My Garden This Weekend – 28/4/13


I have to say that I am incredibly chuffed with how much I have done in the garden this weekend.  I know I might sound to be gloating but as I was feeling a little under the weather at the end of week plus I have been home alone I didn’t really expect to achieve much.

After my sterling efforts the week before when I painted the back fence in the evenings I was a little disappointed that I haven’t had the energy to do as much after work this last week but then I have also had to work late a couple of days and that always knocks me for six.  I have pottered a lot and spent one evening clearing the staging at the sunny end of the patio.  I have used it over the winter to store lots of random pots of plants that I hadn’t had time to plant out or I wanted to grow on.  It’s a convenient space for covering with fleece when it’s very cold.  However, with the weather warming up I wanted to start moving things out of the cold frames and greenhouse so I went through all the pots, throwing the ones that had died, luckily not too many, tidying and weeding the others and storing them at the shady end of the patio.  Then I arranged my collection of hardy succulents and auriculas on the staging (top photo).  I have potted a number of these up as I am hoping to enter them into a competition in a couple of weeks, if I don’t lose my nerve first. The only other thing I managed during the week was to prick out some seedlings.


I have to say that I am really pleased with the garden at the moment.  Of course there are areas that need work particularly with the two projects we have on the go but the woodland border is full of spring colour.  I have tried to get a photograph to really show it at its best but the trouble is everything is so small that I end up with a photo of colourful dots.  You will have to take my word that there are anemones, epimedium, snowflakes, miniature narcissus, primula, pulmonaria and erythroniums all flowering in this area.


The badger damage in the border above is no longer apparent and next year I am going to add more narcissus.  I was thinking of some smaller ones to go in front of the Narcisssus ‘Geranium’ to hide their legs if you know what I mean.  The Prunus incisa ‘kojo-no-mai’ is looking wonderful but it is about to be overshadowed by the Amelanchier canadensis and the  Prunus I inherited with the house (photos below).  Their blossoms are just opening and if you sit quietly in the garden, which unbelievably I have done this weekend, all you can hear is the buzzing of pollinators as they go about their business.

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I have spent the weekend working on the front garden but I will show you the fruits of my labour in the End of Month View post.  I also went to the local Hardy Plant Society meeting and really enjoyed the discussion, led by Bob Brown, which ranged from the identity of different narcissus, the care of primulas and auriculas, various shrubs that were good at this time of year.  The discussion results from the various plants and stems that members bring in and it was as lively as ever with heated debates about the why someones anemones were hardly flowering, why someone couldn’t grow Lathyrus and ended up with a discussion about the growing conditions needed for Trilliums. I am so glad I found this group. I didn’t stay for the afternoon talk which was by Tom Hart Dyke as I was feeling quite unwell but I am glad to say I am now on the mend, thanks to working in the garden, being kind to myself and lots of fresh air.

Oh I forgot I chopped my Mahonia Media x Charity down to 6″, it took some courage but I want the shrub to have more than one stem so fingers crossed it will reshoot soon. It was so truamatic I have obviously blocked it from my mind!!


22 Comments Add yours

  1. Well pleased you should be! All is in order for a glorious growing season!

  2. VP says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell and I hope you’re feeling better. If you get the chance to hear Tom Hart Dyke another time, do – he’s extremely enthusiastic 🙂

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi VP
      It was his enthusiasm that made me decide to go home, had a headache!!!

  3. I hope you are feeling a little better now Helen. I see you have some of the lovely deep wine coloured hellebores just like the ones I took a fancy to at Great Dixter. They are on my ‘must have’ list.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Ronnie
      My hellebores are all from Ashwoods over a number of years. The one in the photo isnt the red one at Great Dixter which is Anna’s Red if that is what you are thinking, but it is a wonderful magenta and fades to a pale pink

  4. Cathy says:

    Hope your gardening satisfaction will give you a boost in every possible way, Helen – and well done for making time to sit and quietly enjoy the garden. Your woodland border is looking really good -and will continue to look good in different ways throughout the year. Are the erythroniums easy to grow? It’s something I haven’t got yet but have wondered about. Glad you are enjoying the Hardy Plant Society and meeting with like minded people – are you making any new friendships there?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      I find erythroniums fairly easy. I would star with Erythronium Pagoda as it is very easy in a shady border, not dry shade though

