Category Archives: Garden

End of month view – March 2019

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What a difference a month makes!  Not only is the garden alive with fresh, springy growth but the puppy is about twice the size and very keen on ‘dancing’ with her big brother on the lawn.

The Spiraea japonica which was just twigs last month, is now beating the massive Coleonema in the foreground for zingiest green award.

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In the Veg Patch the various rhubarb plants which were moved last year from the Strawberry Bed (as I thought they’d get more water) are still looking pretty pathetic.  Admittedly they still haven’t had much water nor their manure mulch.IMG_4702

However, look what’s doing far better – one plant accidentally found its way on to the compost heap and is far happier that any of the planted ones!  Why do I bother?IMG_4704

Meanwhile the Strawberry Bed is in serious danger of being overcome by the Agapanthus and requiring a name change!

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In the Swing Beds the ‘Pink Impression’ and ‘Menton’ tulips have returned almost as well as last year, and are joined by ‘Jenny’ Narcissi.  I finally got round to pruning all the roses and also had a very brutal cut back of the Clematis ‘Freckles’ planted up both front posts. 

I can confirm the damage to the grass was done by the OH, not the dogs, as he rather zealously cut out various weeds.  Annoyingly, the replacement seeds have just fed the local pigeon population, rather than being allowed to germinate. IMG_4711

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In the Grass Bed the ‘Peeping Jennys’ (with the larger brighter yellow trumpets) are starting to go over, but they are being replaced by the softer coloured, flatter trumpeted ‘Lieke’.  

Normally these bloom together with the Forget me nots, but whilst the Narcissi are much earlier than last year, the Forget me nots have barely started.IMG_4716

In this photo, looking from the Mid Century bed across the Lavender Bed, you can see two big clumps of ‘Red Jep’ Erysimums.  I’ve taken quite a few cuttings of this as they are getting rather leggy, and have introduced them into other areas of the garden.IMG_4719

Over to the greenhouse and the two Greenhouse Beds have been tidied up and mulched with just the Agapanthus above ground at the moment.IMG_4725

The Greenhouse Pots are a bit depleted this year, but I still love the soft pink of the ‘Bellsong’ trumpet together with the terracotta of the pot.IMG_4723

Into the greenhouse and, marvel of marvels, not only has it been cleaned inside and out, but also repainted.  I can’t take any of the credit apart from paying the bill, but it’s been a massive weight off my mind as I just couldn’t see when I was going to find a whole weekend to do it myself.  I can’t remember the last time I was so chuffed! IMG_4726

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I’ve had a few issues with seeds this year.  I think some have been eaten, probably by mice (see the terracotta coloured pots only one of the seven ‘Soleil’ courgettes has come up) which has never been a problem before.  I’ve replanted various, but annoyingly that was all of the yellow courgette seeds.IMG_4731

The OH is very proud his citrus trees are finally bearing fruit, so I have to point them out below.

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At the other side of the garden the Wisteria is just on the cusp of floweringIMG_4735

and the Narcissi (‘Cragford’ and ‘Yazz’) are crowding out the Bronze Bed.IMG_4736

The Melianthus major is back (hurrah!) but being rather squeezed out by the Acanthus (which I’m far less keen on) so think I need to address that.IMG_4737

And to finish, a tray of succulents that has just been moved out of the greenhouse.  Looks like a couple haven’t made it through the winter so I’ll have to keep my eye out for  replacements….. IMG_4740

End of Month View – February 2019

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What a crazy January/February!  One of the main distractions has been this:IMG_4645

Not only were we daft enough to buy a puppy (I could stop there).  Not only were we daft enough to buy a puppy, but we chose one born near Ilkley in West Yorkshire which required two weekend trips up north – one to choose her and one to pick her up.  Kiri (Labradoodle x Golden Doodle) arrived home on 10th February and has been terrorising both us and 10 year old Nimbus ever since!

A more miserable February happening was both the OH and me getting flu.  I was stuck in Richmond too ill to travel, and he was stuck on the IoW, likewise.  Consequently there was no TLC to be had.  I thought the ‘kids’ might look after me, but as soon as the daughter realised how poorly I was, she decamped to a friends’.  Conversely the son didn’t, but after two days’ worth of the odd pat on the back and a couple of cups of peppermint tea, he too succumbed!  I don’t think I’ve been so wiped out for decades and am still not 100%.  (I made a new year’s resolution to climb the five floors to my office and, up until the flu, I did so without fail at least once a day when I was in London, but I haven’t been able to face it since).  As you can imagine energy for gardening has also been a little thin on the ground.

The final thing that happened was that I was promoted at work (something that’s been lined up for months but for various reasons has been delayed).  The joke is that almost as soon as it was announced I went down with the flu and had more days off sick (four) than I have in the previous decade!

Anyway, back to the garden.  Finally, in the glorious weather a couple of weekends ago I got out and started some clearly/pruning/weeding.  There’s masses still to do but at least I’ve made a start.

