All change

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Dissatisfied with the left border, I bribed Raewyn with home made scones and jam to come and cast her expert eye over it. I just keep sticking plants in wherever there is a spare inch of soil, giving no thought to how big things will grow or how everything will fit together. Raewyn sat pondering with pencil and paper and rearranged the whole left border and some of the main border.  The trouble with friends with an expert eye is that they leave you with lots of work to do!  Having spent all weekend in the blazing sun digging, uprooting, planting and watering. The Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ has been gathered from around the garden and planted together in a feathery fountain. The astilbe was really unhappy at the lower level so has now been planted in the deeper soil of the higher level.  I am now much happier with the overall appearance which will be finished off with an architectural angelica archangelica at the back.

First of all I got rid of all the winter pansies that had brought so much pleasure in the early months but were now past their best. I dug out great swathes of crocosmia that was crowding out so much all over the garden and even found some things I forgot I had.

August 2010 May 2011 July 2011

Unfortunately, I managed to knock the one flower off the red rose, let’s hope there are more where that came from. Now the crocosmia has gone from the main border, the beautiful salvia “Wendy’s Wish” has been brought forward into the sunshine and looks lovely with the dark red dahlia.

The front rockery is completely out of hand. I made a big mistake planting so much cosmos all over the garden; I didn’t realise how dense the feathery foliage would be. The artemisia has really spread out and made itself at home and the aliums tower above slowly turning from green to purple. However, the smaller candy stripe cosmos has worked well with the anenomes in the dividing border.

May 2011 July 2011

Although most of the leaves were covered in red rust spots and were removed, the hollyhock flowers are rather majestic.

The veg have been enjoying the sunshine and quietly getting on with the business of growing. The cabbages are huge and one provides 3 or 4 meals. Now I have removed some of the bigger ones, the later ones have more room to grow. The salad leaves are lovely and enjoyed by the whole family and neighbours alike. I keep nibbling on the peapods and some have developed the sweetest tasting peas. The carrots have encouraging foliage although I haven’t investigated further and the onions are pushing themselves up out of the ground; much more successful than last year.

The Adams Family

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I must admit, I felt like Mortisha when she was trimming the flowers from the rose stems as I removed the little hopeful faces of the pansies this morning. I’m sure this can’t be right but they were so straggly, the stems not the flowers. I’m not sure how long pansies are supposed to last, do I keep them in forever, will they produce any more flowers?

I planted all the little Zinnia seedlings and scattered some slug pellets to be on the safe side.

Nothing in my garden ever gets the chance to self-seed as I am obsessively weeding all the time. Can somebody please tell me how to recognise the seedlings? The only thing I do recognise is the aquilegia and that seems to get everywhere.

Once again the garden is tidier than the house!

Spring is sprung

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It’s been such a busy week, mainly due to the lovely sunny days we’ve been enjoying. Night times are still cold and we have had some frost.

I planted the English bluebells as soon as they arrived this week.

I am intrigued by my new apple tree. It’s the Redlove which, I am reliably informed, has red flesh and a flavour of berries. I have been looking at it for a long time and pondering whether or not to buy one. I have taken the plunge even though I already have an apple tree with 3 varieties grafted on one trunk. There must be a limit to how many apples two people can eat! Whilst visiting Plantation Nursery this week for afternoon tea with Raewyn, we spotted some lovely bright blue pots for half price; perfect for my new apple tree and my unhappy camellia (see below).

Charlotte and Danielle bought me a lovely orchid when they came to visit about a year ago. I have to admit, I don’t have any house plants as they just die. I’m not sure whether I kill them with kindness or inconsistency but it happens every time. Of course, when you buy an orchid, it comes complete with lovely flowers and all seems very cheerful and so it was for many months. The flowers disappeared and I was left with a pot full of leaves, healthy and increasing in number. As time went on, nothing happened. I suspected that it was getting too big for its pot, probably due to having lots of protruding rooty stuff. The question was, do I spend money on a new pot and orchid compost, or do I cut my losses and send it on its way to the great compost heap in the sky? I gave it a good talking to and warned it that if it didn’t do something soon, it would be shown the door. On a visit to the garden centre, I was drawn to the orchid section and, in a weak moment, succumbed to the necessary purchase. On returning home, I carefully repotted and watered and spoke sternly to said plant. Imagine my excitement when it threw up a stem full of buds! This week one, just one, burst into flower and what a flower it is! So, I am pleased for two reasons; I have managed to keep a houseplant for more than a few weeks and my money was well spent on nurturing this little treasure.

I bought a camellia a couple of years ago when down at Charlotte’s, I’m pretty sure she bought one too. Last year one tiny bud formed, right at the bottom of the stem – and there it stayed. It never turned into a flower but the rest of the plant seemed quite healthy with lovely green shiny leaves. This year I was quite excited when many buds appeared and I was in anticipation of a display of bright flowers. However, my hopes were dashed when the buds turned brown and that was obviously that! Raewyn told me that camellia don’t like the early morning sun. I had planted my poor camellia in the exact spot where the sun rises and shines between the two houses first thing in the morning. I treated my precious plant to a new pot, some new ericacious compost and a new position. A couple of the leaves are turning brown but my fingers are crossed that it will cheer up soon.

7 cabbage seedlings are now out in the open but I think my successional sowing hasn’t worked as both sets are coming up at more or less the same time. Maybe I didn’t leave enough time between sowing?

It occurred to me this week that the two remaining euonymus shrubs that have been climbing the back fence since we moved in to this house, were not really adding anything to the garden so down they came. It just remains for the long-suffering Steve to do the back-breaking work of digging out the roots. There were several more of these around the garden but they too have been gradually removed as my interest in the garden has grown. Sometimes I think I don’t see the stuff that’s been around for a long time. Anyway, I thought there were more attractive things to grow up the fence. A text to Raewyn and we’re on our way to Fryer’s for afternoon tea! Fryer’s are rose specialists so they have a huge variety to choose from. Did I tell you how hopeless I am at making decisions? After a discussion with the ‘rose man’, I chose a white rose with a pink tinged centre called ‘Swan Lake’.

I also chose a Jasmine called ‘Clotted Cream’.

I fear I may have made a huge mistake in cutting down my red climbing rose. It has been climbing the fence for a few years now and I have had a handful of the most beautiful roses from it but never in great numbers. I suspect it doesn’t get enough sun in its current position and I may ultimately have to move it. I had been out earlier in the month to prune it a little and reposition it on the trellis. Raewyn showed me an article about how to prune roses which said to remove the weak shoots and thin end bits (that’s a technical term!). On close inspection, I noticed that most of the shoots were weak and also that the main stems had at some point been split by I’m not sure what. So I took a deep breath and the secateurs and chopped it right down. I now live in hope that it will be rejuvenated and not killed!

I never seem to leave Raewyn’s house empty-handed and this time it was some tiny Zinnia seedlings. Of course I had no idea what Zinnia were! Have decided to plant them behind the little box hedge.