End of Month View – June 2015

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Well that was June.  It seems as though I blinked and missed it and I suspect July will be the same given my diary.  I posted yesterday about my new found enthusiasm for the garden so I wont repeat myself, suffice to say that the garden is already looking better for my work yesterday.  There is some colour from the foxgloves but not as much as I would wish for in the centre of the garden but I am now working on that.

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The borders around the bottom path are looking more colourful. The roses are blooming, some of them are not as floriferous as I would like so they may be on the hit list if they don’t perform better next year.  The penstemons are starting to flower and are adding much needed colour around the stems of the roses.

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The shed view up the stairs and the border to the left is beginning to fill out.  The poppies and Ammi majus have looked lovely and I am now anticipating the agapanthus and zinnias which will flower in a month or so.

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The other shed view from the bottom path.  The asters have really put a spurt on over the last month and will I hope really colour up the Big Border in a couple of months.  I really like the mass of foliage and plant material here but it will need to be kept an eye on to make sure one plant doesn’t swamp out another but at least you can’t see any weeds which may be lurking in the soil below!

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The main woodland border is really full and the Hosta ‘Sun and Substance’ dominates.  I need to do some thinning around it I think so it looks its best.  I think the Solomons Seal to its left needs a slight relocation so both plants are shown off better but I am pleased with the coverage.  I also think there is scope for a little variety in texture so maybe the addition of a fern might help to the left of the border.

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The newish planted woodland area is beginning to fill out and I think I will add some bulbs through here, maybe some dwarf narcissus and crocus.

So that is the garden at the end of June.  The summer temperatures appear to be about to rise drastically over the next week so I will have to keep an eye on the new plantings.

Any one is welcome to join in the End of Month View and to use it how they wish.  All I ask is that you add a link to this post in yours and a link to your post in the comments box below.

 

End of Month View – May 2015

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Looking back on last month’s End of Month View it is amazing how much the garden has filled out in just one month especially given how dry May has been.  The temperatures have also been unseasonably low and I think this has helped to make everything seem so very green. As you can see the irises have started with Bumble Bee Delight just showing in the bottom of the above photo to the left of the path.  Just behind it is a Dutch Iris which seem to do very well here and I plan to add to next year.

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Along the bottom path you can see the alliums have come into their own and the roses are about to bloom which I am really looking forward to.  I added roses to this border last year and this is the first year when they will be really flowering so it will be interesting to see if they live up to the image in my mind.  Throughout the garden there are aquilegias of all colours and types as I just love them.

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The steps run up the end of the Big Border and are the access to the garden from the patio which the bottom and middle path lead off.  The plants along the edge of the path are starting to soften the steps.  I am really pleased with how the shed looks now, painting it has made such a difference.  It has somehow lightened the wood and it all just sits so well.

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The view from the bottom path across to the shed and you can see how full the Big Border is.  I have done some editing but I think next Spring I might need to lift and divide some of the perennials to keep them in check.

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The main woodland border is very full, possibly too fall.  I really should have relocated the Hosta Sum and Substance or maybe divided it and perhaps the Solomons Seal.  I think the hosta leaves add some good contrast to the smaller leaves but there is a lot of pushing and shoving going around.

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Above is the newer planted area of the woodland border which was done last week. I really think I need to edit the Maianthemum as it is beginning to romp away.  I suspect since the Acer has gone and the willow has been drastically cut back there is more moisture getting to this part of the border which the Maianthemum is enjoying. With a small garden I spend ages hoping plants will establish and then when they do I have to set to to reduce the new growth!

So there is my garden at the end of May 2015 looking lush and full and quite floriferous.

All are welcome to join in with the End of Month View, the more the merrier.  You can use it how you wish maybe give us a tour of your garden or focus on one area 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; that way we can all find each other.

