Category Archives: End of month view

End of month view – July 2017

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After the glory of June’s excesses, already aspects of the garden at the end of July are looking a little tired.  However, conversely, areas reliant on annuals, such as the grass bed, are just getting going.

So the usual clockwise tour takes us past the new Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f rosea).  Still no blooms, but I’m delighted it’s making itself at home.  Please ignore the convolvulus leaf to the left.  (I promise it isn’t there now, but I made the executive decision to take the photos yesterday before the five hours of gardening, so please excuse the ‘fuzzyness’ shown in the photos – not least the unmown lawn!)

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On to the troughs and sadly these are rather contradicting my statement about the annuals getting going.  I really need to rethink what I plant here as the metal troughs, especially during this balmy summer, are just too hot for many things.  The plan here was a combination of Cosmos ‘Antiquity’, which are just about getting there, combined with Lathyrus ‘Pink Cupid’ at the front, which Sarah Raven assured me would ‘tumble happily’. However, I don’t think having roasted roots really suits the poor sweet peas and consequently it’s barely peeping over the edge!IMG_2960

In the Veg Patch and it’s really more flowers than veg – both the amazing Agapanthus and the Sweet Peas.IMG_2961

The Swing Beds are a bit chaotic, but still showing quite a lot of colour – particularly the incredibly long flowering Diascia personataIMG_2962

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The Grass Bed has filled out considerably in a month with plenty of Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Psyche White’, (and Salvia horminum ‘White Swan’ and Malope trifida ‘Alba’ out of shot) together with plenty of self sown grasses.IMG_2964

On the way round we pass this shallow metal dish which just goes to show some plants are happy with baked bottoms!IMG_2966

The Mid Century Bed now has rather mad spires of Gladioli ‘Black Star’

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which are picking up on the spring planted Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ and the Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’.img_3002.jpg

Outside the greenhouse, the pots are still looking good with the Arctotis ‘Flame’ and Thunbergia ‘Africa Sunset’, joined by Catananche caerulea for contrast.

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Into the greenhouse and looking left I can show off an astonishing array of Peppers – ‘Crystal Lemon’ and ‘Tequila’IMG_2985

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There are tomatoes in the other direction

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and what’s this?  Newly discovered on my return from London on Thursday, a wonderful new potting station made by my lovely neighbour Martin.  I can’t promise it’ll mean I’ll keep the floor clean, but it will definitely help!IMG_2991

Round the corner to the Bronze Bed, now full of colour,

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not least from wonderful Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date.’IMG_2981

And to finish – a final flourish from the Wisteria – and another blue sky!IMG_2978

 

End of Month View – June 2017

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These photos were taken on Monday, after the frantic activity of the previous day’s ‘Secret Gardens of St Helens’ event (organised by yours truly) where 12 village gardens opened in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.  Whilst I can already point to areas where my organisation could be improved upon, I’m delighted to report that we had over 300 visitors and took over £3,000.  And, on a tastier note, someone said my Victoria Sandwich was the best on the Isle of Wight!

The garden was really looking spick and span thanks in a very large part to my lovely helpers – the OH, both my children, and neighbours M and J – who all pulled out the stops on Saturday and Sunday morning to rescue various areas of the garden from general chaos (so that’s what the greenhouse floor looks like!) as well as (M) potting up bits of random vegetation to sell.

So here’s the tour:

Entry via the steps and past the old copper pot, admiring the (ahem accidental) matching of the Callistemon and the container planting,

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and on past the Flower Carpet roses (which generated plenty of enthusiastic comments).IMG_2752

Past the greenhouse pots and into the greenhouse,

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on past the barrowIMG_2747

to the decking. admiring the pelagoniums

and dahlias.

On to the the veg patch

and then round to the Swing Beds.

A quick pause at the Grass Beds to admire the view

and another pot

and then a pause at the steps to look over to the office (nice bunting!)

and then up to the greenhouse.

Up the lavender steps and across to the other end of the garden

and finally, a seat at the table, and a cup of tea.

With thanks to all my helpers and cake donators as well as all the other garden openers, their helpers, the ticket sellers and poster putter uppers.

Yes I’m still feeling a little kn*ckered, but would I do it again – of course!

