Category Archives: Garden

End of month view – August 2017

Well it’s all gone to hell in a hand basket – end of month view four days late – hopeless. And the photos, taken last weekend when I’d nearly run out of light, are hopeless too!  Ah well, as mentioned before, I find these monthly views handy for me, so think I’ll still take you for a spin.

The Mid Century bed above is looking appropriately ‘bruised’ and the ‘gladdies’ continue to make their presence felt whether I like it or not – and I still can’t make up my mind!

The troughs have been a bit of a disaster this year – the Cosmos Antiquity never really got going, so I’ve allowed the enormous self seeded shoo fly plant (Nicandra physaloides) free rein as there’s not much else going on.  The trailing sweet peas ‘Pink Cupid’ really didn’t like the heat of the metal trough – I suppose not surprisingly – and pretty much all curled up and died.  I’d like to try them somewhere else next year, but worry that with any pot I’ve have a similar problem, and yet if not in a pot how do they trail?IMG_3075

The Veg patch is showing off some rather more successful sweet peas than the ‘Pink Cupids’ but these too have suffered from lack of water.  I’ve definitely had far more blooms from the greenhouse ones this year.

As well as the blooms I’ve had the usual broad beans, runner beans and courgettes but had a terrible time germinating french beans and sugar snaps this year and so haven’t had any.

I am growing Sarah Raven’s flower sprouts or ‘Kalettes’ for the first time this year which are a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale and have ‘baby’ kale in the  place where you’d expect the Brussels to be.  I haven’t harvested any yet and at the moment the plants don’t even seem to be showing much sign the kalettes will appear.  I have just checked the SR website and it suggests I should be harvesting from September to November, so hopefully there’s still time…

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The Swing Beds still have a reasonable amount of interest with the VerbenaPenstemons, Salvia and Asters as well as the incredibly long flowering Diascia personata.IMG_3067

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I shared the view over the Grass Bed as last week’s Wordless Wednesday.  It really was a glorious day and the Cosmos ‘Psyche White’ have been great this year.

The Perlagonium ‘Surcouf’ continues to smother both pots, and increasingly the trellis behind, to the extent where I wonder whether at some state I’ll move the Clematis out altogether and concentrate on just getting the Pelagonium to climb.

Poor (Clematis) Princess Di (as it is she) seems to be as unhappy in my pots as she was in later life, but that’s a whole other subject…..IMG_3065

Another couple of really successful pots have been the pair by the greenhouse doors. These were another Sarah Raven suggestion and have been truly spectacular this year – Thunbergia ‘African Sunset’ with Arctotis ‘Flame’.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to overwinter the Arctotis and even make some more by taking cuttings, but I’ll have to start again with the Thunbergia as it is annual.

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In the Greenhouse Beds I’ve had a clear out of the Nasturtiums as I’m hoping to expose some soil so the Poppies will seed.  I’ve also planted out some Aster Frikartii ‘Monch’ (some of which were grown as cuttings, and some bought months ago).  The idea was to increase the number in the Swing Beds, but they’re currently so rammed with plants I was worried the Asters wouldn’t get established, so thought they’d be better where I can keep an eye on them.  Even if I decide to move them later, I’m sure they’ll be happier having finally got their ‘feet’ in the soil.IMG_3062

At the other side of the garden, the Dahlias and Roses are still pumping out blooms in the Bronze Bed. IMG_3056

By the long table there have been a couple of late Wisteria blooms – but these aren’t them. These are Dolichos Lablab ‘Ruby Moon’ which I had growing in the pots by the front door which have self seeded in a pot I’m growing a Clematis in.  The Clematis is taking its time to get going so these have been a lovely surprise.   Goodness knows how they got here!IMG_3059

Into the greenhouse and I’m delighted the Plumbago has bounced back from near drought induced death to be spectacularly floriferous again.

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And to finish, Aubergine ‘Slim Jim’.  He’s a good looking lad, but I haven’t tasted him yet!

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2017

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Whilst many of my roses are already coming to an end, I’m delighted that the Rose ‘Flower Carpet’ are just bursting into bloom.IMG_2652

Other roses include R. Jacques Cartier, here with Diascia personata

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R. St Swithun

and R. Pat Austin, here with Achillea Terracotta, as in Monday’s vase.

