Tag Archives: melianthus major

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 2018, and news!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!
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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 – 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.

Le Jardin Secret, Marrakech

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If you want a wonderfully detailed account of this garden, including the history, do head over to the Frustrated Gardener who visited late last year (and in much sunnier weather!)

I realised when we were forced to land in Casablanca to refuel (due to a 40 mile wide thunderstorm sitting over the Marrakech airport) that the weather for our short trip was unlikely to be balmy, and indeed it wasn’t.  Having said that, by Saturday the weather had improved, and by Sunday (when I took my ‘Aloe Aloe’ Wordless Wednesday picture) the sky was a fabulous blue.  Sadly, on Friday when we went garden visiting, all was rather grey.

Le Jardin Secret is situated in Marrakech’s central souk and is an extraordinary oasis amongst the chaos.  It has been open less than a year after a redesign by Tom Stuart-Smith and a fabulous renovation.  It is an absolute triumph.

The space consists of two separate  gardens, the first square and the second rectangular which abut on a corner, each largely invisible from the other.

In this photo you can see the exotic garden to the middle right, with the second, larger, Islamic garden in the main part of the picture.  The link between the two is deliberately small, creating a contrast between the narrow link and the wider gardens themselves.dsc00221

The first photo is of the exotic garden, looking back to elegant reception building seen at the rear.  The view looking the other way, as you first enter the exotic garden, is below.dsc00264

Whilst not a huge fan of battleship grey, it makes a striking back drop for the wonderfully textured planting and the colourful Aloes.dsc00247

I love this Dasylirion acrotrichum – it reminds me of Heatherwick’s ill fated ‘B of the Bang’.dsc00257

Although the exotic garden is segmented and symmetrical, the larger Islamic garden is even more strictly laid out.  The rectangular shape is split into four quadrants, with each quadrant further split into four.

And whereas the planting in the exotic garden is contemporary and from all over the world, the planting in the Islamic garden is much more traditional with repeated planting of olive, pomegranate, fig and date.  Only the herbaceous planting underneath the trees is a modern interpretation of the original swept earth.dsc00156

The grasses really were extraordinary en masse like this.dsc00200

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Throughout both gardens are beautiful rills and fountains, with water being an essential element in Islamic gardens.

The original water system in Marrakech utilised ground drainage tunnels (established in the late eleventh century) which carried water from the Atlas mountains into the city’s mosques, hammams and some of the great houses, including Le Jardin Secret.dsc00238

An exhibiton shows numerous photos taken during the renovation, including this one of the painstaking tile workdsc00165

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From the Islamic garden we climbed up to first floor level above the Oud el Ward pavilion to lunch in the new cafe.

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From here we climbed a further beautifully tiles staircase

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to the top of the tower, from where the layout of the garden was clear.   As the website says “The garden is as a matter of fact a metaphor of heaven; it is a sacred place, laid out according to rigid geometrical rules, in which the Muslim order asserts itself over the wild disorder of nature.”  Heaven indeed.

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Just time to admire one of my favourite plants, Melianthus major, before running the gauntlet of the hawkers once more….dsc00148

End of Month View – January 2017

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A grey old day for January’s EoMV, which is a shame, as Saturday was beautiful – but then I was far too busy digging to take photos!

Over the last two weekends I’ve finally got out in the garden after an absence of at least a month.  However, in many ways, the work has seen me going backwards to go forwards.  The final bulbs, Allium sphaerocephalon were bought for the two Lavender Beds, but as both were full of Convolvulus, Couch Grass and generally past-their-best plants, a big dig was called for before I could plant them.  Happily the digging was dug and, although you can’t see them, the bulbs are in.img_2042

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The good news is that there are now large new areas of bed to ‘play’ in, but that requires thought and planning, both of which take time, so no firm plans as yet.

One thing I have mentioned before is the desire to move the Acacia baileyana purpurea from the Mid Century bed and I’d like its new location to be in the left hand Lavender Bed, in the centre of this photo (in front of the Choisya, which I think I’ll remove).

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The problem is, when to do the deed?  Now would seem a sensible time to move many plants, but the Acacia is on the cusp of bursting into bloom for the first time, so now doesn’t seem exactly conducive.  Thoughts?img_2052

Further round the garden, more bare earth tells of more activity – I finally pulled the old, very leggy Matthiola incana (Stocks) out of the troughs and replaced them with these cuttings taken from the ‘mother’.  These have been in pots for a while, so I’m not sure how long they’ll take to find their feet.  They look pretty pathetic at the moment!img_2045

The two Swing Beds are still quite green but everything needs a good cut back and tidy up. I’ve read it’s better to wait to do this until the temperature picks up as the old growth protects the newer shoots, particularly on tender plants such as Salvias and Penstemons.  Well, that’s my excuse.img_2048

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In the Grass Bed, more bare earth after a big clear out last year.  This is a bit of a shame as I’ve previously had masses of Forget me knots here and I’ll miss them.  img_2050

