A diary of progress in my garden 2012
30.04.12. No, that is not my garden in the photo above – I wish it were! After what seems like weeks of rain, my garden has survived and flourished. The pond is full, which must be the first time in absolutely ages, because I have been conserving water even before the hosepipe ban introduced this month (just before the rains came), due to having my water bills now being measured by water meter.
The Ceanothus has flowered on the sunny side, the shady side will be out next week no doubt. The Ribes, which was flowering magnificently earlier on in the month, has finished, but the Genister is still in full bloom. The Lilac down the end is just about to come out, as is the Clematis Montana ‘rubens’ which covers my dog run and the archway. The little delicate Markham’s Pink Clematis is out, which changes into fluffy flower heads that look like dandelion clocks, and ‘Nellie Moser’ has her buds ready to burst forth.
My winter violas are all still blooming well, although they are being overshadowed now by the tall leaves of my Spanish Bluebells and giant purple Allium which are on the way. The Dicentra is in full bloom, although not very tall yet. A pity about both of my Magnolias, I think they need feeding, or putting in the ground. There has only been one flower on each. I am loathe to plant them out, as my mother gave me one on my 50th birthday, and I want to take it with me if and when I move.
In the front garden the pink Viburnum bodnantense tree has finished now, but the Tamarisk is getting ready to burst forth. On the other side, my investment last year in a lime green Euphorbia polychroma paid off, and it looks lovely against the Photinia Red Robin which is in magnificent colour now. The purple irises I bought from a gardener friend, have again increased this year, and are just starting to flower, together with the purple everlasting wallflowers and the huge Rosemary bush. Aubretia is crawling all over the gravel, as usual.
The birds are still very active. There is never a dull moment here. The resident wood pigeon, Percy, waddles around on my patio under the bird feeders, scrabbling for the seeds that the smaller birds drop. The pair of collared doves still sit side by side most of the day in my ash trees down the end. Two pairs of blackbirds are nesting, as are two pairs of dunnocks. Robin comes and goes, sitting on my patio table looking in at me in my recliner chair overlooking the garden. A wren is always very busy in the ivy down the end of the garden. Sparrow numbers seem to be increasing again, but I don’t get an army of them like I did twenty years ago. The other birds, mostly blue tits, great tits and greenfinches come in at regular intervals for their breakfast, lunch and supper, but I haven’t recently seen the ten or so goldfinches that usually come. Maybe I should change the food I am serving up!
Next month will be the best month of the year for me, and looking at my garden now, I don’t think it is going to disappoint. However, I haven’t yet bought any seedlings for my mini greenhouse, so if I don’t get my skates on there will be no summer colour. I’d better stop writing and get on out there!
And I did. Two and a half hours later, with an aching back and a half-full wheelie bin, I downed tools and went for a well earned cup of tea. As I sit surveying my handiwork, I wonder where it all came from. Nothing looks any different. That is what I like about my garden. It is so full, there are never any gaps waiting to be filled with more expensive plants. There isn’t a parched and patchy lawn, or one that has grown so much in the rain that it is making me feel guilty that I haven’t mown it this week. Apart from the obvious patches of seasonal colour of the shrubs and perennials, it stays the same all year round, and there is always something to look at. The birds love it, the frogs love it, and the dogs have their own patch to run around in without damaging anything. My little heaven! Not everyone’s idea of a perfect garden, but it suits me!
01.05.12 And it still suits me when it rains. I must have been lucky yesterday when the sun was shining all day here. So many people told me it was still raining where they were. I am so glad I took advantage of the sunshine and titivated my garden, as there has been no chance of going out today. It has been pouring all day. Still, my garden looks lovely in the rain. Back to my writing!
