End of Month View April 2021

One of the positive outcomes of being working from home and my son being furloughed is that various jobs we have spoken about for a while are getting done.  A case in point is the widening of the patio.  If you look back to my tour of the garden at the end of March you will see that there used to be a border along the base of the wall which I had emptied of the ferns which had outgrown the space.  The other weekend we finally got around to paving the space to widen the patio; due to the lockdown rules we have had to use what we had so the slabs aren’t laid properly in sand and we have had to fill in with small paving slabs and bricks.  Maybe one day we will do this better.

My little greenhouse is at capacity at the moment and it hasn’t worked this hard for years.  I’m just getting to the point where some of the tenders that are housed in here (out of shot) will be able to go out and the tomatoes will be planted up.

The view as you go up the steps from the patio and you get a clue as to why the greenhouse is working so hard – the Little Veg Bed.

I’m really pleased with the border along the top of the wall but it is really hard to photograph, as is most of the garden. I have focused the border on a very English border style.  The backbone of the border is three step over apples which I have trained for some years now and the prostrate rosemary. Then the border has the majority of my roses which I appear to have been collecting without really realising it.  I have interplanted around the roses with herbs – sage, curry plant, sweet cicely.  These are accompanied by alliums, a stray camassia, geraniums, and some other perennials.  It is all looking very lush and full and I am very pleased with the texture of all the leaves.

The creation of the Little Veg Bed was completed this past weekend.  I haven’t removed all the flowers leaving a border of flowers at each end and also two clumps which comprise of agapanthus and alliums which I don’t want to use. Having cleared the border as much as I was going to I have planted out the sweet peas and mangetout and sowed a few salad crops.  Again like the patio we have had to make due with what we could find for the plant supports; the price you pay when you get rid of everything in a big clear out and then decide to grow veg just before a lock down but I think it works.

The border at the far end of the garden has suffered from my loppers. There is a huge Euphorbia xpasteurii ‘Phampton Patty’ in this border which was completely swamping things.  As a result of a conversation in the summer with Bob of Cotswold Garden Flowers I have chopped it down to the ground and will wait to see if it re-shoots.  It has meant that I have cleared lots of space for the herbaceous plants that I needed to relocate to make the veg bed.  If the Euphorbia re-shoots I will try to keep it under control more.

The top of the previous border going up to the top of the garden which is looking quite nice.  The Rhododendron ‘Happy’ is just beginnging to flower and appears to have for forgiven me for another experiment with the loppers. There is a bit of thinning needed in this border especially as there is a large persicaria in there trying to take over but it can wait for now.

Looking back from the top of the garden to the Little Veg Bed and you can see that it is in a really central location which goes against the norm but I love it.

And the shady back of the garden which is a little out of control at the moment but in a good way.  The slope is home to most of my fern collection and there are fern fronds appearing everywhere. I’ve recently moved the bird table here originally as it I was in the way when I was doing some weeding but it has stayed put (for now) and means that my son’s workshop has become a sort of hide so he gets to watch the birds while he is doing his cabinet making.

My final shot this month is the top of the slope at the back of the garden which has been taken over by Honesty and is quite mad.  I have been thinking I need to sort it out but my youngest son who dropped round the other day (keeping the appropriate distance) was amazed at the colour and thought it was great so it gets a reprieve for now.  However, I will need to get the stems out as they go over as I dont want any more self sown honesty – honestly!

End of Month View – March 2020

It is ages since I posted an End of Month View post.  I have been hosting this meme for something like 10 years and I think that I just ran out of steam. But now I have started to post again I thought I would post an EOMV post and as I haven’t posted much for ages I thought I would give you a tour of the garden – front and back. You can access a plan of the back garden here

So we are starting in the front garden.  I have quite a deep front garden and a couple of years back I decided to get rid of the front lawn as it was just boring. I put a path in purely for decorative purposes and to allow some access for me to manage the plants.  The driveway runs parallel to this area, and the photo is from the top of the driveway.  The planting has filled out a lot over the last few years.  There are a lot of asters and grasses in the area to the left of the path, which is much deeper than the photo implies.  I am now working through removing most of the asters as I want interest throughout the year not just in late summer.  I have this last weekend added the Anemanthele lessoniana to the border, which has been relocated from the back garden.

This is a rather boring photo of the front of the house but I am super pleased with the new path that went in last year.  I’m also really pleased with the narrow border under one of the front windows.  It has been a difficult border for years, due to the builders rubble but the various succulents seem to thrive here; so I’m going to do the same on the other side of the front door.

