Category Archives: Garden

End of Month View – February 2018, and news!


Oh dear, very late with EoMV this month and, bearing in mind these photos were all taken before the snow, it feels like such a long time ago!

I love these pots of Elka Narcissi , some of which I think are still left over from the Wedding Flowers (although I did plant more).  I love them in pots as a change from the rather ubiquitous Tete a Tete, and was interested to see them featured in an article on pots in this month’s Garden’s Illustrated – but theirs were in a very handsome lead trough rather than rather grubby terracotta!

Some rather leggy Erysimum in the drive bed, but no sign of the Narcissi here yet.


Although this photo was taken before the snow, you can see the Osteospermums were already looking rather tatty.  So far they seem to have survived the recent chill, but are definitely now looking even more chewed around the edges.  I’m still hoping to take some cuttings so hope they can survive until I do.IMG_3908

The Hellebores are fine with the chill.



Thankfully we moved nearly all the pots (many of which had been left outside but under the glass canopy) into the greenhouse and, even though the greenhouse isn’t heated, they seem to be ok.


Whilst I have finally managed to clean the majority of the greenhouse glass IMG_3917

there’s been little progress with the mulching.IMG_3911

Out and about, not much to see except numerous self seeded Euphorbia characias ‘Wulfenii’ – the bulbs, not surprisingly, seem behind where they were this time last year.IMG_3923



I finally took the chicken wire off the Grass Bed and it seems to have had the desired effect of protected the bulbs from nibbling creatures.IMG_3922

The Bronze Bed is full of ‘bulbous’ potential but the Melianthus major behind has now been clobbered by the cold and is looking very sad.  I had resolved to cut it back in the spring anyway, so no excuses now!

And bulbs aren’t only coming up in beds – there are plenty of pots to look forward to.IMG_3913

And lastly, news.  So, what’s remarkable about this garden?HF304_170626S_IMG_09

Well, as of last Thursday, it’s ours!  After nearly ten years of me staying in other people’s houses when staying in London during the week, we’ve finally decided to buy a tiny house back in Richmond, where we moved from in 2009.  No plans to sell the house (more importantly the garden) on the Isle of Wight, but the Richmond house will provide a base for the ‘kids’ when they graduate, and for me in the week.  More importantly for the blog, however, it also provides a very blank canvas.  Wish me luck!

With thanks to Helen who hosts our EoMVs.


End of month view – January 2018


I somehow managed to delete the ‘classic’ photo I took looking across the lawn to the swing, so thought I’d start with the shady bed for a change.  This is the location of the Sarcococca (on the left) which I snipped for my scented Monday vase.  There’s a lovely dark hellebore here too, towards the centre of the photo, but it’s not yet open.  Another ‘spring thing’ to look forward to!

In the troughs the stocks, which were grown from cuttings and planted out last year, are finally starting to make their mark and will hopefully also provide scent later in the year.  In front of them plenty of daffodils are just peeping above the parapet.  The grand plan for this bed later in the year is to have a mass planting of Pelargoniums as I think they’re about the only thing I can think of that will tolerate the heat and dryness of these metal troughs in the summer.  IMG_3867

The strawberry bed is largely devoid of strawberries and increasingly overwhelmed with Agapanthus, but I’m fine with that (even if my daughter isn’t!)IMG_3868

The Swing Beds are still pretty green but definitely in need of a tidy – particularly those roses.  I’m going to need to be feeling strong for them!IMG_3869

The swing itself has a rather charming ‘fringe’ of Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ on the right hand side.  Sadly, the one on the left seems to have disappeared.IMG_3870

The right hand Swing Bed is looking as dull as the left one, but with a similarly scary looking rambling rose.  Now where are those gauntlets….IMG_3871

Happily, in the robustly defended Grass Bed, the bulbs are coming up unmolested.  At some stage – once I’m confident they’re beyond being eaten but preferably before all the buds have formed – I’ll need to remove the chicken wire so we can enjoy them.

