Monthly Archives: June 2015

End of month view – June 2015

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I’m joining Helen at the Patient Gardener to share my June End of Month view.

As some of you know, I opened my garden on Sunday for the local hospice as part of a group opening, and I have to say when I got back from work on Thursday I was devastated to see how exhausted everything looked.  Despite some watering and tidying there were definitely areas that were past their best, but the show must go on and I actually got lots of lovely comments (and over 150 visitors!)IMG_7889

All the photos, apart from the one above, were taken in Monday’s bright sunshine, and I’ve struggled a bit with the light levels.  The one above however, was taken during the opening, and you can see it was a lot greyer.  Luckily (for the visitors, not for the garden!) we missed all the rain bar a few drops.IMG_7907

The Swing Beds were definitely struggling, and even the roses which had looked so lovely the weekend before, were going off a little.  There are Dahlias and Cosmos and Dianthus carthusianorum (grown from seed) amongst other things still to come here, so I hope I can keep it going.

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The Grass Bed has a very limited palette of plants, just the grasses (Stipa tenuissima), looking lovely at this time of year, the self seeded Cerinthe, Allium ‘Hair’ (which has been very badly ‘rusted’ this year), the Verbascum chaixxi Album I grew from seed and the Catananche caerulea, which are new and I just love.  However, around all this is much bare soil, following the disposal of all the dead forget me nots, but I’m not sure what else to add.  I still have various seedlings kicking around, so perhaps I’ll pop some of them in.  IMG_7903

Above is the new Mid Century Bed which is really starting to fill out.  The Ranunculus are still going strong and have now been joined by the first of my new roses to flower, Rosa Munstead Wood, just gorgeous.  I’ve also planted some annuals here including Centaurea cyanus Black Boy, Daucus carota Black Knight, Molucella and Malope.  The Centaurea are just starting to flower, but hopefully the rest will have appeared by next month’s EOMV.

In the other new bed, the Bronze Bed, some combinations have worked, including this one of Calendula Sunset Buff, Achillea Terracotta and Nasturtium Caribbean Crush.IMG_7892

But in common with the Swing Beds, the overall look is a bit exhausted.  However, this picture does show clearly why I wanted the new bed as you can see just how shaded the Oak bed is, in comparison, across the lawn.IMG_7893

In the veg beds, the beans and peas are all rushing up their poles, we’re having the best Raspberry crop ever IMG_7913

and the Diving Lady has again got somewhere to swim

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The raised cutting beds are still looking rather empty apart from plants that overwintered.IMG_7917

But the barrow, which has been a bit of a mess for quite a while, had a good tidy up in honour of the opening, and is looking rather pretty again.IMG_7915

The barrow sits to the right of the greenhouse and this year I’ve added some more orangey plants here too.  Firstly the Antirrhinum Orange Wonder, which I’d originally grown for the Bronze Bed but decided there was more room here

IMG_7919and also the Lathyrus Belinensis, grown in pots either side of the greenhouse door.  These have been really slow to get going but are now starting to look more settled.  They don’t grow as tall as ‘normal’ sweet peas, and nor do they have the same fragrance, but I love their bicoloured flowers and how they work with both the brick and the pot.  I just need them to fill out!

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And to finish, the one bed looking untouched by the recent heat – the Shady Bed looking cool and calm.  IMG_7920

With thanks to Helen for hosting this meme.

In a vase on Monday – more Birthday celebrations

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Although my daughter’s not 18 until the end of July, she decided to have her party to coincide with the end of her A Levels, and so Friday saw me running around getting ready before her arrival back from her last exam after lunch.

She only had around 20 guests and wanted them all to sit down to eat so we borrowed next door’s garden table, and, lacking the pre-planning to have organised a table cloth,  I fiddled about with flowers.  I thought about some prettier vases but was concerned they might get damaged and so plumped for rustic tin cans.

The choice of flowers was very much governed by what was plentiful or shortly to go over.  As some of you will remember, I’m opening the garden next Sunday for the local hospice and so was reticent to pick any ‘important’ blooms like peonies, which will hopefully still be blooming in a week’s time (and would probably have tipped the cans over anyway!)

I didn’t take any proper photos as there was a marquee to erect and decorate, a cake to make and a lot of furniture to move, so these are just zoomed in from the original.

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The bloom, included Sedum, Pinks, Alchemilla mollis, Ranunculus, Lychnis, Sweet Peas, Nepeta Six Hills Giant and the lovely blue spire at the top of the photo above.  I have two quite big clumps of this and love it in flower arranging as I like the way the flowers curve.  The question is, does anyone know what it is?  I think it could be a Veronica or a Veronicastrum but I can’t seem to find the lable and I’d love to know.IMG_7781b

I’m delighted to say the party went without a hitch, and even more delighted (and astonished) that a number of guests admired the garden – I don’t think gardens were on my radar at 18!

Why don’t you go over to Cathy’s at Rambling in the Garden and see what others have in their Monday vases.

Mottistone return

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Last year’s visit to Mottistone was on Mother’s Day in March, but for my return this year I went on my birthday, in mid June, and of course it looked very different.

