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!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Delicious Rain

Yes, at last we have lovely gentle rain.   I had forgotten how absolutely delicious it smells after everything's been so dry - like the early mornings of hot summer holidays in France.   Can't ever remember being so happy to get up on a Saturday morning to rain....

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Happy as a bee in pollen!

Normally I wouldn't think of posting another 2 pictures of bees - and on the same plant (Echinops/Globe thistle) - but these fellows were so covered in pollen and looked as if they were having such a good time, I couldn't resist it.   In the background of one are the first to open of my shocking orange dahlias.   Dahlia pics to follow soon.

I was pruning and tidying today when I made a lovely discovery.   The Clematis "Pistachio" which I thought had succumbed to the hard winter has 2 sturdy new shoots and even some tiny flower buds - so I may have a late-flowering clematis just where I wanted it after all!   Still looking for a relatively small-flowered mid-late season variety - most of the white clematis on the market seem to be fairly huge....

The less lovely discovery was a lily beetle.   It's easy to forget about them once the luxury of their flowering is over.    I would love to find some later flowering lilies to extend the season and read about Lilium Formosanum in Christopher Lloyd's "Garden Flowers" but my first attempts to grow them from seed were a miserable failure.   I think I rather overdid the copper fungicide spray.   Will have another go.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Busy bees

I just read in the RHS magazine that bee numbers are up.   It certainly seems to be the case in my garden.   Now the echinops are in full bloom there are masses of bees and hover flies busying about them.

Still no rain here - in spite of substantial cloud-bursts round and about.   I can really recommend Maidenhead to people who are not so keen on rain!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Black and white

In contrast with my redcurrant crop, I picked the sum total of my black currants and white currants in about half an hour.   Never mind - it's a much bigger crop than last year.   Spreading the bushes out to give them more light has obviously been worth the effort....

Friday, 16 July 2010


What a reward for venturing out on a soggy night.   My suspicions have been proven true - THERE IS a hedgehog who passes through my garden, at least one.   At about 9.15pm I heard scuffling and scrunching and there on the path was a very smart, quite young-looking hedgehog clearing up my snails for me.   I followed him or her for quiet a while as it pottered about and finally went under the fence next door.

Other firsts this week were a wonderful, decent precipitation of rain which seems to have done my eccremocarpus seedlings far more good in 2 days than all my weeks of careful watering and I picked my first French bean.   Now I am going to eat it!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Gooseberries and dragons

My goodness has it been hot - and no rain for ages.   But lots of things have been enjoying the sun - not least my pink gooseberries.   There is only a small crop this year since a would-be burglar climbed over the fence and landed on the one bush, demolishing half of it (I hope it hurt!!!) but plenty for a gooseberry pie tonight - with ice cream....

The garden is beginning to go into its high-summer phase now with fiery shades to mark the season.   Alas I have lost quite a few treasures to the hard winter but other things are looking promising.   Along with the first dahlias in rich reds, pinks and orange, crocosmia "Lucifer" has spring into action this week, nodding its huge stems like small fire-breathing dragons. 

Managed to choose one of the hottest days of the year to start digging up my driveway, removing paving slabs and underlying concrete to put it all down to gravel.   Madness.... but good exercise!   Great to have the cool and tranquility of the back to retreat to!   In the process I had to cut down a whole lot of aquilegia seedheads from plants in all different blue-white-purple-pink shades.   Anybody want any seeds?

Monday, 5 July 2010

For the birds and the bees

I forgot to mention that my wonderful Kiftsgate rose has been a MAJOR attraction for bees.   There must have been literally hundreds on it some days....

Another thing they love is the honeysuckle whose scent is so delicious.   Here it is as a backdrop to a clump of Globe thistles - also bee favourites when they finally burst into dainty blue flowers...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Summer begins to turn

With the longest day passed there have been so many changes and so much to do, it's hard to keep up with it!   Having enjoyed 2 weeks of picking fruit for my breakfast, the raspberries have virtually finished now and I picked the last of approx 17 lbs of redcurrants yesterday,   But the loganberries have started to ripen so my breakfast fruit supply has been uninterrupted!  Sheer fluke but great.

The regal lilies are in full swing now and my first dahlia has come out in the past couple of days - a lovely deep red.   I never have (yet) got round to making a plan of which ones are which but most are doing well and many showing coloured buds.

Most of the roses have finished their first flush and I still think the most spectacular feature of the garden is the Kiftsgate rose which has lasted beautifully for a full 2 weeks plus and relatively healthily this year.  But I am still perplexed by the fact that it turns pink as it ages which really does suggest it isn't Kiftsgate but something else.   I must look into this further.   Anyway, here are 2 shots of it taken 2 weeks apart, which show what I mean!