The usual twirl takes us firstly past the troughs.  There should be Minnow Narcissi coming here, but I’m more excited that I’ve got away with leaving the Pelargoniums out over the winterIMG_4659

On to the Veg Patch which has been cleared apart from some cutting plants –  three plants of Dianthus barbatus ‘Green Wicky’, a Peony (Coral Charm)and three new roses for cutting.IMG_4653

I treated the Diving Lady to some Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’ for her pool.IMG_4654

The Swing Beds have had a bit of a weed but all the roses still need pruning and I must do some dividing and general rationalisation. IMG_4655

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In the Grass Bed there is plenty of self sown Cerinthe and masses of forget me nots and bulbs coming.  I still haven’t bought any more Stipas, but I have planted up some seedlings in pots, so the plan is to try to replace them along the whole back of the bed.IMG_4657

The Mid Century bed is also a mass of Cerinthe, accompanied by a massive self sown Euphorbia.  (I pulled one out last year, but this one, left behind, is really taking over!)  In the centre you can still see the Erysimum Red Jep flowering.  I’ve taken cuttings of this so will be able to introduce it elsewhere in the garden. IMG_4660

In the Oak Bed, the Hellebores have bulked upIMG_4665

and the Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’ is finally looking properly established.IMG_4666

The bulbs in the Bronze Bed are nearly all still in bud – but the ones picked for my Monday vase were very quick to bloom once brought into a warm kitchen.

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More Hellebores in the Shady Bed, but the inherited white rose which used to do quite well here, despite the lack of light, has keeled over during the winter and needs digging out.IMG_4650

Next, the greenhouse, where there were some cuttings and seedlings here when I took these photos in late February, but since then I’ve planted hundreds more seeds and everywhere’s starting to fill up.

Which is a little tricky, as I’m sure you can guess who hasn’t spring cleaned it yet….IMG_4652

And to finish, another shot of mademoiselle.  Butter wouldn’t melt….IMG_4658

Red squirrel snapped at last!

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Whilst I’ve seen red squirrels in my garden many times, I’ve never managed to take a photo.   (Although I did take some lovely photos of a much redder squirrel next door)

We’ve only just put this feeder up, really close to the house – about a foot from the porch doors and 4ft from the kitchen window (from where this photo was taken) and look who came to visit.  🙂

The feeder has already seen a riot of small birds too – blue tits, coal tits, robins and sparrows so far – I really can’t imagine why it’s taken us so long to think to site one closer!

End of month view – yearly round up 2018

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As last year, rather than solely a December view, I’ve put together a round up of the whole year.

I struggled with the Isle of Wight garden this year.  There were a number of reasons – tricky weather (miserable early on and then so hot and very dry over the summer), too much time in London, too much work and lastly, the removal of the decking, which meant nowhere to sit out and made trying to keep the garden looking good all feel a bit pointless!

However, there were still highlights, and spring (above) was one of them.

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Things were still ok in May IMG_4064

but by June everything was very parched,DSC01071

with only the Mediterranean plants enjoying themselves.

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The dry weather meant all my dahlias were disappointing, and finished early, with even the stalwart ‘Happy Single Dates’ not happy for long.

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Conversely, the Zinnias loved the weather, and filled out the Grass Beds with lots of pickable blooms.

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Again, as last year, I had many pots IMG_3910

but by summer many were struggling in the drought, so I was glad a number of them were so large!IMG_4255

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On the edibles front the only new variety I tried was the French Bean ‘Masterpiece’ which did well and was very tasty.  Otherwise we enjoyed the usual runner beans, courgettes, tomatoes, ‘Slim Jim’ aubergines, Ratte and Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and raspberries and strawberries.IMG_4275

I continued to enjoy joining in with Cathy’s wonderfully friendly and supportive ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme, albeit a bit haphazardly.

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I also posted the odd photo from regular walks on the National Trust’s St Helens Duver, directly opposite the house.IMG_3778

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As in previous years I was lucky enough to do plenty of garden visiting, both near and far – Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi Coast DSC01001

and An Cala in Scotland in May,IMG_3777

The High Line, in New York,IMG_3911

Petersham Nurseries andIMG_4018

Kew Gardens (including the newly re-opened Temperate House) in June,IMG_4061

Castle House (just up the road) in August,IMG_4557

Church Gardens in Harefield, Middlesex in OctoberIMG_4557

and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, still looking fabulous in November.IMG_5203

And lastly, the biggest development this year, was the purchase of a tiny terraced house back in Richmond, and the transformation of the garden from thisHF304_170626S_IMG_09

to this

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Thank you so much for continuing to support Duver Diary and sharing your likes and comments.  They really are very much appreciated, even if I don’t always find time to respond.

I hope I can carry on sharing my ramblings and photos next year, and that you’ll all come along for the ride!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2019.

In a vase on Monday – Still they come!

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I wasn’t sure I’d have time to post today, but just couldn’t resist sharing these Pink Flower Carpet roses which are still going strong now!IMG_5417

To these I’ve added the much used Cerinthe (which is currently popping up everywhere and looking surprisingly ‘springy’), a couple of stems of both Salvia and Erysimum and then a few stems of Leptospermum.  IMG_5416

Well, having a quick dash into the garden and plonking these in a vase has definitely cheered up my Monday.  Why don’t you pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what everyone else has been picking and plonking artfully arranging?

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!