End of Month View – May 2017

The Frustrated Gardener said the other day “if a garden doesn’t look merry in May, there’s a problem” and although I’m thrilled mine has survived our recent absence (thanks to the dogsitter’s kind ministrations) it’s not ideal that it’s so merry now, as it will doubtless be looking rather exhausted by the garden opening in four weeks’ time!  Ah well, at least I can share with you.

So, this view is the Mid Century bed looking across the Lavender bed to the incredibly flowery Leptospermum beyond.  Here it is with an invasion of self seeded Valerian keeping it company.

In the right hand Lavender Bed the peonies are just about to burst

whilst in the left hand one (aside from miles of Convolvulus)  there is my ‘old’ Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and new E. ‘Red Jep,’ lots of pinks and my little Silk Tree.

The Swing Beds are wallowing in multiple roses as well as yellow soldiers of Sisyrinchium and pink Diascia personata.

Conversely, the Grass Bed is in a sorry state, with little to entertain except tatty forget me nots and self seeded Nasturtiums and Poppies.  This is due a big clear out and will be planted with annuals, hopefully next weekend.

The Veg Patch has moved on from this picture, as I’ve now planted out runner beans and sweet peas.  I’m intending to plant further flowers for cutting here, so have only erected two sets of bamboos this year.

The fleece to the right is to protect the strawberries in the lower bed,  but we’ve now moved it off the wall as it was forcing the Agapanthus flower heads into such awkward twists I felt compelled to liberate them!

At the other end of the garden the Oak Bed has its summer foliage on, with the lovely Cercis, the Sambucus (and indeed the over-the-road-oak) in full leaf.

The Pat Austin roses in the Bronze Bed are doing their cantaloupe thing, and will hopefully soon be joined by Achillea ‘Terracotta’ with Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ to follow later in the summer.

I’m still planting up pots, with the troughs by far the largest.  The plan here is a trailing sweet pea ‘Cupid’s Pink’ at the front together with a shorter Cosmos ‘Antiquity’ behind, but there seems to have been a bit of a mix up with the Cosmos lables, so I could end up with any one of four different varieties.  Oops.

Other pots which have largely overwintered are looking far more established – Pelargonium ‘Surcouf,’

a bonkers bath full,

a restocked barrow

and a restrained pot.

In the greenhouse I’ve finally planted out the tomatoes and cucumbers, but just look what greeted me on my return from holiday.  Just imagine the scent!

 

 

 

End of Month View – April 2017

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So, it’s time to come clean – the Acacia move discussed here didn’t end happily.  And whilst I’m still glad it’s gone from the Mid Century Bed, having it (temporarily!) in the Lavender Bed made me realise that to have a third tree between the existing two would be good. Consequently I’ve come up with a new plan –  a Silk Tree, first seen at Hilliers Garden and shown here.

The variety I’ve bought is smaller than the Hilliers one,  Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella,’ described by Burncoose (from where I purchased it online) as “A newish variety with cherry-pink fragrant flowers and dark green ferny leaves. Flowers profusely at a young age. Grows to only 10-15 feet”.  It was described as ‘large’ (to match the price tag), but if you look carefully at the photo above, it’s the twig to the left with the labels on.  Fingers crossed I don’t kill this one!

Below you’ll see the more usual EoMV looking south east across to Bembridge.  The arching tree, a crab apple, was fabulous this year – a really deep pink which you could actually see when looking back to the house from the beach – but the blossom, like so many of the bulbs, is now almost completely over.

The photo of the Swing Beds this time last year still had plenty of tulips, but this year there weren’t as many and they’re largely finished.  I was about to write that I hadn’t planted any new ones, but just checked and I did – 80.  I think someone has been having a nibble!

One good patch of colour in the foreground is provided by the sugary, seed grown Antirrhinum majus ‘The Rose’ I was so critical of last year (and threatened to pull out), but actually, bulked up, is providing a good match for the remaining ‘Menton’ and ‘Mistress’ tulips.

The Grass Bed was also better a couple of weeks ago, but has also suffered from a critter with the munchies.  Before the forget me nots grew up I came back one weekend to find numerous bulb sized empty holes where there should have been 50 Spring Green Tulips.  Grrr.

