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.

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Blighted!

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Despite my best efforts to nurture my sickly tomatoes, I came to the conclusion (with the aid of the Gardener’s World magazine and my dear friend Jean) that they were not wind damaged as suspected but blighted, so they had to go. I felt I was cheating by going to the garden centre to replace them with 4 lovely specimens. I was so spoilt for choice, I bought 4 different varieties: ‘Moneyspinner’, ‘Beefeater’, ‘Shirley’ and ‘Italian Plum’. I’m not sure it was worth the aggravation of growing them from seed, apart from the price of course!

Last year I planted one of those mint plants you get on the fruit and veg shelf in Asda. It provided us with lovely mint all year but did not survive the severe winter. Well, I say it didn’t survive, it did actually provide another few leaves but, once picked, that was it. Still, not bad for an Asda herb. When shopping for new tomatoes, I also picked up a couple of different mint plants, one is lemon mint and the other a black peppermint.

The garden is very green. I think this is what’s known as the ‘June gap’ when everything is just on the verge of flowering but very little is. My lovely salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ continues to flower profusely whilst there is just the hint of an emerging purple dahlia. I must admit I am finding the crocosmia quite thuggish in overshadowing its neighbours; probably not suited to my small garden.

I can’t begin to describe how thrilled I was to discover pea pods! I was unsure about the pollination of peas but have since found out that they are classed as self-pollinators as pollination takes place within the flower without the need for insects.

Since opening the mesh covers, the pea plants have gone mad. I have run out of twigs and supports for them so they are just hanging on to anything they can get their tendrils round.

I harvested my first perfect cabbage this week and gave it to my son, James.

The strawberries have provided another bowlful. I just hope they are as tasty and juicy as the last lot. Monty Don says that the best way to eat them is warm from the sun, sprinkled with white pepper. I haven’t tried the white pepper but they are certainly better when they have not been chilled in the fridge.

When visiting Powerscourt House and Gardens last week, Charlotte and I were fascinated by the candelabra primula on sale in the pavillion. Imagine my delight when Raewyn spotted one when visiting a little garden centre in High Legh. It is still in the pot but I am sure I will get at least 3 new plants from it. Raewyn also spotted 2 different geums after I admired her’s. It’s worth knowing what things look like when not in flower.

Agapanthus Alba Eryngium Osteospernum
Zanzibar Pink Bicolour