 

 

 

My Garden This Weekend – 25/5/15

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I have spent the last two days in the garden and it has been lovely.   I did consider popping over the Malvern Hills to visit some gardens in Leominster this afternoon but by lunchtime I had really got stuck into planting up part of the woodland border so I stayed put and finished the job.  This year is the first year for ages that I remember being really content in the garden.  I don’t know whether it’s because I have been pottering in the evening so more of the jobs are being done or whether it’s because I have stopped charging around exhibiting at shows and reduced the number of groups I go to or whether it because I haven’t got a major project this year but I definitely feel more relaxed and I am enjoying gardening, instead of rushing around trying to achieve half a dozen things at a time.

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Yesterday was very overcast with the odd shower, not really conducive to weeding and pottering so instead I decided to face the horror that is the collection of seed trays and pots in the cold frames. I love sowing seeds and get very excited when they germinate but I’m not so good at looking after the seedlings and growing them on.  As I said to a friend recently if I succeeded with everything I germinated I would have a botanical garden by now so one of my objectives this year is to do better.  I have two 3 tier cold frames and one of them is home to an assortment of pots and trays in which seeds have been sown and then forgotten.  The majority of them date back to 2014 and some of them contain bulb seedlings which I wait until the second year to pot up.  So I spent probably 4 hours on Sunday pricking out and potting up.  There were still some pots with no sign of life so they have gone up the top of the garden to benefit from all weathers and then if they aren’t doing anything probably by the winter they will be chucked.  I was thrilled though to discover 3 pots of Arisaema seedlings, some Paeonia cambessedesii seedlings, as well as fritillaries and acer seedlings.

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Of course one pot of seedlings soon becomes one tray of seedlings etc so it was a real jigsaw getting everything back into the cold frames and greenhouse.  I did ditch a couple of pots that were obviously never going to germinate and some of the older seedlings are having to toughen up on the patio but in the end it all got put back together.

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Today, Bank Holiday Monday, I started with planting out some Petunia exserta seedlings grown from seed from Special Plants.  This led to me weeding the Big Border which led to me relocating an epimedium which then led to me considering the woodland border and the space where the Acer previously was.  The old rhododendron only had one flower this year and has become very leggy and one sided due to the shade produced by the vast willow.  Now the willow has been cut back and there is so much more sky I am trying to get the rhododendron to bush out better.  I pruned it back and this of course revealed some more planting area.  One thing led to another and by mid-afternoon I had added two small rhododendrons that I got for my birthday and a Vestia foetida which I bought at the garden visit on Saturday.  I also added a couple of epimediums – well it would be rude not to take advantage of more shady space wouldn’t it.

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It doesn’t look much in this photograph but I am really pleased.  I had planned to trim the box pyramid but I love the bright green new shoots too much so they have been left for another week.

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I even did some weeding in the front garden which I hate working in and for once I am really pleased with the driveway border.  The geums that went in last year are coming into their own although I would have preferred it if the orange geums could have been as strong as the red ones which seem to dominate the border at the moment.  I have a new fondness for orange geums as I think they add wonderful spots of highlight which really lift a border.

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As you can see the Achemilla mollis is about to flower so there will be a limey green haze along the side of the border which links to the marjoram on the other side of the border.  I just need to try to continue this style of planting along the end of the lawn where the soil gets much drier. As readers will know I have been considering digging up the front lawn but for now I have decided to be kind to myself and not give myself too much additional work so the lawn stays a little longer.

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As you can see its all looking very lush and full but it will be interesting to see how good it looks when the late spring Aquilegia and Alliums are over.

 

End of Month View – January 2015

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Another year and the start of another series of End of Month posts.  Time for some new views, projects and pondering.

I plan to start with the view above which is the grass path between the Big Border and the former Bog Garden which is in need of a new name but first of all it needs some sort of identity.  I have some plans for the area on the right of the photo to give it more structure and interest but I think there will be a pinky/red/white theme picking up on the prunus flowers and the berries of the sorbus.  The Big Border still needs some rejigging to get the planting looking right.  The Euphorbia dominates the border and I want to try to tie it in with the planting around it more but I’m not sure how yet.  There are lots of asters and late flowering perennials in this border but I think I want to try to give it interest earlier in the year.  I have added some bulbs but I can’t remember where so I shall be watching to see what comes up and where I need to add more.