So we go along the lovely new path and down the side of the house, past my son’s wood store and you come to the back patio and my random pile of pots and compost.  But this photo does show you the difference in the height between the patio and the back garden.

Here is my patio, not the most glamorous of patios but it does the job.  Lots of seedlings in pots to be sorted, the majority of these are peony seedlings from a couple of years ago; turns out I’m quite adept at germinating peonies.

A warts and all view of the other end of the patio.  The area to the left used to be the fern border.  However, the ferns were deteriorating as the rosemary was shading them out.  The ferns were moved about a year ago and I decided to remove the border and continue the paving to make this area bigger and more practical.  However, life got in the way and I haven’t yet completed shifting the soil.

You go up the steps at the end of the patio and you find the bark path to your left.  The border to the left is the rose border.  I have accumulated a number of roses here over the years and the border is backed by 3 step-over apple trees which I have trained from whips.  I started off with just roses and herbs but the other week I have added a few plants from the Big Border (to the right) including some Agapanthus divisions.

The border to the right is the Big Border that is going to be home to my edibles, see last post.

If you continue straight up from the steps you come to the grass path on your left and this goes across the top of the Big Border.  The grass isn’t in very good condition at the moment and is covered in soil from my work clearing the border.  I built the retaining wall to the right of the path this time last year and it has worked well.  It has reduced the slope of the border and the plants seem to just look better.  I also like the structure it gives.

View from the other end of the grass path – not a great photo but it gives a sense of the slope of the garden.

From the grass path you can see the back slope of the garden, which is quite steep.  If you look at the garden plan on the blog you will see that there used to be a path along the top of the slope. I have got rid of this over the last couple of years as it served no purpose.  Instead I have more planting space and I have been moving shrubs in along the top of the slope to create some shrubby cover.

And this is the far top corner, which I call Maisie’s Corner as my beloved cat is buried here.  The compost bins were here until a couple of years ago and we removed them as they were a nightmare to manage.  Instead I have a large shady spot and have moved a number of the ferns from the patio border here, along with some shrubs which had outgrown their homes. We buried Maisie here as it was one of her favourite places and I still find it hard to garden here as I miss her so much.

So there’s my garden warts and all at the end of a reasonably wet March.  Given that we are self-isolating now for a while I hope to be able to get out and start to sort it out more.  However, the reality is that my work is very demanding and I’m finding myself stuck in front of a laptop every day but at least I get to sit in the garden for lunch on a sunny day which is a definite improvement on the normal working week.

 

End of Month View – October 2018

Another month has passed and for me, as a gardener, it has been a bit of a non-event but for the garden with the changing seasons nothing stays still.  Gardening time is now limited to weekends due to the nights moving in and over the last few weeks there has been strong winds, rain, and family events so the garden is looking rather shabby – but I did plant up some pots of bulbs and violas this weekend (above).

The field maple, to the right of the path, is always the first to lose its leaves but I always find it interesting at this time of year to see just how much ever green foliage I have in the garden.  I do like foliage and will always choose a plant with good foliage over one with good flowers as flowers are so fleeting.

Not the best photo but the best I could do between the rain and the low sun at the weekend. Whilst the colour in the photo is washed out with the sunlight this does give a truer impression of the Big Border which is frequently backlit by the sun.  The border is benefiting from Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’ and Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’.  I love this salvia and thought I might have lost it over last winter.  It’s too big to lift now so I risk leaving it in the ground with a thick mulch over it.  I normally take a couple of back up cuttings but these failed this year due to gardener lack of engagement.  The salvia was slow to reappear but it has caught up and is looking stunning.

As you can see the I have a lot of tidying up to do and the grass needs cutting but I have managed to get the majority of the bulbs planted, just the tulips to go in, and I have pruned out some of the willow branches and reduced the large fatsia at the back of the garden.

And I will leave you with a shot of the front garden.  I have done some tidying up here as this week the driveway is being replaced so I have had to remove a couple of old lavenders from outside the front door.  I’m pleased with the space created which will give me a new planting opportunity and I think I will extend the hardy succulent planting that I have here but never show as it’s still quite young.

As ever everyone is welcome to join in with this monthly meme.  You can use it as you wish all I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comments box below – simple!

 

 

End of Month View – September 2018

I do enjoy this time of year as much as I enjoy Spring. I enjoy tidying up in the garden, because of the sense of achievement you get, and then there is the bulb planting with promise of Spring.

I should have taken the photo first thing before the sun came round

I realised this afternoon in the garden that I have actually managed to do quite a bit over the past month, although to the outside observer this probably isn’t that obvious.  I’ve added three Stipa tenuissima to the corner of the Big Border where all the bulbs live.  This is an area I worked on earlier in the year and replanted.  There is a lot of gravel in this area to help the bulbs survive the winter but there was a lack of height and substance so I am hoping that the Stipa will bring this and provide a foil for my bulb collection.

