Tag Archives: Erysimum Ivory Giant

End of month view – March 2018

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What a grey day for the end of March!

There were the odd glimmers of sunshine earlier, but sadly I didn’t manage to take my photos then, and by the time I got round to taking these, the light was very flat.

The photo above shows the Drive Bed which has a mix of inherited multi headed Narcissi (which are so top heavy they tend to collapse), seed grown Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’ and newly planted ‘Thalia’.

Below, the Swing Bed has been cut back and nearly all of the roses pruned.  As previously, I’m concerned I’ve cut back the ramblers (outside posts, Rosa ‘Wedding Day’ on the left and ‘Snow Goose’ on the right) too hard, too late, but they’ve always bounced back, so fingers crossed!

This photo makes me think I really should add some sort of shrubby planting in these beds to keep some structure over winter, but what?IMG_3980 - Copy

There’s are a patches of  ‘Jenny’ Narcissi here, IMG_3981 - Copy

with tulips to follow.IMG_3983 - Copy

The ‘Minnow’ Narcissi are just starting to flower in the troughs and the Stocks (Matthiola Incana, at the back) are looking much more established having been transplanted as diminutive cuttings last year.IMG_3979 - Copy

In the Veg Patch I persuaded the son to do a bit of weeding and plant out the broad bean ‘Stereo’ seedlings.  I also asked him to take some photos and this is what he came up with:IMG_3969 (2) - Copy

And proof to family members who find it hard to believe he really was helping:IMG_3977 - Copy

Whilst in the Grass Bed the ‘Peeping Jenny’ Narcissi are perkily peeping at the Duver, I’m rather concerned that many of the grasses (Stipa tenuissima) are less than perky, indeed I think a number have been lost over the winter.  I’ll wait and see over the next few weeks but will then need to either replant or think again.IMG_3982 - Copy

The Mid Century Bed has been rather taken over by self seeded Euphorbia.  I think these will have to come out, but at this time of year there isn’t much else going on, so I’m leaving them for the minute.IMG_3986 - Copy

You may have noticed in the background a tree in front of the greenhouse.  This greeted me when I returned from London on Thursday.  The OH had bought it during the week from ‘some guy with a van load of plants’.  It’s an olive tree, and whilst a very handsome specimen, I have no idea where on earth it’s going to go.   Hmmm.

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Round the corner, the tin bath has taken a nasty knock from the recent weather and as well as losing the Chocolate Cosmos, and some of the Pelargoniums, I think I may have lost all the Osteospermums and Gazanias.IMG_3995 - Copy

See much happier picture from January below:IMG_3859

The eagle eyed will spot a significant absence from the picture below.  The Melianthus Major, which normally forms the backdrop for the Bronze Bed photo, has been cut right back.  The Narcissi ‘Cragford’ are as floriferous as ever, but no sign of the ‘Yazz’ which follow, and were already flowering this time last year.

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In the Oak Bed plenty of Hellebores are still flowering stronglyIMG_3998 - CopyIMG_3997 - Copy

In the greenhouse everything is almost exactly as it was a month ago.IMG_3988 - Copy

The Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas still haven’t been planted outIMG_3990 - Copy

and pretty much the only other seeds planted to date have been the ‘outside’ sweet peas. IMG_3991 - Copy

I don’t know what I’ve been up to, but I clearly haven’t been gardening.  Looking at last year’s March post makes me realise just how behind everything is.  Partly that’s the weather, but it’s also the lack of time I’ve spent out there.  And that’s not going to be helped by being away for the next three weekends.

Perhaps three weekend’s gardening can be squeezed into Easter Monday?

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter, with as much, or as little gardening as you like! IMG_3992 - Copy

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts EoMV.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – January 2018

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Not surprisingly there aren’t many blooms in January, but I’ve had a poke about and come up with the Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ above, E. ‘Bowles Mauve’IMG_3823

and E. ‘Ivory Giant’ (neither ivory nor giant!).

