Six on Saturday – 30th March 2019

Narcissus Thalia

Like the host of this meme I find myself resenting time away from the garden at the moment.  Today I would normally go to an HPS meeting but it was either sit in a village hall discussing plants or actually be outside in the garden getting on with sorting out my garden – I chose the garden.

I prefer to garden early in the day or in the evening when others aren’t around as it allows me to turn off completely, hear the bees humming and the birds singing.  I like to immerse myself in the garden, thinking about what plant might work where, why is this plant not looking so good, how can I improve that border? So I am looking forward to the evenings getting lighter.

With the wonderful forecast this weekend I was out in the garden as soon as I had done the weekly shop. I wanted to take my Six on Saturday photos first thing as the sun was making the garden glow but it turned out that both my camera batteries were dead so unfortunately the photos don’t reflect the beautiful light we had today. The Prunus is groaning with blossom which in turn means the air is positively alive with bees.

After a couple of years of disengagement with the garden my gardening mojo is well and truly back but slightly different.  It has grown up, it is more mature and considered and better informed

My focus today was the very top left hand corner of the garden.  As you can see some of the fencing is missing which is down to my neighbours.  When they moved in they cut down all the trees and shrubs along the boundaries, which I can understand as it was so overgrown, but the trees and shrubs did hold up the fence which was collapsing from years of neglect by the previous owners.  I think they plan to replace the fence soon but in the meantime I feel a little exposed when I am in this part of the garden – my privacy is important to me. I sensed my neighbours were out today so it seemed a good time to tackle this corner.  It fits with my approach to getting a grip of the garden starting at the top and working my way down. This area used to be home to the compost bins which I removed last summer. I have planted it up with a number of shrubs which were either in pots on the patio or had to be moved to give other plants space.

I’m hoping that the range of shrubs: camellia, tree peony, hydrangeas will give round the year interest.  I had added a few ferns and also a helleborus foetidus which was over growing a path.  I also added narcissus and snowdrop bulbs back last autumn which put on a good display up to a week or so ago.  Today, I weeded, pruned, removed some brambles and sycamore seedlings from the very top and added a couple of Acunthus mollis.

Just to the right of the area I worked on today is an area I started work on almost to the day last year.  There used to be a woodchip path along the top of the garden but it led nowhere and I spent more time trying to keep it weeded then anything else.  The wood edging had rotted and to be honest the path was becoming dangerous so last year I removed the wood edging and I have slowly but surely been digging up and removing the rubble that formed the base of the path.  The area of bare soil in the photo above was the very last bit of the path which I finally removed last week.  I can now use this space for some ferns, epimediums and hellebores which need moving. I am trying to create a tapestry of foliage to give interest all year round.

My new approach is beginning to show dividends elsewhere in the garden.  Above is the top of the garden to the right where I removed the path last year.  This area is awash with honesty (Lunaria annua) which seeds itself around the garden.  I used to have a white variegated honesty but seem to have lost it over the past few years so I think I will try to find some more seeds and reintroduce it. I discovered that the Melianthus major above is also flowering like the one next to the shed which is really good.

Finally, I will leave you with the first tulips to open this year in the garden.  They were in a selection pack of tulips and I think they are Tulip ‘Elegant Lady’ – I do like the softness of the colour and think I may try to add some more next year.

I have had a wonderful day today gardening for far more hours than any other day this year and I ache all over which is often a sign of a good day.

For more Six on Saturday posts visit the Propagator’s Blog.

 

26 Comments Add yours

  1. bcparkison says:

    No gardening here today. Rain…which we probably need even after all of the earlier rains. I did have to dig a grave for one of the outside cats. He didn’y move fast enough when in the road last evening or early this morning. I hate that.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      That is so sad

  2. Far better that you had a good day in the garden than that we have good photos of it!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      True – I had a small dilemma about being in the sewing room but I can do that whenever, lovely sunny days aren’t that common at weekends at this time of year

  3. mossybrain says:

    Very obvious that your day in the garden jump started your interest and we all benefited! Can’t wait to see the next episode. Rain, rain and more…..here, but one patch of daffodil is blooming, crocus flowering under the trees in front and blossom is forming on the magnolia, not to forget wonderful clumps of snowdrops all over the place.
    I simply love Spring.
    So exciting.