Here’s one, you’ll have to imagine the rest!

Round to the Mid Century Bed, this does still have some tulips, and loads of self seeded Cerinthe and Euphorbia.

In the gap left by moving (er, killing) the Acacia I’ve now planted a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.

(I already planted one in the Oak Bed and perhaps should have gone with an evergreen such as Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ as some of you suggested, but I’m afraid this is a total ‘mum memory’ plant from a wonderful visit we did together to Beth Chatto’s Garden, and planting it here I’ll be able to see it from the kitchen table).

The one in the Oak Bed is just coming into leaf

and possibly flower.  (It hasn’t flowered that reliably as I think the site is a little too shady. Hopefully the one in the MCB will like its surroundings better).

The bulbs in the Bronze Bed are largely over (much earlier than last year) and the Wisteria is also turning brown around the edges.  Meanwhile the Melianthus major has gone bonkers. I’ve discussed this before, but I really should cut it back, but with the garden opening in two months (aargh!), I just can’t bring myself to do it.  This autumn, though, it MUST happen!

Out on the Drive Bed the Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’ grown from seed last year are finally making their mark and I’m hoping they’ll still be flowering when the Sisyrinchiums and Rose ‘Snow Goose’ join the party.

In the veg patch there is nothing except the moved rhubarb (looking a little ‘unsettled’ if you know what I mean) a few Broad Beans and plenty of raspberry canes which need tying in.

In the Strawberry Bed the Agapanthus are threatening to take over, potentially prompting a renaming!

Meanwhile the daughter, who spent last summer in the States working at a summer camp (and consequently was barely home for a fortnight all summer), will be around more this year and is putting in requests for more strawberry plants to fill the gap left by the rhubarb.  As that space is currently only colonised by forget me nots, I think she has a point.

Round the back of the house in a skinny north facing bed ,the Hostas are looking immaculate – so far.  I’ve used the Slug Gone wool pellets again, but last year they did seem to lose efficacy later on.  Probably I should have reapplied.

In the meantime I’ll admire the (doubtless temporary) perfection!

In the greenhouse there are hundreds of similarly perfect little seeds.  So full of hope, right up until I don’t plant them on, don’t plant them out and chuck them on the compost!

The plan is to spend this afternoon with the rain lashing down in the greenhouse fiddling with seeds.  I hope there’s something good on the radio!

Meanwhile, the Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas don’t need any attention, they can just be enjoyed.  Wish I could bottle and share their scent in a warm greenhouse on a sunny day!

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts EoMV.

End of month view – March 2017

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What a perfect day for March’s EoMV!  Spring has arrived all of a rush, with many bulbs bursting into bloom under the last weekend’s glorious sunshine.

Starting from the bottom of the Lavender steps, looking left, please admire the fact that nearly all the beds have been mulched with a mix of Isle of Wight compost and manure.  I have to confess to hiring a man to help dig it out of the big white sacks into a wheelbarrow, but I did all the application (not least because I was really too late, and there were plenty of bulbs and emerging perennials which could have been broken by a careless ‘dump’!)

I have to confess the Acacia baileyana pupurea which I moved back in February is looking a little brown and crispy in places but I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will survive.IMG_2194

On the decking the wonderful Pelagonium ‘Surcouf’ is looking positively rampant already. And although I also have the Clematis ‘Princess Diana’ at the back of these pots (there is a pair) she’s not very happy, so I’m encouraging Surcouf up the trellis and might move the Princess somewhere more to her liking.IMG_2192

In the trough the replenished N. Minnow are spilling overIMG_2195

and in the veg patch, the Diving Lady is overseeing a mulched blank canvas.

I’ve recently moved the rhubarb from the front bed to an area out of shot to the left hand end of the main veg bed.  It never did that well where it was (much to my embarrassment) which I put down to the bed being too hot and dry, so I’m hoping the new location will suit it better.  And the evacuation of the rhubarb means more room for strawberries.  Any tips for favourite varieties?

Much to the chagrin of the daughter, home from uni for Easter, I’ve also planted a few more home grown Agapanthus seedlings at the back.  She thinks the whole bed should just be strawberries and more strawberries – not least because this year she’ll be home in June!IMG_2196

Round to the left hand Swing Bed and there’s plenty of green but little colour yet.  The daffodils have disappeared and the tulips are (mostly) still in bud.