06.05.12. But after days and days of rain, the sun came out on my birthday as usual to welcome me.
11.05.12 Finally, 11 days since my last gardening spree, I have managed to get out into the garden again and get rid of the dandelions and other weeds that have sprouted in my front garden with all the rain we have been having. I managed again to half-fill the garden wheelie bin, which had only been emptied yesterday. I have chopped back the massive rosemary bush, as it seemed to be drowning all the other plants in that border between my driveway and Mr Nasty’s. Now the purple irises which are in full bloom can be seen properly. I was gratified to find that my Pulmonaria had survived the winter beneath the Rosemary bush, as I though I had lost them. I also found a clump of pink bluebells hiding behind the purple iris. Rhododendron is showing pink tips to her buds, so with a bit of sunshine she should soon be out, unlike the purple one in the back whose buds are tightly closed. Strange that, the one in the back gets much more sun (when it shines).
The back garden needs doing again, but that will have to wait until my back is better, that is if it stops raining long enough to get out there again! The pink Clematis Montana ‘rubens’ over the archway, and over the dog run is in full bloom now, but ‘Nellie Moser’ still has her buds tightly closed, as does most of the more delicate Clematis Montana on my fence by my patio, although there are a few flowers out just near the house.
The little Geranium Herb Robert is a profusion of little pale pink flowers in my right hand border, but the purple variety is flowering well on the left side of the pergola, strange there is no purple yet on the right hand side, just the pink. The yellow Genister is still in full bloom, but it can’t last much longer, so the yellow Potentilla is braced to replace her, and already has flowers out. Dicentra is not looking too good. It has masses of leaves which are overshadowing the flowers now, and Valarian in that bed will soon be out by the looks of things. Ceanothus is in full bloom on both sides now, and is attracting lots of bees. Most of the violas are still going strong, except those in the strawberry pot, which was looking magnificent a week ago. Finally, the pink and blue bluebells are all in full flower now, as is the lilac down the end, but it has not done very well for the past couple of years.
23.05.12. The rain has been stopped for a few days now, and I have finally had some time to get out and do the garden. I cannot believe how much everything has grown, especially the weeds! The last time I did my back garden, 01.05.12, there wasn’t a weed in sight. Everything has shot up. Now, of course, I have a different problem, we are in the middle of a heatwave and I cannot work in the sun. However, I did two hours on the shady side of the garden in the morning, then went out and did a bit around the patio for an hour or so after the sun went down. I have cancelled all my activities tomorrow, and intend to get up early and get the rest done before the sun gets around.
24.05.12. Well, I made an early start at 8am, and managed to get the rest of the patio area done, and most of the gravelled area, until it was just too hot to work any longer. I went out again for an hour or so after lunch and finished the gravelled area, and cut back my Winter Jasmine, which was looking straggley, but that was all I could manage in the heat. I have left the back end of the garden either until the sun has gone down, or first thing tomorrow, before the sun comes round again. I’ve got to get it all done as I have a party here on Saturday and everyone will want to sit out, as the hot weather is forecast to continue.
The Genister obviously doesn’t like the heat as the flowers have rapidly died away since the hot weather started, but the Potentilla has replaced it keeping a yellow patch on that side of the garden. The Clematis is starting to drop its’ flowers and annoy me now – it means a constant sweeping operation as the dogs traipse in and out of their run. The little mini-geraniums are all over the place, but I am loathe to pull them all up as the bees love them so much. The Violas on the ground are still in full bloom, but those in the strawberry pot aren’t looking too clever. The two Ceanothus are looking marvellous, but covering the ground with blue dust now. The bluebells and pink bells are over, and not worthy of space in the pots, so I shall take them out and plant them somewhere more suitable when they are completely over. I need to buy some bedding plants for the pots, and I’ll clear all the bulbs out when I do that, and start again. I’d like to do that in time for the weekend, but I doubt if I’ll have enough time. This time last year my pots were all full of Busy Lizzies I had grown myself in my mini-greenhouse, but the weather this year has not been conducive to me growing anything.
Out the front, the purple irises are on the way out, they obviously don’t like the heat either, but the pink Rhododendron is almost in full flower. On Sunday it was just showing a bit of pink. Nellie Moser has opened a few buds today, and by the weekend should be looking spectacular if the weather keeps up. My white & purple clematis is showing no sign of appearing from its pot yet, but the purple one is shooting well. The ash trees down the end have finally decided to open up this week, after keeping themselves tightly closed for at least a month. Summer must be here at last!
