End of Month View: January – Nine Years On

January 2018

Long term readers will know that I have been hosting a meme at the end of each month, unsurprisingly called the End of Month View (or EOMV), for some time.  I was surprised to discover that, apart for some months last year when I took a break from blogging and Steve hosted the meme, I will have been hosting it for 9 years this March.  I started the meme to follow progress in my garden in my second year of blogging and I try to take photos from roughly the same position each month.  I’m thrilled that a number of other garden bloggers have joined in with the meme each using it to suit themselves.

March 2009

I thought it would be interesting this year to compare the garden, through the months, with how it looked in 2009, although I don’t have any comparisons for January and February so you will have to make do with March 2009.  The other challenge is that the garden has changed so much in the intervening 9 years that I can’t quite match the viewpoints.

Jan 2018
March 2009

The observant of you will have spotted that there was a pond.  It lasted for probably 4 or 5 years until I filled it in.  The lesson learnt was just because you have a large hole created from removing a large conifer this doesn’t mean that this is the best place to put a pond.  Ponds look wrong half way up a slope, think about it, and being under a large tree you will spend your life fishing leaves. In 2009 we had recently removed a large Laurel from the back of the garden and had gained the slope for planting.  The slope is steep and so we put in some ‘terracing’ using scaffolding boards. Now however we are looking to take the same boards out partly because they are rotting and partly because the area has become more of a shrubby and it isn’t necessary to have a path to access it.

Jan 2018
March 2009

The greenhouse really demonstrates my different attitude to gardening.  Over the last nine years I have gone through a period of embracing plant propagation, developing a passion of various plant groups such as succulents, ferns and bulbs.  Now I’m in a place where I feel my life is more balanced and I have developed new interests which mean that I don’t have as much time to spend sowing seeds and propagating which is fine as I then don’t need to feel guilty about the collection of seedlings which I haven’t done anything about.

I hope this will be a good theme for the meme this year and if you would like to join in with the meme, however you choose to use it, as always please leave a link to your post in the comments below and if you could include a link to this post in your post that too would be fab.  It helps us to link up with each other.

 

End of Month View: March 2017

The front garden is beginning to come into its own with the small narcissus and Euphorbia flowers bringing some real zing to the border.  You may recall that last month I said I was thinking of filling the bigger border with small narcissus. Well I am rethinking this as if you look very carefully you will see that the narcissus are all facing away from the house which means I am looking at the back of the flowers.  If I fill the big border with narcissus then the only person who might see the flowers properly would be the postman!

I have finally dug over the whole of the front garden and moved the original perennials forward that were being dwarfed by the Grevillea.  I have also top dressed the whole space with green waste from the local waste dump.

There isn’t that much to see in the big border at the moment as the perennials and grasses have been cut down and are just leafing up now.  I’m thinking that camassias or alliums might look good in this space next year to give interest before the asters come into their own.

Anyway, that’s the front garden at the end of March just under a year since we lifted the front lawn.  I’m thrilled with how good the space is already looking and it will be interesting to see how the perennials develop through the year.

All are welcome to join in with the End of Month meme.  You can use it how you like all I ask is that you add a link to your post in the comment box below and is possible it would be great if you could link to this post from your post.

End of Month View – August 2015

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Finally I can stop moaning about the lack of rain as the last week has been decidedly wet leaving the garden looking very lush.  I surprised myself at how much things had grown in the last year when I looked back at last year’s August EOMV post.  It just shows you how easy it is to forget what progress has been made and how things have developed and I think it reinforces the benefits of taking regular photographs of the garden, and maybe participating in this meme.

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So to start with the usual path up to the workshop.  I have been on a bit of a grass-fest this last month while I have been on annual leave and you might just spot a Stipa tenuissima  near the foreground.  I want to soften the edges of the steps and given how sunny this part of the garden is with good drainage grasses seem a good partner to the numerous bulbs I have planted here. If you look closely at the far end of the steps you can just spot the cyclamen that have been flowering for the last couple of weeks.