You can just see the Tithonia’s in the corner of this picture which have been a triumph this year. I love the vibrancy of the orange which acts as a good contrast to the asters.

Even the bottom corner of Hugh’s border (Hugh is the owl) hasn’t been too bad this year and this one of those bits of the garden which really challenges me as the ground dries out to much here.  I am slowly changing the planting to take advantage of this.

The top of the slope is one of the areas of the garden I keep coming back to when I have a spare moment.  Earlier in the year we removed the very top path, which was never used and was just a home for weeds.  This has given me more space and I have been using it to spread the plants out.  Over the last few weeks a couple of large ferns have been relocated and the Bottlebrush shrub has been given more room.

So thats my garden at the end of September.  To finish off I thought I would show you the front garden which I rarely feature on the blog, I know not why, but its just coming into its own with late summer perennials

The meme is open to anyone to join in with and you can use it how you wish – we would all love to see your garden, warts and all.  All I ask is that you post a link to your post in the comments box and a link to this post in your post, that gives us a chance to find each other.

End of Month View – August 2018

The garden is looking a lot fresher since now we have had a couple of weeks of more changeable weather, with cooler temperatures and lots of rain.  The ferns either side of the bench were so desiccated by the heat that I cut them back hard sometime in July and now here we are with lots of fresh growth.  I don’t know if I show this area much but its at the top of the garden and is shady with a lovely view down the garden.  My tender fern collection is nestled here too in the left corner of the gravel. The assorted rocks are some of left overs from digging up the top path – I’m sure I will find something to do with them but at the moment I’m not sure what.

My usual first photo for an EOMV post.  The colour is a little washed out due to the low light levels this evening.  I’m hoping that next year the rose and clematis, planted under the obelisk, will get their act together and put on a better show.

The chaos of the Big Border which has done relatively well this year in the heat.  I replanted the area to the right just before the heat wave so the plants have done well considering.

A view from the top of the garden where the new woodland border is.  This shows the old pond and bog garden which I filled in a few years back.  I’m impressed with how well the plants in this border have come through the drought and it shows that the pond lining, which I left in with holes punctured,  retains water better than I thought.  I’m pretty pleased with the path above as a few weeks ago it was impassable due to weeds.  Just one of the small things I have achieved in the garden since the heat abated but there is still so much to do.

The final view is of the grass path.  The path would benefit from a cut but I have only cut it twice over the summer partly because it just wasn’t growing much and partly to avoid that hideous parched look that some lawns have.

So that’s my back garden at the end of August, and I apologise for the bleached photos, hopefully next month I’ll manage to find time to take them in better light.

How has your garden fared over the summer?  Why not join in the End of Month View.  All I ask is that you leave a link to your post in the comments below and link to this post in your post.

 

End of Month View – July 2018

2018

2009

I write this end of month post with a sense of relief as July seems to have been a very long and dry month. We finally had rain on Friday after something like 6-8 weeks with only a small downpour one day.  The rain started on Friday and has been off and on ever since.  The garden has perked up, well those bits that haven’t withered away in the heat and this gardener has also perked up.

I thought it would be interesting to show how the garden has changed over the last nine years when I first started the End of Month meme.  There have been some quite drastic changes so it isn’t easy to do a direct comparison but I will do my best.  Above is the view from the top of the patio steps up to my son’s workshop (which went in around 5 years ago). Below is a similar view from 2009, but from the bottom of the steps, showing the garden before the workshop and when I still had a lawn; it was obviously from the greeness of the grass, a wet July in 2009.  In both pairs of photos the rosemary growing over the wall is a useful reference point.

The next pair show the main area of the garden but from opposite view points.  The first photo is now with my neighbour’s delightful trampoline in the background. The plants are looking a little dry around the edges but I have started to tidy up and cut back the dead flowers and foliage.  I think the garden has benefited in the past heat from my dense planting as the areas which have suffered the most are those with the most recent plantings and consequently more soil showing. I think the dense planting has shaded the soil and helped to reduce moisture loss.

Anyway, the second photo from 2009 shows the old sloping lawn and my polite narrow border.  If I have only learnt one thing over the past nine years it is that you need to be generous in your borders.  Narrow borders just don’t work you are limited on space so its difficult to create a range of height and textures.

