This garden has a long history of growers. The very first owner here was a prize winner for a plate of three raspberries and the second owner was a committed fruit grower. When I came along the fruit growing had taken priority and the borders were being taken over by weeds and grass. There are still plenty of weeds and fruit bushes around but flowers are gradually being reinstated.
The monthly long border shot. This year I have gone for two smaller wigwams of sweet peas. I planted out the early sowings last weekend. On the left ‘April in Paris’, a white variety and on the right ‘Midnight Blues’. I now have a gap where the large wigwam went and although I have some annuals lined up to fill the space I feel the need for an evergreen shrub to give more form to this end of the border. The delphiniums are shooting away and with storm Hannah blowing through I need to get out there and do some tying in. In case you are wondering, the bamboo cane is there to remind me not to step on the emerging echinacea ‘White Swan’. Roses, geraniums and knautia are also making good progress, ready to take over from the tulips and euphorbia.
The left hand end of the north border. This used to be home to a stand of blackcurrant bushes and in turning over the soil for the nth time I found a label: Ben Tirran. Four of those bushes went on to new homes so I will pass on the information. The others have been found temporary homes elsewhere here. So this end of north border was ready to plant up this year. First to go in were two hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, climbing hydrangeas for the back fence. Last weekend I planted 23 geranium sanguineum ‘Alba’ and six anemone ‘Honorine Jobert. I have two more geraniums waiting to go in once the front row three of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ arrive. I’ll fit the last two geraniums in around them. The black pots along the back row are representing 10 melica altissima ‘Alba’. These are proving elusive at the moment and I am hoping I don’t have to resort to a well known but more expensive on-line supplier. I am following a plan from Joe Swift – Five plants for a deep shade border – as published in Gardeners’ World August 2018. I also have some seedlings of astrantia major to fit in and finally I plan to add snowdrops for some early interest.
At the other end of the north border the Choisyas are opening up. This can mean only one thing. The days are numbered for the ailing one. For the moment I’ll enjoy the scent and the green and white colours.
Patiently waiting to fill the space soon to be vacated by poorly choisya is a skimmia ‘Kew Green’. Most descriptions use the very attractive phrase ‘no need to prune’. The scent is described as’ lilly of the valley’ and it does well in shade. Sounds perfect.
I was lucky enough to inherit a greenhouse, old and needing some glazing repairs but it looked wonderful to me. I put in some automatic openers but the frame on one side sticks in one corner and I haven’t solved the problem. Last week the frame gave way at its weak point – the glass. I made a temporary repair with some left over plastic and clingfilm but storm Hannah has curled her lip! I am hoping the local company that helped out with the glazing last time will come to my aid again.
The sowing of tomatoes for the greenhouse are coming along well. Time to move them on I think. That will encourage me to get that window repaired.
The weather has changed dramatically. Cold, wet and windy. I am grateful for the rain as already the water butts were getting low. Fingers crossed that the wind isn’t too damaging, there is so much blossom around now. I hope your garden stays safe and don’t forget to take a look at Mr P’s blog for more news from SOSs around the world.
The view of the garden from the kitchen window gives a grandstand view of the antics of the squirrels. This week they have been tracking down the last few tiny edible figs and often knock off some of the others in the process. As does the wind and the rain, which is all very helpful as there are still a great many figs to be taken off. In all the gloom of this week there have been a few spots of colour:
I still have berries on the cotoneaster leading to me to conclude that there is still plenty of food around for the birds. The combination of the red berries and leaves and the ivy strikes a perfect Christmas note.
I tweeted this photo earlier in the week and unashamedly share it here. For one of my twelve days of Christmas I have six paraqueets-a-nibbling. This tree is a real bright spot in the winter gloom and looks all the crazier with the addition of some neon green.
This sad looking skimmia is not providing the much hoped for winter colour. It was planted out last year underneath the magnolia and I had lovely visions of masses of red berries which have come to nought. The skimmia was dug up and potted again, pending allocation to a better spot. Some place with more light and not so dry I think.
The aforementioned magnolia is beginning to do its stuff again – these new buds were cheering to see.
I ventured into unknown territory awhile ago and planted up some hyacinth bulbs for forcing for Christmas. At the appointed time they were brought into the warmth of the house. But this week they were banished into a cold exile outside. Their crime? Well the bulbs are innocent but the cloud of tiny black flies that came with them were not greatly appreciated.
I’ve got a few things going on in the potting shed. The scented leaf pelagoniums have been cut back, the last of foxgloves are going to overwinter there now along with a few cuttings of penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’ and pellies. I am also trying to keep alive a few seedlings from euphorbia oblongata but I feel these are already slipping from my grasp. I foresee causalities along the way.
Even though I may lose some seedlings over the winter the eternal optimism of the gardener continues. New seed orders have been placed and the wish list continues to grow. Enjoy your winter garden – plants and wildlife, and if you are seeking inspiration look no further than The Propagator’s blog which will start you off on a world wide tour of gardens.
It’s a busy time of the year but Six on Saturday’s siren call has been heard. This week I’ve gone to the front garden. Here are my six.
I went to to buy 12 brick pavers to finish off the edging on the new border and came back with no pavers but 12 half price cyclamens. Here’s a little group of three I put together in the front garden. The front garden is mainly north facing and is planted with evergreen shubs so these cyclamen are adding a little spot of brightness
As I planted out the cyclamen I noticed the magnolia tree was in bud. It is a lovely sight when it flowers and seeing the buds is a great reminder of things to come.
A very large clump of carex pendula has been dug out recently. I confess this plant was so well established that I couldn’t move the thing and had to call in some muscle. I hope all traces of it have gone but it is thuggish so I shall be watching carefully for any signs of regrowth. I will plant up this skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana in its place. It is hermaphrodite and will produce berries without a pollinating partner.
The hydrangea has completed turned to its winter colour, the lovely teracotta shades perfectly matching the brickwork. I cut a few of these flower heads to bring inside for tying up with ivy and anything else I can find to decorate the house at Christmas.
Flowers on the pittosporum. I don’t know why, surely it is out of season? This shrub is at least 4 metre high. I don’t the variety, I will be delighted to hear from you if you have any suggestions. This is another inherited plant that earns its keep.
Lastly, this is the sum total of my borlotti bean crop this year. The beans have been drying out for at least a month and I’ve just put them in the jar. One jar. I grew about 5 plants but they were against the back fence of the garden which only gets late afternoon sun. Next year I am going back to wig-wamming them in the middle of a raised bed.
Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday. Every week I think I’ll never come up with six but there is always something to suprise me. Read the Propagator blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession