Tag Archives: Wisteria

End of month view – March 2019

IMG_4695

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.

IMG_4697

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!

IMG_4709

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

IMG_4713

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

IMG_4729

IMG_4727

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.

IMG_4730

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

Castle House Garden Opening

IMG_4557

Not only do my lovely neighbours open their garden for the St Helens Secret Gardens event which takes place every other year, but on their year off, rather than put their feet up, they open in aid of the Red Cross – and not once, but twice!  I missed their opening in May and so was delighted to pop along this afternoon.

Castle House sits within a wonderful plot.  Above the house is a superb walled garden (where I used to borrow a small plot to grow cut flowers) and below, wonderful views over Bembridge Harbour.

The drive is walled on both sides and both walls are generously covered in various climbers including Wisteria on the left

IMG_4560

and Clematis Tangutica on the right.

IMG_4561

From the drive, into the walled garden to admire the old greenhouse – with wonderful tomatoes and a vineIMG_4542

IMG_4543

as well as the outdoor veg.IMG_4547

Since I gave up growing my cut flowers here (the last year was 2015) J and A have done a lot of work in the walled garden, building raised beds and planting more flowers and fewer veg.

I just love this horned poppy – it’s absolutely one of my favourite plants and is clearly thriving here.  IMG_4546

And look at these fabulous Zinnias – these are rather more zingy than mine!IMG_4548

Out of the walled garden for a stroll past the house and down towards the southern boundary to capture the beautiful view.

Pictures I normally share of the Duver are taken from a rather more northerly and easterly position compared to these.

This first is looking east towards the SolentIMG_4550

the second, pretty much due south over Bembridge HarbourIMG_4554

and the third, looking slightly more westwards, inland towards Culver Down – you can see the Yarborough Monument on the sky line above the block of conifers towards the right of the photo.IMG_4551

And then it was back up the slope for tea and cake, and plant perusal time….IMG_4558

With thanks to J and A for generously opening their garden.

End of Month View – July 2018

IMG_4392

Oh dear – a very bleached view this End of Month.

Whilst I have watered newly planted annuals, the veg patch and pots, there has been no watering of the grass and little of the main beds, and boy does it show!

Whilst a careful angle suggests something’s going on in the Swing BedsIMG_4395

reality is more brutal.  Actually the main casualty here has been the rather overwhelming pink geranium which I’ve been meaning to reduce anyway, so hopefully I can take the opportunity to have a rethink. IMG_4396

The right hand Swing Bed is similarly colourless.

IMG_4397

In the Grass Bed the Zinnias are filling out and providing lots of limey and sludgy pink blooms for cutting.

IMG_4398

The Agapanthus are a delight and thriving in the hot sunny weather.  And the Veg Patch behind where we’ve used a trickle hose for the first time for a number of overnight drenchings has gone bonkers – particularly the courgette plants at the front.

The bamboo structure is looking a little drunken after 50mph winds over the weekend but the beans don’t seem to care!IMG_4393

I bought some mini sweetcorn plug plants when I saw them in a local garden centre as they’re a daughter favourite, and they’ve gone pretty bonkers too.  I’m not sure how many cobs you get per plant.  I hope it’s more than one!

IMG_4394

Round to the western side the Dahlias are getting going, the roses are coming back and the Arctotis are just starting

IMG_4408

and there are a few new blooms on the Wisteria too.IMG_4409

Outside the greenhouse more Agapanthus joined by Asters, but the planned clashing Dahlia has failed spectacularly!  Not only have the Dahlia’s struggled to get going in the dry weather, but the first one to flower has turned out to be pink when I’d planned a fabulous, spiky orange bloom – ‘Mel’s Orange Marmalade’ (loved the name!).  I contacted Sarah Raven and unfortunately ‘Mel’ had sold out, but I selected an alternate, softer orange, but I haven’t yet planted them as I’m still hoping ‘Mel’ might be amongst the remaining five!

IMG_4402

Inside the usual jungle of tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines.

IMG_4403

IMG_4404

But most excitingly – look at this –  I only had to wait 4 months!  Let’s hope there’s still some summer left to enjoy itIMG_4406

IMG_4399

and perhaps I can get some of these pots off the gravel!IMG_4401

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts our EoMVs.

End of month view – June 2018

DSC01071

“The best fertiliser is the gardener’s shadow” I first read at Kew – must be twenty years ago when I was working four days a week, had two children under three and a garden and an allotment to look after.  As you can imagine, it struck a chord – there was never enough time, and the garden and/or allotment often suffered.

Fast forward and the shadow is still often absent, and the garden continues to suffer.  Different garden and different excuse (a lovely one this time, away for the daughter’s graduation in Durham – not very handy for the Isle of Wight).  We arrived home around lunch time today and everything is so parched!  We did spend last weekend setting up some trickle hoses but we didn’t have them on whilst we were away.