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This is another view I haven’t included before and shows the whole of the former Bog Garden as well as the newish Hardy Exotic Border.  The tin bath is earmarked to be filled with some white Zantedeschia. It will be interesting to see how much light this border will get now that the willow that shaded most of it has been significantly reduced.  I want to tidy up the planting on the left hand side to try to reduce the impression that plants have been dumped there, which they have to a degree.  I also fancy a bit of sculpture and I have my heart set on some willow sculpture which would be kind of ironic.  The other thing that bothers me is the camber of the grass path which slopes down the garden and is quite frankly hopeless as I find it impossible to cut.  I keep bouncing back and forth between taking it up and replacing with a gravel path or relaying the grass on a flat base.

As an aside I am also hoping to sort out the border along the fence which has troubled me ever since it was created.  The bamboo are doing very well but I need to add some other plants, maybe shrubs, to fill the border and provide a good back drop (and mask the fence).  I just can’t think what and I haven’t really applied myself so I need to make a concerted effort this year.

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I am particularly taken with the view up the garden from the patio to the shed so I have decided to include that this year. I suppose the view is mainly of the shed and gravel path which won’t change much during the year but I do put out pots on the steps and I intend to do more.  Also the Stipa gigantea is on the list from removal this Spring.  It has done well for years now and unwittingly was positioned so it catches the afternoon sun especially in the Autumn.  However since I got my darling cat it has suffered from her attacks particularly in the summer when crickets seem to live in the middle.  It is also planted in the wrong place as for years I have had to cut back the leaves which were engulfing every thing including the steps so its going.  In its place I intend to plant things that love the sun and good drainage like bearded irises which I love far more than grasses and maybe some hardy agapanthus.

The other part of the garden I thought I would focus on was the Woodland Border at the end of the grass path.  This is a couple of years old now but has had to have some replanting as I lost an Acer last year which dominated part of the border.

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Over the Autumn and Winter I had added a Viburnum, Berberis seiboldii and a Leptospernum myrtifolium.  The border has benefited from the emptying out of one of the compost bins and last week before the cold snap I gave it a good mulch of wood chip.  So now I will be waiting and watching to see what comes up where.  I know there is a large Hosta Sum and Substance in there as well as a couple of clumps of Solomons Seal.  I think this border just needs some tidying along the front edges maybe with some more bulbs for next year but we shall see.

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The rest of the Woodland Border which has a number of shrubs in it but as they are bare stems are difficult to see.  I am hoping that the Mahonia in the background will put on some real growth this year.  It was cut back to the ground two years back as I wanted to stop it growing on one stem taller and taller.  It has branched now and is starting to grow but sadly there were no flowers this year.  I also need to tweak the end of the Big Border in the foreground which is quite frankly shabby most of the year.  There is a large Dicentra here which dies back and leaves a gap so I need to think about what to plant with it to hide the gap when it dies back.

So those are this year’s End of Month Views.  Hopefully next month there will be a little more green and less brown and maybe even some new plants added – the greenhouse and cold frame are full of things waiting to go out.

All are welcome to join in with the End of Month View meme (EOMV).  All I ask if that you link to this post in your post and leave a link in the comment box below so we know you have joined in and can come for a look.  You can use it in any way you wish.  Some do as I do and look at one particular area through the year, others do a tour of the garden or feature whatever is pleasing them.

If you want to get an idea of what is where in my small garden take a look at the Garden Plan which you can find from the tab along the top of the post.

My Garden This Weekend – 11th January 2015

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Amongst the gusty wind and grey skies there were moments of still and sunshine this weekend when the garden shone giving me the perfect opportunity to get some horticultural therapy and take photographs.

