My Garden This Weekend – 22nd March 2015

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The spring equinox has brought a weekend of heavenly gardening weather.  The sun has shone and there was a light breeze which wafted the big lumbering bumble bees around.  The scent from the hyacinths which are planted just at the top of the first flight of steps is absolutely wonderful.

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It is amazing how much the plants have come on in the last week.   I have two camellias both of them bought from the bargain section of a garden centre.  This one is stunning, covered in flowers and seems to be thriving since it was moved to the old Bog Border.  The other camellia which is planted next to it has two flowers and the leaves are still sad and chloroitic in appearance.  I think it is due to be removed as I have struggled with it for years.

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The main area of my focus this weekend was at the top of the garden which has been sadly neglected.  I have struggled with this area ever since it was created.  The soil can get dry and it is quite a sunny site, probably more so now that the adjacent trees have been loped.  I find that I need an idea/theme, call it what you will, to get my head around planting a border and this just hasn’t happened with the top of the garden.  Last weekend I weeded the border and realised that it wasn’t actually too bad.  The three bamboos are fairly well established now.  There is also  a fig tree which I had started to grow against a fence but decided to move up here and let it grow more naturally rather than train it. Today I added two evergreen shrubs which I hope will bulk up and add substance to the border as well as mask the fence when you look up the garden.  The white flowered shrub that you can see (apologies for the quality of the photo but my camera has broken again and I was struggling with my son’s camera) is Vibrunum tinus ‘Eve Prince’ and right at the end is an Elaeagnus x ebbingei which I am hoping will cope well with the dryish conditions.  I have also added a Lathyrus vernus and Nepeta Giant Six Hills’ which should work well with the already established Geraniums palmatums. Less obvious from the above photo is the work I have done on the other side of the path.  This is part of the slope that goes behind the workshop and was a mass of weeds last week.  I have dug it over and added garden compost and green waste to break up the clay.  Then I planted out a collection of plants which had been living on the patio for far too long.  I think I might call this the waifs and strays border as they are all plants that I didn’t know where to plant for one reason or another.  There are a couple of hydrangeas, a miscanthus, a mahonia, and an agapanthus as well as some small shrublets.  Who knows they might all establish and gel together but at least they are in the ground and have a chance now rather than languishing in pots on the patio.

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Elsewhere in the garden the first Epimediums are starting to flower.  They really are impossibly difficult to photograph.  This one is  the first I acquired some years back, the label long lost.  I now have 11 or 12 different ones and I was thrilled to see flower buds appearing on last year’s acquisitions including Egret which I had been warned could be hard to establish.  I also spotted the fat snouts of hostas beginning to push through the soil, the first fern croziers and the fresh young foliage of geraniums.

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Looking at the garden there is plenty of colour from the fresh green shoots and spring flowers but it is so hard to catch.  I especially like the way the low spring sunshine lights up the garden. I did some weeding and sorting of the Big Border rescuing two geraniums and an aster which had been engulfed by the Euphorbia characias ‘White Swan’ which seems to want to grow a foot across from where I intended it to grow.  Having replanted the rescued plants and moved a couple of grasses which were planted poorly last year this border has moved into the ‘watching brief’ category by which I mean that I have no plans to add to the planting, aside from some annuals, and I want to see how the plants develop and whether I have gaps or have planted too closely.  I feel as though I have got the majority of the back garden to this point now which is very satisfying and allows me time to focus on propagation and  day to day maintenance which will help me achieve the garden that lives in my head.

 

 

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. Bill C. says:

    I am jealous! We still have a good foot of snow on the ground and freezing temps here in NH. Your post makes me look forward to spring here!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Bill
      I don’t envy you at all, I struggle when we have a dusting of snow. Hopefully your snow will clear soon

  2. Your images are so gorgeous, such a wonderful bit of beautiful to share on this cold dreary day here in early spring…You have such an amazing garden, it has to make you feel pretty wonderful to even just think about it.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      You are kind Charlie

  3. Looking good Helen. With regards to your ‘waifs and strays’ border,it reminded me of a visit to a rather grand garden a few years ago…..the equally grand owner called her border ‘the dog’s breakfast’!
    I bought E.’Egret’ from Keith Whiley at a talk last year.It was settling in nicely until one of my hens decided to try and dig it out! I hope it will recover,and the hens are now banished .

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      I bought mine from Julian Sutton. Apparently you need to plant them deepish so the root ball doesn’t dry out in first year

  4. Diana Studer says:

    I like that you are starting to see the garden that lives in your head!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      Yes it’s coming together, but then I always love spring, it’s late summer I struggle with

  5. Good to hear you feel you are making progress towards your imagined garden!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Rachel

  6. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – Still warm here and shorts most days but a bit of an autumn nip in the air. still swimmin tho’! We have problems here with bamboo if not the clumping type. Goes rampant. Lovely plant otherwise and there a re some huge ones that make great wind shelter belts in the North Island. They creak and squeek and are quite noisy. We use the small ones for stakes in the garden and last several years. Enjoy your bulbs. I have quite a few poking up and garden shops have bulbs on sale but really too warm to plant here yet, better to wait another month. Have 10 big bags of coffee grounds to put around plants. One clay bank is definitely more friable and not ‘concrete clay’ now!

  7. What beautiful, delicate colour and form to your epimedium. I think that the golden tones of the low spring sunshine definitely enhances the spring colours.

  8. Anna says:

    It has been indeed a fantastic weekend for gardening Helen – just the perfect temperature for me. Glad to hear that your epimedium ‘Egret’ seems to be happy. Sympathies with your camera woes. Mine seems to be very unhappy at the moment as it refuses to turn on.

  9. rusty duck says:

    Your hard work shows Helen.
    Epimedium already! I have the same one I think, but no sign of flowers yet. It’s in quite deep shade, perhaps that’s why.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica

      This epimedium always flowers first. It is in partial shade and is a well established plant. The others have buds which I hope will be flowering by the weekend if we have some sunshine

  10. Re late summer. I suggest either visiting a garden centre once a week in August and buying one plant i flower each rime. Alternatively, visit as many gardens as you can during your ‘difficult’ period, and see what they have providing interest. There should be some Yellow Book gardens in your area.

  11. Silly me! I bought my E. Egret from Julian Sutton too ,not KW.They were both speaking and selling at the Spring Gala that I went to.I bought so many things ….

  12. Cathy says:

    These big bumble bees certainly do lumber about – lovely to see them 🙂 Your camellia is gorgeous – and still little, so even more potential for the future. Interesting to see the ‘top end’ of your garden – there are areas here I very rarely show and usually for good reason! Well done on planting out your waifs and strays as that is definitely a job well done! The pale yellow epimedium is very pretty – which one is that, do you know?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      I think it is grandiflorum but then I looked it up and I wasnt so sure. It is a very run of the mill one that I have had for years.

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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