Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – May 2020

It’s been a while since I posted a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) post but with my renewed blogging and a sunny morning I thought I would post away.

My approach is slightly different to my previous approach.  I have always taken close up photos of flowers especially for this meme but today I have pulled back a bit so you can see the context the plant is growing in, this is purely because my plants have matured and I am rather pleased with some of the combinations.

I’m starting in the front garden with the mad Euphorbia characias which is collapsing all over the place at the moment.  I adore the chartreuse green of the flower heads and it creates a perfect foil for both the aquilegias (above) and Iris Langport Wren (below).

Also in the front garden is one of my climbing roses.  I’m fairly new to climbing roses as the paving around the house was put by the builders right up to the walls so I have to grow the roses in large containers and only realised this was possible a few years ago, having read that roses didn’t do well in pots.  I do like the way that the orange red flowers of the rose work with the bricks.

Another pleasing combination is the wild yellow flag iris which grows in the small bog garden with the flowers emerging through some self-sown bracken (just as I was thinking the bracken really needed to go).

I’m also enjoying the allium flowers which are growing through the sage and contrasting with the sage flowers.  I can’t claim this is a deliberate planting its more a case of the alliums sowing themselves around and finding much better companions that I would give them.

Last up this month is Lathyrus aureus which I love at this time of year.  I really enjoy the orange flowers which like the Euphorbia provide a good compliment to the purples and blues of the aquilegias and irises.

For more GBBD posts check out the links on Carol’s May Dream blog

Six on Saturday 29th June 2019 – Roses

Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’

Its far too hot to spend time in the garden today, the patio thermometer is showing 36C although it is fair to say that is probably a little exaggerated as the thermometer is on the house wall and sitting in the sun – but its hot!

However, I did spend a very pleasant hour or so last night weeding made all the better by the new fence my neighbours have put up but more of that another day. Hopefully, I might be able to do some pottering this evening or tomorrow.  In the meantime, I thought I would showcase my favourite roses.

Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

I grow fonder and fonder of roses. Its something about the tissue like quality of the flowers, the scent, the old fashioned nature they bring to my garden.  The first two on the post are David Austin roses which are now doing very well.  When I first got them they had habit of not supporting their flower heads which can be a little OTT at times but I think that as the plants have matures and established the stems are stronger.

Rose Handel

I can’t remember where I got this rose from; I have had it for years.  Its flowers start off with strong colouration around the petal edges which slowly fade.  It has added value as it is one of those roses which has multiple flowers per stem, unlike the two David Austin roses.

Rose ‘Lucky’

If you want lots of flowers then Lucky really delivers.  It flowers for weeks on end especially if I remember to do a bit of dead-heading.  Again a rose I have had for some time; it may have come from Peter Beales as thats where I bought a number of roses a couple of years ago.

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

Blush Noisette is a small climber which grows in a pot on my patio climbing up trellis.  Another generous rose but looking a little pale this year compared to previous years, not a lot of Blush.

Finally my Marmite rose which was in the garden when we arrived.  It has persisted for years crowded in under various shrubs especially from my neighbours garden.  But due to the neighbours undertaking some heavy pruning the rose suddenly has loads of light and is flowering like mad.  It is one of those flowers that I think you either love or hate – I love it as its just so different.

So six roses for a hot summers day.  For more Six on Saturday posts pop over to The Propagators Blog and check out the links in the comments box.

GBBD June 2018 – Its all about the roses

Rose ‘Chinatown’

Having wandered around the garden taking photos of what is in flower for the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post I realised that the roses were stealing the show this month so I have focussed entirely on them.

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

I think this is a good year for roses.  We saw so many bushes smothered in flowers on our trip to Somerset and Wiltshire this week that people were commenting on the abundance and quality. I’m guessing it must be something to do with all the rain we had in the Spring but whatever the reason is I am thrilled with my roses this year.

Rose ‘Ophelia’

In previous years my roses have been a less than floriferous despite me feeding them and pruning them carefully.  This year my pruning was less carefully but also not as drastic as in the past and I think that might also have helped.

Rose ‘Lucky’

A lot of my roses are in one border along the top of the wall. However, as I don’t like rose only borders my roses are planted amongst herbs such as lavender, sage, bay, sweet cicely, and parsley which work well at hiding the ‘legs’ of the rose.  I also have other perennials in this border to add more interest including geraniums, aquilegias, penstemon, foxgloves and allium.

Rose ‘Eyes for You’

The combination works well with the foliage of the herbs providing a good foil to the flowers and also providing interest after the roses and friends have flowered.  So far this year there has also been little sign of black fly.