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Turning left from the bottom of the steps we have the lower path which runs almost along the top of the retaining wall.  The border to the left is really a rose border, although the flowers haven’t been that great this year, and I have been adding other plants such as sedum and penstemons to bring some late summer colour. To the right is the bottom of the Big Border which slopes down from the grass path.  This border’s season of interest is primarily late summer due to the various asters that are planted here.  I am still trying to get their arrangement right since they were originally acquired for the back slope before the workshop gobbled it up.  I struggle with balancing the tall and shorter varieties in a border where they are seen from both sides and which slopes.  I am slowly moving most of the tall asters to the middle of the border and it does seem to be working.  I now need to work on planting around the bottom of the border to disguise the legs of the asters.

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From the far end of the bottom path you can look back to the workshop through the Calamgrostis ‘Overdam’.  The Calamgrostis has been victim to my tweaking, being moved by all of a foot backwards into the border.  It was right against the top edge of the border and hemmed in by a tall aster to the point where it didn’t seem to be able to waft in the breeze and what is the point of having grasses if they aren’t allowed to waft.  The aster has been relocated, it’s not looking very happy but hopefully the rain will help, but the grass looks so much better now and there is movement and that’s what I want in the garden – a realisation that has crept up on me during my various garden visits this year.

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At the end of the bottom path you come to the lower part of the woodland border.  Looking back it hasn’t changed much since last year except the plants are larger.  For now I think it is working although there is a bare path where the Solomon’s Seal was before I cut it down to counter the invasion of the Solomon Seal Sawfly.

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The other end of the woodland border has seen major upheaval a year ago when the acer died.  I am beginning to get an idea of how I would like it to look and you might spot a miscanthus in the background along with a carex and hosta still in their pots waiting for planting.  This area isn’t as shady as it was due to the removal of the willow canopy and it is interesting to see how the shade lovers have thrived due to the increase in moisture despite the border being sunnier.

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From the top of the woodland border you find yourself looking across, again, to the workshop, across what was the Bog Garden.  This is now a much drier area due to the holes I over zealously punched in the liner – opps.  If you look back at last year’s post you will see how this area has grown up over the last year and last week I moved the Paulwonia tomentosa from the back slope to this border.  I felt that the Paulwonia was struggling on the slope which is very free draining and  think its height will add interest to its new home.

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Finally the grass path which runs along the top of the Big Border and is looking very neat thanks to a quick haircut ready for its photocall. In the foreground you can see the Anemanthele lessoniana that has been added in the last week.  There is another to the right of the path and a third at the far end of the border.  I hope that the third one will draw the eye and add some cohesion to my eclectic planting.  I need to work on the border to the right of the path next year as whilst I am happy with it in spring it falls apart the rest of the year.  There are some phloxes here which I have persevered with for a couple of years but I am really tired of now as they aren’t performing and the large white one looks terrible when the flowers fade or get damaged by rain.  I seem to be adopting a warm orange, rust and yellow theme here so I think I might try to see where that goes.

If you would like to join in the End of Month meme you are very welcome – the more the merrier.  All we ask if that you add a link to this post in your post and that you leave a link to your post in the comment box below so we can all find you.

 

End of Month View – April 2014

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I did say I was going to start this monthly meme with the view from my back window but I forgot and the light is now appalling so instead you have a view of my front garden taken yesterday when it was sunny.  The front garden was the theme of last year’s End of Month View posts and long-term readers will know how I struggle to engage with this area.  However, I think it is getting there and the lovely orange Ballerina tulips which I have extended along the end of the lawn are really helping.  I will add more of these next year and try some up the other side although it may be too wet there.

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Sticking with the front garden  I have planted up the old sink with sempervivums and sedums. I realise having seen some crevice gardens recently this is a poor imitation but it uses some of the stone I had lying around, although my concrete patching is also not the best but at least it has character!  I have added an Aloe striatula and a sad looking Agave which was lurking in the greenhouse.  I intend to add some more tender succulents in late May.

