June view 2009

June view 2009
View of rose and herb garden, June 2009

Small Garden Story

Over some 15 + years, I have been photographing the evolution of my small (85 x 15 foot) garden and it seems a waste not to put these records into some sort of context. Beginning here in April 2010 this Blog is intended to both act as a diary and to share past and present successes (and some failures), pleasures and disappointments with fellow garden-lovers. In due course, I intend to fill in some of the background and early days but that will have to wait until the winter months!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Early morning light

With this amazing hot weather the early mornings have definitely been the best part of the days and I have been cherishing my trips to the end of the garden to pick raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants for my breakfast. 

Throughout the week the garden has been full of scent and buzzing with bees - there must have been literally hundreds on my R.Kiftsgate.   While the alliums are going over and the first flush of roses, the lilium regale are stretching their wonderful trumpets towards the sun and I have been carefully wrapping hop tendrils around them to keep them in some sort of order.

My dahlia plants are coming along in leaps and bounds - those planted and brought on in the greenhouse doing markedly better than the one I planted directly into the ground which has suffered badly from slug attacks.

Attached are a couple of first light images - dew on a crocosmia leaf and early sun on Clematis Etoile Violet, alliums and geraniums.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Redcurrant time

I am astonished by my one redcurrant bush.   Each year it produces a bigger crop and poses quite a major task finding time for picking - let alone deciding what to do with the fruit.  There is a limit to how much redcurrant jam one can eat and most of one's friends seem to be on a diet of some sort.   This year I have started taking the fruit in to work to distribute!   But I can't be ungracious and ignore my prolific bush's generosity so most evenings I am spending at least half an hour fruit-picking - about 11 lbs so far...   This one bush is in its third home and other than a regular feed of potash and fish blood and bone, it seems to need virtually no attention.   Maybe the proximity to next door's cats and dogs helps keep the birds off - who knows....

It has been really hot today so after planting out a few more straggling dahlias and some penstemons I accidentally acquired on my way home today, I watered thoroughly, not least as my grass seed seems to have taken - hoorah!   I expect now the slugs and snails will be out there drooling and licking their lips....

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Return from the country of big skies

We came back from our week in France yesterday.   Saw 2 wonderful gardens, both very different and basked in the space and peace of the Normandy countryside.   Rabbits (many! and of all sizes - very endearing), red squirrels, a family of rooks, nesting thrushes, fly-catchers (a first for me) and many more birds just in the cottage garden.  So we really relaxed and made the most of it.   Info. to follow.  
I was a bit nervous about the state of my garden when I returned but this is how it looked from the kitchen.   Needless to say I have spent the entire day on it today - including picking the first of MANY redcurrants.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Pretty pink ...

This wonderful little perennial, very similar to a woodruff, was given to me and I completely forgot what it is....  However, a bit of research proved it to have several names - most of them very easily forgotten!   Phuopsis stylosa or Crucianella stylosa seem to be options as are "long-styled crosswort" or "creeping crosswort".   But I think I will stick more inaccurately to pink woodruff.  

It is a very amenable little fellow though - tough, but not invasive and easily divided.   It is happy in this lightly-shaded spot edging the brick path.   I think it would grow a bit more compactly in more sun.

Monday, 7 June 2010


I am so happy to have LOTS of bees - at least 4 varieties of honey bees and some bumble bees.   They seem most attracted to the comfrey and loganberry flowers.   When it's quiet the air quite buzzes with them.

Not too many more lily beetles so fingers crossed I haven't missed been missing them.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

No more than a spit

I was so looking forward to a good down-pour!   OK, so not much good for my neighbours' barbeques but they can cope....   We literally had no more than enough to make a pattern of spots on the ground....   So I have had to water my most recent acquisitions, planted today - purple herbaceous Clematis Lord Herschel, a dwarf Salvia Gregii, Savannah Purple - which has the most astonishingly black-currant-smelling leaves and an unusual white geranium whose label I have lost already!

But it has been beautiful gardening weather and the lack of any extremes has kept it all pretty much controllable.   The white paeonies, roses and clematis are all trying to outdo one another presently and geraniums are coming into their own.   Hard to do it justice in a photo, so I won't try....   Here are a few details in stead.  They show R. "Warm Welcome", left, a self-set opium poppy and a classic-shaped bud of R. "Iceberg" - a plant given to me by my Mum who bought it in Woolworth's!   It's a worderful, reliable scented white rose which seems to flower most of the season.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Chelsea chop

I don't really have enough of anything to do much Chelsea chopping but I have experimented on some campanulas and picked out the tips of my dahlias which all seem to be looking healthy.  

Made a very early start pruning this morning - while it was still quiet - and was joined by Mrs Blackbird and her three rapidly-maturing youngsters.   I had put out some apples left over from work.   She tried feeding the young with apple but it seemed to disintegrate too easily on their sharp beaks.   Then she had a go at showing them how to eat it.   Oh dear, far too much trouble....   Far easier to wait for Mum to feed you.   They all seem quite familiar with me and will come within a few feet.

Pruning clematis and general tidying plus massive clearance of ivy from fence as my neighbours cut their side back - apparently completely.   Sadly the honeysuckle, just about to flower, has gone too.   Glad I took some cuttings....   But I do have a lot more light.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Dirty window

No, the Bank Holiday sun didn't last.   But it was plenty fine enough for an early-morning dash to the garden centre pre-crush and a very long afternoon planting out dahlias.   Some are still very small plants in the greenhouse and a few haven't sprouted at all, but I have plenty - well, I should have plenty!

When I came in for a mid-afternoon cuppa something was amiss in the dining room.   Things knocked off the window ledge and dirty dollops sprayed about on window, floor and chair suggested I had had a bird visitor trying to make its way out through the plate glass window.   But no harm was done and a thorough search revealed nothing so I guess all is well.   Shall have to remember to shut the French doors next time.

My neighbours have cut back the ivy and honeysuckle on our adjoining fence to reveal 2 empty birds nests.   My Mum's neighbour was more unfortunate and upset a nest of robin fledglings with her pruning.   An object-lesson to hang on that bit longer before too much tidying-up....