All muck and magic

By Sheila Johnson

So that's it for another year. Once again, Chelsea Flower Show has been and gone in a whirl of floral extravaganza. The theatre that is the grounds of the Royal Hospital for six days has now returned to peace and quiet and the Chelsea Pensioners can have their garden back to themselves until next May!

If you were lucky enough to make a visit this year or you have been armchair viewing from the comfort of your own home you will have seen that there are some new "must haves" on this seasons plant shopping list and some old favourites that pop up year in and year out. Foxgloves are the plant that every garden designer uses for colour and gapping up and they will never go out of fashion. It's great plant for this time of the year and it is very tolerant of whatever the weather can throw at it. But how about some new ideas for your garden, perhaps old varieties that have been "rediscovered" or new varieties that the plant breeders have introduced this year. Have a look at Anchusa Lodden Blue. It's a plant that has been around forever but rarely seen and should be used more in the border. About 16 inches high and smothered in  the brightest blue button flowers you could possibly imagine. I predict a great comeback for this little gem. Or if you are looking to be at the cutting edge of horticulture why not look for the new yellow hellebore. Now, I approached this plant with trepidation. Hellebores in the Muck and Magic garden are purples and greens and creams with dappled spots. A work of art that shouldn't be tampered with should it? Would a yellow hellebore stand up to scrutiny? Yes, I think "Yellow Hammer" and "Yellow Double" from the Ashwood Evoluntion group  will be planted as a novelty but only time will tell if the gardening public really take them to their hearts. Outside the marquee amongst the displays  gardens there has been a shift back to "proper planting" rather than the over imaginative, rather wacky, conceptual nonsense that we have been told we should like! No rusty metal in the muck and magic garden, thank you! So, as we bid farewell to Chelsea for another year what would be my highlights? Top of the list of would be the Japanese Garden. It's always beautiful but this year Mr Ishihara excelled himself with his use of red and green maples, pools and immaculate moss work. Now that's what I call a garden!


The next Muck and Magic Garden Club meeting will be held on Monday June 11th at Ebenezer Church Hall, Columbus Ravine, Scarborough. beginning at 7pm our speaker will be John Foxton who was previously Head Garden at Castle Howard. He will be telling us how to get the best from our soft fruit and it promises to be a very good evening. The 2018 Muck and Magic Gardens competition has also been launched. This is open to anyone who loves their garden. We are not looking for "Chelsea"just people who love their own patch of paradise. For more details of Muck and Magic events and activities go to the website at, find us on Facebook or e mail

Happy Gardening!