The next two pairs of photos is the top border which in 2009 was the pond border.  The fourth photo is another view of the border in 2009 and if you peer very hard you can just make out the pond weed on the pond which is one of the reasons the pond went.  It was never a sensible place to have a pond under the large cherry tree and it was a constant battle to improve the quality of the water.  The border planting was some of my best back then but over the following years it faded and struggled and in the end I gave up on it and converted the pond into a bog garden which is the basis of what is in place now except it isnt very boggy due to over zealous puncturing of the liner!

The 2018 photo shows the workshop again and the shrubs that have been added over recent years.  I prefer the garden now and the planting in this border is slowly improving although it has always been a challenging spot. You can also see the stems of the bamboos along the back fence line.  In 2009 the fence was exposed due to us removing an huge laurel bush and I have again struggled ever since with the steep slope and shade of the trees.  You will see in the 2009 photo terracing but this has been removed this year and I am reverting back to the slope and planting up with lots of foliage and texture.

2018

2009

2018

2009

The final pair of photos show the area of the workshop.  Back in 2009 this area was a battle due to the shade created by my neighbours trees which also sucked all the moisture out of the ground.  The shed is set back into the slope to minimise its impact on my garden and it took hours for my son to dig it all out by hand.  The workshop is now very much a key part of the garden and creates a strange focal point. Long term readers will recall that I laboured over what colour the shed should be and almost went mad after a visit to gardens in San Francisco when I seriously considered painting it orange.  I’m glad I saw sense and I am very pleased with the natural and low key finish it now has.  This has been repeated on another smaller shed we have and I am thinking of treating the benches in a similar way.

I hope you have enjoyed a trip down memory lane.  I think it shows my change of approach and an increase in plant knowledge and obsession.

This post demonstrates one of the benefits of the End of Month meme as if I hadn’t started writing it back in 2009 I wouldn’t now be able to look back to see where I have come from.

Everyone is welcome to join in with the meme and you can use it however you like..  All I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comments box below.

 

 

End of Month View June 2018

What a change a month brings.  Last month I was bemoaning my inability to get sunny photos of the garden; this month it has been a challenge to take photos without the bright sun bleeding out the light.

We have had no rain for two weeks now, possibly longer. There are some plants which are struggling but so far they are the ones that normally die back in the summer, only to reappear in the autumn or spring such as primulas and sensitive ferns.  I am watering the garden a couple of times a week focussing on the newer plantings and then pots every night, well most nights.

Before the heat hit I managed to plant out the rest of the annuals and also quite a few of the plants I bought in Somerset.  One of the main changes is the planting of Buddleja salviifolia in the big border.  It had been growing on the back bank for a few years but was rather exposed and suffered this winter.  So I’ve moved it to a more sheltered position with better drainage and given it a good prune to help it focus on developing its roots.  I have under planted this silver leaved shrub with a selection of plants with silver and burgundy leaves or red, cerise or pale pink flowers.  I am hoping it will create an interesting tapestry next year when the plants have matured.

I am pleased though that the Regal Fern (Osmunda reglis) isn’t yet showing signs of collapsing in the heat. Normally, it is one of the first to give in but I think that having removed the Catalpa from the border there is more moisture in the border helping the plants to survive the heat.  The Shade Border is now so full that you can’t get down the path at the back of it and somewhere in there the cat is hiding from the heat.

So that is my garden at the end of a hot and dry June, here’s hoping that July will bring with it some rain to water the garden.

I would love to see how your garden is doing wherever you are in the world so why not join in with the End of Month View.  All I ask is that you post a link to your post in the comment box below and link to this post in yours.

 

End of Month View: May 2018

A somewhat bedraggled garden for this month’s End of Month View post.  I stupidly thought at the weekend, when it was sunny, I’ll take the photos nearer the end of the month as the poppies may have opened.  Foolish me! So these photos were taken this morning in drizzle with mist hanging over the hills and this evening we have thunderstorms so no better opportunities have been offered for sunny photos.

The garden continues to surprise me with how well it is doing with little intervention from me.  My neglect last year has allowed the plants to establish themselves – a lesson has definitely been learnt – and they have bulked up and are looking wonderful.  However, despite the verdant borders there are lots of weeds creeping in and tidying up to do especially on the pot front.

Having seen so many wonderful pot displays in Austin I was ashamed of my paltry attempts on my return especially as many were weed laden or even dead!  I have started sorting them out and have made some progress which is very satisfying but not enough to share here.

Oh and if you look closely you can see evidence of my other challenge at the moment – the dandelions which are everywhere. At least the rain last weekend made it easier to dig them up in the front garden. I now need to tackle the back garden.  I also need to make a note of those plants that are crowding others and come up with a list of divisions etc I need to do in the Autumn – a limited list as I don’t want to loose the full nature of the borders.

