Gorgeous blaze of flowers, Woking, UK

Gorgeous blaze of flowers, Woking, UK
It was a blaze of flowers when I was in the UK in June, visiting my son and family who live there. I would go for my daily morning walk for an hour, waving out to my son as he worked from the house, since I was visiting.

“ Don’t forget to take your camera Mum,” he would say, knowing my penchant for pictures and flowers and the stories I spun out of them being a journalist. “ And collect some bars of sugar free chocolate if you walk down to Sainsburys. He knew his mother too well!

Out the door turn right and along huge open fields I walked, and waved out to the council worker who was riding his huge mower across the open fields. Wonderful how particular the Brits are about keeping their open spaces, even though it was so close to the city of London. Every year when I return the place is exactly how I left it. Green and clean and full of flowers.

As I walked along, the lovely yellow roses blooming in an arch over one of the houses was already looking pretty. While in the house next door without a front wall, I had seen a little old lady get down on her knees and plant in some English Lavender, two years ago, which had now turned into lovely large bushes, already full of flowers.

Last year I was there when my sons lavender had died and dried in the winter and I dead headed and cut it back. All the lovely smelling heads of lavender I saved and brought home to put between my clothes and my linen. How my Mum would have loved the real lavender,as she absolutely enjoyed the lavender talc I would bring her on my trips. The real lavender is so different from the chemical smells.

What I truly enjoyed was learning about the new flowers around especially the local British ones. Wanted to learn them to plant only the best in my son’s garden. A few doors away a house intriguingly named ‘Jalna’ had a huge bush of blue flowers falling over the front low wall. These scented blue flowers just dazzled me on my daily walks and was told they are Ceanothus 'Puget Blue' or Californian lilac. Had to be careful sticking my nose in to breathe their scent as the bees just love them. The whole shrub was buzzing with hundreds of bees everyday. The abundant blue flowers literally obscure the foliage and luckily deer and rabbits do not like to eat it. But it is a magnet for humming- birds, butterflies and bees, as I saw.

Hypericum St John's wort known, also as rose of Sharon was another gorgeous bush I saw literally everywhere.The bush was covered with glorious golden yellow flowers and could be found even on the streets. My son’s neighbour said,” It's a thug, taken over my raised beds, killed off so many other plants I had,” he said. “ You need to keep them under tight control or they will take over the garden.”

Yet just a few doors away another neighbour said, “ These are delightful plants to have in your garden, bright and colorful and easy-care. However, an annual pruning is necessary to keep the St. John’s wort nicely shaped and full of summer flowers. It also helps keep the plant in check overall, as it can be prone to getting out of control in some places.”

Of course he said that cutting back St. John’s Wort increases flowering because every place you make a cut will branch into two stems. Each of those stem tips will develop a separate blossom cluster. Talk to an experienced gardener and one can get all the tips one needs in a new country, especially in the UK. They take their gardening very seriously.

While coming home from the station one day, my nose was assailed by a delightful scent of roses. Looking left I was shocked to see that one house had its entire front hedge of roses. It5 was a variety called the Virginia wild rose according to the RHS Wisley. Full of roses in all different stages and all a simply gorgeous deep pink. Single petalled the roses were not as lovely as some of the David Austin rose varieties I had salivated over in the nurseries. But, as a hedge it was simply stunning.

I love the UK and could easily live there, only for the gardening. But then everything grows even in Tennessee -- difficult choices to be made!

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