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The pot display area is slowly losing its bulbs and gaining more succulents.  I am using it to display what is good or due to flower and then when they go over I move them and replace with something else.  I have pelargoniums lurking in the greenhouse which I will have on here in the summer.

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The Spring/Patio border is predominantly green at the moment.  I think it has two seasons of interest firstly in early Spring when the snowdrops are out and then in high summer when the various perennials are flowering.  There are some bluebells at the far end which have been there more or less since we moved in.  However their foliage swamps everything around them and my interests have changed and I want to plant more interesting plants in this area so the bluebells will be coming out and moving to the back of the woodland border up the garden.

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The Camellia border (formerly the Bog Garden) is filling out and the ferns are putting on growth.  I have moved some Arisaema to this border from elsewhere in the garden where I thought it was too dry for them.  Hopefully this new location will suit them better and there will be a good display.  I’m not sure how well the Iris siberica will do as although the moister soil will be good for them it is rather shady and I keep reading that they like sunshine.  I will have to see how they do.

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Finally the Cottage Border which runs along the top of the wall and is a nightmare to photograph.  Again it is looking very green and lush. The delphiniums are really putting on weight and hopefully will flower well.  There are still some daffodils flowering and at the far end of the border the white honesty is looking fabulous.  On the other side of the path is the Big Border which is beginning to sparkle with blue camassias flowering.  I am hoping that by the end of May the colour will really be coming through.

So there is my garden at the end of April which has been a relatively mild and pleasant month.  There are some frosts forecast later this week but hopefully in a week or so it will be alright to bring the tender plants out from under cover.

Anyone is welcome to join in with this meme and use it how they like.  I just ask that you add a link to your post in the comments box below and a link to this post in yours, then we can all see whatever one else is doing.

End of Month View August 2012

The End of Month View is a day early this month as I have signed up to FoodiePenpals and you are meant to post  about your food parcel on the last week day of the month e.g the 31st August.  I’m not sure how long I will continue with Foodie Penpals but I will also continue with the End of Month View post although it may end up moving to the Start of the Month post!!

Anyway here we are at the end of a soggy August.  I don’t really mind the rain too much as I hate heat but it has been somewhat frustrating when you want to spend a day off work in the garden.  Anyway, as you can see from the soggy photographs we have had more rain this week.  The patio border is very full and the Kirengeshoma palmata is about the flower.  I love its flowers as they remind me of curls of butter.

The Cottage Garden border hasn’t delivered as I had hoped this its first year although if I am honest my plans for it and the planting was a little haphazard this  time last year.  I have made the decision that I want this border to peak May – June with the baton being picked up by  other parts of the garden.  So I have some Delphinium seedlings  to add as well as more Geraniums, Evening Primrose and Verbascum.  Then I will fill in with lots of cosmos to give some interest at this time of year – well that’s the plan anyway.

The daisy border has filled out in the last year and the daisies are beginning to burst.  However, I think I need to remove one of the clumps of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ as they are dominating the border and I would like to add more variety and in particular more Echinacea.

This is the ‘I haven’t got a clue’ border and this winter/spring’s project.  Its in the corner and one of the few flat places in the garden.  I did say I was putting the raised vegetable bed here but the voice in my head has convinced me that I should  listen to it and that I will be happier and more content with no vegetable growing.  So what to do with this corner.  I  toyed  with an alpine raised bed but having looked at the rockeries and crevice gardens at the Alpine Garden Society garden in Pershore I decided this wasn’t really for me at all.  I really like alpines but prefer them in pots rather than in a big planting.  So instead this week’s plan is to transform this into the bench border.  I want to gain access to the bottom of the slope so a narrow path will  go  in there and then we are going to get a nice bench  and choose the best position for it and move plants around as needed.  Well …….!