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There are still a handful of roses braving it out – this one, ‘Freeman 1987’ was named by our children for our silver wedding anniversary,IMG_3824

this one, inherited, in the Lavender BedIMG_3826

and this, good old ‘Flower Carpet Pink’.IMG_3818

A few hellebores are already in bloom – Helleborus argutifolius and  H. ‘Anya Oudolf’

as well as various Horientalis on their way.IMG_3813

Similarly seasonal are two Hamamelis – ‘Arnold’s Promise’ in full bloom IMG_3802

and the first tangerine curls of ‘AphroditeIMG_3801

Rather more unexpected, still blooming outside are AeoniumIMG_3800

Leptospermum

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and Gazanias.IMG_3799

And in the greenhouse, not a great deal to see other than a lot of rather tatty Pelargoniums, and these – tiny little buds on the lemon tree.

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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 – March 2017

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What a perfect day for March’s EoMV!  Spring has arrived all of a rush, with many bulbs bursting into bloom under the last weekend’s glorious sunshine.

Starting from the bottom of the Lavender steps, looking left, please admire the fact that nearly all the beds have been mulched with a mix of Isle of Wight compost and manure.  I have to confess to hiring a man to help dig it out of the big white sacks into a wheelbarrow, but I did all the application (not least because I was really too late, and there were plenty of bulbs and emerging perennials which could have been broken by a careless ‘dump’!)

I have to confess the Acacia baileyana pupurea which I moved back in February is looking a little brown and crispy in places but I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will survive.IMG_2194

On the decking the wonderful Pelagonium ‘Surcouf’ is looking positively rampant already. And although I also have the Clematis ‘Princess Diana’ at the back of these pots (there is a pair) she’s not very happy, so I’m encouraging Surcouf up the trellis and might move the Princess somewhere more to her liking.IMG_2192

In the trough the replenished N. Minnow are spilling overIMG_2195

and in the veg patch, the Diving Lady is overseeing a mulched blank canvas.

I’ve recently moved the rhubarb from the front bed to an area out of shot to the left hand end of the main veg bed.  It never did that well where it was (much to my embarrassment) which I put down to the bed being too hot and dry, so I’m hoping the new location will suit it better.  And the evacuation of the rhubarb means more room for strawberries.  Any tips for favourite varieties?

Much to the chagrin of the daughter, home from uni for Easter, I’ve also planted a few more home grown Agapanthus seedlings at the back.  She thinks the whole bed should just be strawberries and more strawberries – not least because this year she’ll be home in June!IMG_2196

Round to the left hand Swing Bed and there’s plenty of green but little colour yet.  The daffodils have disappeared and the tulips are (mostly) still in bud.

I finally got round to pruning and training all the roses on the pergola and they are now leafing up nicely.IMG_2197

In the right hand bed there are more Narcissi than the left (er, why?) and a far happier looking Euphorbia.  I’ve said before that trying to make these beds symmetrical is rather a hopeless cause, but I’m wondering whether I should abandon the Euphorbia all together and replace with something more structural and evergreen.  (The joke is that there is a healthy looking Euphorbia right at the end of the left hand bed, but that one is self seeded.  The one bought and paid for to mirror the other bed is hopeless).  Hmmm.IMG_2198

In the Grass Bed I’m delighted that some of some of the Forget me nots have returned to form rather spartan skirts around the N. ‘Peeping Jennys’.IMG_2199

The Bronze Bed is positively overrun with Euphorbia (and this is after I pulled one out) but whilst they’re a zingy joy at this time of year, I’m not convinced I’ll allow them to survive later in the year.

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I blogged about this Primula last year – it’s self seeded alongside the Lavender Steps.  I just love the soft colour and saved and sowed seeds last year but to no avail, and, now it’s another year older, I think it’s even less likely I’ll be able to move it.  Ah well, I’d better enjoy it where it is.IMG_2201

In the right hand Lavender Bed you can see the chive like leaves of Allium Sphaerocephalon. I’ve never grown it before (but used to admire it in my mum’s garden) and because it’s so ‘slight’ I’ve planted them in a ‘wave’ across the two beds as I thought otherwise they could be a bit lost.  Whether it will actually work is yet to be seen, not least because the other plants might have grown up to obscure them before they get round to flowering.IMG_2200

The N. Tete a tete are still flowering along the path to the front door.  Those in the pots are largely over, but have now been surpassed by the news ones planted along the edge of the bed.  In summer these beds are full of the ‘Flower Carpet’ roses, but it’s lovely to have these cheery daffs now.

