Category Archives: Garden

Silk Tree – Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella’

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Regular readers will know I planted a silk tree in spring 2017 and it’s just flowered for the first time (above)!

I was prompted to buy an Albizia having seen the stunning bright pink as Albizia julibrissin Rosea at Harold Hillier gardens (below).

I chose ‘Ombrella’ as it’s rather smaller, only growing to 10-15ft, and whilst I feel a little disappointed by the rather more muted flower colour, I adore the unusual and wonderfully healthy foliage.

According to Burncoose, who I bought it from, it can only withstand temperatures down to 1°C, so I think I should consider myself lucky it survived its first winter!

I wonder how long before it looks like this?IMG_8328

 

 

End of Month View – July 2018

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Oh dear – a very bleached view this End of Month.

Whilst I have watered newly planted annuals, the veg patch and pots, there has been no watering of the grass and little of the main beds, and boy does it show!

Whilst a careful angle suggests something’s going on in the Swing BedsIMG_4395

reality is more brutal.  Actually the main casualty here has been the rather overwhelming pink geranium which I’ve been meaning to reduce anyway, so hopefully I can take the opportunity to have a rethink. IMG_4396

The right hand Swing Bed is similarly colourless.

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In the Grass Bed the Zinnias are filling out and providing lots of limey and sludgy pink blooms for cutting.

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The Agapanthus are a delight and thriving in the hot sunny weather.  And the Veg Patch behind where we’ve used a trickle hose for the first time for a number of overnight drenchings has gone bonkers – particularly the courgette plants at the front.

The bamboo structure is looking a little drunken after 50mph winds over the weekend but the beans don’t seem to care!IMG_4393

I bought some mini sweetcorn plug plants when I saw them in a local garden centre as they’re a daughter favourite, and they’ve gone pretty bonkers too.  I’m not sure how many cobs you get per plant.  I hope it’s more than one!

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Round to the western side the Dahlias are getting going, the roses are coming back and the Arctotis are just starting

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and there are a few new blooms on the Wisteria too.IMG_4409

Outside the greenhouse more Agapanthus joined by Asters, but the planned clashing Dahlia has failed spectacularly!  Not only have the Dahlia’s struggled to get going in the dry weather, but the first one to flower has turned out to be pink when I’d planned a fabulous, spiky orange bloom – ‘Mel’s Orange Marmalade’ (loved the name!).  I contacted Sarah Raven and unfortunately ‘Mel’ had sold out, but I selected an alternate, softer orange, but I haven’t yet planted them as I’m still hoping ‘Mel’ might be amongst the remaining five!

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Inside the usual jungle of tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines.

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But most excitingly – look at this –  I only had to wait 4 months!  Let’s hope there’s still some summer left to enjoy itIMG_4406

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and perhaps I can get some of these pots off the gravel!IMG_4401

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts our EoMVs.

End of month view – June 2018

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“The best fertiliser is the gardener’s shadow” I first read at Kew – must be twenty years ago when I was working four days a week, had two children under three and a garden and an allotment to look after.  As you can imagine, it struck a chord – there was never enough time, and the garden and/or allotment often suffered.

Fast forward and the shadow is still often absent, and the garden continues to suffer.  Different garden and different excuse (a lovely one this time, away for the daughter’s graduation in Durham – not very handy for the Isle of Wight).  We arrived home around lunch time today and everything is so parched!  We did spend last weekend setting up some trickle hoses but we didn’t have them on whilst we were away.

Despite the drought (I genuinely can’t remember when we last had rain, it feels like it was May, but can’t have been!) some plants are thriving – not surprisingly often the Mediterranean plants like the Lavender above and below.
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Taking you on the usual tour, you can just see, oh what a shock, the decking has still not been replaced in front of the office.  To say I’m rather miffed would be a bit of an understatement, but let’s not dwell.  Instead we’ll admire the Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f. rosea) planted last year.  Sadly it’s showing no sign of flowering yet, but I am enjoying the foliage.

