My garden this weekend – 8/12/13


It has been a delightful weekend, with temperatures reaching 10C, mild for the time of year and the sun shining in a clear blue sky.

Sadly this idyllic gardening weather was tainted by one of my neighbours, who despite having a handkerchief of a garden, seems to possess and use every sort of petrol driven tool you can think of – this weekend it was the leafblower!  I have incredibly sensitive hearing which hones on to distant noises rather than noises nearer and drives me mad so I retreated to the front garden and cut back the perennials.  This was a long overdue job so I was quite pleased to have put the front garden to bed, so to speak, for the winter.


Next up was a tidy up of the greenhouse.  I had put all the plants I want to overwinter in the greenhouse a few weeks, possibly even a month, ago but it was in chaos and needed a good sort out.  I also wanted to put some new gravel in the gravel trays as I find this makes a huge difference to the watering needed.  A half-hearted effort of cleaning the glass was made with me washing the panes from the waist up inside and out – sometimes I pull all the staging out and do it properly but the afternoon was already advancing.


I am rather pleased with the succulent collection I have accumulated over the last couple of years.  There are more hiding out the winter in the garage but these are the most tender and live in the greenhouse for the winter which is kept frost-free.

Iris unguicularis Walter Butt

Iris unguicularis Walter Butt

Wandering up the garden I was thrilled to discover this Iris unguicularis ‘Water Butt’ flowering in the conifer border.  It was only planted out a month or so ago and I have to admit that the rhizomes which arrived in the green from Avon Bulbs did sit for rather too long waiting to be planted.  Such as wonderful iridescent blue although sadly no fragrance which apparently it should have.


This morning I cracked on as the sun was shining and it was nice and quiet.  For a while I have been thinking about moving an Azalea and Rhododendron to the top slope where there is a gap crying out for some evergreen shrubs.  Both plants have been struggling at the back of the large woodland border where I think it is rather too dry for them and they are in competition  with other larger shrubs for the moisture. I added a whole bag of ericaceous compost although the soil in the garden is generally acidic enough for these plants. Fingers crossed the shrubs will establish and start to thrive but I think I will have to keep a close eye on them especially moisture  wise.


I still had  some energy so I started tidying up the Bog Garden.  I said a while ago that the bog garden isn’t working since the old liner isn’t retaining enough moisture.  I am going to remove the ligularia which has struggled for a few years and a few other moisture loving plants which also look a little sad.  I am currently contemplating planting two camellias I have in this bed – one is in a pot on the patio and is doing well but is outgrowing its pot and is awkward to protect from low temperatures; the other is on the top slope but the fatsia that was planted near it at the same time is taking most of the moisture   so the camellia is Ok but not flowering.  I think that by moving them to the old bog garden they will do better but I need to do a little research first.

This afternoon saw the power  mad neighbour back to his old tricks plus I had worn myself out earlier so I sowed some narcissus and allium seeds and put my feet up with a seed catalogue.

9 Comments on “My garden this weekend – 8/12/13

  1. I so enjoyed this. We (or rather my husband) have been talking about a green house for quite some time, but alas has never gotten around to buy one. How big is your green house and how easy is it to maintain? What do you use a heat source?

    • Hi V
      My greenhouse is 6 x 4 so tiny and I wish it was much bigger as I use it all year round. I am lucky as it has electricity run to it, ones of the benefits of it being near the house so I can have an electric heater which is in a thermostat and keeps it frost free. I also use a electric propagation and heated tray for cuttings etc. I find it easy to maintain.

  2. There’s that iris again – have you seen Pauline’s post – but why has it been named ‘Water Butt’?! And what is the first photo? I watched someone using a leaf blower when I was walking through an estate a week or two ago and didn’t really see the point anyway – surely brushes and rakes are much lighter and more manouevreable? Each to their own, but sorry you have been disturbed. Well done for getting stuck into your tidying up – much easier to do with this lovely w/e we have had 😉

    • Hi Cathy
      Arh has Pauline got the same iris, excellent. I will have to ask Avon bulbs why it is called Walter Butt, I wonder who he was.
      The top flower is a chrysanthemum, from Sarah Raven,but I can’t remember which one, they are flowering strongly

    • haha – I read it as Water Butt! 🙂 And good to have anything flowering strongly just now!

  3. Hi Helen – Please – please plant some peonies for me as too warm for them in Auckland and I LOVE them! I have heard of people putting ice blocks on them in winter but why bother when you can buy gorgeous ones from the South Island. In exchange I will grow aeoliums (spelling?) for you. I am sad to say yours are a bit pathetic and straggly! The ones in my garden are up to a metre high with 40 large – 10centimetre flowers on – and a dark glossy maroon/black/purple! even the ones I cut off and bunged in the pathetic hard clay in June are zooming along! Some things are just not worth struggling with in the wrong conditions!! Here ends the lesson! Our temps around 24 degrees, had lots of rain during the last 7 days – much needed – but still warm.Pool usually 26/28 degrees. Moving out 17th until 1st April – boo hoo- tho’ daughters either in beautiful NZ bush in Titirangi – Auckland – to lovely beach situations.

  4. I will now have to go and sniff my Walter Butt to see if he has any perfume! Sweeping up leaves can be a problem for some people, we have a garden vac but usually end up sweeping all the leaves we get, I keep telling myself its good for the waistline!

  5. Lovely pictures as always, Helen, and your greenhouse looks lovely. Like another person who’s commented above, I yearn to have a little space like that too. But the succulents you’ve got in it are huge! I’m sure Yvonne’s right about the aeoniums, but they look pretty good to me (for Britain!)

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