Now of course, I will have to keep up with the watering with a watering can, as we still have a hosepipe ban in this area, goodness knows why! There was an advantage to having constant rain, after all, I was spared that chore.
26.05.12. Well my garden is looking good enough for my party tonight, so long as no-one goes down to the wild end, as it has been too hot to do any more, and I have been preoccupied with housework and shopping in preparation for the party. However, I managed to spend £35 on bedding plants, including a cerise Azalea to replace the one I put in the ground and hasn’t been doing very well. I didn’t put out the bedding plants, as they need hardening off in my mini-greenhouse overnight, but they will be ready for the Jubilee weekend, and our street party on 4th June. The pink Rhododendron in the front garden has come out in a blaze of glory now – a week after first showing a pink tip to the buds. The purple one in the back is tightly closed still, but Nellie Moser has several flowers full out, and the tall alliums are now fully open.
11.06.12. I must be doing something right. I just spotted bullfinches at my feeders in my garden, and on Saturday there was a very pretty unidentified bird serenading me which looked like a large version of a goldfinch.
But the garden is sodden. Most of my big alliums have fallen over with the weight of the rain, the little miniature geraniums have their flowers tightly closed, and the petunias are looking very bedraggled. Nellie Moser was looking spectacular, but doesn’t like this constant rain. However, the lupins and delphiniums are standing erect so far – I don’t think they have any room to fall over. They are being propped up by valerian and geraniums respectively. The potentilla has come to a flowering halt now, so there is very little yellow in the garden, although I did see a glimpse of the yellow irises in the pond the other day, but I’m not going down the garden in this weather to photograph them! The mauve rhododendron is out at last, but the pink one at the front has lost most of its petals, which were looking so wonderful for the Diamond Jubilee street party. Out the front, the Sambacus Nigra Black Lace is coming into splendid flower, as is the white Spirea, although the Tamarix seems to have come to a grinding halt.
I need to get out and do the back of the garden, but what with the weather, and my hectic social life, I haven’t had a chance. However, it looks passable near the house and was good enough to impress my horticultural-maniac friend on the Jubilee street party day. Having been over to hers this weekend though, I’m wishing I had some of her lemon lupins to compliment the purple ones that I have. Her garden was stunning as usual.
06.07.12. Well, I actually managed to get out and do a bit of triffid trimming yesterday, after the sun had gone off my patio, as it was very hot out there until then. Two hours later with an aching back, although I had now filled the garden wheelie bin which had been emptied that morning, I couldn’t really see that I had made any impact on the wilderness.
Having given a haircut to the Winter Jasmine last month, I expected that at least to be tidy – wrong! As it was trying to get into my lounge every time I opened the patio doors, that took priority with my secateurs, as did the Clematis Montana which was winding its’ way round my Fatsia Japonica and everything it could get its’ tendrils around. The Buddleias are all at full height now, but have only just started budding up, so no floral relief to the green there. I trimmed the Forsythia yet again and other shrubs which have finished flowering, but overall my garden now is just a mass of green, with the odd splash of purple Delphiniums pink and purple Loosestrife, a purple dwarf Hebe and pink Valerian which has spread around everywhere. The Honeysuckle is flowering, but again, there is more green than colour.
Everything else seems to be dwarfed by the greenery, and the delicate little pink, purple and white flowers of the mini Geranium Herb Robert just don’t want to open out in the rain. I was hoping to chop back the Johnson’s Blue Geranium so I would get a second flush, but I ran out of steam. However, I rescued some Sweet Williams which were trying to fight their way through and took them into the house. Some of the little purple and yellow Violas are still showing their faces, but the rest seem to have died back.