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Now that the stocks at the back have finished flowering, I’ve planted Cosmos and Pelargoniums in the the metal troughs.  They are a long way from ‘filling out’ which is a shame as you can clearly see the rather ugly dripper hose we’ve laid out.  Not surprisingly these troughs do get very hot and dry so hopefully the dripper will help (if we’re ever feeling flush enough to turn it on!DSC01073

The Veg patch is the other place we’ve put dripper hose. This is another tricky area as the veg are largely planted amongst the huge bay trees so they’re always competing for water and we rarely have particularly good productivity from any of the plants.  I’m hoping the dripper will help change that this year.  We’ll see.

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Like last year, I’ve planted some cutting flowers in with the veg – here you can see my very pitiful sweet peas.  I live in hope they will eventually get going and I’ll get some lovely blooms, even if very late.DSC01077

In the Swing Beds the pink Geraniums at the front of the beds have largely gone over, but there are still plenty of rose blooms and Penstemon.  

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The Grass Bed has finally been cleared of the spent forget me nots and the bed planted with Zinnias.  In addition to the Zinnias are self sown Nasturtium and grasses (not Stipa, I’ve forgotten what it is.  I grew it from seed years ago and now I can’t get rid of it!).  The lack of water has meant they’ve struggled to get going, but I’m concerned I haven’t planted them close enough and they’ll never cover the ground in the sort of wonderful display I saw at West Dean gardens here .  To be fair, the photo at West Dean was taken at the end of August, so perhaps we’ll get there.

You can see just how many of the Stipa tenuissima were lost over the winter and I’m still deciding whether I should replace them.  I read recently that they do have a ‘life’ of only about five years and I’ve definitely had them longer than that, so perhaps it was inevitable and I should try something else.DSC01080

I’m really enjoying the pot of poppies with the chicken.  I’ve sprinkled some of the ripe seed on the Grass Bed – wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a whole bed like this next year?!

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The Mid Century bed is looking a little flat now.  The roses are taking a break having (I think) got too dry, and the Dahlias and annuals have not yet got going.  However the lovely Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (centre) planted last year is now looking well established.DSC01082

Round to the west side of the garden takes us past the rather bleached looking Flower Carpet roses

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and two newly planted pots.DSC01069

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The Bronze Bed is also having a lull while we wait for the Dahlias to start blooming and the roses to recover from lack of water.  Lovely to see the Wisteria having a second flush though.DSC01067

Looking the other way you can see the second (original) Cercis, and the shrubby planting which borders the road.DSC01068

Making our way back to the greenhouse, I can show a happy conclusion to something I suddenly started worrying about when we were away.  These are little Hosta seedlings, grown from seed collected from my own Hostas and planted at least two years ago.  I was fretting they would have curled up and died in our absence, but no!  Very dry, but not even really showing any distress

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Sadly the same can’t be said for the salad and peas growing in the (shallow) raised wooden beds.  They’ve looking very peaky, and some have definitely been lost.DSC01092

On a more cheerful note I’m getting excited to see how the greenhouse beds will look this year.  It’s a rather bold combination – you’ll have to wait for next month to see what it is!DSC01085

Into the greenhouse and this is what greeted me when I opened the door – the lovely Plumbago had fallen over and was almost blocking the door.  This is one of the original pair of plants bought years ago.

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The second one died last year – but look, the cuttings I’d luckily taken from the original were planted up last year and are possibly looking better (certainly less leggy) than the original.

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The rest of the greenhouse has now been planted up with aubergines

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cucumbers and tomatoes.DSC01089

So, back to the ‘gardener’s shadow’ – well, I’ve already been out watering this evening and hopefully tomorrow I can spend the whole day in the garden.  Goodness knows, it’s about time!

With thanks to Helen who hosts our End of Month Views.

 

End of month view – May 2018

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I arrived home yesterday for the first time in ten days, and the change is absolutely extraordinary.  I’ve used the word ‘bonkers’ before about the garden in May, but this year it’s more bonkers than ever.

I popped out in my lunch hour today to take these photos, but haven’t had a chance to do even a minute of tidying (or lawn mowing), so hopefully you’ll excuse the rather dishevelled look.