I finally got round to pruning and training all the roses on the pergola and they are now leafing up nicely.IMG_2197

In the right hand bed there are more Narcissi than the left (er, why?) and a far happier looking Euphorbia.  I’ve said before that trying to make these beds symmetrical is rather a hopeless cause, but I’m wondering whether I should abandon the Euphorbia all together and replace with something more structural and evergreen.  (The joke is that there is a healthy looking Euphorbia right at the end of the left hand bed, but that one is self seeded.  The one bought and paid for to mirror the other bed is hopeless).  Hmmm.IMG_2198

In the Grass Bed I’m delighted that some of some of the Forget me nots have returned to form rather spartan skirts around the N. ‘Peeping Jennys’.IMG_2199

The Bronze Bed is positively overrun with Euphorbia (and this is after I pulled one out) but whilst they’re a zingy joy at this time of year, I’m not convinced I’ll allow them to survive later in the year.

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I blogged about this Primula last year – it’s self seeded alongside the Lavender Steps.  I just love the soft colour and saved and sowed seeds last year but to no avail, and, now it’s another year older, I think it’s even less likely I’ll be able to move it.  Ah well, I’d better enjoy it where it is.IMG_2201

In the right hand Lavender Bed you can see the chive like leaves of Allium Sphaerocephalon. I’ve never grown it before (but used to admire it in my mum’s garden) and because it’s so ‘slight’ I’ve planted them in a ‘wave’ across the two beds as I thought otherwise they could be a bit lost.  Whether it will actually work is yet to be seen, not least because the other plants might have grown up to obscure them before they get round to flowering.IMG_2200

The N. Tete a tete are still flowering along the path to the front door.  Those in the pots are largely over, but have now been surpassed by the news ones planted along the edge of the bed.  In summer these beds are full of the ‘Flower Carpet’ roses, but it’s lovely to have these cheery daffs now.

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More new daffs –  N. Thalia in the Drive Bed, accompanied by Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’ which were grown from seed last year.IMG_2210

At the western side of the garden the Frits (as they’re known in this household) are blooming in the grass, with N. Jenny in the background.  IMG_2206

In this picture you can see the Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’ is completely over IMG_2208

whereas the H. Aphrodite is still going strong.IMG_2209

The Bronze Bed is a mass of daffs with ‘Cragford’ now being joined ‘Yazz’, and the Hamamelis flowers being picked up by the Melianthus Major flowers.  The Melianthus has survived the winter again and, as a consequence, got rather out of hand.  I really should have cut it back last year, but with the garden opening in the summer I’m a bit loathe to cut it back now.  Perhaps I could perform a tidy up and get away with it?

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And meanwhile, the greenhouse is displaying an interesting mix of overwintering tender plants, Winter Sweet Peas

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and new seedlings.IMG_2190

And to finish, one of the Greenhouse pots – last year’s N. Bellsong joined by new tulip, T. ‘Mango Charm.’

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With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting all the EOMV.  Why don’t you take a peek at what others are up to?

End of Month View – February 2017

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The Shady Bed is looking good despite the gloom.  Here is probably the largest clump of Hellebores and they’re joined by the sweetly scented Sarcococca and the constant Fatsia japonica.

Elsewhere, the main view is very gloomy (not helped by timing my photos an hour before some watery sunshine emerged).img_2116

In the troughs there are plenty of shoots, but as yet no colour.  Did I mention that I’d replaced the old Stocks at the back with new cuttings?  And whilst they don’t seem to be making much progress, the self seeded Cerinthe in the path in front is romping away…img_2120

The Swing Beds are still looking quite full but hardly flowery.  Many herbaceous plants still need a cut back, as do the roses, which are looking extremely wild and woolly.img_2121

The two Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ are still blooming well on the pergola, but definitely rather tatty on close inspection.  And I fear pruning the Rosa St Swithun growing amongst them is going to be a little challenging!

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More bulbous shoots in the Grass Bed, but as yet no blooms here either.img_2124

I’ve pruned all the roses in the Mid Century bed, but still haven’t attacked the Salvias.  In the foreground you can see some overwintered Antirrhinum which look closer to flowering than some of the bulbs!