I’m trying to move various clumps in from other areas where they’re not wanted, but I still don’t think I’ll achieve the lovely froth of last year:IMG_0293

I had a tidy up of the Herb Bed yesterday and whilst most are looking understandably tired, the Sorrel is looking fresher and more productive than ever.  Any recipe suggestions?img_2054

The Shady Bed is exhibiting a good showing of glossy foliage.  I’ve never noticed before how the Fatsia japonica leaves echo the Hellebores.  To the left of the Hellebores the Sarcococca is flowering, picking up the white of the Hellebore to the right.  Shame the fern in the middle is so chewed!img_2058

At the Western end of the garden, in the shady Oak Bed there is the merest hint of bloom in the Witch Hazel (Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’), and some more Hellebores,img_2062

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whereas at the end of the Bronze Bed a far more exotic scene of flowering Aeoniums in front of luxuriant Melianthus major foliage.

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Meanwhile in the greenhouse, plenty of bulbs in pots to look forward toimg_2055

and this.  Finally, an empty bulb box!img_2056

And to finish, my Rosemarinus prostratus.  I mentioned in GBBD how it wasn’t very ‘prostratus’, time to eat my words!img_2067

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

End of month view – October 2016

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It’s beginning to look a lot like… autumn.  The over the road oak’s papery leaves are just starting to fall and the autumn tints of the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ are showing off the beautiful heart shaped leaves.

Elsewhere at this side of the garden my beautiful Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ has completely given up the ghost and there’s not much to admire in the Bronze Bed except the wonderful Melianthus major in the background.  In the centre you can see part of the ribbon of Carex buchananii grasses grown from seed and planted out this year.  The idea was that they would remain evergreen (ever-brown actually – my mother in law thought they’d died) and provide interest through the winter and combine well with the Hamamelis before the bulbs. It will be interesting to see if this works, or whether they do indeed just look rather dead.

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Across to the eastern end the Swing Beds are still green but really not very colourful apart from the Salvias.  As well as some late colour, after completion of my planting course last year I’d really like to introduce some better structure here.  I’d deliberately not planted anything shrubby to the back of the area immediately either side of the swing because I grew sweet peas up netting at the back for a few years.  However, they’ve never done that well and so this year I didn’t bother and think the lack of height here – particularly bearing in mind the size of the Phlomis and Elaeagnus further out – is a problem.  But what to plant?  Hmm.img_1846

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The plan for the grass bed this year was to have a froth of Cosmos and Ammi, but I planted some Calendula along the front edge to cover up the gaps until the other two got going.  So where are we now?  Er, completely overrun with self seeded Nasturtiums!  I really must dig these out as I do love the forget me nots in this bed and at this rate there won’t be any.img_1852

These two make a pretty autumnal combination, but so not the white effect I’d planned!img_1851

The Salvias are making their mark in the Mid Century Bed too, but I also like the dark AntirrhinumsA. majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ and there are still some dahlias and even roses coming.  Plenty of new Cerinthe growth too, with the odd plant actually in the bed rather than the paths!img_1854

Here’s Rosa ‘Falstaff climbing’ looking a little chewed on the obelisk.img_1853

In the Veg Beds there’s not much to see except the Kale.  I do love the look and colour of these leaves, and have even used them in arrangements, but they do give a rather cabbagey aroma which is less than ideal!img_1843

In pots there are plenty of Pelargoniums still pumping out the flowers including this beauty P. Surcouf,img_1842

and a number of succulents having a late bloomimg_1841

or just looking bonny!img_1832

The raised Cutting Beds have been pretty hopeless this year due to lack of water, so rather a shock to see the Zinnias pumping out the flowers now too.img_1837

To the right of the raised beds you can see the Shady Bed which looks much the same as always except the gradual increase in size of the Sarcococca confusa.  This is finally making its mark both in looks now and scent later in the winter.  Perhaps I’ll even allow myself to cut a few sprigs next year.img_1838

And to finish, the greenhouse.  Whilst the veg in here are coming to an endimg_1839

I’m excited at the prospect of new babies for next year – firstly cuttings in the propagatorimg_1840

but also Winter Sweet Peas, still in the packet as I type, but I can’t wait to see these again come next April!IMG_0199

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

 

End of month view – January 2016

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Finally some sun, hurrah!

Leptospermum, or Tea Tree, above, is (according to Wiki) very rich in Vitamin C and was apparently made into a tea by Captain Cook – probably not personally – to ward off scurvy in his crew, and it is also the plant on which bees forage to produce Manuka honey.  Two valuable traits, doubtless, but I’d settle for just the one – looking this good all the way through January. God knows I haven’t, and nor has the rest of the garden.IMG_9893

Not only are both lawns currently no more than fields as it’s been far too wet to mow, but my dear little Scillas, in the very outside ends of the Swing Beds, are sitting in a proper puddle.IMG_9901

The Swing Beds are both in need of a major cut back and tidy up, but it’s pleasing that there is some structure there.  Looking back at last year’s EoMV I can see how the pink flowered Phlomis Italica, has grown during the past year.  Having been planted at least three years ago they’re starting to get rather leggy and so will need some judicious pruning once we’re further into the year.

