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!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Rain on mutant poppies

I ramble on too much.   Here are some pics of the most astonishing poppies - and another allium christophii, for good measure.

Late May views

View through arch as Kiftsgate begins to open

 This bank holiday I have been perfectly happy to see it rain although the garden itsself doesn't seem to have minded the dry weather and everything is still way ahead of usual.   One advantage of the dry weather has been that things haven't grown quite so out of control this year meaning less rushing out and staking things dripping with rain.   Also the grass has just about stayed green but hasn't needed cutting every 5 minutes.   Maybe all this is about to change....

Clematis and roses - this IS a bit of a jungle 
Here are some general views as a contrast to this time last year.   Perhaps the most significant thing I have noticed is that for the first time the left hand side of the garden seems to be doing well - probably as it has more light since next door's high conifer has been removed.
Not a garden for tall people - the honeysuckle does its own thing and smells divine
The left side of the garden is flourishing - much helped by things which have self-set

Dahlia planting

I am so glad that last weekend I spent a whole day digging up tulip bulbs and planting my dahlias.   Some of them - from Rose Cottage Garden - were quite small but the ones I bought early from various garden centres were getting so advanced that I actually had to pick out flower buds from some of them.

This year I have gone for a much more harmonious colour combination going through from white in various forms via the pinks and purples to very deep reds which go toward black.   I am already wondering if there will be enough contrast but I'm hoping the softer balance might give a more continuous feel in my tiny space.   I have also tried to find lower-growing varieties and am aiming to pinch them out to keep them smaller....

Varieties are:  
White Star, My Love, Jura, Eveline - all basically white
Seduction, Orfeo, Purple Gem, Le Baron - basically pink - magenta.   2 of Le Baron haven't come up so I have asked Rose Cottage Plants for a replacement....
Edinburgh - deep purple tipped white
Natal and Arabian Night - deep red
Nuit d'Ete - very dark crimson

Luckily we have had some lovely rain since I planted them....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Early allium christophii

 A few wonderful "bonus" hours in the garden this week have given me time to observe just how far ahead everything is this year - a good 3 weeks.   I would be worried that there will be no colour left by mid June if it weren't for the fact that the dahlias are coming along so rapidly that I have had to start nipping the tops out.

I think I like the promise of things to come almost as much as when everything is in full bloom.   Is it the anticipation or the sadness that they will soon be over?   Maybe a bit of both.   The allium christophii just bursting forth definitely fits the former - as do the white peony buds.   The white rock rose treats me with delicate buds and delightful fallen petals.   The only thing is it's growing so far over the path it is almost becoming a hazard...

 I am very pleased with the roses this year.   I gave them a very thorough spraying one still day in early April and there is very little sign of mildew and very few black spotty leaves.   Gave them another, less thorough, spraying this evening.  Bayer's MultiRose certainly knows its stuff.   "Kiftsgate" seems to be reaching further than ever and is threatening to cover almost everything given half the chance!

The self-set foxgloves are so user-friendly.   They seem to transplant without any complaint - given a few days of good watering.  I seldom notice how beautiful the bee guides are but I did today!

"Let me in..." Chaffinch visitor

If the rabbit wasn't enough of a surprise, for the past couple of days I have had another unexpected visitor but this time one who actually seems to want to be let in to the house.

A chaffinch has taken to perching on a wayward stem of clematis armandii hanging across the kitchen French windows and keeps tapping on the glass.   I wondered if he could see himself reflected in the dining room mirror but I don't think so (have tried closing the door between!) and he even went around to the side window to try it too!

While it is very amusing, I hope he gives up soon - in favour of a more productive pursuit.

Either way it will teach me to keep my windows cleaner.   (It IS a bit of a standing family joke!)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Unexpected visitor

Luckily I was going to work late this morning because when I looked out on the garden I noticed s furry gingery creature happily sniffing around it turned out not to be the unwelcome ginger cat but my neighbours' rabbit!

I let him have a bit of an explore - interested to see how much damage a rabbit might do (I've always thought I'd rather like one but that rabbits and gardens don't mix too well...) and he wasn't too distructive - a bit of digging in bare patches and a bit of parsley chomping - before cornering him in the greenhouse and asking my neighbour to take him home.   That proved fairly tricky!

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Today we finally had rain - the first for at least a month, a really good soaking and my first rose is out - Zepherine Drouhin.   The Clematis Montana hasn't so many flowers this year although the second cutting from my Mum's which is now trailing about over the old dead cherry tree trunk is doing well and its flowers seem to be scented - a delicious soft powdery sweetness, very faint.

Almost all of the tulips are finished and I am trying to decide whether to just dig them up and give them away or try and sort them out and keep them.   The first batch of dahlias have come on so well they really need planting out!

Not a lot of colour just now - the most cheerful things are the first batch of alliums, the common peony and the many-coloured aquilegia which never disappoint.

Hoping for more rain tonight!

A week at Sicard, South West France

Have just spent a beautiful, peaceful week at Domain Sicard, a lovely gite owned by the most delightful couple.   Ironically our weather was better in the UK but it didn't matter.   Martine and Wout have developed their garden little by little from scratch so that it has areas of planting which gradually blend into the surrounding counrtyside.   The most magical thing for me is a path which winds up the hill behind the house, carefully strimmed into the grass to guide you but not interfere with the environment, to a little bench with wonderful views over the surrounding hills.   This is also about the only point you can get a telephone signal!

Shade planting
Evening view
Wild flower meadows blend into surrounding countryside

View from the top of the garden

Wild orchids