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, 25 November 2013

Chimeric dahlias

Just spotted this interesting snippet on the National dahlia collection newsletter www.national-dahlia-collection.co.uk

Chimeric dahlias
Chimera - definition - a single organism that is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells

There are quite a number of these chimeric dahlias and whilst they are of great garden interest you will never see them on the show bench because individual flowers are rarely the same colours.
Although we call them chimeric, which really just indicates unstable genes, you will often hear them referred to as varieties with, "jumping genes".
One of the difficulties we have is the website photographs. We try to show the varieties to best effect but, as we ourselves found at Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, sometimes the variation is significant and Twyning's Smartie came out almost entirely purple! Also we know from you that some of the Blackberry Ripple supplied this year flowered entirely purple this Summer. The problem is that by the very nature of the plants themselves we can never be sure exactly how they will turn out.
Nevertheless, they make an interesting addition to your garden and are worth giving a go.

I would endorse that!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Fuschia in the dark

Before I closed the curtains I had to take a quick snap of this gorgeous fuschia catching the light from the kitchen....   I do hope the frost doesn't catch it too soon.

Robbing a robin of his bath and cat problems

I have been enjoying watching my resident robin and regular visiting blackbird in particular enjoying baths.   The robin dips in and out quite hesitantly but the blackbird could splash for England.   So I am feeling rather guilty since I put my best two ceramic bird baths away for the winter - not least when the blackbird appeared quite suddenly and perched on the empty base almost as if he was looking around to see where the bath had gone.   I am going to have to invest in some frost-proof stand-ins for the next few months, especially as it is finally due to turn cold next week.
Saturday's sunshine provided a great opportunity to lift some dahlias and get the tulip bulbs in.   Having decided just to plant where they will be visible from the house I simply dug three big holes, mixed up bulbs of Ballerina, Burgundy and a new variety for me - the purple/white stripey Zurel - and popped them in with a handful of Fish, blood and bone.   While doing this I was treated to a close-up visit from the robin who is indeed a very smart fellow.   Here he is picking over a newly-planted pot of Rai parrot tulips.
In the front garden, once I had removed the generous unwelcome deposits of a local cat which seems to enjoy emptying its self on my iris unguicularis, I planted 30 bulbs of tulip Princess Irene, a gorgeous and to my mind quite stunning small tulip with its flowers ranging through deep yellow-orange to red-purple in one bloom.   Unfortunately Parkers had a maximum purchase limit of 30 this year as they were on offer!
I had a good clearance with cutting back perennials, leaf-sweeping and redefined the edge of my joke of a grass-patch which needs some serious moss-clearing soon.   Finally, I am experimenting with a new cat-deterrent recommended by a gardener-friend - moth balls!   Since I put holly-leaves on newly-dug area they have just given up and emptied themselves just about anywhere so I am open to suggestions - but no thanks, I don't want to get my own cat!   Let's just see how the moth balls go for now....

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Storm damage

I thought I had escaped the ravages of Monday's storm (thank goodness I had the roof and my 3 chimney pots renovated some years back!) but this morning I discovered the trellis in front of the greenhouse had taken a battering and was on the lean.   I think some of the posts are going to need replacing but it will probably be easier to deal with over the winter months when some of the climbers are bare of leaves.
As it's been so mild there is still much greenery and I can't bring myself to cut back the dahlias and perennials which are becoming a bit scruffy just yet.   The remarkable nerines are busy making their pink explosions and the fucshias are still flowering prolifically - so lots of pink.   Not much to cut for the house except the odd little bunch of honeysuckle which always smells so delicious and reminds me of summer.
I can't wait to get my tulip bulbs to plant when I will make the time for a good clear up and put the garden to bed.   This year I am going to cut everything back, clear all the leaves and have a general tidy up of grass edges etc..   Maybe it's time for a bit of a general re-think of those areas which have got rather out of control!