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, 29 July 2013

Grey dagger caterpillar

I found this astonishing caterpillar while pruning the roses yesterday.   According to Ispot www.ispot.org.uk/node/296823 it's a Grey Dagger caterpillar, (Acronicta psi).   The moth looks to be a beautiful mottled grey beast - although I guess I am very unlikely to see it.   I will keep an eye on the caterpillar, just in case I am lucky enough to see it change.   I doubt anything would want to try eating it!

Picked black and white currants yesterday.   That's about it - except for the loganberrries which are producing a few handfuls of fruit every day.  

Also did some major pruning - a small branch off each of the Judas tree and Amelanchier as well as cutting back some of the roses.   Hopefully this will allow the dahlias a little more light so they will get less straggly-looking!

Wonderful rain this weekend....

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Clematis come into their own

At present the garden would be totally dull without clematis.   The medium height deep purple-blue Bonanaza is covering an obelisk, Hagley Hybrid, a paler pink than usual as I think the sun has bleached it somewhat, is coping very well with a shady arch, Etoille Violette's neat purple blooms are prolifically scrambling up the nut tree, Princess Diana is resisting the ants in the soil around its potted roots and making great progress up the Judas tree with a constant stream of reddish pink tulip-shaped flowers and the soft blue flowers of Prince Charles - just commended an RHS award of garden merit - another plant which is is also doing valiantly in a pot behind some of the larger roses.   But I still can't believe what a stalwart herbaceous C. Arabella is!   From the moment it begins to flower it just keeps going - helped with a little tlc of watering, cutting back dead flowers and the occasional feed.   Here it is with some seed heads of Allium Purple Sensation which have done particularly well this year.

Last night we had a wonderful fall of rain.   That will have brought down the last pink petals of Kiftsgate so no excuse now but to give it a good trim (half a day's work!) and see if we have a bit of repeat flowering in the autumn.

Sunday, 14 July 2013


I seem to have spent more time picking red currants than anything else in the garden this past week.   So far they come to 19 lbs and still many more to gather!   I have given a batch to Boulters Restaurant this year but friends are helping out too....

The heat is scorching but some things are still doing beautifully - the jasmine, honeysuckle, clematis Bonanza and other climbers - including of course rosa Kiftsgate whose blooms are turning really pink in the sun - are helping to create shade.

Here clematis Etoille Violet and Rosa Prince Charles make one of my favourite combinations.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Late May bug and other visitors

A very early breakfast in the garden
With the hot weather I have been having to water select areas but the soft fruit is loving it.   Have already picked about 5 lbs of redcurrants and hardly made any visible impression on my one wonderful bush.   The roses are still fabulous with Kiftsgate in full bloom, framing the garden and buzzing with bees.   This year the clematis Arabella adjacent to rosa Pat Austin is also finally doing what I had planned and hoped for and mixing its blooms beautifully with the copper/apricot rose.
Clematis Arabella and rosa Pat Austin - a favorite colour combination
I was somewhat shocked to find a large beetle sandwiched between my pillows - right underneath my head - this morning.   It turned out to be (rather late) May bug or cockchafer beetle and it was still alive!   Arrgghhh. 
A hasty shot of the May bug that slept under my pillar and survived!
I am still doing battle with the squirrel, who seems to be able to gnaw through wire to get the peanut feeder open - so I am leaving it empty for a week.   But the great density of plants along the peripheries of the garden at the moment does seem to be proving quiet a good deterrent for cats.  This one was meowing rather pathetically at me from the other side of the prolifically-flowering rosa Vielchenblau the other morning.
Cat behind shed roof covered with rosa Vielchenblau