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I get such a thrill seeing plants emerge at any time of year, watching leaves unfurl and buds open but at this time of year there is something particularly special when you see the first shoots of snowdrops, narcissus, crocus and eranthis pushing through the soil. I suspect this is the reason so many plantsmen (and women) end up becoming glanthophiles; in desperate need of some horticultural enjoyment at what is a bleak time of year they turn to the few plants that are showing signs of life.  I have snowdrops, both everyday and a few special starting to flower, but for me it was spotting the eranthis pushing through the soil that really thrilled me.

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They have such a strange way of emerging with the frill of leaves pulling the flower bud out of the ground all ready to open, they completely intrigue me. Elsewhere the camellia and hellebore buds are still forming but beginning to show some colour so it shouldn’t be too long before they open.

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My mother asked me the other day what on earth I found to do for an hour and half in the garden at this time of year which amused me.  I can always find something to do.  Although I have an editing list, running around in my head, of plants that I want to move or simply remove, this weekend I was feeling a little weary so I indulged in pottering, one of my favourite gardening activities.  I worked my way through the Woodland Border weeding, cutting back perennials and generally tidying.  This border saw quite a change last year with the death of the Acer and I am still working out how to fill the gap.

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As you can see the border is looking very sparse in interest although I know that the border is actually full but everything is sleeping below the soil, there are lots of shoots beginning to push through the ground.  But it does need structure and form and I know from looking at it through the past year it needs sorting out so the plants look better. I have just started reading Keith Wiley’s new book ‘Designing and Planting a Woodland Garden’ which has got me thinking.  In it he groups plants, aside from shrubs and trees, into one of six groups and he talks about how you use plants from each group with each other.  He also says that whilst we are better at taking into account the right growing conditions for a plant we seem to have forgotten to think about how the plants actually work together.  I have also been watching a new Alan Titchmarsh series, ‘Britain’s Best Back Garden‘, where he meets everyday gardeners in a rich variety of gardens.  I have found the programme fascinating as many of the gardeners are very passionate about their gardens, often with no formal training, and their gardens are amazing; full, lush, floriferous. Between the book and the programme I have found myself reassessing the back garden and my approach and coming up with plans. Nothing drastic but I want to incorporate some more interesting shrubs and remove those that have only a short season of interest and don’t earn their keep.  I also want to improve my overall approach to planting to be braver and trust my instincts more rather than worrying about whether the conditions are right, what people will say, how quickly the plant will grow etc.

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Above is the woodland border from the patio and you can see that there is a bit of winter interest at this end but there is also so much potential and scope for me to really improve it.  I think I might feature this area in the End of Month View although it is quite hard to find a good angle to photograph it from, but then again yo can say that about most of the garden.

 

My Garden this Weekend 17/8/14 – A Warts & All Tour

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I have weeded, dead-headed, cut back and generally given the garden a good sort out this weekend and during the evenings last week.  It was long overdue and the chaos that has been irritating me for weeks, if not months, is as a result of holidays, other commitments and weather either heavy rain or a heatwave.  I garden to relax, to de-stress and the lack of time I have had outside has taken a toil on me, the garden and the blog.  Anyway, as its all tidy, in fact over tidy, I thought I would take you on a warts and all tour.  I did a tour around this time last year and looking back I can see I have done some of the things I said but not others – some areas have improved and others not.

2014_08170020 We will start the tour by entering the back garden via the side path and you will see the ridiculous amount of seed trays and pots of seedlings I have.  I have been saying to online friends recently that I need to stop buying seeds.  ‘No’ they say, there is always room for seeds but to be honest I seem to have lost the fascination with growing things from seed.  I am sure it will come back at some point but I feel a real need to regroup at the moment.

Going round the corner we are on the patio with is long and thin and runs along the back of the house.  There are borders either side of the greenhouse between the patio and wall.  These were the first places planted up and have had a few changes over the eleven years we have been there but I am pretty happy with them now.

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I am especially pleased with the fern border as I love the textures here and most of the ferns are evergreen so it even looks Ok in the winter.