The garden is not large by National Trust standards, around six acres, but has a number of different areas to explore, each with its own ‘feel’.

The first thing I noticed about the herbaceous borders (above) were the plentiful Sisyrinchiums looking really rather impressive (and rather making me regret that I’ve dug out an awful lot of mine!)

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Below is a photo of the same beds but looking the other way, back towards the beautiful Elizabethan Manor House.  Some of you may remember that Benedict Cumberbatch got married in the local church here earlier in the year and had his wedding reception at Mottistone Manor.  Rumour has it his wife, Sophie Hunter, is related to the family now living at the Manor as tenants of the National Trust.IMG_7696

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The garden has been created in a sheltered south facing valley and as a consequence is on numerous different levels.  Below you can see the small orchard towards the top of the garden, with a view south to the Manor buildings, with the English Channel channel beyond.IMG_7682

Whilst many areas are reached by sloping lawns, I just love these steps with their froth of Erigeron karvinskianus.IMG_7673

Either side of the steps are some hotter borders.IMG_7678

where I admired the bold and striking combination of diascia with the Arctotis (I think)  Flame.IMG_7671

Back towards the barn and the entrance was this cool blue border, looking fabulous backed by the magnificent hedge.IMG_7668

To the right of the entrance is a flat area which could well be a croquet lawn.  There were more Sisyrinchiums here, as well as this magnificent tree fern.

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It was a lovely visit in perfect weather, AND there was cake – a proper birthday treat!

In a vase on Monday – on a desk!

 

I don’t normally work on Mondays, but today was the exception and also the first time I’ve brought flowers to the office since I’ve been back at work.

The flowers travelled up with me from the island, (together with many Isle of Wight Festival leavers) wrapped in cling film (the flowers, not the Festival leavers). They always come out looking a little crushed but generally bounce back

At my old job I took flowers to work every week in the summer and always concentrated on sweet peas as I love the scent so much.  This week the arrangement is largely sweet peas, but they’ve been joined by a couple of newcomers.  Firstly, Dianthus Green Trick.  This was bought as plugs from Sarah Raven, but I’ve then propagated more by taking cuttings.  I really like the fresh green they provide.

In addition, and linking to my earlier GBBD post, are couple of sugar pink Ranunculus.  And no, these are even less Purple Heart than the cerise ones, but they look pretty here and will hopefully last well

Just a short post as I’m struggling to blog on my iPad, but it’s always fun to join in. Why don’t you go and have a look at what other bloggers have arranged in their Monday vases?

With thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2015

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Aside from the roses, sweet peas and peonies, there are numerous other blooms blooming this month.  These Calendula ‘Bronze Beauty’ are taking up probably too much of the new Bronze Bed, but as little else is flowering there yet, I’ll indulge their cheery contribution.  One other bloom flowering here is another one grown from seed – this one, Nasturtium Caribbean Crush, I’m also not entirely convinced about, but, as with the marigold, I’m not turfing it out until there’s something else to look at.IMG_7713

In a similar colour vein, in the trough by the front steps I’ve got a dark purple Pelargonium, Gazania and Parrot’s Beak, Lotus berthelotii, combo going on.  It’s still filling out, but when the sun’s shining and the Gazanias are fully out, it makes a jolly greeting to visitors.IMG_7709

Meanwhile, in the new Mid Century Bed, the planned ‘Bruised’ colour palette has been completely frustrated by numerous Ranunculus in this shocking cerise.  The bulbs I planted were labled Ranunculus Purple Heart, but not one of them has come up any deeper than this one, and, like so many gardening ‘mistakes’ I love them!IMG_7715

In the Grass Bed, which has finally been denuded of its tatty forget me nots, I’ve planted a few of these Catananche caerulea which look lovely together with the stipa behind and the self seeded Cerinthe in front.  According to the RHS website they can be propagated by division in spring or by root cuttings in winter.  I should really diary to do that as they’re lovely – although only about 60cm tall they have the same airiness of Verbena bonariensis, and work well in a bed where I wouldn’t want anything too tall.IMG_7717

Lastly, one of many self seeded poppies.  I have pulled a few out, but mostly I just enjoy them, wherever they’ve landed.IMG_7718

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for hosting everyone’s GBBD.

Greenhouse Review – mid June 2015

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Like Julie at Peonies and Posies who hosts this meme, things have calmed down in the greenhouse this month.  The vast majority of seedlings have been turfed out to fend for the themselves (and we’ll gloss over the fact that many haven’t actually travelled very far from the greenhouse, are in an unruly array just outside the door…)

At the back of the greenhouse I have sweet peas for the first time.  Firstly Lathyrus tingitanus,

IMG_7705in my view, one of the prettiest flowers, but sadly no scent, so in addition I’ve planted Lathyrus Juliet, which is just starting to flower, and smells gorgeous.  Hopefully I’ll manage to grab the odd moment to sit at the table and enjoy them both.

