Category Archives: End of month view

End of Month View – June 2019

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It was such a sunny day today the ‘St Swithun’ roses on the pergola look almost bleached to white, but the roses all over the garden are fantastic.  I did water and feed them earlier in the month, ahead of the opening on the 9th, and of course we did have rain in early June, so I think that really helped.IMG_4917

It’s funny to think had we not moved the date of the garden opening from coinciding with the St Helens fayre (as it has done for over a decade) today would have been the day.  Instead, it was all over, and today was spent gently pottering instead.  Lovely!

Having struggled to keep plants growing in these metal troughs in the past, I took the decision this year to plant them with Pelargoniums as they’re happy in the heat and more drought tolerant.  You can see that the whole ‘right plant, right place’ has worked a treat and I don’t feel I’m fighting to keep them alive as I have in the past.  I bought I think three of these ‘Choun Chou’ Pelargoniums a couple of years ago, and these are all cuttings from those original plants.  (The very leggy plants at the back are white Stocks.  I really love their scent so am a loathe to dig them out, but they do look rather a mess and certainly don’t complement the dark red.  Hmmm)

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The Swing Beds are pretty full with roses, and plenty of herbaceous Salvias, Verbena, Lupins, Diascia but, in addition to the small Eucalyptus I planted earlier in the year, I recently planted a new Anisodontea ‘El Royo’ in each bed to provide some larger more permanent structure.  You can’t see the Anisodontea above, but I’m working hard to keep them watered through this dry, hot weather in the hope they’ll be something to see soon!IMG_4910

Round to the Grass Bed and you’ll see I finally replaced the Stipa Tenuissima which line the back.  They’re a bit mismatched in size as some were grown from seed by me, some survived and some were bought in.  In the bed in front, I recently planted out both Cosmos and Zinnia seedlings.  The rest of the bed is covered with self sown seedlings of Forget me nots, Nasturtiums and a grass I’ve forgotten the name of.  Hopefully once the Cosmos and Zinnias get going they push the rest out of the way!

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I managed to miss taking a photo of the Mid Century bed, so we’ll move on to the Lavender Beds and this shot, looking over the Coleonoma to the greenhouse.  If you look closely to the far left hand side you’ll see Kiri – now more than six months old and almost as big as Nimbus.

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Up the lavender stepsIMG_4918

takes us back towards the house.IMG_4924

The picture above shows the ‘Flower Carpet roses’ which sadly weren’t open on the Secret Gardens day, but are certainly making up for it now.

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In the Bronze Bed the ‘Pat Austin’ roses are having a bit of a rest,but the Achillea ‘Terracotta’ and Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ are romping away.  The ‘Happy Single Date’ dahlias are the dark leaf to the right of the photo.

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Looking towards the oak table you can see we’ve still left up the decorations from the opening.  Here’s looking outwards, with a second flush of Wisteria.

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In the corner where we have had morning glory in the past, this year I’ve planted Eccremocarpus scaber, the Chilean Glory flower.  I have to confess I’ve failed to grow this from seed in the past, so this year I bought seedlings.  IMG_4890

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The way back round takes up past the old tub, which I’m really chuffed with this yearIMG_4923

and some morning glory, Ipomoea lobata, in pots.IMG_4919

Inside the greenhouse I have more morning glory, as well as the usual peppers, aubergines and tomatoes.IMG_4897

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And outside, well, er, rather a lot of seedling and cuttings….IMG_4896

On the decking there are the usual pots with Surcouf Pelargoniums and Clematis ‘Princess Diana’IMG_4902

There is also the beginning of our own little citrus grove!IMG_4901

Terrible picture of the Veg patch (which needs renaming as it’s more about flowers these days)IMG_4903

and the Agapanthus coming (and squeezing out the strawberries) below.IMG_4904

And to finish – oh looky, looky.  The OH went mad while I was in London, and we are now the proud owners of two loungers for the very first time.  Can you believe, very shortly after this photo was taken, I managed to sit down on one. There might even have been a snooze in the sunshine.

A miracle indeed!

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End of month view – March 2019

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What a difference a month makes!  Not only is the garden alive with fresh, springy growth but the puppy is about twice the size and very keen on ‘dancing’ with her big brother on the lawn.