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At the end of the patio we find the steps up to the back garden and just to the right is the staging which appears every month in the End of Month View.  The steps are quite narrow 2014_08170030and are the only access to the back garden so everything – plants, compost etc have to be dragged up here by hand; wheelbarrows are useless.

The gravel steps, at the top of the steep steps,  which were finished last year have been a boon. When we moved in this was all grass, in fact the garden was mainly grass, and there was a path of large paving slabs which sloped with the angle of the garden and were really slippery.

If you stand at the top of the steep steps before the gravel steps and turn left you have the newish path that runs between the ‘Cottage Border’ and the ‘Big Border.  This was put in as an access path but I use it more than any other path in the garden and its the cat’s favourite place to sunbath.

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The Cottage Border has been the focus of much irritation over the last few months.  You may recall that it has been home to a collection of delphiniums which looked wonderful.  However, they only flowered for a couple of weeks and the foliage and size of the plants were smothering everything around them and then when the stems were cut down large holes in the border appeared.  I made the decision to take them out as they were boring me!  Today they were lifted and the border tidied and sorted.  I have a collection of plants waiting to go in which should add texture and foliage interest and compliment the roses.

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Big gaps in the borders have appeared which made me smile as I have been saying for a while I don’t have any more room.  However, I want to think through my options carefully.  I have had a range of plants in this area and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t do messy or the billowing prairie/grass look – I am too much of a neat nick. The plants I love are ferns, roses, irises, epimediums, peonies and bulbs such as narcissus and crocus and I think I need to focus on these more.

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As the path curves up to the right you come to the original woodland border.  This is the first year I have been pleased with it – I am such a tough critic.  I have been mentally stuck with having small short woodland plants in this area which are great in the spring but dull the rest of the year.  This spring I moved things around and added some large plants

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including melianthus, some asters, persicaria and euphorbia.  They have given the border substance (although the persicaria really needs reducing before it engulfs its neighbours).  This is the sort of planting I enjoy and am trying to replicate elsewhere in the garden. The

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path brings you to an area of sadness.  Here was an Acer that my sons and late sister bought for me some years back.  It has looked stunning for years but for some reason that I cannot fathom it died this winter.  This weekend we pulled it out and it has left a large gap in the border.  You can see how dry the soil is and this is due to the neighbour’s trees whose roots fill this area.  Interestingly though the fatsia planted two years ago just the left of the photo is going great guns.  Turning our back to this area we have the grass path in front of us which runs along the other side of the Big Border to the first path.  On the left of the path is the front of the Not Very Bog Border and this is another area I struggle with.

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I am pleased with the Big Border – I need to add some shorter plants along the edges to hide the legs of the asters etc and I need to sort out the far end as there are too many strappy leaves here so its all a little samey.  I have some ideas I just need to implement them.

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This is the most, probably, troublesome area.  The ground gets quite dry here and I have been trying to find a character for it for years.  In fact I said the same a year ago when I did the tour of the garden.  There are some rusty foxgloves which do well here and also ferns but then, as you will see, I have lots of ferns elsewhere.  I am toying with removing the Spirea to the right of the variegated Cornus and replacing it with a Cotinus.  I think this might give the foxgloves a good backdrop and I have some Crocosmia and Geums that I was thinking of putting in here which would also look good with a purple background.

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At the end of the grass path if you turn left up the gravel steps you head to the new seating area which I love.  However, there is this corner which perplexes me.  It the other end of the border in the photo above – in fact the whole border challenges me.  There are phloxs in here which have looked wonderful albeit bitty and also Lobelia tupa.  I am thinking of moving the lobelia to the Big Border and also maybe the Phloxes and starting again but with what?

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The new seating area is in front of the Hardy Exotic Border and I though I would pull the seat out so you can see how it is coming along and so I can weed.  Again I am pleased with the textures here and its all foliage based.  I could move the Lobelia tupa here but I’m not sure there is room.   Turning around we have the Not Very Bog Border which is alright but looking back to last year’s post there was more interest with the bronze foliage of the Ligularia.  However, I am going to leave it to establish and fill out and see how things go.