A few peonies are hanging onIMG_2692

and a similarly flowered poppy has arrived of her own volition.IMG_2687

A plant I’ve rarely featured is this Phlomis italica – a lovely soft pink in the Swing Beds.IMG_2685

Talking of pink, plenty of Pinks in the Lavender bed, with Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ in the bacjground. I’m excited that four cuttings I took of this Erysimum earlier in the year have now taken, but I think I should take a few more – I love it!IMG_2673

In pots the Clematis ‘Princess Di’ is now flowering together with the Perlargonium ‘Surcouf’.  the Princess looks happier than she’s ever been, I’m not sure whether that’s because I’ve been more assiduous with the watering, or whether the Pelargonium is so large it’s now shading the princess’ roots.IMG_2672

This is a rather loud combo by the steps up to the house – a Diascia, Heuchera and Calibrachoa.

The Gazanias in the old bath are such good doers – and are far more forgiving about forgotten watering than many other inhabitants!

Also in pots, would you believe four different dahlias blooming in June!

I haven’t quite worked out which is which as they’ve taken me by surprise, but assuming they’ll still be featuring next month, I should have worked it out by then….IMG_2674

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Annuals are starting to get going, like Cosmos Psyche White,

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Malope

and C. Antiquity.

Three lots of blue spires, the sister’s Penstemon (grown from a cutting, discussed here), Lavender, edging the steps and (I think) Veronicastrum

And to finish a couple of plants not yet blooming, but fingers crossed they will be by next weekend’s opening – Allium sphaerocephalonIMG_2691

and Agapanthus.  Wish me luck!

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.

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 – 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.

Seedy spreadsheets!

Today marked the beginning of seed sowing for 2017 with nine varieties sown.

Despite being more restrained with my purchases this year, leftovers from last season mean there are still over 80 seed packets vying for my attention and consequently a spreadsheet is called for.   And, as I already spend plenty of time working with spreadsheets, it has taken a week or two to knuckle down to preparing it, but now it’s done and I’m off!img_1553

There are old favourites like Cosmos ‘Psyche White’ above, Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’IMG_8530

and Molucella laevis,

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but I’m also trying again with one I’ve always struggled with – Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ (why can I grow all sorts of other Nicotiana but not this one?)

In addition there are some new varieties including Nasturtium ‘Jewel Cherry Rose’ which I saw growing at Sarah Raven’s when I went to her ‘Feast’ in 2014 and a new Helianthus on me, H. ‘Double Dandy’, described as ‘soft brown and crimson’.  We’ll see!

On the veg front, again some stalwarts such as Courgette ‘Romanesco’ and mini Cucumber ‘La Diva’

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but also new varieties Courgette ‘Blanca di Trieste’ and Cucumber ‘Crystal Lemon’ as well as Sweet Pepper ‘Alma Paprika’.

However, I’ve realised today that I haven’t bought any new tomato seeds and, although I have some left from last year, I think further purchases are called for.  There really is no hope!

What are you growing from seed this year?  And what wouldn’t you be without?

Now you see it…

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…now you don’t.img_2071

So, apologies to those who told me not to move the Acacia baileyana purpurea now, but the deed is done.  And so far it’s still looking pretty perky, but time will tell.

The Acacia move is all part of the realisation that I’m already behind and it’s only February.  None of which would matter apart from two things

  1. I’m now officially full time at work (three days in London, two at home)
  2. Not only am I opening the garden for the village Secret Gardens on June 25th this year, but I’ve been persuaded to take over organisation of the event.

So now you know.

But if there’s one thing I love it’s a deadline (oh and two college deadlines this month too!) and somehow, moving the Acacia was the sort of dramatic progress I needed, even if I kill it in the process.

The next question is, what to replace it with?  When it was first planted as an interesting purple leaved ‘mound’ it looked wonderful, but as soon as it became a tree I didn’t like the way it competed with the metal obelisk.  However, that doesn’t mean the bed doesn’t need something quite large to give some structure.  As some of you know, the bed has a ‘bruised’ coloured theme and so I am seriously considering a second Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ but that wouldn’t be evergreen (or indeed ever-purple).  Perhaps I could consider a purple Phormium – there is one in the bed in front to the right of the photo, but I don’t really like them and doubt I’d ever move it.  And whilst it would work quite well with the obelisk, it would seem a strange bedfellow for the roses.

Thoughts please!

Meanwhile the Acacia has now been moved to the left hand Lavender bed and is deliberately sited between the two existing trees.img_2073

Another thing I finally did this weekend was order my seeds.  Last year I bought them on Black Friday the year before (October 2015!) which felt far too early and resulted in me going rather bonkers as a) I didn’t have plan but b) I did have a discount.  This year, ordering them in February, definitely feels too late and I’m quite sure I’ve forgotten some.  And I’m also quite sure that annuals I’m hoping will be flowering by June won’t be.

Wish me luck!