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More new daffs –  N. Thalia in the Drive Bed, accompanied by Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’ which were grown from seed last year.IMG_2210

At the western side of the garden the Frits (as they’re known in this household) are blooming in the grass, with N. Jenny in the background.  IMG_2206

In this picture you can see the Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’ is completely over IMG_2208

whereas the H. Aphrodite is still going strong.IMG_2209

The Bronze Bed is a mass of daffs with ‘Cragford’ now being joined ‘Yazz’, and the Hamamelis flowers being picked up by the Melianthus Major flowers.  The Melianthus has survived the winter again and, as a consequence, got rather out of hand.  I really should have cut it back last year, but with the garden opening in the summer I’m a bit loathe to cut it back now.  Perhaps I could perform a tidy up and get away with it?

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And meanwhile, the greenhouse is displaying an interesting mix of overwintering tender plants, Winter Sweet Peas

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and new seedlings.IMG_2190

And to finish, one of the Greenhouse pots – last year’s N. Bellsong joined by new tulip, T. ‘Mango Charm.’

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With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting all the EOMV.  Why don’t you take a peek at what others are up to?

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – February 2017

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One solitary Tete a tete Narcissus to herald this February’s GBBD!

With the photos taken in Sunday’s gloom, it was a joy to find more yellow elsewhere from Cornus mas,img_2076

rather tatty looking Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’img_2088

Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’img_2085

and the rather acid yellow of an Aeonium flower head.  (This latter one in the greenhouse!)

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Less yellow and more green, the emerging flower spikes of Euphorbia characias Wulfenii. The joke is that this burgeoning clump is self seeded, whereas the plant I bought and positioned carefully closer to the swing, is a complete wimp in comparison.img_2096

The following pair were featured ages ago in a Wordless Wednesday called ‘Blues Brothers’ – they are both members of the family Lamiaceae, and both flowering now Rosmarinus prostratus and Teucrium fruticans,

The pergola is still smothered in Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ but I have to admit that the recent wind and cold has made the majority of them look rather chewed.  I had to work hard to find this one!img_2098

I don’t have much white in the garden as I find it hard to mix successfully with other colours, but at this time of year there are a few exceptions – beautifully scented Sarcococca confusa,img_2093

Viburnum tinusimg_2082

and this pot of Crocus – Crocus chrysanthus Miss Vain.  These have been growing in the greenhouse so now they’re out in the open I hope they don’t get eaten.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  Grrr.img_2100

And to finish, a lovely clutch of Hellebores.

With thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBDs.  Why don’t you pop over and see what others have blooming now?

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – January 2017

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Amazingly, despite the recent freezing weather, I still have a number of the annual Nicotiana mutablis flowering in the Swing Beds (the one above caught up in the bare branches of the Elaeagnus).

The overall look of the garden is very wintery, but close inspection revealed a number of further blooms, including roses Rosa ‘Flower Carpet Pink’img_2002

and neighbouring Rosa ‘Berkshire.  Note the matching pink stripe on the Phormium – I can’t take credit, both were inherited!img_2003

There are still a couple of Gazanias clearly confused what month it isimg_2009

and likewise this Pelargonium ‘Surcouf.’img_2019

In addition to Erysimum Bowles Mauve I currently have this pair in flower.  The first one E. ‘Red Jep’ was bought last year after I’d admired it so much when I visited Hyde Hall.  The second rather yellow one was grown from seed, and I think is E. Ivory Giant.

By the front steps the Rosmarinus prostratus is covered in blooms, but is hardly looking very ‘prostratus’.

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And whilst I’m chuffed to see Rosemary’s Babies are also flowering, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with them…..img_2012

This Teucrium fruticans plant is really very woody but seems to have responded quite well to a severe hack back last year.img_2036

Similarly this Anisodontea capensis is also past its best, with the stem currently tied to a post to prevent it falling over.  It’s a beautiful shrub when happy in the sun, but mine’s definitely showing its age (I know the feeling).img_2033

There’s nothing in the Veg Patch for the Diving Lady to admire except some rather scruffy kale, so I’m glad she’s still got a pretty pool.

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In the Mid Century bed the Acacia baileyana purpurea looks like it’s going to flower for the first time.  It’s a lovely little tree with gorgeous foliage, but I really don’t think it’s in the right place and will have to go.  But where to move it?img_2032

In the greenhouse there are a few plants flowering – this Abutilon ‘Orange Marion’img_2015

and a couple more Pelargoniums.