The ‘front of the pond’ border although there is no longer a pond so a new name is needed.  I have planted a monarda and phlox this week in this border to see how they do.  The books say they both need moist  and well-drained soil – heavens knows what that really means.  My soil is definitely moist so I have added a little gravel under and around the plants.  I want to do something like the wonderful phlox/monarda border I  saw at Stone House last week which was smothered in insects.  If the phlox and monarda come back well next  year  I will add to them.  In the meantime I have some narcissus to add for Spring interest.

The Woodland border at the end of its first year.  I am pleased with this area as it has done very well given my poor preparation during the dryness of last summer.  This border is designed to be of interest in Spring with lots of bulbs which I will add to this Spring.  I do need to do some editing and tweaking as some plants are swamping each other or not in the best position to show them to their best advantage.  Notes have been made in the faithful notebook.

The bog garden has done well  in its first year, no doubt due  to the rain we have had.  We have decided to remove the branch of the prunus  tree which runs above it as it is forcing the flowers to lean at an angle in search of better light.  I want to move some candelabra primulas to this area but apart from that I will be leaving it be for the coming year.

So that’s most of the back garden this year.  There is also the top raised bed which runs along the back  fence  and leaves me cold.  I can’t think what to plant  in it amongst the three bamboos that have been planted to provide a screen.   I think maybe some big leaved plants would be the answer but I am waiting for the lightbulb moment.  There is also the little wood store border which is only a few months old but maybe I will show you that in the future – who  knows.

If you would like to join in the End/Start  of  the month meme you are very welcome.  You can do use it for whatever purpose you want, it’s entirely up to you but it would be nice if you could  post a link to your post in the comment box so we can share.

 

End of Month – October 2011

The garden is looking shabby and unloved at the end of this month and my excuse is that it is autumn but if I am honest it has looked a bit like this  for most of the year.  However, the tide of indecision is  turning as I  am slowly but surely moving forward with my plans.  Although  this has resulted in some lost sleep as I wake up in the early hours and then can’t get to sleep as I am mentally moving plants around.

Above is what I call the gravel border and I said in last month’s post that I was going to put the new pond here.  Change of plan – keeping the border and we are going to create a seating area.  This will mean that there will be no pond in the garden as I am filling the existing pond in to make a bog garden.  However, it turns out  that the rescue cat I got 6 months ago is a real hunter and I can’t bear seeing her walking along with a frog hanging out of her mouth so if I whilst I am removing a habitat I feel that I am also encouraging the frogs to use  neighbours pond and avoid my cat.

As you can see I have made no progress in the last week with sorting out the old pond but I haven’t been lazy.  I have been working hard at the allotment tidying up ready for the winter and I have been working on sorting out the new cottage garden border.   There has been much plant moving and although the border (below) look quite bare at the moment there is a lot  in there but it is all cut back and tidied.  Now we have had  some good rain I will give it a good autumn mulch and then sit back and hope the tulip and allium bulbs I have planted look fab in the summer.

I have some apple trees on order to use for step over apples along the wall edge as I think this will add some much-needed structure.  It may be that I widen this border but I will wait a year before doing so so I can concentrate and complete all the other projects.

I’ve planted lots of Erythroniums and dwarf Narcissus in the woodland border  so again fingers crossed that something resembling the pictures in my head will appear in the spring.

I am though pleased with the top of the garden.  I have finally turned the corner here and although it looks quite bare at the moment it is very full but the plants are quite small.  The three bamboos I planted in the spring have started to send up new shoots and hopefully next year will be tall enough to screen my neighbours.  In front of them is a mixture of shrubs to add some depth and, along with the vine and flowering quince, and to break up the bleakness of the fence.  While I wait for the shrubs to fill out I have filled the gaps with blood-red wallflowers and a mixture of red tulips kept over from last year.  The border gets a lot of sun so I have also added an edging of bearded irises.  Again it looks wonderful in my imagination!

