Spong - is that you?
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
14h ago
There is a golden rule, if you are after a certain plant and you find certain plant, buy it when you see it.  If you do not then you will regret it: usually immediately you have left the vicinity far enough from when there was a chance you could have nipped back and rectifed this error. One such regret was the Rose Spong.  I first heard of this delightfully named rose from a tweet by Roses UK, the British Association of Rose Breeders.  Now a rose is rose by any other name, but come on, how can you not want to grow a rose called Spong?    This is an old rose introduce ..read more
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Plant Review: Mangave Mad about Mangave Praying Hands
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
4d ago
RHS Chelsea Flower Show seems a long time ago now, but whilst there I saw the Mangave Mad about Mangave ® 'Praying Hands' PBR (short snappy title) and immediately fell in love with it.  and I did something I do not routinely do, I rather cheekily asked Thompson and Morgan if I could have one to review.  Delightfully they said yes and plant arrived quickly.  I have not paid for this plant nor have I been paid to write this review.  My words and opinions are my own. The plant I received is smaller than the one that was in the running for the RHS Plant of the Year Award 20 ..read more
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A rose called ginger
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
1w ago
Earlier this year my dearest ginger cat Bruce made his final journey  It was time for him to take his rest.  He was a fabulous cat and I still miss him.  I decided I would plant a rose in his honour and so the search for the right rose began. My first thought, fairly obviously, was 'is there a rose called Bruce'.  You would think there is one, and maybe there is but I could not find one available in the UK.  This was disappointing.  I then started to search by Bruce's formal title 'His Gingerness', this had more luck and I quickly found a rose called 'Ginger Syll ..read more
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Sweetpeas at Easton Walled Gardens
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
1w ago
Hurrah it is sweetpea time again, always a joy.  I was thinking of where to go and spend an afternoon with a friend and suddenly Easton Walled Gardens sprang to mind.  This is always a favourite garden and definitely the top of the pops for sweetpeas.   It was a bit cloudy, but it was warm enough when I visited.  The main reason for the visit was to see the sweetpeas, so we headed for them first. Except I was immediately distracted by this wonderful succulent display. I want this one, I really want this one. I eventually did reach the sweetpeas and it was worth it ..read more
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Tree Following July 2024 - Oh
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
2w ago
 Oh, oh dear.  Oh dear oh dear oh dear.  The quest for a quince this year is not going well. This is Quince Minor, whom, when I went to go and check, has no quincelets remaining.  None, not a sausage (or a quince), zilch.  I was in disbelief when I realised this.  Not one has survived and I really cannot understand why.  There has been no late frost and plenty of rain.  Have they drowned!!  Thanksfully late blossoms have now appeared on Quince Minor so I am not totally without hope In June I said that Quince Major had dropped all his quincelets, bu ..read more
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End of Month Review June 2024
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
2w ago
No, no, I refuse to believe that the end of June has been and gone already.  This year has been ridiculously fast which means, of course, I am now getting rather old.  Years spin faster the older you get as you have seen them before and the fraction that they make of your life gets smaller every year.  Yes dear reader, maths can be cruel. Wow that was a bit of a plunge into the depths.  So let us talk about June.  Well there has been rain and it has been warm, I mean really warm, when it has not been a bit chilly.  Dear Reader, I show you the front garden because ..read more
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Rose of the Year 2025 - You're My Everything
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
3w ago
Yes I do mean 2025 as the announcement is always made the year before the actual year.  This is for very practical reasons so that the nurseries can build up enough stock of the rose.  This rose, I believe will be available from this autumn But I am a lucky person, not only do I get invited to the launch but I get given one of the roses.  Over the last few years I have been attending I have not been given a bad rose yet so I have no doubts that this year's rose will be an equal winner.   This year we returned to Iford Manor, a garden I have visited a couple of times a ..read more
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An abundance at Sezincote
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
3w ago
I think abundance is the right term for Sezincote, this is a house and garden of glorious abundance.  I first visited way back in 2012.  I teased I would write about it, and I did, but not on this blog but for ThinkinGardens; so now twelve years later I make up for this diversion.   It is that time of year when I attend the Garden Museum's Literary Festival which is always a joy.  This year I admit to not being totally in the right headspace for the weekend, but as ever the time away pushed me into a better mind and reset much of my balance. As ever I am not going to ..read more
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The Catalpa
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
1M ago
I am not exactly certain when I bought my Catalpa aurea tree, but it is more than twenty years ago as for several years it lived in a container in the front garden of where I last lived in Nottingham.  This tree was released into this garden as one of its foundational plants. It has grown well and whilst it is always one of the last of my trees to leaf-up, it’s always worth the wait.   Look at how beautifully it grows.  The dark, purply new leaves that open up like a newly emerged butterfly's wings unfurling into glorious golden yellow. There I was the other evening, doin ..read more
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Book Review - This Allotment edited by Sarah Rigby
The Blackberry Garden
by Alison Levey
1M ago
This Allotment: stories of growing, eating and nurturing - edited by Sarah Rigby is an anthology of essays written around themes of allotment owning and growing.  I was aware of this book when it was being created as one of  the contributers is my friend Sara Venn.  I was therefore delighted when I was asked if I wanted to review the book. I have not paid for this book, nor have I been paid to write this review.  My words and opinions are entirely my own. The twelve essays that make up this book are all different, they have different styles and approaches but the allotment ..read more
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