My garden this weekend – 23rd March 2014


The weather this weekend has been more than changeable.  One moment brilliant sunshine, *as you can see, the next grey and hail stones.  The constant theme has been a cold and biting wind.  In some ways this didn’t matter yesterday as I spent the day at the Hardy Plant Society AGM held at Pershore College.  The local group I belong to was hosting the event so I spent some time handing out badges which I enjoy as you get to meet people and its a good way to break the ice.


There were a number of nurseries selling plants including Julian Sutton of Desirable Plants.  He is an Epimedium nut, which I also seem to be becoming, and had some wonderful specimens for sale including Epimedium Egret (above) which I just had to buy.  Two other epimediums went in my bag along with Soldanella and an Amenone lipsiensis.  Julian gave the morning’s talk entitled The Botanical Garden which I really enjoyed as he talked about how particular plants fascinated him and why.  He argued that the Botanical Gardener takes more of an interest in the plants they grow than how tall they are or what colour the flower etc, which mirrors how I feel  about plants. The AGM followed lunch with talk about how the Society can increase membership etc – seems to be a theme amongst the various groups I involved with.  The afternoon talk was by the head gardener at Aberglasney in which he highlighted changes he intends to make to the garden.  Apparently there is a new woodland garden which looked fab in the photographs so I think I might make a visit later in the year to see how much it has changed since I last visited.


Due to the intermittent rain my plans for today were limited but I did succeed in planting the Edgeworthia chrysantha in the patio border and also dividing the snowdrops and spreading them down towards the greenhouse.  I think I can now leave this border be for a while.


2014_03230008In the garden you can tell we have passed the Spring equinox and there are emerging shoots everywhere.  The moments of sunshine really lit up the spring flowers especially these Epimediums – an early acquisition so the label is long-lost and any ideas on the variety would be helpful.

The Cottage Border is filling out but I want to add a bay standard half way down and also another Delphinium which are loitering on the patio waiting for a home.  Then I think it is a case of filling in with hardy annuals later in the year and maybe some more geraniums and primulas.

I managed to plant another hellebore and fern at the far end but by this time the ground was too damp to do much else with so I spent another hour or so repotting various primulas and other alpines which I hope to show if they decide to flower at the right time.


So it has been a nice and gentle weekend.  I have done a lot of planning, reading and thinking and I think ideas for the Big Border are beginning to come together in my head at last so hopefully next weekend the weather might be kind enough to let me start putting them into action.

*The top photo is the view from my living room window which was well received earlier this week on Facebook.  I thought I would include this view on a regular basis but it goes without saying that there will often be reflections on the glass from the sun.

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick says:

    Difficult to tell, but as mine is just about to flower it could be Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orangekonigin’.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Rick
      Thanks, have looked it up and I think you are right.

  2. That’s a rather special looking Epimedium, your new plant. The other one which you say you’ve lost the label for could be warleyense. I liked the photo looking up the garden, it was a view I haven’t seen before.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Christine, it’s not a view I have showed before, it hasn’t occurred to me. Rick has come up with the same Epimedium name as you is I think that is it, thanks

  3. hillwards says:

    I love the light in your opening shot, making blossom and fresh new foliage glow like lanterns, quite splendid! And I love your new Epimedium. I have only one here, E. ‘Amber Queen’, which flowers later than most, but hope to collect a few more in time. I planted corms of Anemone lipsiensis a couple of autumns ago, but nothing has emerged to date – I hope that they are just taking their time, as I’ve heard that autumn-planted corms can…

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sara
      The light in the garden is often good although hard to photograph. I am thinking of putting some grasses in the Big Border which should pick up on the light too. I think Anemones are easier to establish if you plant them when in growth. It is a bit more expensive but it seems to work

  4. Lucky girl, what a lovely view to have. With a bathroom tacked on the back the only view I have of my garden us from my bedroom. Do you have a FB page?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Ronnie
      Thank you, I’m glad you like the view. I do have a FB page but I don’t use it much apart from to post the blog to and the odd picture. Its under my name rather than the blog name

  5. rusty duck says:

    I love that first picture. Having a sloping or terraced garden does make life more difficult in many respects, but that view shows just how good it can look when it’s done well.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD
      Thank you that is a real compliment especially as I know you garden on a slope too. It has taken some time to stop trying to impose a flat garden on it.

    2. rusty duck says:

      It is getting the relative heights right that I find so difficult. But it is so worth the persevering. A garden on a slope can have such impact!

  6. alison says:

    You certainly have a lovely view of the garden from the living room window and it’s one I’ve also not seen before. It demonstrates just how much all your ideas, plans and hard work have paid off.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      Thank you, I really feel the hard work is paying off this year.

  7. Judy Mooney says:

    Helen, I always enjoy your posts and photos. Your garden is full of wonderful surprises yet one the average gardener can relate to. Signed, your reader from Greenville, SC, USA

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Judy
      Thank you, I love that people in the US read the blog,makes the world seem smalle

  8. Pauline says:

    Wonderful to see your garden in the first photo, and doesn’t your blossom look beautiful backlit by the sunshine. All your plans are coming together showing the garden is well designed as a whole.

  9. The garden’s looking beautiful, I’m quite jealous of your Epimedium Egret too – that’s outrageously pretty

  10. Anna says:

    Very similar weather here too today Helen when that bitterly cold wind put an end to my plans to divide snowdrops. I’m not surprised that you just had to have epimedium ‘Egret’.

  11. Donna says:

    What a beautifully elegant white (like delicate lanterns) flower. I’ve always secretly admired your rustic looking fence too – it really draws the eye – makes it so much more interesting looking through it at the border and the garden beyond.

  12. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Looking pretty! I am a bit worried about the standard bay as they succor ?) so badly and grown huge! Are you going to have it in a pot? Indian summer here in auckland and still swimming! Was cold in Christchurch last week when I was down there for a cousin’s funeral and had duvet and mohair rug on at night. got back here and was throwing the duvet off!

  13. Alison says:

    That is a lovely view through your window! I love Epimediums too, they are such great plants.

  14. Had you mentioned purchasing an Edgeworthia chrysantha? If so I missed it. So glad you decided to get one!

  15. Your garden looks quite lovely in the first photograph, and wow how that epimedium resembles an egret! My workplace attracts them to the nearby lake so I’ve had first-hand experience in comparing the real thing. I must get myself the plant version soon. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  16. bittster says:

    You have really done a nice job with the view out your window. I would spend far too much time sitting there admiring things rather than getting anything done. I never realized the willow was so big!

  17. Dee Nash says:

    Thanks for that enjoyable journey. I felt like I was right there with you.~~dee

  18. Cathy says:

    You are the second person to remind me how pretty epimediums are recently – that Egret is indeed a stunner! And doesn’t your garden look spring like seeing it from your window like that? Your Cottage Border is filling up nicely and will be fantastic later in the year.

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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