The Spiraea japonica which was just twigs last month, is now beating the massive Coleonema in the foreground for zingiest green award.

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In the Veg Patch the various rhubarb plants which were moved last year from the Strawberry Bed (as I thought they’d get more water) are still looking pretty pathetic.  Admittedly they still haven’t had much water nor their manure mulch.IMG_4702

However, look what’s doing far better – one plant accidentally found its way on to the compost heap and is far happier that any of the planted ones!  Why do I bother?IMG_4704

Meanwhile the Strawberry Bed is in serious danger of being overcome by the Agapanthus and requiring a name change!

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In the Swing Beds the ‘Pink Impression’ and ‘Menton’ tulips have returned almost as well as last year, and are joined by ‘Jenny’ Narcissi.  I finally got round to pruning all the roses and also had a very brutal cut back of the Clematis ‘Freckles’ planted up both front posts. 

I can confirm the damage to the grass was done by the OH, not the dogs, as he rather zealously cut out various weeds.  Annoyingly, the replacement seeds have just fed the local pigeon population, rather than being allowed to germinate. IMG_4711

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In the Grass Bed the ‘Peeping Jennys’ (with the larger brighter yellow trumpets) are starting to go over, but they are being replaced by the softer coloured, flatter trumpeted ‘Lieke’.  

Normally these bloom together with the Forget me nots, but whilst the Narcissi are much earlier than last year, the Forget me nots have barely started.IMG_4716

In this photo, looking from the Mid Century bed across the Lavender Bed, you can see two big clumps of ‘Red Jep’ Erysimums.  I’ve taken quite a few cuttings of this as they are getting rather leggy, and have introduced them into other areas of the garden.IMG_4719

Over to the greenhouse and the two Greenhouse Beds have been tidied up and mulched with just the Agapanthus above ground at the moment.IMG_4725

The Greenhouse Pots are a bit depleted this year, but I still love the soft pink of the ‘Bellsong’ trumpet together with the terracotta of the pot.IMG_4723

Into the greenhouse and, marvel of marvels, not only has it been cleaned inside and out, but also repainted.  I can’t take any of the credit apart from paying the bill, but it’s been a massive weight off my mind as I just couldn’t see when I was going to find a whole weekend to do it myself.  I can’t remember the last time I was so chuffed! IMG_4726

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I’ve had a few issues with seeds this year.  I think some have been eaten, probably by mice (see the terracotta coloured pots only one of the seven ‘Soleil’ courgettes has come up) which has never been a problem before.  I’ve replanted various, but annoyingly that was all of the yellow courgette seeds.IMG_4731

The OH is very proud his citrus trees are finally bearing fruit, so I have to point them out below.

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At the other side of the garden the Wisteria is just on the cusp of floweringIMG_4735

and the Narcissi (‘Cragford’ and ‘Yazz’) are crowding out the Bronze Bed.IMG_4736

The Melianthus major is back (hurrah!) but being rather squeezed out by the Acanthus (which I’m far less keen on) so think I need to address that.IMG_4737

And to finish, a tray of succulents that has just been moved out of the greenhouse.  Looks like a couple haven’t made it through the winter so I’ll have to keep my eye out for  replacements….. IMG_4740

End of Month View – February 2019

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What a crazy January/February!  One of the main distractions has been this:IMG_4645

Not only were we daft enough to buy a puppy (I could stop there).  Not only were we daft enough to buy a puppy, but we chose one born near Ilkley in West Yorkshire which required two weekend trips up north – one to choose her and one to pick her up.  Kiri (Labradoodle x Golden Doodle) arrived home on 10th February and has been terrorising both us and 10 year old Nimbus ever since!

A more miserable February happening was both the OH and me getting flu.  I was stuck in Richmond too ill to travel, and he was stuck on the IoW, likewise.  Consequently there was no TLC to be had.  I thought the ‘kids’ might look after me, but as soon as the daughter realised how poorly I was, she decamped to a friends’.  Conversely the son didn’t, but after two days’ worth of the odd pat on the back and a couple of cups of peppermint tea, he too succumbed!  I don’t think I’ve been so wiped out for decades and am still not 100%.  (I made a new year’s resolution to climb the five floors to my office and, up until the flu, I did so without fail at least once a day when I was in London, but I haven’t been able to face it since).  As you can imagine energy for gardening has also been a little thin on the ground.