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If I moved the Cotinus to this border it will also provide a backdrop to this area which might be good.

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There is a secret path which runs between the Not Very Bog Border and the Slope.  I have been planting my growing collection of epimediums and ferns around this area but there is room for more. We go to the end of the path and there are some slabs steps which go up and to the right and lead to a path along the top of the slope.  You can see a small border at the base of the tree and I need to sort this out as it has suffered neglect.  There is space in here for a shrub at the back and I have a number of ideas which I will investigate.

2014_08170051The long narrow border along the fence has been a struggle over the years.  I planted some bamboo in here four years ago to act as a screen to the neighbour’s house behind and they are now finally establishing and filling out.  I want to add some more big foliage in here but again need to decide what.

As you can see the path needs sorting.  It was covered in wood chip which the birds and badger loved and in the winter it was like a mine field to walk along because of the holes dug in it.  I want to replace the bark with gravel and hopefully I will find the time and energy to do this soon.

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All my tidying up has added to the compost heap which was out of control before I started.  You can just see the bamboo to the left of the heaps which I thinned today.  This is just to the right of where the Acer has been taken out and acts as a screen to the bins when it isn’t collapsing everywhere.  I am thinking of taking the bamboo out and possibly moving it somewhere in front of the back fence and replacing it with an ever green shrub.  The biggest problem I have now which only came to light yesterday is that the top branch of the willow has snapped and it has partially fallen.

2014_08170053I need to get a tree surgeon to sort it out and also to look at the whole tree which is far to big for its location.  I’m not sure how the surgery will affect the light in this area so I will probably have to wait and see before I make any significant changes to the planting.

I am currently reading Margery Fish as I like her attitude and she liked the plants I do.  I think I might try and fit in a trip to East Lambrook in the coming weeks to see what it looks like at this time of year as this is when I struggle most as my favourite plants have all finished.  I have a couple of weeks leave coming up so I hope to do some planting and planning then.

Anyway, that’s my garden warts and all

My Garden this Weekend – 1st June 2014

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After all the rain and cool temperatures we have had it has been a lovely warm weekend; even at times, dare I say it, too warm for gardening.  Saturday was spent at the local HPS group meeting which I always enjoy as I rarely come away without learning something.  I also inevitably come home with some plants despite telling myself there really is no more room.  This week’s purchases are an Iris Louisiana ‘Sinfonietta’ and a Phyteuma scheuchzeri.  Apparently the Iris Louisiana likes the same conditions as Iris Siberica and will cope with a little flooding from time to time.

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This photo doesn’t convey the wonderful iridescent blue of the flowers which in fact almost match the pot.  It is such a wonderful blue that Bob Brown made me go outside to admire the plant before I bought it. Anyway it is planted in the corner of the patio and fingers crossed it will do well.

imageI also wired up the side fence and planted a Rosa mutabilis which hopefully will spread to cover the fence under the neighbour’s Photinia – I think the colours will complement each other.  I then planted out some Aeoniums in the succulent border in the front garden and moved most of the other succulents out of the greenhouse placing them around the patio and up the steps.

To continue the small planting theme I also emptied out the spring bedding in the Jasmine planter and replaced it with Begonias.  This is a repeat of what I did last year which isn’t very original but it worked well and I walked round and round the garden centre and imagenothing really inspired me.  I sense that any interest in bedding I may have had is waning and I am tending towards more permanent plantings in pots.

I also did some tidying up in the front garden, cut the grass and pondered what I could add to the Driveway Border to add some extra height and interest now the Irises have gone over and the Crocosmia aren’t yet flowering.  I think I need some Verbascum.  I am going to go for the Verbascum chaixii ‘Album’ as the white will continue the theme of the Potentilla and the dark red/burgundy flower centres will pick up on the Alliums and Erysium.  I just need to decide whether to buy some plants now or whether to sow seed and be patient.