I also discovered this beautiful Iris histioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley,’ which would definitely be brought into a more prominent positionimg_2017

if only she had some friends!img_2018

Back outside the sun continues to bring out the Freckles

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and I’m waiting with bated breath to see when it will do the same for these:img_2007

With thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBDs.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2015

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Whilst there are a few tulips still clinging on, the majority of bulbs flowering now are Alliums. Above, Allium Purple Sensation, matching beautifully with the stalwart Erysimum Bowles Mauve behind. Funny, I don’t remember that combination last year, and yet they were both there!

In the Swing Beds, Nectoscordum siculum (not a true Allium, but in the family), are just starting to bloom.  Last weekend my daughter, old enough to know better, took great delight in peeling back some of the papery sheaths to help them on their way.  I think she missed this one.IMG_7237

In the Drive Bed, Allium Violet Beauty, planted new for this year.IMG_7223

Sharing the Drive Bed with the Alliums are these Erysimum Ivory GiantIMG_7210

and growing on the fence above, Rosa Snow Goose, in bud and fully open.IMG_7227IMG_7228

In the new Bronze Bed the Calendula I grew from seed last year, Calendula Sunset Buff, are one of the first things to flower.  I love the soft apricot colouring.IMG_7211

Annoyingly, not all of the seeds I planted seem to be Sunset Buff.  These two, whilst very jolly, were not what I had in mind for the bed, and so I’ve now moved them out to the raised cutting beds.

A few daffodils are still blooming, this one, the very late N. Sinopel is in the Grass Bed,IMG_7238

these are N. Bellsong, in the greenhouse pots,

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and these N. Lieke.IMG_7221

In the Oak Bed the broom is blooming.  It’s an inherited plant so I’m not sure which one it is, but Cytisus Scoparius Killiney Red looks similar.  There have been years when this flowers at the same time as the Bottlebrush it’s planted next to, but sadly not this year.IMG_7218

In one of the Lavender Beds, this little Cistus is looking happier than it has for a while – perhaps because of the hot dry April.IMG_7232

For scent I have to mention my stock flowers, Matthiola Incana.  I think this is my favourite garden scent of all, shame you can’t scratch and sniff!IMG_7233

And to finish, not yet a bloom, but oh what a pregnant bud!IMG_7234

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for hosting everyone’s GBBD.

End of month view – April 2015

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This has been such a glorious April and I have so enjoyed all my bulbs in the spring sunshine. Above, in the Grass Bed, are Tulip ‘Spring Green’ together with two different Narcissi.  I had originally planted ‘Sinopel’, which is supposed to have a rather green eye, but I’d noticed last year they weren’t repeating well, so I topped them up with ‘Lieke’ which look quite similar. Here they are close up in the copper pot by the steps:IMG_7003

The tulips in the Swing Beds have been a revelation.  I have never planted so many tulips directly in the ground, fearing marauders. Last year I planted a lot in pots, with the idea I would move them in and out of gaps in the bed, but it was all too much like hard work and I also wasn’t so keen on the tulips I’d selected anyway.  This year I took my chances, planted them in the ground and (unlike the dratted crocuses) all have been left well alone.  Hurrah!

When I posted my Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post on the 15th, I included a picture of the tulips below and said I thought they were Tulip ‘Mistress’ as they were my ‘Earlies’.  However, I wasn’t convinced, and so yesterday asked the very helpful and knowledgeable Karen at Peter Nyssen  (where I’d bought the bulbs from), and she set me straight.  These ones are actually the ‘mids’ ‘Pink Impression.’

Although they were glorious, they didn’t last long as sadly the very windy weather mid month blew their large, blowsy blooms to bits.IMG_6977

However, in a fit of mad extravagance, I had planted two further tulips – ‘Mistress’ and ‘Menton.’   And although ‘Mistress’ was supposed to flower in April, and ‘Menton’ in May, they’re actually working better together than I think either would have with the ‘Pink Impressions’ and I’m just loving their sugared almond girliness. IMG_7022

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Furthermore, my new Peter Nyssen contact has assured me that both the ‘Pink Impressions’ and the ‘Mentons’ are reliably perennial (up to 5 years or so) as long as you plant them deeply enough, and dead head and feed with a high potash feed as soon as they’ve finished flowering.

