The team have been discussing the new website for so many weeks now that I'm still in shock that it's all finally happened...
Our aim is to offer you up-to-minute information, practical gardening advice, planting and design ideas, tips for the best gardens to visit and access to images and text that would normally hit the 'cutting room' floor when we couldn't fit it all in the magazine. In addition, we have an improved index where you can search for previously published content in the magazine, a gallery of gorgeous images (click here to view) and exclusive podcasts of interviews with the gardening greats.
The team and I will also be blogging to let you know what we've been up to.
Royal Horticultural Society's London Spring Show
Here's my first blog from the Royal Horticultural Society's London Spring Show.
After what's seemed like a long, hard winter, I'm even more enthusiastic about spring flowers than usual. I'm a big fan of the RHS London shows, and this year's spring show was as inspiring as ever. And with so many outstandingly good nurseries from around the country brought together in central London for two days, just think how much you're saving on your carbon foot print. So with notebook and camera at the ready, I planned my first blog as a way of sharing what plants caught my eye.
Both the Lindley and Lawrence Halls were open, but the displays in Lindley (see image below) were so lovely that I ended up spending most of my time there. I kick myself for not paying a visit to Crug Farm Plants stand, but have now renewed my promise to actually visit the nursery in North Wales this year.
My favourites from the show
The snowdrop displays, from Avon Bulbs, Broadleigh Bulbs and Foxgrove Plants were particularly good, lighting up the hall like hundreds of dinky little lightbulbs. I'm no snowdrop expert, but I did spot a snowdrop with very unusual markings that I'd not seen before called Galanthus 'Trymming' (below left). Wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) always make my heart skip a beat - they always seem so earnest and cheerful.
I love these Lathyrus vernus 'Dama Emily' (pictured left) from Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants (www.hardys-plants.co.uk), which are far more delicate looking that the straight L. vernus (pictured right).
Finally, Ashwoods nursery had their usual, irresistible display of hellebores. My favourites include H.x 'Briar Rose' and an particularly good inky-purple one that was unnamed.
These small RHS London Shows may not have the glitz or high profile of the flower shows at Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace, but they are well worth a visit. Stepping into the historic halls from a cold, grey London street, the charmingly put together displays lift the spirits no end, and my notebook was crammed with enough planting ideas to keep me going for a couple of years.
The RHS London Shows are held in the RHS Horticultural Halls on Greycoat Street and Vincent Square, London SW1. The nearest tube stations are Victoria, St James' Park and Pimlico.
Show dates for the rest of the year:
RHS London Orchid Show & Botanical Art Show: 20-21 March 2010
RHS London Greener Gardening Show: 6-7 April 2010
RHS London Autumn Harvest Show: 5-6 October 2010
RHS members get free entry, but the general public pay just £5 on the first day and £3 on the second day.
Blog by editor Juliet Roberts