I then set too and tackled the patio border which has been swamped with Welsh Poppies and Bluebells.  The new Edgeworthia is being eaten by something and I am assuming its slugs although the Kirengeshoma next to it is also suffering from holes appearing on the leaves and I’m not convinced this is slug damage as they are very regular.  Anyway, I thought if I cleared away all the bluebell and narcissus debris then this would reduce the places for pests to hide and provide a healthier environment.  I dug up all the Welsh Poppies. I know some people love them but they are like a weed in my garden self-seeding everywhere and I find their yellow flowers distract from the rest of the plants.  I am sure en masse somewhere they would look fabulous but not dotted through my border.  I also dug up what bluebell bulbs I could locate and I have replanted them up the garden.  I know there are still some in the border but they are mixed up in the roots of the perennials and it would mean lifting plants etc.  Anyway, the border looks a lot better now and I think the plants will be healthier.

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Not bad for a day in the garden.  Still lots more to do but then that is gardening for you.

My Garden This Weekend – 11th May

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Due to my commitments at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival this weekend and the horrid gusty weather the garden has been left to its own devices and it has thrived if the ignore the twigs blown from the trees all over the place.  With the mix of sunshine and rain the plants and weeds have really shot up and all is looking lush.

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So  I have nothing really to report aside from showing you some photos taken in a stolen few minutes with my son’s camera as mine is broken.  Above is the driveway border in the front garden which I am quite chuffed with for the first time ever.  The Ballerina Tulips have few petals left due to the gust of wind that have torn through the garden the last two days.  They are being replaced by the bearded Iris, I think its Langport Wren, and there are Alliums which will also be flowering soon.  You can see the Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ which has opened its flowers in the last week.  I have also included some geums in the border which I hope will flower soon as I was trying to continue the orange and purple theme which I like.

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The Cottage Border is starting to flower.  Aquilegias are opening and the Delphiniums will probably join them in a couple of weeks. The blue to the right is from Camassias which despite being weary of them yesterday I do actually like very much.  They do well on my heavy moist clay soil.

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A view of the Woodland Border from the patio, again all very lush and full which I am pleased about.  The border is in its third year and I am pleased with the texture and the variety of heights that the young shrubs are starting to provide.

Hopefully I might get a few hours in the garden this week after work.  I have lots to plants out and pot up from the show this weekend and there is also lots of tidying to do in the borders as well as seedlings to prick out and pot up.

Oh and the tulip is the top photo should be Burgundy Lace but this one has an interesting cream splash down it which reminds me of rhubarb and custard.

 

My Garden this Weekend – 6th April 2013

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The Prunus flowering in my garden is always a sign that spring is most definitely here.  The arrival of the flowers is accompanied by the pollinators and there is a constant humming as you work in the garden under the tree.  In fact over the last few weekends the sound of bumble bees has been a constant soundtrack to my gardening and I am sure there are more than in previous years – maybe the milder winter temperatures has been good for them.

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The first tulips are flowering.  I think these are Purple Prince and am rather taken with them.  I like the way the petals look like crinkled silk, the colour is so iridescent.  I generally plant the bulbs out in the borders for the following year but after the experience of the badger trashing the garden the winter before last in its pursuit of the tulip bulb I am a little hesitant at doing this; something to ponder. Though looking at the photo below I think these might look good amongst the foliage of the conifers

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The weather has been grey and damp with rain showers so outside gardening was a non-starter today but I did get some tidying up and weeding done yesterday.  The small conifer planting is looking quite nice with the various muscari adding a splash of colour. I’m not sure about the geraniums here but again they will add colour until the conifers spread out.

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The original woodland border has also had a tidy up.  I have been editing the planting in here and adding taller perennials and some shrubs to the back of the border to give it some more interest – it was all too low  and tiny and bitty.  I have some other late summer perennials to add from the slope which I hope will do well in this slightly shady spot; but I have to wait for Hosta Sum and Substance to put in an appearance as I can’t remember where it is!