Meanwhile, I’m a worried the Stipa tenuissima are looking a bit peaky.  I normally have a bit of a divide/replant over winter to try to maintain the row, but there’s not much material to work with!IMG_3872

Looking across the Mid Century bed towards the greenhouse you can still see the big white sacks of compost and manure delivered before Christmas.  I have done some sh*t shovelling, but the weather has been so rubbish that reading a gardening magazine by the warmth of the Aga has been rather more appealing.IMG_3873

In the metal bath by the front steps the Osteospermums are still flowering.  I did try to take some cuttings but they didn’t take.  Perhaps I’ll try again in the spring as I do love this colour.IMG_3859

Further round, the Hamamelis is looking good – it probably deserves neater environs, so that’s another bed that needs a tidy and mulch.IMG_3855

The Bronze Bed is already showing signs of the (hopefully) bonanza of bulbs to come.  For the last two years there have almost been too many, but I’m not complaining!IMG_3856

Numerous succulents and Aeoniums are still sheltering under the glass canopy,IMG_3858

whilst in the greenhouse there are lots of Perlargonium cuttings coming on, as well as a few bought ones from Derry Watkin’s nursery which I visited when we went to Bath.IMG_3865

In addition, here is the first wave of sweet peas – these are the ‘Winter Sunshine’ variety that last year flowered in April.IMG_3866

And to finish, yet more bulbs to look forward to.  Roll on spring!IMG_3860

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



End of month view – yearly round up 2017


I’ve started my Yearly Round up with a photo of the garden in June as June saw me coordinating the St Helens Secret Gardens event (the garden opening of a dozen local gardens in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance) for the first time.

I was so relieved and delighted all went smoothly – largely due to the fabulous weather.  The event is only every other year so I can put my feet up this year!

As ever, there were successes and failures in the garden, with a really annoying number of bulbs, particularly tulips, lost to some nibbling critter.  I like to think it might be one of our beautiful red squirrels as at least that means they were lost to a good cause!  However, there were also successes, and I’ve shared some favourite garden photos below:






I added a new tree to the garden – Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella,’

had fun with pots



and tried new edibles in the greenhouse – Pepper ‘Tequilla’ and


Aubergine ‘Slim Jim.’


I also continued creating various vases, both for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme IMG_2342





as well as to take to work with me.IMG_2237

I shared a few more photos taken on the daily dog walk on the St Helens Duver –  the National Trust land opposite where we live that gives this blog its name.img_1532-1


And also shared plenty of garden visit photos, including, in March, Le Jardin de Secret


and Jardin Majorelle, both in Marrakech,dsc00100

in May, Gravetye Manor,IMG_2462

and Parham House and Gardens.


In June, The Old Rectory Gardens, open for the NGS on the Isle of Wight

In September, Hauser and Wirth in Somerset

and in October, a couple of gardens on the Cote d’Azur – Jardin Exotique d’Eze

and Ville Ephrussi de Rothschild.

On the learning front, I finished the second year of my Level 3 Certificate in Garden and Planting Design course at Capel Manor College.  I toyed with the idea of embarking on the RHS2 course but I was concerned it would all be a bit ‘schooly’ with little of the lovely gardening chat we had on the design course, so instead I took a six week photography evening class at the Bishopsgate Institute.  However, the learning highlight must have been my crafty visit to the reopened Garden Museum where I created my festive robin.image

So, another busy year chez Duver Diary – to be honest, sometimes rather too busy, and blogging has increasingly taken a back seat on occasions since I went back to working full time in February, but I still enjoy capturing and sharing photos both of my garden and others, and hope I can continue in 2018.

Thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary and sharing your likes and comments.  They are such delight when work – or the wider world – are getting me down!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2018.



I was all set to blog a ‘woe is me’ post about my unplanted bulbs, but, one of the joys of blogging is being able to find records which, if in a random notebook, would have been long lost.

Consequently, courtesy of a post last November about spending most of a weekend on a college project, I can comfort myself with the comment “Meanwhile, shame about the bulbs still sitting in the box they were delivered in a fortnight ago….”, dated 20th November.  Yay, I’ve got a week to go!

Meanwhile, so much easier (particularly when it’s dark!) to create spreadsheets with planting plans and blooming months, than actually getting out there and getting them in!IMG_3727


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…


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


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.


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.


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