Despite the drought (I genuinely can’t remember when we last had rain, it feels like it was May, but can’t have been!) some plants are thriving – not surprisingly often the Mediterranean plants like the Lavender above and below.
DSC01083

Taking you on the usual tour, you can just see, oh what a shock, the decking has still not been replaced in front of the office.  To say I’m rather miffed would be a bit of an understatement, but let’s not dwell.  Instead we’ll admire the Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f. rosea) planted last year.  Sadly it’s showing no sign of flowering yet, but I am enjoying the foliage.

DSC01072

Now that the stocks at the back have finished flowering, I’ve planted Cosmos and Pelargoniums in the the metal troughs.  They are a long way from ‘filling out’ which is a shame as you can clearly see the rather ugly dripper hose we’ve laid out.  Not surprisingly these troughs do get very hot and dry so hopefully the dripper will help (if we’re ever feeling flush enough to turn it on!DSC01073

The Veg patch is the other place we’ve put dripper hose. This is another tricky area as the veg are largely planted amongst the huge bay trees so they’re always competing for water and we rarely have particularly good productivity from any of the plants.  I’m hoping the dripper will help change that this year.  We’ll see.

DSC01074

Like last year, I’ve planted some cutting flowers in with the veg – here you can see my very pitiful sweet peas.  I live in hope they will eventually get going and I’ll get some lovely blooms, even if very late.DSC01077

In the Swing Beds the pink Geraniums at the front of the beds have largely gone over, but there are still plenty of rose blooms and Penstemon.  

DSC01078

DSC01079

The Grass Bed has finally been cleared of the spent forget me nots and the bed planted with Zinnias.  In addition to the Zinnias are self sown Nasturtium and grasses (not Stipa, I’ve forgotten what it is.  I grew it from seed years ago and now I can’t get rid of it!).  The lack of water has meant they’ve struggled to get going, but I’m concerned I haven’t planted them close enough and they’ll never cover the ground in the sort of wonderful display I saw at West Dean gardens here .  To be fair, the photo at West Dean was taken at the end of August, so perhaps we’ll get there.

You can see just how many of the Stipa tenuissima were lost over the winter and I’m still deciding whether I should replace them.  I read recently that they do have a ‘life’ of only about five years and I’ve definitely had them longer than that, so perhaps it was inevitable and I should try something else.DSC01080

I’m really enjoying the pot of poppies with the chicken.  I’ve sprinkled some of the ripe seed on the Grass Bed – wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a whole bed like this next year?!

DSC01081

The Mid Century bed is looking a little flat now.  The roses are taking a break having (I think) got too dry, and the Dahlias and annuals have not yet got going.  However the lovely Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (centre) planted last year is now looking well established.DSC01082

Round to the west side of the garden takes us past the rather bleached looking Flower Carpet roses

DSC01094

and two newly planted pots.DSC01069

DSC01070

The Bronze Bed is also having a lull while we wait for the Dahlias to start blooming and the roses to recover from lack of water.  Lovely to see the Wisteria having a second flush though.DSC01067

Looking the other way you can see the second (original) Cercis, and the shrubby planting which borders the road.DSC01068

Making our way back to the greenhouse, I can show a happy conclusion to something I suddenly started worrying about when we were away.  These are little Hosta seedlings, grown from seed collected from my own Hostas and planted at least two years ago.  I was fretting they would have curled up and died in our absence, but no!  Very dry, but not even really showing any distress

DSC01093

Sadly the same can’t be said for the salad and peas growing in the (shallow) raised wooden beds.  They’ve looking very peaky, and some have definitely been lost.DSC01092

On a more cheerful note I’m getting excited to see how the greenhouse beds will look this year.  It’s a rather bold combination – you’ll have to wait for next month to see what it is!DSC01085

Into the greenhouse and this is what greeted me when I opened the door – the lovely Plumbago had fallen over and was almost blocking the door.  This is one of the original pair of plants bought years ago.

DSC01087

The second one died last year – but look, the cuttings I’d luckily taken from the original were planted up last year and are possibly looking better (certainly less leggy) than the original.

DSC01090

The rest of the greenhouse has now been planted up with aubergines

DSC01088

cucumbers and tomatoes.DSC01089

So, back to the ‘gardener’s shadow’ – well, I’ve already been out watering this evening and hopefully tomorrow I can spend the whole day in the garden.  Goodness knows, it’s about time!

With thanks to Helen who hosts our End of Month Views.

 

Villa Cimbrone garden – un bel giardino!

DSC01029

I always try to ensure that posts are pertinent to the time the photos were taken, at least within a week or so, but we’ve been back from Italy for nearly a month and I’ve struggled to find time to pull this post together.  However, it really was a beautiful garden, so I hope you’ll  excuse this being almost a month late!

