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.

 

Six on Saturday – 23rd March 2019

Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’

A lovely sunny day in the garden, finally, with no particular plans just being.  I am enjoying this meme as it makes me really look at what is looking best in the garden. I have a mooch around the garden taking photos of anything interesting.  However, it took a few walks around the garden before I spotted the Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’; which was a real thrill as I have tried to establish this before and failed.

Pulstilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’

Not far away I found Pulstilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’ which was new a couple of years ago and seems to be establishing itself.

I have been bemoaning the fact that the primroses haven’t been reappearing this year and they never seem to bulk up but I did find this double primrose.

There are quite a few tulips almost ready to flower in the garden.  I really like the serrated edge of the petals of this one.

I thought I would include the Forsythia as I think it is really underrated and people can be quite snobbish about it but what’s not to like about those lovely yellow flowers.

Melianthus major

Finally, I discovered that the Melianthus major is flowering.  It doesn’t flower every year and I think the flowering is brought on by the warmer temperatures.  There are two flower spikes so far.  They are fascinating to watch as the spike slowly grows and unfurls over a number of weeks.

So those are my favourite things this week – for more Six on Saturday pop over the the Propagator’s Blog.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring at last

 

Anemone coronaria ‘Brodeaux’

Hoorah a sunny Sunday at long last with temperature creeping into double figures.  But what to do and where to start? Having been unable to garden for several weekends due to the cold and wet the jobs are mounting up.  The situation isn’t helped by the fact that I have started some major renovation at the top of the garden and also on the patio – they are strangely connected.

Hepatica nobilis

The sunshine has encouraged the dainty Hepatica to open their flowers.  I am really pleased with these as I grew them from seed a few years back and this is at least the second year they have flowered.

Tulipa turkestanica

The first tulips are flowering.  I believe these are Tulipa turkestanica  which is a small dainty tulip native to central Asia.  I used to grow the bulbs in pots and the plants were floppy with weak stems.  Last year I planted the bulbs out into the Big Border which is rapidly becoming the ‘Bulb Border’.  I keep adding gravel to the border and old compost and this has resulted in excellent free draining soil ideal for bulbs. The Tulipa turkestanica is now growing more robustly with good strong stems.

This photo shows my renovations at the top of the garden.  We have removed all the scaffolding boards which terraced the top of the garden, mainly as they were rotting after some ten years of holding the garden up.  Instead of flat terraces I am reverting back to a slope but my plan now is to plant it up with shrubs and large leafed perennials to create a sort of hardy exotic feel to the top of the garden.  If I do it well then it shouldn’t need too much maintenance so the slope won’t be an issue.

In the meantime my eldest son has been making a coffee table for his brother and fiancée’s new home.  We are very impressed with how clever he is; hopefully I will be getting a sewing table soon.

End of Winter?

As predicted in my last post we have had snow.  Here in Malvern we have got off fairly lightly compared to some parts of the country and indeed this area.  Several friends who live in more rural settings have experienced drifts of snow over 6ft tall.  This demosntrates what has been so challenging about this phase of cold weather – the biting wind creating huge drifts in the strangest of places, blocking roads, closing airports and thwarting our rail network.

Whilst I spent yesterday turning up curtains I watched the antics of the birds.  They had been missing from the garden on Thursday and Friday probably due to the wind, bitter temperatures, and snow but with the weather improving a little yesterday, aside from the oppressive fog, the birds ventured out for food – much like my neighbours off to the supermarket.

My focus has been more on feeding the ground feeding birds which I think get overlooked a lot.  We have a bench which makes a good platform so several times a day I have been putting out a selection of bird food including the usual seed, dried mealworms, suet and apples.

The offering of apples were rewarded by a small flock of Fieldfares arriving in the garden much to my delight as we only see them when they pass through on their migration route.  They do have a weakness for apples so I was hoping they would appear. They seem to have sentries as we have had one of their number strutting around the place for the last two days guarding the food from all comers with his fanned tail, just like a turkey.

And just to make the gloomy day even better a small flock of Long Tailed Tits appeared on the bird feeders.  They are my all time favourite garden birds with their distinctive excitable song as they flit around the trees and shrubs looking for insects – like little puffballs.  I always worry about them and their small relatives when we have cold weather so it was a relief to see them.

Now on Sunday afternoon the temperature has reached the heady heights of 10C degrees, a bit of a difference to -4C a couple of nights ago and the thaw has started – it always makes me hum Little April Showers from Bambi. Heres hoping that we can now move on to Spring.

