Thoughts from the Garden – 8/1/2017

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At this time of year any time snatched in the garden is a welcomed treat.  Here in Malvern it has been mild but also very damp with heavy rain on Friday and rain again overnight on Saturday and most of this afternoon.

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I have a lot of tidying to do and I am prioritising those parts of the garden where the bulbs will be emerging over the next month or so.  I always start with the back slope as I have a lot of Galanthus nivalis planted here, so many that last year I had to divide them and spread some into the adjoining borders.  The slope has historically been very shady and so is planted with ferns and epimediums.  It’s quite amazing how much debris you can clear away from such a small area by the time you have collected up all the fallen leaves, weeded out various seedlings and cut back the dead fern fronds. Over the last year some Iris foetidissima have self-seeded here which I think I will be removing the next chance I have as I want to add another epimedium. It will be interesting to see how the removal of the boundary trees affects this border and whether my ferns will continue to thrive.

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The end of the slope just before the bench has really filled out over the last few years. The Fatsia japonica ‘Spiderweb’ seems to have settled in and has lots of new leaves.  The problem I have is how close it is to the fern, whose name I have lost as I was one of my first ferny acquisition, so I am thinking I might have to move the fern but I will think about it for a while.

img_9076 I also need to move this Adiantum which has been looking very unhappy for the last year.  Adjacent to it is Galanthus ‘Galatea’ which should be fully open in the next week if the sun shines.

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Also close to opening is Galanthus ‘Ding Dong’ which is growing in a drier border under the Field Maple.  I am really pleased with both of these as I took the decision a couple of years ago to risk my special snowdrops in the ground rather than keep them in pots and so far they have rewarded me with reappearing each year and beginning to bulk up.

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Due to the rain overnight this morning was very foggy with little sign of the Malvern Hills behind the house.  I was torn as yesterday I had finally bought an extra tree for the front garden and I wanted to plant it.  I have felt deep down for some years now that the front garden needed a third tree to balance the Silver Birch and Sorbus.  It really irritated me over Christmas so yesterday I popped down to the local plant nursery and bought a Sorbus pseudohepehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’.  I toyed with another Sorbus vilmorinii like I have in the back garden but it seemed daft to have two the same when there are so many lovely varieties to choose from. This morning, despite the fog I decided to get it planted as I was concerned that next weekend might be much colder and not so conducive to tree planting.  I also started weeding the front garden and mulching it.  It’s a big job as this is its first winter and there are lots of persistent weeds to deal with. I have some planting I want to do over the coming months so some preparation is needed.  Sadly I didn’t get far as the drizzle reappeared and set in for the rest of the day but at last it was a start.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Nice to have a peep at your front garden! Your back garden is looking so wet and different with the big trees gone. we are still waiting for summer as still having cool westerlies. they were predicted as such a long skinny country right in the middle of the oceans! Pool nice and warm though at 26c so can’t be that bad.Traditionally lots of families go camping at beaches and lakes over christmas and New Year and at least haven’t been washed out like some summers! I am happy not to go far from my little bit of paradise – no traffic – 20 odd beaches to chose from and tropical garden with huge pool. We have German guests here and they are not missing the Barvarian snow!

  2. owenldn says:

    Glad you chose such a lovely tree to plant in the front garden! Love Sorbus! And your grevillia looks enormous! Has it grown lots recently?! Do the bees like the flowers have you noticed?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Owen
      I have to prune the Grevillea back hard every couple of years, it is quite a monster. When the flowers open it is smothered in bees and other pollinators, they adore it. Such a fab plant which should be grown more, survivied -19 for several days here a few years back although was well established by then.

  3. We aren’t quite seeing snowdrops yet, for all it is so mild – I think reading your blog gives me about three weeks look ahead!

  4. Cathy says:

    I think this is the first shot of your revamped garden and I look forward to seeing more – and assuming Pink Pagoda has pink berries it sounds as if it will be a lovely addition. I was interested to see your ‘Spiders Web’ in situ as the foliage looks most attractive at this height amongst other shrubs. Good to see your snowdrops – is one of these two the one you mislaid the label for?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      No I have worked out that the unnamed snowdrop flowering on Boxing Day is Mrs McNamara. Have dug out all my labels and and now trying to match things!

  5. Steve says:

    Yes it is very damp with lots of wet leaves. However, I too get out when the weather allows. Loved your Fatsia japonica ‘Spiderweb’. Will look out for that.

  6. adam455 says:

    You give me so much inspiration to get out in the cold and tackle the garden, I feel like a set of thermals are in order! I need to get my garden back on track.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Adam
      You are kind, I think I am trying to inspire myself as last year I fell out of love with the garden and am trying to fall in love with it again

  7. Glad to see you planting a tree….I wasn’t sure when to plant one so I’m going to get into my garden.

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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