Tag Archives: Zinnia

In a vase on Monday – Pro tem posy

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Whilst the garden (and my job!) continue to go to hell in a hand basket, there are still pockets of beauty to be found – particularly on such a stunning October day.

I’m temporarily enjoying this little posy, picked to take to lunch at my neighbours, as it captures some of the remaining highlights:

Pink flower carpet roses and Prince Edward sweet peasIMG_5041

Zinnias (Queen Red Lime and Benary Giant Lime)IMG_5043

and Salvias (sorry not sure which one)IMG_5044

Why don’t you pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what others have been picking on this glorious day?

Castle House Garden Opening

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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

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and Clematis Tangutica on the right.

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

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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 – June 2018

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“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.
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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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?!

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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

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and two newly planted pots.DSC01069

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

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.