DAINTY DWARF DAFFODILS
Spring feels a long way away, but in gardening terms it is just around the corner, so now is the ideal time to plan a colourful display. I love to have lots of containers of bulbs but taller varieties may topple over or just take up too much space, so cluster together a selection of smaller, more compact varieties in pots or combine them with other seasonal interest.
Dwarf Narcissus Tête-à-tête is ubiquitous for good reason – it’s bright, floriferous and reliable, but there are lots of others to choose from. Sun Disc, Baby Boomer and Hawera are all scented yellow varieties, while Elke has pretty white trumpets.
The names of Minnow and Pipit attest to their small size and they have a pretty butter-and-eggs quality, while for something a bit bonkers, try Narcissus Rip Van Winkle, which has spiky petals.
Good online suppliers include crocus.co.uk; peternyssen.com; farmergracy.co.uk and dejager.co.uk
BOOK REVIEW: THE GARDEN OF VEGAN BY CLEVE WEST
This book is a poem to the society we live in. One where the gruesome is commonplace and the questionable becomes conventional, yet at the same time a place where great changes are taking place, new voices are being heard and new ideas are gaining traction.
In large part a memoir, garden designer Cleve West describes how he has embraced his inner activist, and rather boldly reveals both his humanity and his meandering route to enlightenment. From the child who went fishing to the designer building gardens for healing and to raise awareness of environmental issues, his journey of discovery awakened a burning passion to make the world a better and kinder place – and to carry on gardening in the right way.
Alongside gentle, funny anecdotes are discussions about health, nutrition, Extinction Rebellion and peat alternatives, and much more besides. Notable quotes add context, providing an additional window into Cleve’s philosophy. He is also famed for his onion bhajis and, on reflection, the recipe section should not be surprising.
If fear of being confronted with the uncompromising brutalities of intensive farming leaves you feeling a bit cautious about opening this book, be brave. The realities are indeed disturbing, but the information is valuable and the style is gentle and unassuming, leaving the reader illuminated, informed and thoughtful.
The Garden of Vegan, How Plants
Can Save the Animals, the Planet and Our Health by Cleve West, £20, Pimpernel Press
Naomi Slade’s Rip Van Winkle growing in the spring
Plant spring bulbs in pots