Rose ‘Handel’

In recent years my rose collection has grown due to roses seen on garden visiting trips.  The Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’ I saw in a garden near Cork, Ireland and Rose ‘Blush Noisette’ frequently appears in the gardens we visit.   This year no new rose has been added to my wish list after my garden visiting which is probably lucky as I have no idea where I would put another one.

Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’

Thank you to Carol, over at May Dream Gardens, for hosting this meme which she has hosted for ever making her Queen of the Meme.

There’s more to the life than gardening (and blogging)

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I was surprised to discover today that it is 17 days since I last posted a post on this blog and even more surprising for someone who has posted 3 times a week for at least 9 years is the fact that I haven’t missed posting nor have I even thought about it.  I didn’t even share with you the photo of my blue meconopsis poppy, grown from seed, which flowered this year with half a dozen flowers nor did I ever get around to blogging about all the gardens I visited in Suffolk or my visit to Croome Park last weekend.  Something has changed in me not just in terms of blogging but in other aspects of my life and it is for the better I think.

Anyone who has read this blog for a while particularly over the last 18 months will know that my job has changed and this past 18 months has been quite unsettling for me as I step up to a much more responsible role with a huge feeling of needing to prove myself.  It has taken its toll on me at times emotionally and physically but recently a new phase seems to have started – maybe I feel more assured in my role, maybe its not as scary and new – whatever it is I am now sleeping better and I don’t feel so stressed which can be no bad thing.

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One of my coping mechanisms in recent weeks, which I think has helped enormously, is walking.  Most evenings I go out after dinner for a walk, to the adjacent common or sometimes on the hills.  And it has made a huge difference particularly to someone who spends so much of the day at a desk or in meetings.  The local common is a wonderful place to walk as the grass is allowed to grow tall with just some paths mown through it and you can just loose yourself and let your mind drift; then on my return home I embroider.  In a strange way the compulsion I used to feel to garden in order to de-stress has been relocated to walking and sewing. I am sure that some of this relates to my new neighbours clearing the fence line and reducing my privacy.  I have tried to employ my usual Pollyanna approach to this saying it will be fine but I am struggling with it and we are looking at ways of addressing it – I’m even toying with moving house!  But I also think that the garden isn’t fulfilling my need for creativity any more.  I have basically run out of spaces to dig up.

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I have nearly finished the revamp of the front garden and just need to put the path in.  I say ‘just’ but this actually means laying a brick edge hence the delay while I work through all the excuses why I can’t do it this weekend or the next until I decide to just get on with it and stop procrastinating.  I will have to post about it soon as I am rather pleased with how it is looking in its first year but I am waiting for some of the asters to flower to give it colour before I do.

There is nothing new to do in the back garden aside from day to day maintenance which I have been doing as and when but I have to make myself garden these days.  This morning I made myself deal with the dead rose blooms I could see and of course once I was outside I spent a satisfying couple of hours dead heading, cutting the grass path and re-engaging with the garden.  I was thrilled to discover some banana seeds had germinated in the greenhouse, that a wren appeared to be nesting in the old bird box and that the fig tree I had brutally pruned a couple of weeks ago, when I rediscovered it under the triffid branches of the Geranium palmatum, was covered in lots of new emerging shoots.

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Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy my garden but not in the compulsive obsessive way I used to.  I don’t drool over the bulb catalogues any more instead that bad habit has been transferred to sewing magazines.  I don’t have a desire to spend every minute of my spare time in the garden, visiting a garden or at a garden club – instead I am a more rounded person which can only be a good thing.  Whilst I enjoyed my trip last month looking at gardens in Suffolk I would have liked to have had the opportunity to visit Gainsborough’s birthplace museum which was just near our hotel but always shut by the time we returned and I have recently developed an interest in the Northern Renaissance artists which may influence my holiday choices next year.

My family and friends think I have moved to a better place and that the real me is finally emerging.  Expressions like ‘you have blossomed’, ‘you have grown’ etc are being used and I think they are right.  I will always love my garden, whether its this one or a new one, but I don’t now need to rely on it to justify who I am, to prove I can achieve something and I don’t need to blog relentlessly any more to satisfy my need to mental stimulation and desire to connect with others.

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This new phase, with adult children and a demanding but rewarding job, means that I have the time, funds and courage to embrace interests I used to have many years ago.  I want to travel more, maybe I will have a go at gliding again, I want to get fitter, I want to expand my sewing and embroidery abilities, I want to see art, I’m going to go canoeing for the first time and if I loose some weight along the way I will be thrilled.

