Tag Archives: shady bed

End of month view – May 2014

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Everything has, all of a sudden, gone rather bonkers.  All those odd self seeded plants are threatening to take over, but it’s unlikely I’ll live to see it as I will have been strangled by convolvulus long before…

In the right hand Swing Bed above, the roses on the pergola are flowering well.  As some of you know, the idea of the two Swing Beds is that they are generally symmetrical, but this hasn’t been helped by two things.  Firstly, my reluctance to pull out the existing apple tree and secondly, David Austin’s inability to supply two ‘Wedding Day’ rambler roses for the outside uprights.  By a sheer coincidence, I think the rose on the far right is instead ‘Snow Goose’ which I have along the drive bed and was inherited.  Consequently, these two are flowering away, but on the left hand Swing Bed, my Wedding Day rose is biding its time and instead I have the Clematis Josephine (which is a little smothered on the right).  These symmetrical plans are all very well but one does need to be flexible! IMG_2731 This is the Swing Bed looking north.  You can see the Cerinthe is still flowering like mad, but has now been joined by some perennial geraniums, foxgloves and Sisyrinchium striatum. I’m particularly chuffed with the Digitalis ‘Suttons Apricot’ which I grew from seed.   I planted them out last year (having planted the seed the year before), but lost a number to the chickens, and the remainder were all rather nibbled, so last year there were no flowers. However they’re now flowering well, so I guess one positive of the fox getting my poor girls last year, is that I get my foxgloves this year! IMG_2664 IMG_2732 This is the left hand Swing Bed and you can see my solitary lupin, Lupinus ‘Gallery Rose’, and you can also see a massive clump of Sisyrinchium.  The plant was a gift which I split and put a small piece in each bed a couple of years ago.  What’s comical is the fact that in both beds the original clump in the centre of the bed is quite small, but a much larger clump has somehow bullied its way to the front of the border and is now crowding out the geraniums and alchemilla.  I think some judicious ‘thinning’ (binning?) is in order.

What you can’t see in the photo above is my lovely poppy,  I’m pretty sure this is Papaver Patty’s Plum.  It does look a little pink for Patty, but I can’t think that I planted anything else. IMG_2717 IMG_2727 The Grass Bed is having a transformational moment.  I’ve planted Verbascum chaixii album which I grew from seed, all along the back of this bed, but I don’t think they will flower this year.  In front I already have the mad allium, Allium ‘Hair’ (still in bud) and far too many fox and cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca).

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This is a plant I first saw when I took my mother to The Garden House on her 80th birthday.  This instantly became one of my favourite gardens and this plant reminds me of a wonderful garden and a very special day.  However, it is threatening to take over the garden, so I think some more thinning/binning required here.  I think once I’ve got round to taking out the forget me nots I’ll add some annuals from the rather large collection still filling the greenhouse.  But which to choose? IMG_2734 The Diving Lady, introduced in last month’s End of Month View, now has a pool to dive into and something to look at: IMG_2735

The strawberries are ripening so we’ve but some fleece over the whole bed (bottom right of picture above) so that we don’t lose them all to the blackbirds.

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Meanwhile the Shady Bed is looking lush and green (although rather overrun with Honesty seedlings).  There is very little colour here, apart from the rose, which laughs at my ‘Shady’ description.

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This is the bed which epitomises the ‘bonkersness’ of the garden currently.  This is one of the ‘Lavender Beds’ (that’s a name I’ve just made up as they don’t have names, but there are two of them and the path in the middle is lined with lavender).

A number of these plants were inherited (the rose and the paeony for example) but this year all sorts of plants which have been growing around and about, seem to have decided to party in this one bed at the same time.  The Allium Purple Sensations are on their third year and better than ever, the Gladioulus Byzantinus have not previously visited this bed, and the Linaria purpurea and Verbena Bonariensis which were here before, have had a population explosion.  I’m starting to feel I’ve completely lost control, and yet there’s a certain delight in letting them all get on with it.

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The Oak Bed (above) continues to disappoint, but the Melianthus major  is still a joy and the Gladioli here cheer me up.  I think a proper redesign is required for next year.

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I have lots of lovely pots – these Aeoniums were planted by the OH and are very handsome.IMG_2636

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, (which I think will have to be a whole other post) the tomatoes are flowering, but unfortunately they’re still in their 9cm pots…IMG_2685

With many thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month meme.  Why don’t you go and check out some other End of Months?

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.