There are a couple of splashes of yellow, from the Potentilla which steadfastly flowers throughout the summer, when it can bear to open its’ flowers, and from the Hypericum Hidcote further down the garden, but apart from the pots of bedraggled annuals, there is little colour in the back garden. The front looks a little better on the right hand side with the variety of coloured leaves, aand the purple perennial Wallflower is blooming well, with pink dwarf Dianthus beneath it doing very well, considering the weather, and all that is surrounded by a tiny white flowering stonecrop Sedum. The left hand side has little or no colour now the Tamarisk has finished and the Viburnum is ‘resting’.
I think I should give a little mention to my Leycesteria Formosa. Unfortunately it blends very much into the background in photos, but it is in full flower now, and the birds absolutely love it. Of course, it takes up about a tenth of the whole garden area, so it has to earn its’ living somehow, and it does. The blackbirds feast on the fruits in the Autumn, and most birds seem to love whatever is crawling over it. It wasn’t designed to take pride of place in my garden, but it acts as a good privacy screen blocking the curious gazes of the odd busybody that climbs up my back wall and peers over to see what on earth is going on in my garden. (Yes, there often used to be a line of people looking, in the days when I kept birds in my aviaries.) It has tried to propogate itself in various other parts of my garden, but I am ruthless with its’ progeny, and they get discarded very quickly. If I let them grow, I’d never get beyond the patio!
You’ve guessed it – the constant rain we have been having during June, and so far in July has made everything green grow enormously. There is not much room for weeds to get much of a hold in the shrub and perennial patches near the house, but down the end of the garden, I let wildflowers grow for the bees, but there are loads of what I would call weeds, because they seem to bear no significant flowers. These need to be pulled out before they set seeds and take over. I had planned to do a bit more today, but the weather has put paid to that idea! Ah well! I’m thinking of painting some tins and things in different colours to hang around the garden to relieve the green, as the forecast doesn’t look like weather conditions are going to improve in the foreseeable future! I’d better start eating more tinned food, because I will need loads!
11.07.12 Best laid plans and all that! It looked like a good morning today for doing the garden again. I would go shopping first, as the dogs have run out of food, then when the sun goes off the patio, I would get back to the trimming and weeding, or so I thought. Well I was just ready to go out shopping, when the heavens opened again, so I took some photos of my rainy garden then had my lunch instead. Looking at the forecast, I don’t suppose I will get much done this afternoon either! Ah well…………
…….Amazingly it stopped chucking it down soon after I came back from shopping, so I was able to go out and do my two hours worth of chopping and pulling. I started where I left off last week, so I am now two fifths of the way down the garden. Mind you, the three fifths that are left are the hardest! However, I can actually see some daylight now, as I have chopped back quite a bit, and filled yet another garden wheelie bin. I swept up the snowstorm of Summer Jasmine discarded flowers, and dead Eucalyptus leaves that was covering my pathway. Half of the tree is definitely dead, I think, but the other half looks like it has survived the drought of last Summer and until this April.
There’s not much change in the colour scheme in the garden. July is not my garden’s best time – it is between seasons, so to speak. The delphiniums are a mess, as they have not got anything propping them up this year, and the weight of the rain has dragged them down. Even most of the Loosestrife clumps are lying down! The splash of yellow halfway down the garden, which is Hypericum Hidcote, is the only relief from green, purple and pink, although the Leycesteria is in full bloom, the flowers aren’t bright enough to add much colour. The Honeysuckle on the gazebo is looking better though, and then there’s the beautiful white Summer Jasmine which covers the dog run, and is climbing up next door’s conifer, like the clematis did earlier in the year. The smell in the evening from both of them is phenomenal, on a dry evening, that is!
I was quite ruthless with my Herb Robert Geranium (did you know this is supposed to repel mosquitoes?), which I hate cutting back as the bees love it so much, but I needed to give some daylight to other plants that are trying to poke their way through, like my hydrangea, which is budding up well. Anyway, there is still another big patch of it further down the garden, and the buddleias will all be out next week by the look of it, so there will be plenty more pollen for them. I hate trimming back the Johnson’s Blue Geranium, because it leaves such a scruffy looking patch, but judging by the way the new shoots are already sprouting, it shouldn’t be too long before I get a second flush. I’m not sure what has happened to my Peony. Did it flower and I missed it? There seems to be a profusion of leaves, but no sign of any dead flowers.