There will be blog posts but probably more as and when and I have started a new blog to record my sewing journey and to connect to other sewers but I don’t know how successful that will be as to be honest I am actively trying to avoid looking at screens when I’m not at work but we shall see and that’s the key change instead of setting myself mad targets and schedules, looking for things to blog about, I have moved to a more relaxed ‘lets see’ approach and I am comfortable with it.  So ‘lets see’ what the future brings – I may paint the spare room or I may read a book this afternoon, it doesn’t matter.

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My Garden This Weekend – 21st June 2015 Solstice Delights

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I’m off today on a short garden visiting odyssey so there won’t be the usual weekly update of things in my garden. Instead here are some pictures of what is looking good in the garden I managed to take yesterday afternoon between rain showers.

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I am thrilled with the impact of the Geranium palmatum at the top of the garden.  It seems to have gone mad this year and you have to battle your way along the top path.  I suspect the amount of growth is because we had such a mild winter the plants didn’t get knocked back.

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So those are my solstice delights.  I will be back later in the week to hopefully share with you some images of the amazing gardens I am visiting down south.

My garden this weekend – 9th March 2014

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Yellow describes this weekend – the sun has shone, the daffodils have bloomed and I have had two happy days gardening. Last weekend having only one day’s good weather I charged around the garden and the same was true yesterday but today, being greeted by a second sunny day the sense of panic gardening eased and I almost managed to potter!

2014_03090013As ever I had a ridiculous list of jobs I wanted to achieve this weekend.  The priorities were pruning the roses and emptying the second compost bin.  The drive for pruning the roses came from a talk last Monday at the local horticultural society  on roses.  The speaker advocated hard pruning at this time of year.  It turns out that despite my smallish garden I have acquired 9 roses, with most of them purchased in the last two years but it still didn’t take long to prune them.  As for the compost bin, as I said in my last post, my compost making is really slap dash.  I bought an extra bin this time last year but it ended up being filled with the turf we lifted to make the Big Border so my plan for being organised failed.  Anyway,  the first bin was emptied about a month ago but the bins were still overflowing and out of hand.  With my eldest son’s help we soon emptied the second bin – it was good to see that only a small layer on top was not composted down.  The contents were put on the Big Border as a thick mulch as you can see above (I must round off that angular corner on the path).

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After this arduous job was completed I spent the rest of the day weeding and tidying the 2014_03090020cottage garden border along the top of the wall.  It was pleasing to see the Delphinium shoots just beginning to nose through the soil.  As I have in past years, I took the opportunity to scatter some pre-emptive slug pellets.  I have found that doing this gives the plants a chance to get good strong shoots above ground and they seem to do well.  At my local HPS group they call this approach The Valentines Day Massacre because shoots often start to appear around Valentines Day!

I know that I planted out some peonies in the Big Border but as yet there are no signs of any emerging shoots.  However, the tree peony which has had a rough ride in recent years since I bought it, is rewarding me for planting it out last spring and feeding it by producing some lovely new shoots. Who knows this year it may flower again like it was when I bought it, I seem to remember it had a beautiful soft yellow flower.

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Today, I started off with a little planting.  First up a Grevillea victoriae in the front garden border to add a little evergreen colour and also hopefully some more of the wonderful exotic grevillea flowers which I love.  Then the last big plant move for a while – moving a large persicaria from near the workshop to the woodland border.  It was a bit of a beast but it is moved and well watered in which means I can start to sort out the area around the workshop soon.

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Next up I brought all the hardy succulents out of the garage where they have over wintered.  I stored them under cover, despite their hardiness, due to the plants being in small pots and I was worried they would freeze if left outside.  The majority of these plants are destined for the border in the front garden under the window along with the aloes etc.  They need a lot of tidying up but I think I will do that when I have decided what is going where.  In the meantime they have had a good water so they should perk up.

2014_03090042I had planned to sow more seeds but instead I decided that I needed to follow my resolution this year to be a better gardener and sort through the cold frames.  They are both full of pots of seeds, some sown a year ago, and seedlings from last year.  Some of the seedlings have died over winter.  I suspect that the compost I potted them up in was too damp which is why all my compost is now under cover.  I have decided I’m not allowed to sow any more seeds until I have sorted both cold frames out – not sure if I will stick to that.  The auriculas grown from seed two years ago were all repotted with fresh compost and last year’s auricula seedlings were also potted up.

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One cold frame has been sorted now and a start on the second.  I am thrilled to see I have peony seedlings from seed sown last year.  Peonies start by putting a root down first so it can be a good year before there is any sign of life above soil – patience is essential.