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The bed which holds the rhubarb and strawberries had Agapanthus grown from seed planted along the back wall last year.  None has yet flowered but they’ve definitely bulked up, so I live in hope.

Sitting on the edge of the wall in the seed trays are more Agapanthus seedlings (this time from seed collected from the more dwarf A. ‘Tom Thumb’), as well as Carex buchananii, also grown from seed last year for the new Bronze Bed.  I’m not sure whether the Carex will make it into the Bronze Bed, and I have no idea where I’ll put the Agapanthus, but I’m sure they’ll all find homes, even if I give them away!IMG_9900

The Stipa tenuissima in the Grass Bed are continuing to provide interest and you can now see plenty of bulbs pushing up through the forget me nots in front.IMG_9903

And the Mid Century bed, one of last year’s new beds, still has a couple of things to admire, notably the Rhodochiton atrosanguineus growing up the ‘obelisk’ (slightly hard to see in the shade), but also the Acacia baileyana purpurea in the centre.  I’m slightly worried how big this will get, but I’m sure I can prune it back.  (I’m also a little disappointed it’s not more ‘purpurea’ but perhaps it’s the time of year).

The rather scrappy mess in front are two Salvias and some leggy Cerinthe.  

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In the Shady Bed the Sarcococca has finally started to fill out after at least a couple of years.  And I can also see from this picture that I really should cut back the old Hellebore leaves to have any hope of spotting the flowers here.IMG_9906

By the smaller lawn the other new bed, the Bronze Bed, has been largely trimmed back and tidied, but look how much the soil has dropped!  The MC bed is even worse, so I’ll definitely have to top them both up.

The leafless shrub in the middle is Hamamelis ‘Aphrodite’ which I absolutely adored last year.  I’m slightly worried there’s no sign of flowers yet, but I did buy it in bloom in mid February, so perhaps it’s still on schedule.  At the back you can see the Melianthus major still flowering – certainly no normal schedule there.

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On the other side of the lawn away from the house, the shady Oak Bed has more hellebores, as well as inherited Bergenia and Leucojum aestrivum.

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And to finish a couple of early Narcissi  – roll on the rest!IMG_9908

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts the End of Month meme.  Why don’t you pop over to Helen’s site to see some other EoMVs?

End of month view – November 2015

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Whilst there are certain areas of the garden looking reasonably tidy, like the left hand Lavender Bed above, the majority of the garden is in a state of chaos, like the right hand one below. Not only is this bed full of self seeded Lychnis coronaria and Verbena bonariensis corpses, but sadly it’s also pretty full of couch grass.  I think a big dig is called for.IMG_9651

The Swing Beds are also looking almost completely devoid of colour, although they are now marginally tidier than the photos below as I did some chopping back at the same time as planting some Dichelostemma ida maia bulbs, bought from the Avon Bulbs sale.  Hope they’re not in too late!

I still havent tackled the climbing roses as I think gauntlets and a ladder will be required.IMG_9656IMG_9659

The grass beds have had the Zinnias and a few lingering Verbascum pulled pulled out, and are now back to the bare bones of the Stipa tenuissima along the back, with a muddle of forget me nots and self seeded Cerinthe major in front (and let’s be honest, in the path).  I’ve added a few more Narcissi in this bed, but it does makes me a bit sad to think I’ll be waiting until April for anything to happen.IMG_9661

The Mid Century Bed is probably the most colourful with the Salvia ‘Dyson’s Scarlet’ and Rhodochiton atrosanguineus still blooming well, albeit rather manically.IMG_9652

One thing I am excited about in this (easterly) end of the garden, are my Agapanthus grown from seed planted at the back of the strawberry bed.  Although they didn’t flower this year (others planted in front of the greenhouse did) they’ve grown enormously and I’m hoping they will like the reflected heat from the wall and bloom next summer.IMG_9654

At the other end of the garden the Bronze Bed has nearly been put to bed.  The ‘Happy Single Date’ Dahlias which provided so many blooms and so much pleasure this year still haven’t died back, but they do seem to have finally given up flowering.  They’ll be nothing else in this bed until the Hamamelis flowers in February.IMG_9671

However, behind the Bronze Bed, the Melianthus major is madly continuing to produce new leaves.IMG_9672

Other sources of hope and optimism are provided by late season cuttings (or perennial seedlings awaiting a permanent home),IMG_9664

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and early sweet peas in the greenhouse.IMG_9668

as well as perky succulents.

They’ve been moved under the glass verandah, but are probably in need of being properly inside if continued perkiness is to be assured!IMG_9674

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