Category Archives: Yearly round up

End of month view – yearly round up 2016

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As ever, there have been successes and failures in the garden this year, but, as other bloggers have commented, having a garden to escape to (and even just think about) I find a great source of solace in a challenging world.

Pressures of (virtually) full time work, and being off the island for three days every week meant things got a little out of control towards the end of the year, but early on the bulbs were glorious (after a rather extensive order was placed with Peter Nyssen in the autumn of 2015!)

The two beds created last year showed their first spring bulbs – here the Bronze BedIMG_0300

and here the Mid Century bed.IMG_0496

There were still some returning tulips in the Swing Beds, but they were definitely depleted, so I’ve recently planted some more. IMG_0292

Later in the year I felt the beds lacked the cohesion that massed bulbs provide, so for the summer of 2017 I’d like to move towards larger clumps of fewer herbaceous varieties, but it’s oh so difficult to edit!

I still grew plenty of plants from seed with some lovely successes, firstly the ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas, which, grown in the greenhouse, started flowering in  the first half of April.IMG_0239

In June Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape,’ returned after self seeding from the original plants grown the year beforeIMG_1116

and in July I was  very chuffed with the display from my seed grown Agapanthus.

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I tried a number of new dahlias, but suffered from the gardening equivalent of my eyes being too big for my stomach, and a number ended up in pots where they ultimately weren’t very happy, but there were some gorgeous blooms early on.

There were some pleasing planting combinations too (some accidental, let’s be honest!) but they tended to be on quite a small scale, rather than a whole bed, so again, room for improvement.IMG_1114

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For the first time I had bees in the garden – Red Mason Bees, which don’t supply honey, but are endangered, so it was good to give them a home and is something I’ll repeat in 2017.IMG_1580

In the greenhouse, after the sweet peas had finished, I had pounds of tasty tomatoesIMG_1549

and the best ever success with aubergines, having swapped to the variety ‘Farmer’s Long.’IMG_1550

I thoroughly enjoyed contributing to Cathy’s meme ‘In a vase on Monday.’  Despite not having access to the Cutting patch I’d created in a neighbour’s plot in 2014 and 2015, I managed to find blooms in the main beds and enjoyed the challenge of bringing them together.  photo 1

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I posted fewer ‘Duver’ posts (the name of the National Trust land opposite the house and hence name of the blog) this year, but it continues to be a beautiful area to walk which changes daily with the seasons and weather.IMG_0901

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Away from home I visited LOADS of gardens.  I hadn’t realised how many until I looked them up for this post.  (There were well over a dozen so I haven’t bothered to add all the links, but the posts are easily found by searching either the garden name or the ‘Garden Visits’ category).

February – Wisley and Sir Harold Hillier (below) IMG_0143

April – NymansIMG_0134

May – Hyde Hall and Beth Chatto (below)IMG_0331

June – Cragside, Lindisfarne, Whalton Manor and Alnwick (below)IMG_0912

July – Blenheim House (NGS on the Isle of Wight) and West Green House (below)IMG_1354

August – Kew, Mottistone and West Dean (below)

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and October – Jardines de Alfabia and Woolbeding (below)img_1733

On the learning front, I took a Propagation Course at West Dean, and continued with the second year of my Level 3 Certificate in Garden and Planting Design course at Capel Manor college.  And, just as at the end of last year’s round up, I really should stop blogging and crack on with my latest college assignment.  Perhaps in 2017 I’ll find time to put some of the knowledge into practice!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2017, and thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary with your views, likes and comments.

Yearly round up – 2015

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2015 was the first time I’d planted dozens of tulips directly in the Swing Beds, having previously faffed about planting them in pots and then moving them in and out.  And, in classic gardening happenstance, they didn’t flower as I’d planned at all!  The tulips I’d planted as mids, ‘Pink Impression’ (above) flowered first, and on their own, and then these were followed by (supposedly) April flowering ‘Mistress’ and May flowering ‘Menton’ flowering together (below). The whole show was an absolute joy.

This year I’ve planted more tulips, but in the two new beds, so time will tell as to how perennial these three in the Swing Beds out to be.IMG_7022

As well as the tulips I also planted more Alliums.  I found the new Alliums ‘Violet Beauty’, a little disappointing, but the extra A. Purple Sensation I added, were fabulous as ever.IMG_7231

And the Diving Lady got a new, early bath in the form of Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’.

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As well as new bulbs, 2016 saw the creation of two new beds, firstly the ‘Mid Century Bed’, below, named after the lovely metal structure the OH bought me for my big birthday.

The theme was supposed to be bruised, purply colours, but, as with the bulbs, there was a welcome ‘mistake’ to enjoy in the form of this Ranunculus, theoretically ‘Purple Heart’, but I rather think not.IMG_7715

I planted some roses for this new bed too, including R. Jubilee Celebration (no, not very bruised either!)IMG_7967

and Rosa ‘Falstaff Climbing’ to grow up the obelisk, but the plant that really stole the climbing show this year was the ‘Rhodochiton atrosanguineus‘.

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The second new bed has a bronze or orangey theme.

 

Many of the plants were grown from seed, including this Nasturtium ‘Caribbean Crush’ and the beautiful grass Hordeum Jubatum.IMG_8240IMG_7930

There was another new rose here too, R. Pat Austin.IMG_8906

And later in the year the ridiculously floriferous Dahlia ‘Happy Singe Date’.  This just went on and on and formed the basis of numerous peachy vases of flowers.

