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!

Friday, 29 October 2010

October - work to be done

I had some crazy idea that I would be able to whip the dahlias out and pop in the tulips - in a matter of a few hours!!!!    In fact just labelling the dahlias proved to take almost that long.   Now I see why people buy expensive metal tags which they leave on plants - permanently.   Anyway, I think I sorted them all out.   The next thing was to allow time - in the right location - for the worms which refused to be made homeless to decide to wriggle out.   Then came the small matter or hanging the tubers upside down for a week to allow them to dry out.   Hmmm - makeshift arrangements in the greenhouse took a bit of thinking out but I was glad I hadn't chucked out all the old shelf supports.   One greenhouse-length piece of wood balanced on some garden chairs seems to have done the trick!
Dahlia tubers drying on make-shift shelf in greenhouse

The first bach of tulip bulbs took longer to plant than expected as some multi-coloured osteospermum I had popped in as colour bedding have suddenly put on a new flush of blooms so I had to carefully dig around them.   Another lesson there.

In the greenhouse the winter salad crop and herb seedlings are coming on quite well.  Will soon have to decide whether to harvest some as "cress" or just thin out.   May experiment with a bit of each.
Progress of winter salad crops in growbags in the greenhoue
The nerines are certainly worth growing.   Sicne they are such a shocking colour I may even put in some orange ones for next year.   That would be interesting!

More crazy nerine shapes - they are so worthwhile - however LOUD!
Last luscious blush of little acer (unnamed seedling from Westonbirt arboretum)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

First frost

So we have had our first heavy frost - on the night of the 20th - which has put paid to all the cheerful exhuberance by turning the dahlias black.    My temptation was to whip them all out of the ground so I could put in my tulips but apparently the dying foliage has to be left at least a week.
Instead I spent some time having a serious think to try and remember where I envisaged the tulips going.   The front border has emerged fairly unscathed from the house being decorated (very handy having a decorator who is also a gardener!) and the white paintwork at the bottom will provide a great backdrop for tulips so I put in all the bulbs I rescued from 2009/10 plus some new "Irene" - then remembered the crocuses I had dug up so shoved them in - they will have to take their chances.
There is some new colour - evergreen honeysuckle has started its second flowering, winter jasmine (very early!), the nerines are opening, a few late roses and most stunning are the acer leaves which have turned a luscious coppery crimson.
Red robin has been exerting his territorial presence and I finally saw a squirrel yesterday.  
Now preparing myself for a lot of work next weekend.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

What a mess!

Suddenly the garden is looking pretty much of a mess!   So much for hopes of cutting the grass - I think that would make a big difference.   Still a lot of growth and quite a surprising amount of colour but I think this is the real turning-point.   I fact tonight's predicted frost prompted me to be quite ruthless about cutting handfuls of gorgeous dahlia blooms - so this will probably be it for dahlia pictures this year!!!  
I am posting a picture of the progress made by the nerines which shows just how much growth has begun to slow.  
There are still PLENTY cobwebs (seen here catching the light behind crocosmia leaves) - must be a very good time of year for spiders, although I have no idea why.    Are they fattening themselves up for winter?

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Nerine buds
It did turn out to be a beautiful sunny day - if rather windy.   Pruned forsythia, swept up some fallen leaves, picked a handful of raspberries and collected a few more nuts.   So had something else.   Before I realised the nuts were worth gathering I was throwing them into an empty pot.   They have all gone!
 Too wet to cut grass but gave 2 garden chairs a rub over with WD40 (yet another use of this wonderful stuff!) and put them in the shed for the winter.
Sitting with door open onto garden at dusk descends!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Changing hues

Sadly, we are back to the time of year when I only get to see the garden at weekends and there has been a definite change towards autumn in the past week.   The amelanchier has begun to shed its leaves and the acer is turning.   Everything is just beginning to look a bit messy.   I so hope the promised sunshine materialises so that the grass dries out enough to cut.   That always tidies things up!

But there are still little surprises.   The autumn raspberries are putting on quite a crop although the rain has turned them mildewy before I could get to them.   My growbags in the greenhouse are full of little seedlings of lambs lettuce, American land cress, rocket and leaf coriander (cilantro) - exciting!   Must remember to get more perpetual spinach to plant outside before it gets too cold - such a worthwhile veg..

My tulip bulb order arrived from Parkers last week- plenty of work to look forward to there.   Lovely bulbs.   I am impressed with Parkers.

The dahlias are still going strong, the rather strange buds of nerines are pushing their way through, the autumn crocuses and Japanese anemones are in bloom and a few stems of late aconitum have flowers for about the first time so I'm glad I didn't dig them up last year.  

Today I picked a tiny bunch of delicious-smelling sweet pea mattucana and nasturtiums including a gorgeous rust-coloured one.   Also despatched another 3 lily beetles and missed one.   They are certainly prolific.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Dahlia "Seduction"

Or ... seduction by dahlia.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Steam and cobwebb

Saturday morning was astonishingly bright - if very soggy.   While many things were battered down by the heavy rain others shone with gathered water droplets including this cobwebb caught against the light above a fence steaming in the warm sunlight.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Wet weekend

Let's hope this weekend won't be as wet as it is forecast to be!  

Late September view on a grey day