On either side of the sweet peas are bamboo supports with a variety of tomatoes – this year, ‘Sungold’, ‘Gardener’s Delight’, ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Country Taste’, ‘Ferline’ and ‘Green Zebra’.  All were new to me this year except ‘Sungold’, which is a firm favourite.  And all grown from seed (all seed from Chilterns except ‘Green Zebra’ which was from Sarah Raven).  In addition to the tomatoes I have mini cucumbers ‘La Diva’ as well as Melon ‘Sweetheart’.  I’ve only tried melon once before and it was a disaster, but according to Chilterns, ‘Sweetheart’ is a “very early Charentais type melon, arguably the variety best suited to our irregular climate, more tolerant of cooler temperatures and quicker to mature”.  We’ll see.

I’ve also planted a few clusters of Basil seedlings along the front edge.IMG_7703

To the left of the door I’ve now planted up a number of pots.  Last year the plants in this area were just in grow bags, but they didn’t seem to do very well, and, as I’d used these pots before and so had them available, I thought I’d go back to them.

In the pots I have Aubergine ‘Kaberi’, Pepper ‘Marconi Rosso’ and Pepper ‘Padron’.

IMG_7702In addition, the OH went to the local boot fair last weekend and bought some more Aubergines, which are now luxuriating in this rather magnificent pot, standing about 80cm tall.  I will of course be furious if his do better than mine!IMG_7704

On the right hand side of the door I have the area with the heated propagation mat, but this has now been turned off.  Here I’ve planted a number of biennials and perennials for next year.  I’m not sure they really want to be inside, but I do find I can keep a much better eye on them here, and so I’ll see how they get on.  I could move them out to the cold frame, but plants there do tend to suffer from a degree of neglect which, if they were children or animals, would get me into serious trouble.IMG_7707

And the final area, also to the right of the door, is my ‘potting’ area.  This is still cluttered with numerous tender plants grown as cuttings and still seeking their place in the world/garden.  Amongst other things, there are some Dahlias (Roxy), Pelargoniums, (including the lovely ‘Sidoides’), and  Sedum (looking much better than the mother plant which has been badly chewed outside)IMG_7708

And, right by the door, one of a pair of Plumbago plants.  I just love this plant and do so hope it will be flowering by the garden opening on the 28th of this month.

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With thanks as ever to Julie for hosting.  Why don’t you go and see what she’s been up to in her TWO greenhouses!

National Gardens Scheme – don’t you just love it?

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The National Gardens Scheme, founded in 1927, now gives in the region of £2.5m to nursing and caring charities every year and has an incredible choice of 3,800 gardens to visit.  This weekend was their festival weekend, and although other commitments meant I wasn’t garden visiting this weekend, I thought I’d share photos three NGS visits I’ve made in the past week.

The first, above, was Mill Farm, in Bembridge, across Bembridge Harbour from where we live.  It’s a large garden which wraps around the property and its informal, cottagey planting blends beautifully with the stone walls.IMG_7633

The beds are generously filled and have a glorious abundance which contrasts with immaculately kept edges. IMG_7628

I’ve only visited Mill Farm once before, but one thing I’d remembered was an incredible array of aquilegias, and they certainly didn’t disappoint this year either.

And why Mill Farm?  Well, they get to see this from their garden. IMG_7641

From Mill Farm I returned to Nick Peirce’s garden, also in Bembridge but very different.  I wrote about it last year in some detail here, so this is only a glimpse.

Nick works full time but also breeds day lilies (see his website here).  Obviously it’s early for Hemerocallis, and whilst there were many waiting in the wings,

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there was this stunner already in bloom.IMG_7622

Nick’s garden is long and thin and has a wonderful jungly feel, created with, amongst other things, numerous grasses.  I’ve been growing Carex from seed for my new Bronze Bed which I hope are as striking as these:

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I’ve also got Libertia in the Bronze Bed but they’re rather weedy compared to these magnificent specimens.IMG_7624

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Oh and I still LOVE his Buddleia  colvilei ‘kewensis’.IMG_7623

And the third one?  An evening opening at the private garden for the Brothers of Charterhouse in central London.  I persuaded a couple of work colleagues to join me and we had a very jolly time.  Perhaps the free glass of wine had something to do with that!2015-06-02 18.40.24

The site was acquired in the middle of the fourteenth century as a burial ground for the victims of the Black Death but as not all the space was used, a Carthusian Monastery was also established.

Do you think the burial ground explains these rather chilling stone carvings?2015-06-02 19.01.55

Under Henry VIII’s reign the monastery was suppressed and passed to the Crown, and then subsequently to Lord North, who constructed a Tudor mansion.2015-06-02 19.06.29

In 1611 the mansion was sold to Thomas Sutton, who used much of his wealth to endow a charitable foundation to educate boys and care for elderly men, known as ‘Brothers.’   Charterhouse School was moved to Goldalming in 1872, but the brothers remain, and get to enjoy this glorious oasis, tucked between Barts Hospital and the rather brutalist Barbican.2015-06-02 18.45.54

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So three very different and inspiring gardens in the space of three days, for a total of £11.  What a fabulous organisation.

Thanks NGS.