    1. janesmudgeegarden says:

      The honesty is a glorious colour. It doesn’t look as floriferous as that here…probably not enough rain. Your prunus is amazing and the photo of the Thalia reminded me that I was going to try to source some myself. They are such pure flowers.

    2. Helen Johnstone says:

      Honesty does do well here. The soil is quite rich and being in the west we do get the rain.
      I get my daffodils from Peter Nyssen, good value, order online

    3. Helen Johnstone says:

      I had to water my garden yesterday. We have had little rain for several weeks and it was showing on the plants I have recently planted out. I do hope that we aren’t in for another dry summer

  4. One Man And His Garden Trowel says:

    Your garden is looking good. I like my privacy from the neighbours. The trellis fence between us and the neighbours leaves us a bit exposed during the winter and spring until the jasmine gets going later in the year.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      It’s difficult isn’t it. I knew whoever moved in would chop everything back as it was so neglected so I have been adding shrubs and trees along the boundary and to be honest now the other side is clear my plants are growing so much better. I also have some large bamboos in pots on the patio where I can’t plant in the soil

  5. Cathy says:

    What a useful day you have had in the garden, sadly not the same here.

  6. Cathy says:

    Hadn’t finished! Was going to say I enjoyed reading about your additions and subtle change in philosophy

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Cathy, my break from blogging helped as I was letting needing something to write about influence my garden, now I just do whatever and sometimes I blog about the garden and sometimes I don’t – much better

  7. Prue Batten says:

    I have to ask about the bamboo in the honesty pic. Is it growing or is it a sculptural feature of is it supporting something? I love the way it looks there – exotic.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Prue the bamboo is growing in the ground – risky I know. We live one the side of a hill and my neighbour behind me looks straight into our upstairs so I planted the bamboo to give some privacy with out having a huge tree taking up lots of space. We dug a big trench and lined it with membrane which is supposed to stop the bamboo straying – so far so good and they have been in about 5-6 years. They are very tall varieties (taller than I realised and the potential to get taller) and the stems zig zag which is fab. I learnt from a friend to trim the side shoots off each winter so you see the stems better.

  8. Chloris says:

    There’s nothing like a day in the garden at this time of the year, I feel sorry for non-gardeners. Your cherry blossom is stunning. The zigzag bamboo is s good choice because it is not invasive like some of the others.

  9. Lovely blog and that is a rather nice tulip.

  10. Ann Mackay says:

    Enjoyed reading about your work in your garden and it’s inspiring me to get back to work in mine! 🙂

  11. Heyjude says:

    This part of your garden looks to be on quite a slope, but you seem to be doing well with it. I love the Honesty. Having read what you do to your bamboo I must try removing side shoots from mine. I have no idea what it is and it does pop up in places I don’t want, but it acts as a bit of a windbreak. As you say when you go out into the garden you are always looking at ways improve the borders.

  12. Sophie says:

    I’m quite jealous as we haven’t been able to garden this weekend as we went away.
    I had some lunaria in my last garden and they are lovely. You have reminded me to source some more.
    Happy gardening!

  13. Your Lunaria is just stunning and the changes you’re making to the garden are great. Glad you’ve got your mojo back.

  14. cavershamjj says:

    Lots going on in your garden Helen, I’m glad you got your mojo back. I recognise the name of that tulip but can’t remember if it was one of this years or last years. So looking forward to the tulips this year….

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks, this meme has really helped have found myself reading blogs again for the first time in years

    2. cavershamjj says:

      Fantastic! Delighted to have in some small fashion helped.

  15. tonytomeo says:

    That lunaria is humongous! It had been naturalized . . . sort of . . . . here, but is not perpetuating itself like it used to. Someone who worked here years ago collected seed from those who had finished bloom to toss wherever he thought they would be happy. So, they had some help getting naturalized. Without that help, they are not so reliable. I suppose I should gather seed. I just did not give it any though last year.
    That Japanese aralia is also bigger than I would have guessed to get in your region. I suppose I should not be surprised. I have seen them doing well on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

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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