Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Christmas (rose) present


Back in June, when I had my ‘big’ birthday, I went on a garden visiting spree and ended up not posting all of my visits at the time.  When I hadn’t posted this one for some weeks, I decided to hold it back to cheer me up in December and so here it is, my Christmas present to you.

The location is the stunning rose garden at the National Trust’s Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire.   Enjoy!






R Mary WallaceIMG_3037

R Brother CadfaelIMG_3039

R Fritz NoblisIMG_3032

R Mrs John LaingIMG_2985


R Dainty BessIMG_2944

R Angele PernotIMG_3034

R AutumnIMG_3029IMG_2995

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for a rosy 2015!






Wildflower Wednesday – late December 2014


The last Wildflower Wednesday of the year features photos actually taken on a rather grey looking Monday.  Despite the gloom, however, a number of white blooms were showing up well – Daucus carota,IMG_5584

wild garlicIMG_5586

Winter heliotrope, Petasites fragransIMG_5588

and the odd slightly tatty looking chamomile.IMG_5609

More ‘sunny’ (I wish!) a good showing of broomIMG_5604

much rarer, a single thrift flower still showing some colour against the papery remains of many others.IMG_5608

But to end on a more forward looking note – amongst fierce looking thorns on the dog rose, new buds peeping.  Roll on spring!IMG_5596

With thanks as ever to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting the Wildflower Wednesday meme.


In a vase on Monday – twigs


A rather tongue in cheek vase today!

In common with my previous vases, I can certainly lay claim to the ‘plonking’ of the twigs, but can’t claim the growing of the fish,IMG_5634


or indeed ‘berries’IMG_5632

but I hope you’ll forgive me!IMG_5635

I’m joining in with Cathy’s lovely, In a vase on Monday meme.  Why don’t you go and have a look at what some ‘proper’ gardeners have posted!

Plotting and planning



Prompted by Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden (and Helen, at the Patient Gardener), I too have spent a happy hour with the felt tips, creating a plan of my plot.

My starting point was a Google Earth photo which I traced and updated with the changes we’ve made since moving in just over five years ago.  What’s surprised me is just how busy the plot is with structures – some inherited, like the office and decking, but others new like the garage, the chicken shed (currently empty of chickens) the greenhouse, and the pergola with swing.  I’m surprised I’ve got any space for plants!

Unlike Cathy and Helen, I haven’t marked many plants at all, but instead thought I’d go round the garden from top right, sharing some favourite photos of each of the beds from the past year.

So, to start with, the veg bedsIMG_3852

the swing beds,



Grass bed (spring, summer and autumn),2013 05 009IMG_2727


the left hand lavender bed,IMG_2738

the oak bed (spring and summer).  IMG_1302


the melianthus major,IMG_2645


herb bed,IMG_2060 (2)

hosta bed,IMG_4622

raised cutting beds,IMG_4617

shady bed,IMG_4619

the greenhouseGreenhouse (2)

right hand med bed,IMG_3667

and the troughs.IMG_1406 (2)

So, if you’re still with me, what about the two areas shaded with red dots, described in the key as ‘Decisions’?  Well these are areas where I’m considering removing lawn to create new beds. The first, marked with hose below, looking towards the chicken shed, I was envisaging as a rose and peony bed.  I can’t see this bed from the house (due to the changes in height which I haven’t really conveyed on the plan), but it would be very obvious when looking west from the swing.  And swinging would seem more like a rose time activity than spring or autumn.


The second potential bed, would be on the northern edge side of the smaller lawn.  As you can see from the oak bed photos above, the bed is good in the spring, but in the summer is less interesting, once the canopy of the over-the-road-oak is established.

The advantage of the envisaged new bed is that the oak’s shadow wouldn’t reach it and so I would have a new, sunny, south facing patch to play with.  If we eat outside, we sit under the verandah (see wisteria photo), and the new bed would be in full view of the table and allow for much more interesting summer planting than I currently achieve in the shady beds.IMG_3646

The planting I imagine here is coppery toned (as a break from all the pink in the rest of the garden), with plants like Bupleurum ‘Bronze Beauty,’ Calendula ‘Sunset buff’, Scabiosa atropurpurea `Fata Morgana’, ‘Hordeum jubatum’ and maybe a rose or two – ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ or ‘Summer Song’.

So any thoughts?  I don’t think funds will extend to both as the lawns are on very heavy clay and we’ll have to dig well down and replace with better quality soil to have any hope of success.

My preference is for the coppery bed.  The lawn here is poor anyway (in many ways I’d like the whole lawn up, but that’s another story) and it would be lovely when eating outside to have some blooms to admire, and maybe some scent too, but what do you think?

Garden bloggers’ Bloom Day – December 2014


If you look hard enough there are still quite a number of blooms blooming in the garden. Some, including the geranium above, more unexpected than others.

I certainly wouldn’t have expected this number of roses in December, but they are the exceptions –IMG_5569IMG_5547IMG_5549

In other garden beds there are still Asters (A. frikartii Monch)IMG_5562 PenstemonIMG_5561


Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’IMG_5571

Verbena bonariensisIMG_5572

Bergenia IMG_5544

Viburnum tinusIMG_5546

Rosmarinus prostratusIMG_5541

and Leptospermum, featured in last Monday’s vase.IMG_5573

And in pots, Echeveria,IMG_5543

Cyclamen IMG_5539

and Correa backhouseana.IMG_5551

And in the greenhouse, plants that really should know better by now, Geranium,IMG_5558


and beautiful Zaluzianskya ovata, Night Phlox.IMG_5555

Please join Carol at May Dream Gardens to see what others have blooming in their gardens at this time of year.

In a vase on Monday – in the pink!


This is a bit of a season inappropriate arrangement prompted by the beautiful weather on Saturday and the pink blooms still flowering their socks off in the garden.

There are only two, the LeptospermumIMG_5529

and the Rosa Flower CarpetIMG_5531


Both ‘plonked’ in a simple glass vase and, to be honest, looking a little incongruous against the winter’s grey.  But hey, it’s jolly, and I just crave ‘jolly’ at this time of year.  I hope you do too.

With many thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, for hosting this lovely meme,





My over-the-road-oak – December 2014


This is my last over-the-road-oak post, as the leaves are all gone, the acorns never came, and I think I’ll struggle to find another beautiful winter’s day like this one.  IMG_5511

Some of the oaks lower down the slope (on the left of this photo) still have leaves, which I assume is because they are more sheltered.  The leaves from my oak only fell in the second half of November.  I took these two photos on the 14th November when the whole tree briefly turned a lovely yellow.IMG_5342


So, goodbye to the oak.  I’ve learnt about oak apples, oak bark beetle, water consumption, mast years and abscission and hopefully you have too!

Thank you so much to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for hosting this meme, I’ve really enjoyed researching my oak and sharing it with you all.  IMG_5512