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In June I opened the garden for the third time as part of a village group opening, in aid of the island’s Earl Mountbatten hospice.  I had over 150 visitors and some lovely comments.IMG_7889

Also in 2015 I was lucky enough to visit numerous gardens both on and off the island, including the Sir Harold Hillier garden in February (and again in August)IMG_0411

Arundel Castle in May,IMG_7089

Mottistone Manor in June,IMG_7677

Osborne House in (March and) August

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and Great Dixter IMG_9124

and Bodnant in October.2015-10-29 11.28.44 HDR

As well as my own garden and garden visiting, I dipped in and out of Cathy’s lovely ‘In  a vase on Monday’ meme, including sharing the saga of the wedding flowers 

as well as this group of vases created in October when the OH became captain of his golf club.IMG_9349

And, on the basis that it’s a very rare gardener that ever stops learning, I went on courses at Great Dixter, Common Farm Flowers and West Dean.  And then, to top it all, in September signed up for a Level 3 course in Plants and Planting Design at Capel Manor college, which I’m absolutely loving.  Which reminds me, I really need to get on with my holiday homework!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2016, and thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary with your views, likes and comments.

End of month view – yearly round up, 2014

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I’m following Helen at the Patient Gardener (a day late) with a rather indulgent ‘yearly round up’ in lieu of a normal ‘month end view’.

Some of these photos have been shown recently in my Plotting and Planning post (where I also included a garden plan), but whereas in that post there was often only one view of a given area, in this post, like in Helen’s, I’ve tried to include multiple views through the year.  Click on the thumbnails if you want to see larger pictures.

Firstly, the left hand swing bed.  There were a few daffodils early on (which don’t show up very well in the March shot) and these were followed by tulips in April.  Whilst I liked the bold red I found it clashed with pink tree blossom flowering at the same time, and so this year I’ve changed the colouring of the tulips for a (hopefully!) more harmonious spring.  Later in the year the Sisyrinchium were a dominant plant, but I felt too dominant and they have now been moved to the drive bed.  Later still there’s a good display from salvias and asters, but the flowers that kept going for the longest were definitely the Verbena bonariensis and the Penstemons – real stalwarts!

In the grass bed, the Stipa tenuissima is the constant, with bulbs, forget me nots and wallflowers early on, followed by alliums, fox and cubs and Verbascum chaixii album (grown from seed). These were followed later still by Nasturtium black velvet and Salvia viridis blue.  I’ve now thinned out a lot of the fox and cubs as I felt they weren’t really providing enough interest and think I’ll replace them with some annual planting for this summer.

Most of you will already have heard me bemoaning the oak bed.  It’s lovely early on, with daffodils and hellebores, but as the over-the-road-oak leafs up, the bed becomes very shaded and is a rather uninspiring group of shrubs (apart from my favourite Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy seen in purple at the bottom left in the July photo and glowing orange in October) .  My solution (for the time being) is to accept this and instead create a new bed, closer to the house, which will be out of the oak’s shadow and therefore much easier to succeed with.  Watch this space!

The shady bed, although equally shady, manages to be much more pleasing.  It doesn’t change much at all through the year but I like the  structure of the log and the foliage shapes.  (You may think I should be able to apply lessons from this bed to the oak bed, but we need height in the oak bed which the shrubs achieve in a way that, sadly, the shady bed planting wouldn’t, well certainly not instantly)

I’ve added some new bulbs to this bed for spring, and would also like to increase the range of ferns, but otherwise I think this bed will remain largely unchanged this year.

The hosta bed, which was created new in 2013, was doing fine right up until we had the house painted and there was a degree of ladder, scaffolding, and paint damage.  Ah well, makes a change from the slugs 😉

Near the hosta bed are the new raised cutting beds.  Although less shallow than ideal, they were very productive last year and I intend to repeat the idea again, but with some new annuals to play with.

The large galvanised troughs have effectively created a new, thin, bed in front of the decking. These were planted with two different Narcissus, Segovia then Minnow, as well as Allium Purple Sensation and Matthiola Incana.  And in the summer I added Cosmos Purity.

For next year I’ve topped up the Purple Sensation but am fervently hoping the narcissi will return!

My little veg patch is made up of three terraces, the lowest planted with strawberries and rhubarb, and the top one currently has some rather weedy chard.  The main bed shown here, is where I grow the bulk of my veg, this year peas, mange touts, sugar snaps, french beans, runner beans, pumpkin munchkin and courgettes, with a few soft fruits (raspberries, blackberries and tayberries) towards the back.

Other veg, along with hundreds (thousands?) of seeds and cuttings are grown in my greenhouse.

So that’s my round up, quite a lot of positives, but as always, many things to improve on.

2015 will provide a further challenge as I’ve been invited to open the garden (for the third time) for the local biennial ‘Secret Gardens’ event, where a dozen or so gardens open on the day of the village fete in June, in aid of the local hospice.

Furthermore, my daughter turns 18 in late July and is talking about having a party in the garden before school breaks up.  However, I don’t suppose a group of tipsy teenagers will prove to be quite such discerning garden visitors as the June lot!

Here’s wishing you all a happy and floriferous 2015.