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'A plague on all your houses'. To paraphrase Shakespeare we never expected the total shut down of horticulture, with all the gardens and nurseries closed.

Being mail order we have luckily escaped the worst of the effects. The only winners are our own gardens that have never had so much attention lavished on them. The wonderful spring and the glorious displays of the bulbs I planted last autumn have been a comforting bright spot in an otherwise sad situation.

Now is the time to think of next spring’s display. Inspired by some of the star performers this year I have added some new collections. Based on the blue and white of Chinese & Delft porcelain the new Pot No 7 flowered for weeks. It would also make a good combination to add to a border, just double the quantities. After the ubiquitous Tete a Tete N. Segovia must be one of Alec Gray, or rather his wife Flomay’s most successful miniatures. I always fill a pot with them plus grape hyacinths and blue anemones. Unlike many this grouping seems to be perennial provided the pot is watered after flowering and left in a cool spot through the summer. See pot no 2. As the garden is usually open for the Hospice I fill the borders with spring bulbs.

Last year I experimented with some unusual groupings which have been very successful and you can find these border collections on page30. Sadly the well known iris George has succumbed to a disease and is no longer grown however it has been replaced by the similar Purple Hill which seems equally perennial. Other name changes are the delightful Snow Baby which is now called Ice baby. (p.19). At the other end of the season we have added the double Triteleia Aquarius (p.24) which is a delight on our rock bank. Other new introductions are marked with a ★ . Hopefully by the time your bulbs flower all the conodramas will be firmly in the past but our gardens, even if only a window box, will continue to delight us come what may.

Stay well and keep gardening.

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