Bearing in mind that due to a sequence of lovely trips away I’ve only spent three non working days at home in the whole of May, it’s amazing it’s looking as good as it is.  Having said that, scratch the surface, and you’ll see there’s an awful lot of work required and PLENTY of serious weeding.

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Let’s forget all that for the minute and take the usual tour.

Sadly there’s still no decking but I live in hope it might be there for the end of June.IMG_4075

I’ve replanted the Pelagonium ‘Surcouf’ at the front of both the pots as they were all lost this winter.  Luckily I had taken some cuttings, as I’d hate to be without the glorious fuchsia pink blooms to keep (Clematis) ‘Princess Diana’ company.IMG_4084

At the right hand end in front of the decking (well where the decking should be!) the Mulberry tree we had in a pot in Richmond and brought to the island ten years ago is finally finding its feet and looks like this year might bear proper quantities of fruit.IMG_4076

I had a mad planting out session two weeks ago so finally there’s something to see in the Veg Bed.  The flower at the front is Peony ‘Coral Charm’, bought going cheap at the end of last year.  I’ve planted it here for cutting, but clearly I’m some way off a bunch!IMG_4077

The rather odd combination of Agapanthus and strawberries is full of promise.IMG_4078

In the left hand Swing Bed there’s a rather mad combination of poppies, roses, geraniums and sisyrinchiums.

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and in the left, a similar mix, but with a rather handsome lupin thrown in.IMG_4080

The Grass Bed is in desperate need of attention – not least a change of name!  As you can see, nearly all the Stipa tenuissima which previously lined the back of this bed, have died over the winter leaving just a couple of wispy memories.

The majority of the bed can now be cleared as it’s full of faded forget me nots, bulb foliage and (eek) mare’s tail.  However, I’m not sure what I’m going to plant instead, and I can’t decide what to do about replacing the Stipas.  Hmm.IMG_4081

I treated myself to these poppies at the local garden centre and I popped the chicken in amongst them.  I just adore poppies and I’m excited there are so many buds to come.IMG_4082

This bench sits behind the Mid Century Bed and is normally ignored (and never sat on!) but I like the effect with the Rosa Seagull in full flower above it and the paired cans.IMG_4083

Here’s the Mid Century Bed with plenty of roses, foxgloves and more poppies.IMG_4073
In the Drive Bed I’m chuffed that some white foxgloves I only moved from the Mid Century bed a fortnight ago, have survived and flourished.  The rose here is the same plant featured in the two photos above, but on the other side of the fence.IMG_4065

This (inherited) rose scents the steps up from the drive, providing a lovely welcome.

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At the western end of the garden, looking the ‘shady way’ (actually south, but shady due to the magnificent oak) we can see the tapestry of shrubby planting.  Unfortunately I didn’t get round to pruning any of these this winter, so they’re all looking rather shaggy, but I’m pleased with the purple/green/purple/green repetition.IMG_4067

Looking the other way, to the much sunnier Bronze Bed, you can see the roses and Geums featured in my last Monday vase.  IMG_4069

Heading back towards the greenhouse takes you past the barrow,IMG_4085

the unpelleted (and thus chewed) hostas, IMG_4086

and various seed trays hardening off and in desperate need of planting out.  (The ones on the left below are stocks which sadly look unlikely to survive).IMG_4088

Talking of not surviving, my Winter flowering sweet peas which were planted out sooooo late, have not done well at all, and a number have not survived the transition to the greenhouse beds.IMG_4092

Happily the tomatoes are a lot perkier.

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as are various tender flowers still waiting for their chance to shine outside.IMG_4090

And to finish, just look at this Leptosermum.  I was thinking over the winter it had got rather leggy, but all is forgiven now!

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With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts our EoMVs.

 

 

 

 

 

In a vase on Monday – perky posy!

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I made this little posy for my lovely neighbour, and, starting with the jewel like tulips, I thought I’d see where they led me.

Firstly T. ‘Queen of the Night’ (and T. Merry go round) and zingy, fresh Spiraea japonica foliage,IMG_4040

then Cerinthe major purpurescens,IMG_4043

and lastly fabulous Erysimum ‘Red Jep’.IMG_4042

Simples!IMG_4045

With thanks to Cathy who hosts all our Monday vases.