Category Archives: Garden

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!

In a vase on Monday – Pro tem posy

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Whilst the garden (and my job!) continue to go to hell in a hand basket, there are still pockets of beauty to be found – particularly on such a stunning October day.

I’m temporarily enjoying this little posy, picked to take to lunch at my neighbours, as it captures some of the remaining highlights:

Pink flower carpet roses and Prince Edward sweet peasIMG_5041

Zinnias (Queen Red Lime and Benary Giant Lime)IMG_5043

and Salvias (sorry not sure which one)IMG_5044

Why don’t you pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what others have been picking on this glorious day?

In a vase on Monday – Sanguine set up!

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Sorry for the absence – we’ve been away for 10 days, and the way it’s fallen with work I was last on the island on 23rd September!

The garden is in many areas looking rather ‘over’.  Sadly, the majority of the dahlias have finished and many of the annuals too, but there are still roses and Salvias and, extraordinarily, lots of new growth from self sown Cerinthe seedlings.

There is plenty of bright pink about, particularly from the flower carpet roses, but somehow that didn’t feel right for this time of year.  I was looking for something rather more autumnal, and struck on this fabulous dark burgundy.

We visited a number of wineries on our holiday in Spain, including those in the Rioja region, so perhaps that deep Rioja colour was still on my mind!

The main flower is the Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’.  It’s a gorgeous flower but certainly very prickly, so not that friendly for cutting.IMG_4337

The Dahlia here – mostly hanging out at the edges – is D. La Recoleta (this is photo from a previous vase as I forgot to take its photo!)IMG_1088

To this I added a single collapsed stem of Gladiolus Black StarIMG_4340

and then filled around with lovely new grey/green Cerinthe growth.IMG_4342

It’s lovely to be back creating a Monday vase and I’m looking forward to heading over to Cathy’s blog to see what everyone else has chosen for their vase this week.

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.