 

In a Vase on Monday – Daffodils

Well it was only a matter of time before daffodils were the subject of the In a Vase on Monday post.  Many of these were blown over in the winds at the end of last week and some had to be rescued from under shrubs and perennials which have grown larger than I expected! I have had to make a note to dig up the bulbs and move them into a more open location.

I think the selection demonstrates just how diverse narcissus are.  I prefer the lighter coloured flowers as I find the brighter yellows a bit brash.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly meme.

End of Month View – March 2016

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I had a sudden panic today when I realised that tomorrow is the last day of March and I had forgotten all about the End of Month post, not very good when you are the host of the meme! I am on annual leave this week and have managed to get a few hours in the garden between rain and decorating the living room.  The grass lawn has been cut and edged and its amazing how it being neat makes the rest of the garden appear neat, which I can assure you it isn’t.

The border looks alright but I have plans as part of my bid to colour up the garden this year.  I have this week bought a Rosa ‘Hot Chocolate’ which will go in the border here.  I saw the rose in a garden somewhere between Dublin and Cork last year and have been looking for the plant for a while only to find it in a plant retailer just down the road.  It is a sort of orangey red, hard to describe, and I think will work well with the Amenthalea lessonia which also has orange in its leaves.  I will also be adding some red lupins and oriental poppies although I worry it might all be a little too much but we shall see.  I probably need to find some different, lighter tones of red or orange to lighten the planting and provide some depth.

Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-ma
Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-ma

The Prunua incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ which is the main structure in the border is just beginning to bloom.  I love this shrub with its pretty delicate spring flowers and then in Autumn the leaves colour up before the slightly twisted stems provide interest during the winter.  Today I have added Galanthus ‘Flora Pleno’ around its stem to provide interest early in the year.

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The other end of the border continues to perplex me but there is a niggle in the back of my mind that I might have a lightbulb moment.  The border used to be quite shady and I have sort of planted along those lines but it isn’t as shady as it was since the willow had a significant haircut.  There are  a lot of ferns in the border and the signs that the Cardiocrinum giganteum is returning, maybe it will flower this year.  I want some colour at this end of the border aside from green but I want to also improve the textures. I think some hostas would add a good contrast to the ferns and maybe some pale foxgloves but I can’t think what to add for colour later in the year – more pondering to be done.

You can see what the border looked like in February here

All are welcome to join in with the End of Month meme and you can use it as you wish; maybe focus on a particular border, or do a tour of the garden whatever you find useful then you can follow its progress through the year.  All I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comment box below.

 

Notes from the Garden – 26/3/2016

Euphorbia x pasteurii 'Phrampton Phatty'
Euphorbia x pasteurii ‘Phrampton Phatty’

It seems as though we are due another wet Easter but at least yesterday was a gloriously sunny day.   The media is full of Easter being the weekend when people start to engage with their gardens which always surprises me as I have been engaged with mine all winter; but I suppose I am in the minority.

Narcissus 'Geranium'
Narcissus ‘Geranium’

The daffodils and narcissus are really coming into their own now. I was surprised at the reaction to me showing you Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle’ last week as I thought it was quite a well known narcissus.  So I thought I would follow up with this week’s favourite Narcissus ‘Geranium’.  It is a beautiful strongly scented tazette narcissus with on average three flowers per stem.

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Having spent the morning decorating it was a relief to get outside into the fresh air and make the most of the opportunity before the forecast rain came.  I have crowded my head with so many ideas and plans that it was a delight to just potter around the garden tidying up and weeding.  I found no less than 8 flower stems on the Epimedium ‘Egret’ ready to flower within the next week when the sun returns which is very exciting as there was only one flower stem last year.  Working my way through the border reminded me that the planting isn’t so bad and maybe coming up with grand plans during the winter isn’t the best idea!

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Despite the season seeming to settle down there are still some plants which have decided to flower early such as this Honesty – I think it is Lunaria ‘Corfu Blue’.  I’m a little vague as it’s a chance seedling which has decided to plant itself by the wood store but whatever it is its very welcome.

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And now a little boosting but I was so thrilled to receive a mention in this week’s Women’s Weekly that I cannot help myself. So if you have found yourself here from reading the magazine then you are very welcome. Now with the weather looking set to stay wet for the rest of the weekend I think its time to go back to the sewing.

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