On the last day of our walking holiday on the Amalfi coast we were lucky enough to visit the gardens of the Villa Cimbrone.

Found on the outskirts of Ravello, the setting is absolutely breathtaking, on a south pointing ‘finger’ high above the coast, with sea views around 270 degrees.

The abandoned estate was rescued by Ernest William Beckett, Lord Grimthorpe after he discovered it as part of his Grand Tour when he came to Italy to get over the death of his wife.  He bought the estate in 1904 and, with the help of local Nicola Mansi, as well as Harold Peto, Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, the gardens were laid out in what the guide describes ‘a happy combination of traditional English and Italian landscaped gardens’.

I’d worried that we might be too early, even on the Mediterranean, for many flowers, but magically our visit coincided with two fairly fleeting blooms – both the Judas Tree, Cercis siliquastrum IMG_3595

DSC01023

and Wisteria.

DSC00994

DSC00980

Both were featured repeatedly and provided fabulous colour to clothe wonderful structures.

One plant that was new to me was the one growing vertically (above) reflecting the Wisteria hanging down.  Here it is closer.  I’d seen it on previous days growing wild and would love to know what it is.  Any clues?  We discussed it within the group and thought it must be bulbous and perhaps related to Muscari?DSC00981

The next few photos reflect the stunning views out over the Amalfi Coast.  DSC01001

DSC00990

DSC00997

DSC01000

DSC01007

IMG_3597

as well as a few planting combinations which appealed.

DSC00991

DSC00984

DSC00972

And to finish, two charming ‘housekeeping’ items.  Firstly, one of the elegant rubbish binsDSC00982

and secondly, the most beautiful emergency exit!IMG_3599

With thanks to Villa Cimbrone – you made my holiday!

End of month view – April 2018

IMG_4033

I feel like I’ve barely been here for weeks!  Firstly a lovely weekend away with my daughter and then a week in Italy has meant this last weekend has been the first I’ve spent on the island in a month.  Goodness know when all this happened, but look!  It’s all happened!

On a slightly more negative note, the dear OH, has occasioned this to happen.  The decking outside the office was becoming increasingly unsafe and, as we had builders in doing other work, he kindly instructed them to take the decking away.  I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled that we’ve lost our terrace just as the weather’s changing, but hopefully we can conclude discussions about its replacement and get cracking.  Hmm.IMG_4010

My absence has meant progress on the Veg Patch has been extremely limited.  There are some broad beans under the cover at the bottom but everything else is way behind – including the weeding.IMG_4005

As previously noted, the Agapanthus in the strawberry bed are threatening to squeeze out the strawberries.  And the Diving Lady is looking increasingly like she needs a machete to find her pool.IMG_4013

In the Swing Beds, after last year’s dismal performance, the tulips have come up trumps.  The larger, blousier ones are T. Pink Impression, with the rather smaller, softer ones ‘Menton’.

IMG_4014

In the Grass Bed the N. ‘Peeping Jennys’ are over and have been replaced N. ‘Lieke’ and T. ‘Green Star’.  Sadly many of the grasses (Stipa tenuissima) do definitely look like they’ve died over the winter.  I’m still deciding whether I’ll replace them or come up with another plan.IMG_4034

In the Mid Century bed I added ‘Night Club’ tulips to the existing ‘Merry go round’ and ‘Queen of the Night’.  These latter two are returning for their third year, which is great as so many tulips really aren’t perennial.IMG_4018IMG_4020

In the Bronze Bed the N. ‘Yazz’ are still blooming but the ‘Jimmy’ tulips seem to have largely disappeared this year.

IMG_4032

The Wisteria is out along the front of the veranda and the scent is heavenly.IMG_4024

IMG_4026

In front of the greenhouse I’m very disappointed with these tulips.  I’ve had the same Narcissus ‘Bellsong’ in these pots for years but have bought various tulips to accompany them.  This year’s ‘Mango Charm’, firstly, don’t look anything like the ones of the same name I bought last year, but also don’t look remotely ‘mango’ and are instead an insipid pink.  The one tulip I do like is the oddity which has turned up in the middle!IMG_4027

Inside the greenhouse is utter chaos.  Although I have moved out some tender plants since this photo was taken, there are still pots and pots getting in the way of seedlings and cuttings.IMG_4028

Even more sadly I still haven’t planted out my winter flowering sweet peas (languishing half dead in the foreground).  I was picking bunches by now last year.  Silly Jen.IMG_4029

In large pots I have various dahlias sprouting, including some new large orange ones to go in the bed outside the greenhouse.  IMG_4030

And to finish a rather more pleasing pot.  This is N. ‘Blushing Lady’ and, would you believe, T. ‘Blushing Lady’.  Clearly nothing goes better with blushing ladies than more blushing ladies!IMG_4031

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardner who hosts our End of Month Views.