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, 19 March 2012

Blue skies and white frosts

The birds seem to have found other things to interest them than my polyanthus this week.   I love the way they cross-polinate and do their own thing, popping up wherever they like - even between cracks in the brick paving.

It felt very warm in the sun while the bees were buzzing outside the French windows on Saturday but we have had some very harsh frosts in the past week, threatening to destroy the flowers on apricot  Flavorcot - I am hoping for more than 1 fruit this year.   The frost doesn't seem to have affected the amelanchier whose buds are bursting or the forsythia, which is very late this year, is always pretty hardy.    I love the buds almost as much as the flowers - like promising little fists.

It's dahlia planning time again and I have spent several hours poring over web sites trying to decide on some rich red and orange varieties to have a good fight with the civilized pinks of last year which do seem to have survived the extremely cold spells in the protection of my Mum's garage.   I found a few reds at the garden centre - Berger's Record and Garden Wonder - but I doubt I will be able to stop there.

What I am really hoping for is rain....

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spring and very naughty birds!

There are no two ways about it - spring has definitely arrived in the south east this weekend and everything is bursting into life.   Tulips are beginning to bud up as is clematis alpina.   Clematis armandii has begun flowering as has the Akebia quinata which I always wish was nearer the house, its flowers smell so good.

In particular there has been a lot of bird activity - especially blue tits and greenfinches who have taken to the peanut bird feeder, probably because I haven't been keeping up with their consumption of sun flower seeds in the other feeder.   This means they are closer to the window but also has a detrimental effect on the polyanthus which are beginning to look like a totally different species as their flowers are being demolished - I'm sure the tits and finches are to blame.

The mahonia is still smelling delicious and buzzing with bees and around the garden I have found plenty of 5 spot ladybirds but no harlequins as yet.

Made a good start on clearing away the debris from last year and raking the moss from the lawn which needs re-seeding again (as usual) but seems a little better for having the moss raked out mid-winter.  
Also gave the roses a feed of Wilkinson's Rose feed as recommended by a "proper" gardener friend.   BUT there is SO much to do and so little time...

Crossing my fingers we don't have any more hard frosts as there are plenty of flower buds on the apricot tree this year - the deep pink is just about showing.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Shy hellebores and other signs of spring

 Not only have I been remiss about writing my blog, I am ashamed of the little timeI have spent in the garden lately.    But the weather has been so up and down - with 2 weekends completely snowed over - that it is hard to know what to do for the best.   I do not trust it not to get bitterly cold again and so I am disinclined to do my final spring tidy - just in case.

As a result the garden looks a terrible mess.   Yesterday I ventured out to do a bit of sweeping and tidying, loosing an hour in a blink.   A large section of my eleagnus has decided to die back - inexplicably - but I was rewarded by the cheery blooms of 2 hellebores I had completely missed from the window.   What a shame they hang their pretty heads so low as their markings are so beautiful.   Pulmonarias and self-set primroses are also brightening dark corners and self-set crocuses continue to pop up in unexpected places.   I don't know if they are spread by seed or squirrels but they are very dainty.

Nearer the house the mahonia has been in flower for weeks and was abuzz with bees yesterday.   It smells delicious - pity one seldom has the French doors open in winter....   Several blue tits have been visiting the peanut feeder hanging adjacent.   I wonder if they are also responsible for the mahonia petals on the ground - they so seem to love pecking at flowers.

In spite of the warm sun yesterday the promised rain did arrive today and good and heavy it was.   Just unfortunate I was out clay shooting in it and got totally drenched.   It even snowed for a sort while.   At the shooting ground, near Beaconsfield in Bucks, shoots of bluebells have been trying to force their way through for well over a month but don't seem to be getting far.    The gravel pit has all but dried up but today's downpour did wake up one creature who seemed pleased to receive it.   While we were shooting a large, splendid yellowy-brown toad came waddling towards us.   He was so bold we decided we should move him out of harms way in case we accidentally trod on him and he immediately disappeared under a large dead leaf and started digging....

Have just picked a few handfuls of baby rocket and American land cress leaves from the greenhouse - they seem to have been unaffected by the extreme cold even in my unheated greenhouse!