The final thing that happened was that I was promoted at work (something that’s been lined up for months but for various reasons has been delayed).  The joke is that almost as soon as it was announced I went down with the flu and had more days off sick (four) than I have in the previous decade!

Anyway, back to the garden.  Finally, in the glorious weather a couple of weekends ago I got out and started some clearly/pruning/weeding.  There’s masses still to do but at least I’ve made a start.

The usual twirl takes us firstly past the troughs.  There should be Minnow Narcissi coming here, but I’m more excited that I’ve got away with leaving the Pelargoniums out over the winterIMG_4659

On to the Veg Patch which has been cleared apart from some cutting plants –  three plants of Dianthus barbatus ‘Green Wicky’, a Peony (Coral Charm)and three new roses for cutting.IMG_4653

I treated the Diving Lady to some Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’ for her pool.IMG_4654

The Swing Beds have had a bit of a weed but all the roses still need pruning and I must do some dividing and general rationalisation. IMG_4655

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In the Grass Bed there is plenty of self sown Cerinthe and masses of forget me nots and bulbs coming.  I still haven’t bought any more Stipas, but I have planted up some seedlings in pots, so the plan is to try to replace them along the whole back of the bed.IMG_4657

The Mid Century bed is also a mass of Cerinthe, accompanied by a massive self sown Euphorbia.  (I pulled one out last year, but this one, left behind, is really taking over!)  In the centre you can still see the Erysimum Red Jep flowering.  I’ve taken cuttings of this so will be able to introduce it elsewhere in the garden. IMG_4660

In the Oak Bed, the Hellebores have bulked upIMG_4665

and the Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’ is finally looking properly established.IMG_4666

The bulbs in the Bronze Bed are nearly all still in bud – but the ones picked for my Monday vase were very quick to bloom once brought into a warm kitchen.

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More Hellebores in the Shady Bed, but the inherited white rose which used to do quite well here, despite the lack of light, has keeled over during the winter and needs digging out.IMG_4650

Next, the greenhouse, where there were some cuttings and seedlings here when I took these photos in late February, but since then I’ve planted hundreds more seeds and everywhere’s starting to fill up.

Which is a little tricky, as I’m sure you can guess who hasn’t spring cleaned it yet….IMG_4652

And to finish, another shot of mademoiselle.  Butter wouldn’t melt….IMG_4658

End of month view – yearly round up 2018

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As last year, rather than solely a December view, I’ve put together a round up of the whole year.

I struggled with the Isle of Wight garden this year.  There were a number of reasons – tricky weather (miserable early on and then so hot and very dry over the summer), too much time in London, too much work and lastly, the removal of the decking, which meant nowhere to sit out and made trying to keep the garden looking good all feel a bit pointless!

However, there were still highlights, and spring (above) was one of them.

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Things were still ok in May IMG_4064

but by June everything was very parched,DSC01071

with only the Mediterranean plants enjoying themselves.

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The dry weather meant all my dahlias were disappointing, and finished early, with even the stalwart ‘Happy Single Dates’ not happy for long.

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Conversely, the Zinnias loved the weather, and filled out the Grass Beds with lots of pickable blooms.

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Again, as last year, I had many pots IMG_3910

but by summer many were struggling in the drought, so I was glad a number of them were so large!IMG_4255

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On the edibles front the only new variety I tried was the French Bean ‘Masterpiece’ which did well and was very tasty.  Otherwise we enjoyed the usual runner beans, courgettes, tomatoes, ‘Slim Jim’ aubergines, Ratte and Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and raspberries and strawberries.IMG_4275

I continued to enjoy joining in with Cathy’s wonderfully friendly and supportive ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme, albeit a bit haphazardly.