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The work was rounded off by sweeping up the patio and removing the last of the winter debris and mulching the roses with manure.

A completely satisfying and rewarding weekend – here’s hoping that next weekend will be as good.

GBBD 15/9/12 – Pretty in Pink

You would be forgiven from looking at this months blooms that we were back in June instead of September.  The roses in my garden have a second flush and unusually they are more floriferous than earlier in the year.  Above is Rosa ‘Handel’ which is a sort of climber, well I think it is a climber as it sends up very long stems but never more than about 7ft tall.  It is smothered in flowers and quite gorgeous.

Above is Rosa Jude the Obscure, a David Austin rose.  I bought two roses from them this year, the second being Emma Hamilton.  I love the flowers of David Austin roses but they always seem to flop and Jude the Obscure is doing exactly that.  It does smell wonderful though and in the Autumn I shall move it to the Cottage Garden border where I think it will do better as its less shady.  I love the flowers they look like porcelain

The third rose in flower and worth photographing, the others are all rather shabby, is Rosa Lucky.  Another good plant which has been flowering off and on all summer and produces lots of flowers.

Continuing the pink theme in the garden, which has surprised me as the garden is meant to be in its late summer oranges and yellows phase, is Diascia personata ‘Hopleys’.  I bought this from Wollerton Old Hall back in early August and it has been flowering non-stop ever since.  A really good buy.

Another pink purchase from Wollerton Old Hall is Salvia involucrata boutin.  This was rather a risky purchase since the plant is tender and I will have  to over-winter it but it is so gloriously pink and syrupy I couldn’t resist and it is working well with the other pink flowers in the Cottage Garden Border.

Finally a Phlox I bought at the local flea market the other day which was just labelled ‘Phlox’ and some Cosmos which have flopped with all the wind we have  had.

These are the highlights in the garden today but lurking in the wings are Asters, Sanguisorba and Lobelia tupa which I might share in another post.

For more Garden Blogger  Bloom Day post visit Carol at May Dreams

GBBD August 2010 – Daisy, Daisy

A couple of years ago I decided that I needed more daisy type flowers in the garden to attract insects.   Well I can safely say that I have now addressed that, in fact I hadn’t realised just how many daisy type flowers I had until I bought the Leucanthemum Broadway Lights above yesterday.  I couldn’t resist it and kidded myself that I was rescuing the plant which was quite large and in a ridiculously small pot.  Within minutes of being planted it was covered in insects.  It was when I was trying to place it I realised that there was a bit of a daisy theme going on. Even one of my new Dahlias, Swan Lake (below), is daisy like.

I also have Rudbeckias, both annual and perennial.

There are also Helianthus and Bidens in tight bud so in about a week there will be even more daisys for the insects to feast on.  Usually at this time of the year the star of the show is the Ligularia Desdemona (below).  It is flowering well but very stunted in height – a good foot and half shorter than in previous years so it doesn’t look as dramatic as normal which is a pity.

However, all is not lost the garden is really hotting up with an increasing number of red flowers coming into their own.  I know I like red anyway but I have realised that this preference has crept into the garden.  They mostly in the same border and include a gorgeous Dahlia Chat Noir (below)

Nearby is Lobelia Tupa (below).  I grew these from seed last year and its the first time they have flowered; I have to say the flowers are quite weird but very interesting.  There is also Lobelia Cardinalis in this border but it isn’t in flower yet and I have been wondering if it might be one red to many in such a small area!

I do have some Japanese Anemones in this border and their white flowers act as a good counterpoint to the reds and bright oranges as well as calming things down and giving the eyes somewhere to rest.  I think if you have too many similar colours together they lose their individual affect so its good to break them up.

Other cooling plants are a Thalictrum (below) which seems to have started flowering quite late this year, some Cleome given to me by Artists Garden and a lovely white rose which is on its second flush.

Those are the highlights from the actual garden.  In the pots my Pineapple Lilies are going great guns as is one of the Calla Lilies

As ever there are lots of flowers about to burst into flower which will have gone over by the time the next Garden Bloggers Bloom Day comes round so I will have to try and make sure I record them on this blog during the next month.

For more GBBD posts visit Carol’s blog at May Dreams Gardens

A late flush

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I have been really pleased over the last week to see that my climbing rose, Handel, has decided to treat me with a last flush of flowers before the winter arrives.  A spray of about 6 buds has appeared and hopefully the weather will remain mild enough over the next week for the other 5 buds to have a chance to come into flower like the one above.

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Another rose having a last fling is this dainty yellow rose which was in the garden when we moved in.  It isnt the most prepossessing plant in appearance but the flowers are quite nice.