The soil level has fallen in this bed again this year

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so lucky I’m prepared!

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On the other side of the garden in the Oak Bed the Hamamelis (H. Arnold’s Promise) is glowing against the wall.  It probably deserves rescuing from all that dead foliage!img_2133

In the Bronze Bed the Narcissi ‘Cragford’ are the furthest advanced of all my daffodils and will soon be ready to ‘pop’.

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Also ready to pop any minute, my other Hamamelis, H. Aphrobite.  Just a couple of blooms so far, but much promise and such a lovely colour.img_2135

In the greenhouse, the Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas have now been planted out,img_2128

there are seeds stirring in the damp darkness (I hope)img_2129

and on the windowsill a few perky Muscari latifolium, returned again from the Wedding Flowers of two years ago.  Step niece Hannah (whose wedding it was) is now proud mum to Hamish so, looking at the colour, I should probably have sent them over!)img_2126

And to finish, you can’t beat a jolly pot of ‘Tete a Tete’.img_2137

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s EoMV.

End of Month View – January 2017

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A grey old day for January’s EoMV, which is a shame, as Saturday was beautiful – but then I was far too busy digging to take photos!

Over the last two weekends I’ve finally got out in the garden after an absence of at least a month.  However, in many ways, the work has seen me going backwards to go forwards.  The final bulbs, Allium sphaerocephalon were bought for the two Lavender Beds, but as both were full of Convolvulus, Couch Grass and generally past-their-best plants, a big dig was called for before I could plant them.  Happily the digging was dug and, although you can’t see them, the bulbs are in.img_2042

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The good news is that there are now large new areas of bed to ‘play’ in, but that requires thought and planning, both of which take time, so no firm plans as yet.

One thing I have mentioned before is the desire to move the Acacia baileyana purpurea from the Mid Century bed and I’d like its new location to be in the left hand Lavender Bed, in the centre of this photo (in front of the Choisya, which I think I’ll remove).

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The problem is, when to do the deed?  Now would seem a sensible time to move many plants, but the Acacia is on the cusp of bursting into bloom for the first time, so now doesn’t seem exactly conducive.  Thoughts?img_2052

Further round the garden, more bare earth tells of more activity – I finally pulled the old, very leggy Matthiola incana (Stocks) out of the troughs and replaced them with these cuttings taken from the ‘mother’.  These have been in pots for a while, so I’m not sure how long they’ll take to find their feet.  They look pretty pathetic at the moment!img_2045

The two Swing Beds are still quite green but everything needs a good cut back and tidy up. I’ve read it’s better to wait to do this until the temperature picks up as the old growth protects the newer shoots, particularly on tender plants such as Salvias and Penstemons.  Well, that’s my excuse.img_2048

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In the Grass Bed, more bare earth after a big clear out last year.  This is a bit of a shame as I’ve previously had masses of Forget me knots here and I’ll miss them.  img_2050

I’m trying to move various clumps in from other areas where they’re not wanted, but I still don’t think I’ll achieve the lovely froth of last year:IMG_0293

I had a tidy up of the Herb Bed yesterday and whilst most are looking understandably tired, the Sorrel is looking fresher and more productive than ever.  Any recipe suggestions?img_2054

The Shady Bed is exhibiting a good showing of glossy foliage.  I’ve never noticed before how the Fatsia japonica leaves echo the Hellebores.  To the left of the Hellebores the Sarcococca is flowering, picking up the white of the Hellebore to the right.  Shame the fern in the middle is so chewed!img_2058

At the Western end of the garden, in the shady Oak Bed there is the merest hint of bloom in the Witch Hazel (Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’), and some more Hellebores,img_2062

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whereas at the end of the Bronze Bed a far more exotic scene of flowering Aeoniums in front of luxuriant Melianthus major foliage.

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Meanwhile in the greenhouse, plenty of bulbs in pots to look forward toimg_2055

and this.  Finally, an empty bulb box!img_2056

And to finish, my Rosemarinus prostratus.  I mentioned in GBBD how it wasn’t very ‘prostratus’, time to eat my words!img_2067

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts EoMV.