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!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The hazel and the ivy and Christmas garlands

I often wonder at the wisdom of having a hazel tree in such a small garden as it grows so rapidly and I'm sure is responsible for attracting those pesky squirrels, but at Christmas I am only too happy to make use of some of its shoots, or suckers, as a base for garlands. (I always think the term wreath sounds far too funereal). This is also where the ivy I frequently curse for its similarly rapid growth comes in handy, especially the variegated varieties, along with any other combination of evergreen foliage I can find dotted about including holly, the odd twig of bay laurel, euonymus or chiosya. This year my mahonia has put on an extra spurt of growth and the roughly symmetrical spiky pinnate leaves can easily be curved and interlocked with other leaves. I start with 3 or 4 long hazel shoots - about 5 feet - and bend them gently but firmly into a rough circle, fixing with lovely brown garden string or green wire and then weave ivy around, tucking in mahonia and the simpler leaves which make a good base - trimmings from the Christmas tree and some bits of blue spruce left over from a photoshoot came in very handy this year. Then I filled any gaps with holly or the less pliable foliage and finished off with a few baubles and ribbons. I don't know whether it was more fun making them or looking at them but they last well and are not too heavy to hang on any small unobtrusive nail or hook. No pictures as I only thought of it now they've been up for a few weeks and are past their best! Here is a blackbird in the Judas tree in stead!
Decorations aside the last few weeks' storms have been tough on the garden and almost entirely demolished the trellis except for the side which is now supported by the wisteria. What a pity it hadn't managed to grow a bit further! On a brighter note, I have had a great deal of pleasure from all my bird visitors this year and it was well worth investing in a temporary, more frost-proof, bird bath as it is being well-used. For more on the uses of hazel see: http://www.allotmentforestry.com/fact/growown3.htm

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A herald of winter - iris unguicularis

We had our first hard frost last week, bringing down a lot more leaves.   The Judas tree and hazel are virtually bare now and I enjoyed having a good sweep up at the weekend but there are still a lot to go.  I have never known leaves on the trees so late.   In the Marylebone Road, London some of the plane trees are bearing leaves which are still green!   But the cold has brought an end to my fuschias flowering and I miss their cheery colour as I look out of the window.
One heartening sight in the front garden is the iris unguicularis whose blooms always look far too delicate to survive the winter months - but they do.   I would like to divide the large plant and give some away but it is such a solid massive clump I don't think I have the strength.   At least the cats seem to be leaving it alone now although it's early days to determine whether or not the moth balls did the trick!   Further experiments needed....