I do hope this is the case as it wasn’t a trivial outlay and it would be great if I only had to replace the ‘Mistresses.’ (I’m sure there’s a joke there somewhere…)

The two new beds and the Shady Bed were shown in Sunday’s Resolve and Realise post but I will add a close up of the Bronze Bed not shown previously, showing the Tulip ‘Prinses Irene’ (bought in pots which I assume is why they’re so short), the Libertia and one of the new buds on the Calendula ‘Sunset Buff’.

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The hostas are just starting to emerge in the (aptly named) Hosta Bed.  You can see the OH has been out with the blue pellets while my back was turned.  Sigh.IMG_7029

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The Drive Bed isn’t looking too exciting at the moment, with few daffodils and some rather leggy Erysimum Ivory Giant, but if you look closely, as a result of more extravagance with Peter Nyssen, there are dozens of Allium buds just waiting for their moment.  If I’m lucky, it will coincide with the Snow Goose rose flowering above.  We’ll see!IMG_7006

And to finish, my rather paltry showing of Fritillaria Meliagris, but I do love them.

I honestly believe there are more than last year, and on that basis I think I’ll continue my quest for lawn domination.  Hey, for less than £25 I can buy another 200 bulbs.  That’s got to make sense. Or is it just me?IMG_7000

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s End of Month Views.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2015

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After a week away in, to be honest, rather disappointing weather, it was glorious to come home to spring sunshine and a very springy garden.

Last year I planted Avignon tulips in the Swing Beds, but whilst in isolation, they were stunning, I somehow didn’t like them in context, and so replaced them this year with a number of pinker varieties – Mistress, Pink Impression and Menton.  These ones are Pink Impression, and have definitely made an impression on me!

Alongside the tulips are numerous Euphorbias – here E. Characias in that fabulous zingy lime green.IMG_6935

My old favourite Melianthus major is continuing to flower – there must be a dozen flowers heads on it now.IMG_6918

Nearby the Wisteria is poised, and if the weather continues like this, will be flowering by the weekend.IMG_6919

Something new last year which I never blogged about as they looked rather paltry, were some Fritillarias I planted in the lawn in front of the oak bed.  Last year there were few flowers and a number of those had been flattened by the dog, so I wrote them off as a bad idea.  This year, I do believe they’ve increased slightly and, with the added advantage of the lawn now being smaller because of the new Bronze Bed, they seem more impressive.  I think I’ll add a few more in the autumn.

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In the Grass Bed there is a small patch of unidentified tulips in amongst the forget me nots, with some further bulbs to come.  IMG_6906

In the Drive Bed the Erysimum Ivory Giant originally grown from seed are just starting to flower again.  They got a little leggy but I cut them back hard and they seem to have bounced back.

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Also destined for the Drive bed are these Pulmonaria Blue Ensign.  I bought a pot last year and then divided the clump into three but never got around to planting them out.  I think they’re work well with the Erysimum and paler Narcissis in the Drive Bed – if I can actually get round to getting them in!

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In the predominantly white Shady Bed, two newcomers this year – dainty Anemone Blanda

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and rather more thuggish white honesty (Lunaria annua).

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And to finish a delight of daffs:IMG_6940

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With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who host all of our GBBD.

End of month view – April 2014

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This is my first post joining in with Helen’s ‘End of month view’ meme at the Patient Gardener and it’s also the ‘big reveal’ of areas of the garden as yet kept under wraps.

Firstly, (and nothing to do with the end of month view as she’s there all year) meet the ‘Lady Diver’, another Denis Fairweather sculpture bought for our 25th Wedding Anniversary to keep the ‘Gentleman Bather’ company (see Don’t f-stop me now).  Unfortunately when we got them side by side we realised they were a slightly different scale and didn’t work together, so the lady has been moved to preside over the veg patch.  In retrospect this is probably the secret of a happy relationship – a certain amount of distance!

In this shot you can see the two ‘swing beds’ and at the rear of the picture, the ‘grass bed’.  The highlights of the swing beds this month have been the Euphorbia characias Wulfenii, forget me nots and the Avignon tulips – some in pots and some in the ground.  However, whilst I love these tulips in isolation (they look great in a pot my the front steps), I have found the fact that they clash with both the crab apple blossom (now over) and the pot of pink marguerites (almost in the centre of this picture) rather disconcerting, and I think next year they’ll be replaced by something equally bright but better toning.

