cultivars, which produce exquisitely fragrant, long lasting flowers.

I’ve been looking forward to sharing the finest performing daffodil cultivars from my 2017 Scented Daffodil Trial with you, and as September is a great month to plant daffodil bulbs, this column offered me the perfect opportunity.

Fragrant daffodils deliver an uplifting joy and bring an unadulterated cheer into the spring garden; these scented daffodils can brighten your view and gladden your heart.  Many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but some daffodil cultivars are more perfumed and more pleasing than others.

In 2016, I decided to run a Scented Daffodil Trial, to showcase the most beautifully scented, long flowering daffodils.  

The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden was designed by Sarah Raven for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  This Garden is one of five Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which have been designed and created to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Radio 2.

Anneka Rice, a television presenter, artist, and broadcaster for Radio 2, who is known for her abundance of energy, cheerful demeanour, and vibrance, is the activation and inspiration for The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden, which has been designed by Sarah Raven for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Containers filled with your favourite coloured flowering plants can bring so much joy to you, and to the bees and butterflies in your garden.

Beautifully scented plants are always top of my list.   The dwarf, compact, lavender cultivars, known as Lavandula angustifolia, are such lovely options for containers in a sunny spot, where their calming, soothing fragrance can be welcomed and enjoyed by all.  

I am an advocate for buying British grown plants, which have been raised and grown in our great British weather!  I enjoy purchasing plants from independent, specialist nurseries, where I appreciate finding exquisite plants, which are perfectly adapted to our climate.

Daisy Roots Nursery has been created and nurtured over the past fifteen years, by Hertfordshire Nurserywoman, Annie Godfrey.  I was thrilled to meet up with Annie Godfrey at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where I congratulated Annie on her Gold Medal, which was presented to her by the RHS judges, for a magnificent display of drought tolerant perennials and grasses, which were all grown by Annie Godfrey, at Daisy Roots Nursery in Hertfordshire.

Cut flower seeds to sow in April

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favourite cut flowers; these beautiful, easy to grow flowers, don’t require any cosseting.  You can sow these flowers from seed this month, directly where they are to flower, so there’s no messing about with potting seedlings on, and no need for a greenhouse or any special kit or equipment.

The beautiful flowers in this article’s cover photograph are from The Great British Florist, these flowers were photographed on the 19th January 2017.

I love flowers!  I cut flowers, stems, and seed heads, and gather pinecones, leaves, and all manner of natural materials from my garden and allotment, to bring indoors all through the year.  Seasonal flowers brighten my home, and bring cheer to my day. 

Snowdrops are often offered for sale ‘in the green’, where the snowdrops are still flowering, or the flowers are just going over, but the leaves are still fresh and green.

It’s really important to buy quality snowdrops from reputable suppliers, firstly to ensure that you receive the snowdrop variety that you’ve purchased, and secondly to ensure that you aren’t buying bulbs that have been taken from the wild.  

I so enjoy using my Felco model No. 12 Compact Deluxe secateurs.  Felco is a premium brand of secateurs, I aspired to own a pair of Felco secateurs, for many, many years before I finally got my own pair of secateurs.

My hands are very small, I require a small size of gloves, and even these small sized gloves can at times be a little too large.  

Growing Sweet Peas

For me, sweet peas are one of the real joys of summer.  The sweet pea’s frilly flowers have a powerful yet serene fragrance, which gently envelops the garden in its loveliness.  The scent of sweet peas can fill your home too; they’re very floriferous plants that produce excellent cut flowers.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are very accommodating – you can sow their seeds in September, though better still sow in late October, and at any time up until March, or even April at a push.  

Though I didn’t find 2016 to be a particularly successful year for growing Sweet Peas – the plants grown for my 2016 Sweet Pea Trial didn’t produce as many flowers as I had hoped, my love of Sweet Peas has not diminished in strength.  I love Sweet Peas.  I highly recommend that you experience growing these magnificent annual flowers.

The Sweet Peas I have grown for the 2016 Sweet Pea Trial, are also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus.  

Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.  This World Garden was built by Surrey Hills Landscaping and sponsored by Journey Latin America.  The RHS judges awarded the Inca Garden a Silver Medal.

The Festival of Roses Marquee at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

One of my favourite features of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, is The Festival of Roses Marquee.  This marquee features the latest rose introductions, many of which are launched at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, alongside modern roses, historic roses, and old, much loved favourite roses.