So this is my soggy garden at the end of May – a month whose high temperatures early on, following on from a wet spring, and now more rain has created a very pleasing effect.

If you would like to join in with the End of Month View you are very welcome, you don’t even have to do it every month, just whenever.  All I ask is you link to this blog post and leave a link in the comments box below linking to your post and that way we can find each other.

 

 

End of Month View – April 2018

I’m choosing to resist the temptation to bemoan the weather over the last month and instead celebrate the abundance in my borders.

The tipsy pots are a clear indicator of the absence of the gardener for most of this past month.  Life has been busy with little time to garden but I had a wonderful long weekend last week in Newcastle upon Tyne at the Quilters Guild conference learning lots of new techniques and making new friends.

The weather while I was away was stunning, temperatures up in the 20Cs, which coupled with all the moisture that has accumulated over the past months resulted in a significant growth spurt in the garden during my absence.

The tulips that were only thinking of forming buds are now flowering, and new shoots abound with peonies, geraniums and hosta foliage adding a wonderful freshness and sense of anticipation.

Unusually for me I am really pleased with my garden.  I love the density of the planting which has occurred despite me and due to my lack of gardening last year.  I know full well that if I had seen my border last year looking as per the top photo with the trillium poking its head out among the pulmonaria I would have been busy cutting back the pulmonaria so the trillium was more obvious; this though leaves the plants appearing as isolated islands. Through neglecting the garden and spending less time fussing I have learnt that I love this fuller look.

And this month the garden will all be about the Camassias which are just coming into their own and sadly I will probably miss while I am away at the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling in Austin, Texas.

So that was my garden at the end of April 2018.  I invite you to join in with the End of Month Meme.  You can use it however you like all I ask if that you link to this post and leave a link to your post in the comment box below.

 

End of Month View: March 2018

My apologies for the delay in this post which should have been published yesterday. I have been somewhat distracted by a lack of heating, hot water and reduced cooking appliances since Thursday.  I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say it’s not due to am oversight on bill payment. The situation should be resolved on Tuesday but in the meantime I have been unbelievably distracted with staying warm.  The persistent cold and damp weather have not helped the situation and sitting by a fire hand quilting a double quilt has been more attractive than sticking my head outside all of which makes me sound quite old!

Anyway, I have woken to sunshine this morning and a light bulb moment of “goodness it’s the start of April and I am late on the EOMV post” so here goes – at least the photos are sunnier than if I had taken them yesterday in the rain.

The above photo is what I call the bench shot because I stand on the patio bench go take it. I was going to say that not much has changed over the last month especially as we had yet more snow but actually things are starting to happen. The first daffodils are flowering adding extra sparkles of colour to the hellebores. I plan to add loads more narcissus for next Spring and will try to remember to make some notes of the gaps that need filling over the next few weeks.  I also want to add lots of the tiny blue and pink bulbs – Scillas, Chionodoxa, Pushchkinia and Ipheion. There is a mass of these at work which just looks stunning at the moment.

And it’s not just the bulbs that are making an effort the Prunus kojo-no-mai has started to flower and should shortly be followed by the large unidentified Prunus and the Amelanchier and Elder are both beginning to unfurl their leaves.  My gardening friends at HPS agree that spring is going to come with a rush this year and we will be playing catch up so I’m off this morning to sow some half hardy annuals in the greenhouse.

Whilst it might not seem like much has changed over the last month in the garden I have been busy when the weather has allowed. I have made real progress in redoing the back of the garden and am now starting to think about what plant needs to go where. My task today will be to dig up the Buddleja salviifolia, which you can just see behind the top bench, and bring it down to a more sheltered position on the patio. Hopefully it won’t be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted; as you can just about see it looks a little bedraggled and has suffered in the cold winds. The Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ in front of it will also probably be moved as it’s grey leaves may not work with the new planting but we shall see. I can’t quite visualise it yet but if I pot up the Euphorbia it will clear the space and I will be able to see it with fresh eyes.

As I break down the back terrace to make a slope I am having to dig up all sorts of seedlings and perennials and relocate them around the garden.  It is amazing how many aquilegia seedlings there are although I suspect they will all be that dirty pink that aquilegia seedlings tend to be. Nevertheless, I have been popping them in any gaps I can find in the borders so we shall see.

So this is my garden at the end of March and I am amazed how much colour there is despite the cold and damp.

If you would like to join in with the End of Month View meme you are very welcome to, the more the merrier.  All I ask is that you link to this post in yours and leave a link to your post in the comments box below so we can all come for a visit