Category Archives: End of month view

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.

End of month view – November 2016

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I took these photos in Monday’s gorgeous sunshine and it’s now Friday and I’m only just getting round to posting.  Ooops.

There’s not much colour now, but the late blooming Salvias are really earning their keep and there are even a few annuals, such as the Nicotianas still blooming.img_1915

The Grass Bed is being overwhelmed with self seeded Cerinthe and Nasturtium.  The Nasturtiums need to be hauled out and binned, but I’d like to replant some of the Cerinthe elsewhere and hence at the moment I’ve left them where they are.  Funnily enough though, they haven’t stopped growing while I procrastinate, and I’m now in danger of losing the path altogether! img_1916

Near the house, the Flower Carpet roses are still pumping out new buds:img_1923

Whereas the Bronze Bed is now in dire need of sorting, with my lovely ‘Happy Single Date’ dahlias now only sad stalks.img_1924

A little clearing and planting has been done.  I’ve cleared all the dead Hosta foliage,img_1918

in the drive bed I’ve finally planted out some seedlings –  Erysimums and Digitalis and also some new Narcissus ‘Thalia’ bulbs.img_1925

And in the troughs I’ve finally chucked out the old leggy Stocks, Matthiola incana, and replanted with new ones grown from cuttings.  I’ve also planted Narcissus ‘Minnow’ here.img_1913

In the greenhouse, I’ve brought in some succulents img_1920

and tender plantsimg_1922

and also got my ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas coming (although sadly not one of the cream ones, weird)img_1921

And the final thing in the greenhouse?  Ah yes, a large box of unplanted bulbs.  Roll on the weekend.img_1929

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

End of month view – October 2016

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It’s beginning to look a lot like… autumn.  The over the road oak’s papery leaves are just starting to fall and the autumn tints of the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ are showing off the beautiful heart shaped leaves.

Elsewhere at this side of the garden my beautiful Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ has completely given up the ghost and there’s not much to admire in the Bronze Bed except the wonderful Melianthus major in the background.  In the centre you can see part of the ribbon of Carex buchananii grasses grown from seed and planted out this year.  The idea was that they would remain evergreen (ever-brown actually – my mother in law thought they’d died) and provide interest through the winter and combine well with the Hamamelis before the bulbs. It will be interesting to see if this works, or whether they do indeed just look rather dead.

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Across to the eastern end the Swing Beds are still green but really not very colourful apart from the Salvias.  As well as some late colour, after completion of my planting course last year I’d really like to introduce some better structure here.  I’d deliberately not planted anything shrubby to the back of the area immediately either side of the swing because I grew sweet peas up netting at the back for a few years.  However, they’ve never done that well and so this year I didn’t bother and think the lack of height here – particularly bearing in mind the size of the Phlomis and Elaeagnus further out – is a problem.  But what to plant?  Hmm.img_1846

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The plan for the grass bed this year was to have a froth of Cosmos and Ammi, but I planted some Calendula along the front edge to cover up the gaps until the other two got going.  So where are we now?  Er, completely overrun with self seeded Nasturtiums!  I really must dig these out as I do love the forget me nots in this bed and at this rate there won’t be any.img_1852

These two make a pretty autumnal combination, but so not the white effect I’d planned!img_1851

The Salvias are making their mark in the Mid Century Bed too, but I also like the dark AntirrhinumsA. majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ and there are still some dahlias and even roses coming.  Plenty of new Cerinthe growth too, with the odd plant actually in the bed rather than the paths!img_1854

Here’s Rosa ‘Falstaff climbing’ looking a little chewed on the obelisk.img_1853

In the Veg Beds there’s not much to see except the Kale.  I do love the look and colour of these leaves, and have even used them in arrangements, but they do give a rather cabbagey aroma which is less than ideal!img_1843

In pots there are plenty of Pelargoniums still pumping out the flowers including this beauty P. Surcouf,img_1842

and a number of succulents having a late bloomimg_1841

or just looking bonny!img_1832

The raised Cutting Beds have been pretty hopeless this year due to lack of water, so rather a shock to see the Zinnias pumping out the flowers now too.img_1837

To the right of the raised beds you can see the Shady Bed which looks much the same as always except the gradual increase in size of the Sarcococca confusa.  This is finally making its mark both in looks now and scent later in the winter.  Perhaps I’ll even allow myself to cut a few sprigs next year.img_1838

And to finish, the greenhouse.  Whilst the veg in here are coming to an endimg_1839

I’m excited at the prospect of new babies for next year – firstly cuttings in the propagatorimg_1840

but also Winter Sweet Peas, still in the packet as I type, but I can’t wait to see these again come next April!IMG_0199

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