Having avoided the pond by doing the cottage border I am now distracted by the potential of a new area my eldest son has cleared for me.  The top corner was full of branches and other twigs etc collected over the last six years.  My son has taken all this to the scout hut where he is a leader ready for bonfire night.  He and his friend have also cut down some of the lower branches of the trees and tidied up the stumps where my neighbour has butchered the tree from his side.  Now hopefully there are no more branches overhanging the fence which he can reach.  The ground slopes a lot in this corner so we are going to put across a raised bed, as we did across the other side of the back of the garden.  I am then going to plant it up with Hydrangeas and some form of large, tall grass to give some privacy and height and movement.  I can then use the stones from around the old pond to finish off the border in front of the tree and sort out the planting here with more woodland plants.

A final  view of my cottage border.  I have moved an Abelia from the front garden to add some substance to the corner of the border.  I am really glad I did this especially as I dithered about it for ages but my instinct kept telling me that this was what was needed and I  think it was right.

So I have been busy but I have such ambitious and multiple projects that I suppose to me it doesn’t look like I have made much progress but writing this post as showed me that I have.

End of Month View – July 2010

Pond border
Pond border

Here we are again at the end of another month and I  normally seem to comment that I can’t believe another month has been and gone but this time it seems ages since I did the last end of month post.  Probably because we have been very busy and fitted a lot in during July. My eldest has been away on one Scout camp (he is a leader) and has gone off today for another week-long camp.  We have been to see international basketball matches and to the theatre; I have been to visit several interesting gardens and to round the month off we have spent the last week in Sorrento in Italy.  So what has been happening in the garden whilst all this has been going on, not a lot really.  We have had one of our  driest Julys for ages and consequently this has had a knock on effect on the garden.  Not only has the ground been so dry that it has been difficult to do any planting or even weeding but the dryness has affected the performance of some of the plants.  In particularly my Ligularia Desdemona which was a huge plant at the beginning of May has more or less stood still since.  I noticed today that it has just started flowering and the flowers are actually lower than the leaf canopy whereas in previous years they have towered over it. The Ligularia would normally dominate the pond border but you can’t even see it in the photo above.

The bare looking bank
The bare looking bank

The bank is also taking its time to get going.  Admittedly there are lots of very small young plants  in there and I did loose some plants during the very cold winter.  Hopefully next year it will start to come into its own and this year I will just concentrate on trying to get the plants to establish and bulk up.

The stationery corner bed
The stationary corner bed

Equally, the border by the gravel  bed hasn’t really moved on from last year.  The Angelica Gigas have also been victims of the dryness.  Last year the one I had was a good 5ft tall but this year I don’t think they have even made it to 3ft and are therefore completely hidden from view.  I don’t believe in watering the garden extensively when it is dry only those plants that are struggling.  Neither the Ligularia nor the Angelica have looked like they were struggling, the leaves haven’t been limp but apparently the dryness has meant that they have just stopped growing.  I’m not going to rush and move things as next summer we might go back to having a very wet summer so we will just have to wait and see.  However, I do intend to apply lots of mulch when we do get a lot of rain over several days and will try and remember to do the same in the spring when it is wet, to try and lock some moisture into these areas.

Top of wall border in need of beefing up
Top of wall border in need of beefing up

I’m also still struggling with the middle section of the top of the wall border.  It needs some beefy foliage plants to give it interest and fill it out but I haven’t got any inspiration at the moment.  I struggle with this border as it is seen from both sides – the grass (I won’t call it a lawn) and also from the patio and from my living room.  So whatever I put in has to work from two directions.  Plus the border is only 4ft  (if that) wide due to the fall of the garden so I have steered clear of very big clump forming plants but I am beginning to have second thoughts.  More head scratching. However, if you look along the border from the stairs end it doesn’t look too bad (see below)

Why not join in with the End of Month posts.  Just choose an area of your garden you want to look at monthly, do a post on (or around the last day of the month) and post a link to your post in the comments field here.