I think I’m going to stop feeding the birds with seeds. They seem to spend all their time throwing them on the ground, and even poor Percy Pigeon can’t cope with eating them all before they go soggy in the rain. I chucked a whole dustpan full away from beneath their feeders – that would have fed them all for a week if it had been dry! Nothing else new to report, but as I was pulling up my exhausted Viola plants, I noticed some cyclamen leaves coming up. Signs of Autumn already?
12.07.12. I managed another two hours today between showers and the back pain, but although I have filled the garden wheelie bin and have now started on a pile beside it, ready to go into it, I don’t seem to have made much of an impression on the vegetation. However, the gravel patch is now nice and clear, and again, I have been ruthless with the little Herb Robert Geranium. the bees will have to make do with the Leycesteria and Loosestrife, which they seem to love also. There’s plenty of both of them. I have found a bronze leaved fennel plant growing among the shrubbery. I lost both of my fennel plants last year, so this must have come from a dormant seed. This hopefully will develop flowers later on in the season, as fennel flowers really bring in the bees, and it is in direct line from my seat in the dining room, so will hopefully add a nice splash of yellow in front of the Leycesteria.. I will have to tackle the shrubs to the right hand side behind the Potentilla another day, when the seeds have dropped from the perennials which have finished flowering, and when my back will allow it.
13.07.12. I only went out to feed the birds! Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to feed them any more because they keep chucking the seeds on the floor to rot, but it’s hard to resist them! Then I grabbed a broom to sweep up the daily snow shower from the summer Jasmine, and it carried on from there………. Two hours later, and my back just about done in, I have started to tackle the wild bit at the back. I am happy to say I didn’t discover any wild lions or tigers, just next door’s siamese cat, lurking under the bushes in the hope that one of the birds would go on the ground to peck up the seeds, no doubt!
Perfect weather for doing a bit of gardening, as the rain had finished, so it was dull, but steamy. The sun stayed away fortunately until I had finished my stint, so did the rain!
The crimson Spirea japonica at the back is in full flower. Not that anyone would know as it can only be seen if one goes down the end of the garden. The herb on the rockery has spread nicely and is about to flower – not sure whether it is marjoram or a type of thyme. The is a little red Acer just popped out of the ground, which I think I will leave, as I’d like an Acer down there. The Willow stump has sprouted umpteen branches yet again, so they will need cutting back before they get out of hand, and there are loads of little Ash treelets trying to grow, so up they will have to come, or it will be a real wood down there. However, I had forgotten how lovely it feels down that end of the garden, so I’d better get it cleared so I can enjoy the heat of August on my hammock in the shade.
So much for sowing wild flower seeds over the patch at the back! The only wild flowers that have come up are the usual weeds, like dandelions, and awful straggley things which seem to serve no useful ecological purpose at all. This back bit will be a nightmare to clear now, having been left to its’ own devices for so long, but I must get to hack at the rest of it as soon as I can before all the seed heads start dropping. I think I need to transfer my Herb Robert down to the back end, as nothing else seems to get through when that takes a hold, and Herb Robert deters mosquitoes, apparently. I doubt if I will have any chance to get out there at all next week though, as I only have two free days in the next eight. Such is retirement!
21.08.12. Is it really over a month since I did anything to my garden? No wonder it now looks like a wilderness. Well, I have a good excuse or five. First, it was the Olympics, and I sat from start to finish, glued to my TV set all day, and half the night. Then my daughter came on a visit, and helped me watch the Olympics. After that, there was the catching up with jobs in the house to do after two weeks of watching the Olympics, then there’s my social life, which seems to get fuller every day, and finally I decided to put a book of my poems together to publish, so another week’s work paginating and tarting it up, then discovering I hadn’t got enough Autumn material to fit into a book called “Seasons”, so there was the need to write more. Poor garden.