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I also posted the odd photo from regular walks on the National Trust’s St Helens Duver, directly opposite the house.IMG_3778

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As in previous years I was lucky enough to do plenty of garden visiting, both near and far – Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi Coast DSC01001

and An Cala in Scotland in May,IMG_3777

The High Line, in New York,IMG_3911

Petersham Nurseries andIMG_4018

Kew Gardens (including the newly re-opened Temperate House) in June,IMG_4061

Castle House (just up the road) in August,IMG_4557

Church Gardens in Harefield, Middlesex in OctoberIMG_4557

and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, still looking fabulous in November.IMG_5203

And lastly, the biggest development this year, was the purchase of a tiny terraced house back in Richmond, and the transformation of the garden from thisHF304_170626S_IMG_09

to this

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Thank you so much for continuing to support Duver Diary and sharing your likes and comments.  They really are very much appreciated, even if I don’t always find time to respond.

I hope I can carry on sharing my ramblings and photos next year, and that you’ll all come along for the ride!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2019.

End of month view – November 2018

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Another late, ‘warts and all’ EoMV of a garden largely untouched (and largely unchanged) from a month ago.

I definitely feel I’m losing the plot – and probably not just gardening wise.  Luckily, in the shot above, the freshly mown lawn suggests a better cared for garden than is currently the case!

Luckily also, the mild weather here means I haven’t yet had any real frosts and Pelargoniums such as this ‘Choun Cho’ continue to flower.IMG_4593

The vine, which was rather brutally detached from the decking when it was replaced earlier in the year, has been reattached and is surprisingly putting on some attractive fresh growth.

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Whilst the Veg Bed has still not been cleared (and there are plenty of nutty ‘Pink Fir Apple’ potatoes still to dig) I did have a massive cut back of all the bay shoots around the Diving Lady so she can be see out again.IMG_4595

Either side of the swing the two Swing Beds are now almost completely devoid of colour, with just a handful of Salvia blooms remaining,IMG_4596

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but in the middle, draped across the swing arch, the Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ is looking like a pretty but very overgrown fringe.IMG_4598

The Grass Bed has been mostly cleared of dying Zinnias but this has again exposed all the missing Stipa Tenuissima plants which used to line the back of this bed and were sadly lost last winter.

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The Mid Century bed still has the odd rose flowering and another Salvia, but little else except a random Nicotiana (middle front) which has popped up unexpectedly.IMG_4601

Below you can see that the Silk Tree – Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella’ is looking a little peaky.  I’m hoping she perks up and next year provides rather more than the solitary bloom she provided this summerIMG_4592

Round to the western end of the garden takes us past the last of the flower carpet roses and the inherited Nerines.

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At this side of the garden I’ve finally cleared the decaying Dahlias but the bed is still clogged with leaves from the ‘over-the-road-oak’.

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In the shrub planted Oak Bed I stumbled across these Hamamelis buds.  I think it’s ‘Arnold’s Promise’, but don’t think I’ve ever seen him this early before.IMG_4616

Looking much better than either of the beds is the oft-featured tray of succulents.  I wonder when I’m going to need to get them under cover?IMG_4614

Finally, into a very untidy greenhouse.  A bit of a hack through the tomatoes ended up with these as collateral damage.IMG_4602

As last year, in the late part of the growing season we’ve had a bad infestation of whitefly in the greenhouse so (unbeknown to me) having seen them advertised online, the OH ordered some biological pest control and these cards arrived and were hung up while I was away in the week.  I’ve just taken a moment to look the product up and I think it’s possible the parasitic wasps which are supposed to target the whitefly won’t hatch unless it’s an average of 17 degrees and sadly there’s not much chance of that now!IMG_4605

On a more positive note I did finally get around to taking some Salvia and Pelargonium cuttings,

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so hopefully I’ll have more plants like this, S. ‘Love and Wishes’ (3rd place in the RHS ‘Plant of the Year’ in 2015) to play with next year!IMG_4607

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting EoMVs.

End of Month View – October 2018

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Firstly, apologies for the numerous dodgy photos – I’m not quite sure what the excuse is – and the lateness!

So, the good news is the work crisis, which has been hanging over me since July, has passed and we live to fight another day.  Hurrah!

The bad news is, as you’ll see, I still haven’t managed a proper garden tidy up.  (AND I let the OH go away on a golfing holiday, so no grass cutting either!)

However, bearing in mind I missed last month’s EoMV as we were away, I thought I’d post anyway, warts and all.