    2. Cathy says:

      Thanks Helen – my woodland edge border should be OK for them then

  5. Anna says:

    Hope that you are feeling brighter Helen and that you do not have to work as long hours this week. Your HPS group sounds as if it’s a lively and stimulating learning environment. I missed a talk by Tom Hart Dyke recently too – he was the guest speaker at the Cheshire HPS 25th anniversary but it clashed with our big do at the allotment 😦

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      Unfortunately I have another later night at work tomorrow but an AGS meeting later in the week to look forward to 🙂

  6. Pauline says:

    So glad that your garden refreshed you, your woodland border is looking lovely, my favourite sort of gardening. Amelanchier and Prunus Kojo no mai are such pretty trees at this time of year and in the autumn too. It’s good that you are enjoying the Hardy Plant Society, I enjoy going to the one in Devon when I can, talking to like minded people can be so inspiring.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Pauline
      You are right both the Prunus and Amelanchier have good autumn colour, I try to choose trees and shrubs with more than one season of interest as I have a small garden and they need to earn their place

  7. Hannah says:

    I take your word for it that the flowers are blooming!

  8. When I am really tired and feel exhausted I go to the garden to sit on the swing. I find that with a little bit of time I have picked a weed here or there to tidy it up and find that a couple of hours later when I am deep in to a task that it is pretty amazing…being in the garden. Somehow you feed on its energy. Thank you for sharing the walk through your garden today.

  9. Love that picture of the flowering cherry just opening! Your garden is looking great, and it sounds like you had a very productive weekend, despite not feeling the best recently.

    1. janegerow says:

      Garden looks terrific!

  10. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Looking good. Took my first load of ‘stuff’ to my new home in Whangapararoa yesterday. My daughters mother-in-law came with me. she and her husband have just had a week up here in Omaha and found it very warm – not enough summer clothes! They are from Christchurch. My landlady is very enthusiastic about what we are going to be doing in the garden, harvesting apples etc also. Joy thought the apartment is very posh – yes it is and I am getting excited about putting some of my own things in it. Bigger than I remembered. Can look it up on the B&B website – name ‘Sheep and Shag’ I will have to continue my swimming as there is a 20metre solar pool! Resort living!! Our water tanks at Omaha are nearly full so no more 30 sec showers! Hope you have a lovely spring, your garden is looking pretty!

  11. Jamie says:

    Everything looks so good, Helen. You have every right to feel pleased. Naturally enough, I love your hardy succulent pots the best, but the whole garden looks like a health resort for plants right now. Well done.

  12. Janneke says:

    You can be very satisfied with your garden, your woodland border looks lovely. Nice to be a member of the HPS, they can provide us a lot of information not only for new gardeners but also the experienced. For instance, I have good soil and conditions for Trilliums but until now I have not been successful with this plant. Grrr. Do not work too hard and take time to enjoy your garden.

  13. Angie says:

    Your hellebore bed is looking marvelous. Isn’t it great to hear the hum and buzz of the bees – I’ve been enjoying it myself this weekend. Sorry to read you have been feeling unwell, hopefully you will be back in fine fettle soon enough!
    I like the sound of your HPS Group. I’d love to join a group like this but my working hours don’t allow! I like how you have displayed your semps – you really should enter. As soon as you do, you will wonder what you were worrying about 🙂
    That prunus really stands out – I like that but often walk past it in the GCs.

  14. Love your woodland border – glad you are feeling better, I used a spot of weeding yesterday to boost spirits as I was feeling manky, works wonders. The HPS sounds wonderful, what a find, I wonder if there is a group here on the Island. As to the mahonia, I sympathise, having just done the same thing, I am obsessively checking for new growth every time I walk past, nothing yet, but fingers crossed we will both reap the reward of bushy strong shrubs!

  15. Helen I really love how your garden is blooming…I have tried garden chores after 10 hours of work and it is rare I have any energy….I enjoy hearing about all the talks you attend…i need to consider joining in more and attending some when I retire…

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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