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Working east from the swing beds is the strawberry bed which sits below the Lady Diver.  The soil in the bed has definitely sunk considerably since the beds were built four years ago, and this year I meant to dig out the strawberries (which have been in since that time, and are now rather congested) give them a sort out, top up the soil and replant, but somehow with a poorly ankle it just didn’t get done, and now I look and they’re already flowering.  Too late for this year I feel.

Above the strawberries is the main veg bed full of nothing but promise.

IMG_2081 I have hundreds of seedlings growing in the greenhouse destined for here, but this year I’m considering scaling back the veg and scaling up the flowers for cutting.  At the moment the seedlings would easily fill a plot ten times this size, so some difficult decisions will need to be made (or I need to find more space somewhere…)

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Nearer the house than strawberry bed (you can see the strawberry bed at the back of this picture) are the two troughs.  The daffodils are now very nearly over, but the lovely stocks are continuing. Sitting on the swing yesterday I had a sudden burst of inspiration as to what I can do about the dying daffodil foliage – turn the troughs around by 180 degrees.  This should hide the foliage by putting it behind the stocks, put also, it makes sense as at the moment, the emerging Allium Purple Sensations are actually coming up in front of the stocks.  Turning the troughs around would put them behind the stocks.  And come next spring, I can reverse the whole process.  Sounds foolproof, all apart from finding someone strong enough to lift them!

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Sitting on the decking above the troughs is a cold frame made out of some unused windows.  It never got closed this winter as it’s full of hardy things, generally grown from seed by me, including lots of both Verbascum chiaxii Album and Agapanthus.  I desperately need to get planting so that I can 1. free up the space for hardening off and 2. free up the pots for potting on.

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At the westerly end of the decking the OH created a small new bed which has become home for my lovely daylilies bought from Nick at White Cottage Daylilies, just across the harbour in Bembridge.  Obviously the daylilies aren’t doing much at the moment but the Cerinthe (which self seeded and overwintered) is stunning, and I love the little silvery Sedum.

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This is looking due south from the daylily bed towards the chicken shed.  Sadly the chickens got killed by a fox last year and we haven’t yet replaced them.  However the shed is providing a useful support for the Montana flowers.

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The garden is really east and west of the house (at either side, rather than front and back) and the drive is in the middle.  The drive bed, above, which previously was looking very ‘springy’ with lots of daffodils, pulmonaria and a few bluebells, is now looking a little tired apart from the Erysimum.  However there are Alliums to come and then i’ll pop in something I’ve grown from seed.

At the west side of the drive (alongside the porch) is the east facing herb bed.  Many of the herbs survived over the winter – most noticeably the parsley, which goes from strength to strength.

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And round the corner from the herbs, facing north, is the hosta bed.

IMG_2061I’m afraid the ‘Slug Gone’ hasn’t been a complete success as some of the hostas have got a little chewed, but they’re filling out nicely and I’m trying to resist the temptation to reach for the little blue granules…

Further back behind the house is the shady bed:

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The Old Pheasant’s Eye daffs are the highlight here, although there are ferns and hostas emerging (including Blue Mouse Ears, hurrah!)

And at the end of the drive, facing the road, is the greenhouse, but that needs a post all of its own.

To the west of the drive and in front of the house, there is a small lawn, a table, (where the wisteria is) and the so called ‘oak bed’ because the bed spends almost all of its time shaded by the over-the-road oak .  The beds are fine in spring as they get more light, but in the summer once the oak is in leaf I do find them challenging.  My biggest success has been planting a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (just coming into leaf in the left hand picture), but otherwise the bed is dominated by a large viburnum I’d like to have out, and, at this time of year, a lot of green perennial foliage.

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At the border with our neighbours is my lovely Melianthus major, and also our Wisteria, extending its influence next door.

And lastly, some tender plants I’ve recently moved out from the greenhouse, are also at this end of the garden –  firstly a shallow bowl which sits on top of a large olive oil jar and then a series of succulents in pots in a lovely old wire ‘carrier’ bought from the gorgeous Petersham Nurseries, close to where we used to live.

Many thanks to Helen for hosting this meme, check out her ‘End of the month view’ using the link at the top.