THE JEWEL GARDEN WAS TO BE MY 50th BIRTHDAY PRESENT

The Jewel Garden was to have been my fiftyith birthday present to myself. But next month I will be fifty five and it has slowly dropped right off my schedule of future projects.

Steps with blue pots

However the blue pots on the steps behind the backdoor of the living-room – right next to the new greenhouse – were a conscious tribute to the original vision, partly because Monty Don writing about his Jewel Garden reminded me of my own abandoned project.

Blue pot

In their first season I planted the pots with my favourite deep blue petunias, dark lilac and white primroses and red poppies. As always with winter annuals, they have taken their time… and poppies really ought to be massed.

Poppy detail

Still – even on their own they are ravishing. And even if getting them and the other flowers into focus in a tight frame in the wind and poor light of this bleakly wintery day took some contorting and compromise. And in the process of turning the pot to get greater distance from the composition, I knocked the rather tired poppy… and shattered it.

Jewel Garden - at last

The eternal optimist, I scattered the petals where all would be in focus – and behold: the Jewel Garden!

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