I’m following Helen at the Patient Gardener (a day late) with a rather indulgent ‘yearly round up’ in lieu of a normal ‘month end view’.
Some of these photos have been shown recently in my Plotting and Planning post (where I also included a garden plan), but whereas in that post there was often only one view of a given area, in this post, like in Helen’s, I’ve tried to include multiple views through the year. Click on the thumbnails if you want to see larger pictures.
Firstly, the left hand swing bed. There were a few daffodils early on (which don’t show up very well in the March shot) and these were followed by tulips in April. Whilst I liked the bold red I found it clashed with pink tree blossom flowering at the same time, and so this year I’ve changed the colouring of the tulips for a (hopefully!) more harmonious spring. Later in the year the Sisyrinchium were a dominant plant, but I felt too dominant and they have now been moved to the drive bed. Later still there’s a good display from salvias and asters, but the flowers that kept going for the longest were definitely the Verbena bonariensis and the Penstemons – real stalwarts!
In the grass bed, the Stipa tenuissima is the constant, with bulbs, forget me nots and wallflowers early on, followed by alliums, fox and cubs and Verbascum chaixii album (grown from seed). These were followed later still by Nasturtium black velvet and Salvia viridis blue. I’ve now thinned out a lot of the fox and cubs as I felt they weren’t really providing enough interest and think I’ll replace them with some annual planting for this summer.
Most of you will already have heard me bemoaning the oak bed. It’s lovely early on, with daffodils and hellebores, but as the over-the-road-oak leafs up, the bed becomes very shaded and is a rather uninspiring group of shrubs (apart from my favourite Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy seen in purple at the bottom left in the July photo and glowing orange in October) . My solution (for the time being) is to accept this and instead create a new bed, closer to the house, which will be out of the oak’s shadow and therefore much easier to succeed with. Watch this space!
The shady bed, although equally shady, manages to be much more pleasing. It doesn’t change much at all through the year but I like the structure of the log and the foliage shapes. (You may think I should be able to apply lessons from this bed to the oak bed, but we need height in the oak bed which the shrubs achieve in a way that, sadly, the shady bed planting wouldn’t, well certainly not instantly)
I’ve added some new bulbs to this bed for spring, and would also like to increase the range of ferns, but otherwise I think this bed will remain largely unchanged this year.
The hosta bed, which was created new in 2013, was doing fine right up until we had the house painted and there was a degree of ladder, scaffolding, and paint damage. Ah well, makes a change from the slugs 😉
Near the hosta bed are the new raised cutting beds. Although less shallow than ideal, they were very productive last year and I intend to repeat the idea again, but with some new annuals to play with.
The large galvanised troughs have effectively created a new, thin, bed in front of the decking. These were planted with two different Narcissus, Segovia then Minnow, as well as Allium Purple Sensation and Matthiola Incana. And in the summer I added Cosmos Purity.
For next year I’ve topped up the Purple Sensation but am fervently hoping the narcissi will return!
My little veg patch is made up of three terraces, the lowest planted with strawberries and rhubarb, and the top one currently has some rather weedy chard. The main bed shown here, is where I grow the bulk of my veg, this year peas, mange touts, sugar snaps, french beans, runner beans, pumpkin munchkin and courgettes, with a few soft fruits (raspberries, blackberries and tayberries) towards the back.
Other veg, along with hundreds (thousands?) of seeds and cuttings are grown in my greenhouse.
So that’s my round up, quite a lot of positives, but as always, many things to improve on.
2015 will provide a further challenge as I’ve been invited to open the garden (for the third time) for the local biennial ‘Secret Gardens’ event, where a dozen or so gardens open on the day of the village fete in June, in aid of the local hospice.
Furthermore, my daughter turns 18 in late July and is talking about having a party in the garden before school breaks up. However, I don’t suppose a group of tipsy teenagers will prove to be quite such discerning garden visitors as the June lot!
Here’s wishing you all a happy and floriferous 2015.