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As you can see my son has cracked on with pushing the stone wall back to allow space for a bench in the tiny new seating area.  Sadly it didn’t get finished due to the rain; there is so much clay in the soil that it becomes unworkable but he is getting there.  Once done I can order a load of gravel to cover the seating area and the steps leading to it.  You will notice the old tin bath in front of the shed.  I have had this a few years having bought it from a flea market.  It started life as a pond on the patio but didn’t really work; I think the location was too sunny and hot.  In recent years it has been used as a planter for various seasonal interest and it peaked last year when I filled it with masses of bargain basement tulip bulbs.  I had thought about using it for a courgette plant or two but the more I look at its new location the more the idea of reinstating the pond seems to be the way forward.  It will mean sealing up the drainage holes but we were looking for a solution to the water 2014_04060014that will  come from the guttering that is to go on the shed and I think it would look rather good feeding water to the bath pond.  It won’t matter if it overflows onto the gravel and it will be a way of oxygenating the water – she says not really knowing what she is talking about!  There will be a water-butt on the other side of the shed for the other downpipe.

Knowing that I will be ordering a load of gravel in the very near future I took the opportunity yesterday to remove the rotting wood chip from the top path.  The wood chip has been added to for several years but has rotten down so it is more or less compost and full of weeds and perennial seedlings.  The path has irritated me for a while and is one of the areas that has seen a lot of neglect over recent years while I was too busy.  I have decided to replace the wood chip with gravel.  I  know it will get weeds growing in it but I think it will look smarter and I am trying to keep the different hard landscaping material types to a minimum. The composted bark has been tipped down onto the slope for me to work into the soil.

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Due to the rain showers on Sunday I went off garden visiting but I will post about that later in the week.  I do so love this time of year, so much promise.

End of Month View – May 2013

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I have to say, and I never thought I would say this, but I am rather pleased with the front garden.  I actually like being in it.  You can see in the photo above that we have filled in the top corner; my son’s turf laying skills are not quite up to the standards of his turf lifting skills so we shall see how it settles in.  The Ballerina tulips have been wonderful, flowering for weeks and only just starting to go over now.  They are being followed by a mix of Alliums that I have been planting in this side border for a few years now.  You can’t really appreciate it but I have added a Cotinus to this border which is just unfurling its leaves and the deep burgundy works very  well with the orange tulips and purple alliums.

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Rather too much grass in this photo but it was raining so they were taken quickly.  I think the border at the end of the lawn is filling out and it seems more cohesive now I have added the shrubs.  There are peonies in this border and red flowering shrub salvias.  There were meant to be some deep red irises but unfortunately the ones I bought last year mail order haven’t taken at all.  I wanted to buy some replacements at Malvern Spring Show but the late spring meant that irises were absent so I will have to keep an eye out in my travels.  I have lined the sides of the lawn with Alchemilla mollis  which hopefully in a few weeks will add a lime yellow froth to the scene.

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As I am so chuffed with my garden at the moment I thought I would show you some views of the back garden.  Above is the view from my patio of the back/front of the Big Border.  The border is edged by three step-over apples which are growing along the top of the retaining wall. This is their second year and there is blossom on two of them which is very pleasing.  The blossom is echoed, unwittingly, by the erodium planted underneath.

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Above is a view of the woodland border which runs off the Big Border.  This view is also from the patio – I did say it was raining.  I am really pleased with how this border has filled out, it was planted two years ago and now needs a little thinning and rearranging. I marked out a path through it back in the winter and now everything has appeared it is obvious that I will have to rejig the line of the path and also move some plants this Autumn.  I also need to remove the flower heads of the hellebores.

So this gives you a little bit of an idea of my garden at the end of May.  If you would like to join in this meme you are very welcome.  There are no rules just post a link to your blog post in the comments box and include a link to this post in your post.