The usual quick twirl takes us past the decaying Veg Patch (note the Diving Lady is completely lost behind the rampant Bay growth.  They’ll all have to be cut back – anyone want any bay leaves?)

The veg are pretty much all over for the year, apart from plenty of tasty, nutty flavoured Pink Fir Apple potatoes still in the ground waiting to be dug up.

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The roses in the Swing Beds seem to have finally finished flowering, so it’s pretty much just the Salvias and Verbena left now.

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This is a particularly atrocious photo, but I love the heavy fringe of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’.IMG_4572

I’m delighted to see a couple of the lovely Icelandic poppies in this pot are still surviving.  They really were one of my favourite things this year.IMG_4577

The greenhouse beds, which were looking quite coordinated earlier in the year with blue Asters and Agapanthus, have now been overwhelmed by rampant Nasturtiums.  IMG_4567

On the other side there’s a chaos of pots, many of which were moved from the decking when it was rebuilt.  Most need to be moved back (although some are tender and need to be moved into the greenhouse), but before I do that I must get them some little ‘feet’ to raise them up.IMG_4568

In the meantime, the new decking is looking clean and clear.  Doubtless not for long!IMG_4569

The Mid Century bed still has a few roses clinging on, as well as a matching SalviaIMG_4579

There are a few fresh looking Nerines just coming out.  These were inherited when we bought the house and I’m always struck by how incongruous they look at this time of year.

I’m not sure I like them, but frankly, with so little else going on, I really shouldn’t complain!IMG_4582

I love this brave looking bloom on the (unknown) rose by the front steps.  Clearly it didn’t get the memo from the surrounding hips that it’s supposed to be over and done with!IMG_4583

At the western end of the garden the Bronze Bed is a mess of mildewy dahlias.  Nearly all my Dahlias struggled with the lack of water this year, but these ones seemed to give up particularly early.IMG_4585

One of the better beds at the moment is the Oak Bed which still has the autumnal leaves of the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy,’ as well as a good display of other shrubs.IMG_4587

And to finish, the old tin bath (which has currently been moved as a section of wall is being repainted).  The Pelargonium is ‘Choun Cho’ bought at vast expense last year from Crocus, but I took cuttings at the end of the year and now have loads of really vigorous plants that have largely pushed everything else out!  However, I really love the colour and shape, so I’m not complaining.  What I must do is watch the weather as I wouldn’t want to lose them!IMG_4584

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our End of Month Views – whether on time or not!

End of month view – August 2018

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Late again for End of Month View, and some rather dodgy photos to boot!

The roses above – Flower Carpet Pink – are back on stream and providing good colour in a garden otherwise rather lacking in colour now.

The Swing Beds are pretty much flower free apart from the Asters.IMG_4265

We’re enjoying the return of the decking –IMG_4246

and we even managed to save the vine that grew along the front.  That’s now been joined by some fuller looking troughs with Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Antiquity’ and Pelargonium ‘Choun Cho’.IMG_4255

The veg patch is pretty chaotic but we’re still picking plenty of goodies. IMG_4267

The Zinnias in the Grass Bed have filled out and are providing plenty of picking blooms.

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At the western end of the garden, the ‘Pat Austin’ roses and ‘Happy Single Date’ dahlias have been joined by the Arctotis ‘Flame’.   I just love those spiky blooms!

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The dahlias I’d planned to combine with the Asters in front of the greenhouse were similar to the Arctotis but much bigger, with the fabulous name ‘Mel’s Orange Marmalade’ – see photo below from Sarah Raven website.

Buy Dahlia 'Mel's Orange Marmalade' | Sarah Raven

Sadly, I can’t show my own photo as (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before) I was supplied with the wrong ones, and instead they were pink.  However, they haven’t thrived (probably too dry and not rich enough soil) so in future I think I’ll focus on just the Agapanthus and Asters, and forget the Dahlias.IMG_4245

In the greenhouse, as well as plenty of tomatoes and a few cuttings coming along, these small aubergines ‘Slim Jim’ have done really well.IMG_4258

Aside from that, a few pots, and that’s about it! IMG_4264

With thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener who hosts our End of Month Views