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, 20 February 2023

Hummingbird Hawk moth in February!

I was really excited to spot a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on my Mahonia today.   Unfortunately, one of my pair of resident robins also had his eye on it.   Reminding me how remarkable nature is, just as the robin attacked, the moth beat a hasty retreat and they both shot off around different sides of the hedge into my neighbours' garden so I didn't see the outcome.   Moments later, the robin re-appeared, apparently still hungry so here's hoping the moth got away!

Mahonia flowers, like tiny daffodils

No pictures on this encounter but here's a shout for Mahonia which attract so much attention from both birds (mainly blue tits) and bees from January onwards when there is so little in flower - and it smells so good!   I consider them a must-have for any garden - especially near a window where you can watch the activity.

In contrast the self-set crocuses are a a joy to behold, especially when they open in the sun.   I must have planted a few years back and they have multiplied and interbred to produce quite a diverse range of forms from pure mauve to some with almost white outer petals and pale mauve inner.

Crocuses self-set along a brick path

Friday, 1 May 2020

Delightful miniature lilac

This year the lilacs seems to have been particularly spectacular. Maybe because we've had more time to appreciate them. The little Syringa palibiniana I have had growing in a pot for well over 20 years has excelled its self. If you have a small garden or little space for the standard varieties (which can take over) I strongly recommend this gem. It needs little attention, has seldom been re-potted and seems happy with just a little top dressing and feeding. It smells divine!

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Unexpected over-wintering climber!

So we are all confined to home, which suits some much better than others. I definitely count myself as amongst the lucky and plan to be making the most of the extra time in the garden - and sharing the pleasure! One of the things I love most about gardening is the unexpected surprises. This spring I have been amazed to discover that both the cobea scandens and eccremocarpus scaber - two half-hardly perennials that are usually tender in our climate - that I grew from seed last year have over-wintered in the area nearest the house, the eccremocarpus looking stronger than ever and flowering beautifully. I just need to go and pull it back from shooting up next-door's overgrown buddleia!

Friday, 5 October 2018

Early autumn and dahlias

After the incredibly dry summer it was amazing how things took off again once it finally began to rain. Tap water - however frequently and lovingly applied just doesn't have the same effect as rain water, resulting in the dahlias being very late to flower. As I write I am still waiting for the first buds to open on two of them - crossing everything we don't have any early frosts!
Here are a few images as a thank you for those of you who persevere with looking!
My veg have been a success this year, not least lots of different types of legumes in succession beginning with broad beans (the least successful in terms of space to crop ratio), dwarf yellow French beans, dwarf and purple-podded peas and lastly the amazing purple French beans which have only just come to an end. I would really recommend them as they are really easy to grow from seed and seem to crop prolifically although they do get pretty massive - more like a runner bean plant really. I even grew some in a pot with thunbergia this year. They made a pretty pair!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


The biggest, boldest and last of my alliums to flower - A. Christophii also happily self-seeds in my garden. Here a little group are partly supported by the flourishing stems of herbaceous clematis Wyevale which is trying to take over a whole area of the "herb garden" and seems to have choked my little rosa Warm Welcome to death! The flower pot is a an earwig trap left over from last year. I must refill it with straw soon before they start appearing in numbers. I've already seen off a few!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Legumes and soft fruit

Having replaced most of the wooden fence and a "patch up" job on the shed, for the first time I am quite proud of the fruit and veg patch behind the greenhouse. At the moment it seems the only area that is vaguely under control. I cut some of the raspberries right back last year but they seem to be doing just as well as the ones I only hard pruned - an interesting experiment. The redcurrant bush is weighed down with fruit again this year and the red gooseberry seems happy although I can no longer think of it as a standard in shape! The three new blackcurrant bushes look healthy enough but are not going to bear fruit this year. The new blackberry is taking its' time to get going though, having put on hardly any growth. In the veg line I planted shop-bought seedlings of broad beans, Tom Thumb peas, a purple-podded pea variety and some dwarf yellow french beans. The 4 courgettes seeds and 12 purple climbing french beans I planted ALL came up. I learned about courgette plants last year so have already given 2 away! The first little pea pods are already well-formed on Tom Thumb so hopefully everything won't all come at once. In the greenhouse are 4 tomatoes (Sarah Raven mix - one failed so they refunded me £ 1.64p!!!) and a couple of chili peppers. Thinking about planting a cucumber of two since my trip to Cyprus where it appeared at virtually every meal - and why not!

May exhuberance

While I was away walking in Cyprus in 30+ degrees of heat, the south of England was also having glorious weather. I could hardly believe how green it all looked from the window of the plane and the beautiful patches of white daisies growing on the verges right near Heathrow airport! My garden is also flourishing and for once last weekend's Bank Holiday weather permitted wall to wall gardening which I needed in order to catch up. I can't really single out anything that's of particular merit this year other than the roses which seem to be flourishing everywhere. I have never had so many buds on any of mine although I have sadly lost the little bright orange "Warm Welcome" which was sickly last year and just totally died this spring. Maybe it has been suffocated by the herbaceous clematis "Wyevale" which is a bit of a thug and needs serious thinning out. Not sure whether I should try another rose in the same place but it's hard to find anything which does quite the same job! One mark of the prolonged cold spring is how late the dahlias have been to get started - even in the greenhouse. I planted the tubers from Sarah Raven almost as soon as they arrived but a couple only began showing shoots last week. Ironically, in spite of some extremely cold snaps, I DID manage to overwinter some tubers from last year, packed in foam chips in a large cardboard box in the greenhouse. I have been brutal with digging up and chucking out the tulip bulbs now they are over and for once am left with a few patches of bare earth as the dahlias grow on sufficiently to be planted out. Not sure where I will find space for them all now!