Meanwhile, the garden has been flourishing. The buddleas have been spectactular, bringing in lots of butterflies, not as many as usual, mind you, because the summer has been so bad that a lot of butterflies just haven’t been able to survive. Yesterday I went to Birmingham Botanical Gardens and bought a Perovskia (Russian sage), which I have been promising myself since last year’s visit to Cambridge Botanical Gardens.
Today was a little cooler this morning than it has been for a few days, so out I went at the crack of dawn (well 9 o’clock anyway) and got stuck in. I hate chopping back buddleas, but it has to be done. The early pink one had all but finished, so I trimmed that down to a decent leaf bract hoping that it will have a second flush. The purple ones are still going strong, but the heads need trimming off, to make the flowers further down the stems bigger. However, they are so tall, I have a great deal of difficulty reaching them, so was only able to trim those I could reach.
Next to tackle the clematis and summer jasmine that were competing to see which could get the most overgrown, then pull up the sprouted bird seed under the feeding station, that had by now really taken a good hold, some even looked like the maize was nearly ready to harvest! I’ve not fed them for ages, because all they were doing was throwing it on the floor, sorting the wheat from the chaff. Well, they don’t need feeding at this time of year, there are plenty of insects around.
After two hours, the wheelie bin was nearly full, and my back was aching, so I decided that I would sit and paint my scruffy stone ducks a pale lemon colour. I am fed up with the garden being predominantly pink and purple, so I thought a couple of yellow ducks would brighten it up a bit. You may wonder where I got suitable paint from at such short notice. Well, I had some emulsion over when I painted my dog room a year or so ago. Don’t say anything! I thought a water based paint would be best, in case I didn’t like it. Never mind that the paint had congealed and was just about scrapeable, I did it. Yes, I did mean scrape-able, but it was scrap-able too. Never mind, I like them, and I will now go out and get some proper stone paint and do it again, properly………..some time. I left my ducks to dry and went for some lunch, but went back out to do some more around the gravel area. Another two hours and my back was just about finished, but at least I can see some improvement on what it looked like first thing this morning!
30.08.12 Well, after four hours on and off, dodging the showers, I have managed to tidy up most of my front garden, fill the garden wheelie bin that was emptied this morning, and construct a pile ready to fill another bin. The buddleia has been trimmed, not cut back, so that more flowers can come. What have I filled the bin with? Who knows? The garden doesn’t look much different, although I have trimmed back the spirea that was blocking the light from my lounge window, trimmed all the shrubs, so they are not overhanging the driveway, and got rid of all the weeds in the gravel. The biggest problem at the moment is the lemon balm, which is tough to pull out, and spreads like mad. However, at least people can walk along the pavement outside my house now without being attacked by triffids!
With an aching back from doing the front garden, I then decided to have yet another tidy up in the back. I now have a pile fit for a bonfire on Guy Fawkes night, but cannot see any real difference in the vegetation. I can just imagine the comments people who are coming to my house on Saturday will be making (not in my hearing, of course!), but I spent yet another two hours until I could stand the back pain no more. I shall murder anyone who makes any detrimental comments to my face, as I have been at it all day today, give or take an hour or so. Unfortunately though, I have at least four female friends who think my over full garden is a mess, and make various digs at me about it, so I am prepared to hand them a trowel and some secateurs if they say anything!
06.09.12. No-one said anything, although Wendy looked a bit bemused and gave me some pink lupin seeds. Not sure whether to just throw them in the wild bit down the end and hope they come up, or try to nurture them properly. I will fail, whichever method I use, I’m sure.
Today I had another triffid trimming session, getting rid of the Buddleas down near the arch, and attempting to trim back the Clematis on the arch and dog run. I’ve got rid of a large section of the Leycesteria and hacked the willow shoots, but I still can’t see to the end of the garden. No photos because I hate seeing my trimmed back shrubs, until they send out some new shoots, they look dead.
Three hours and an aching back later, I have phoned a garden company to get a quote for clearing the end of the garden, and to chop down the Eucalyptus, which I think is half dead anyway, or if not completely cut it down, certainly render it to a short stump. I notice that there are some new shoots coming from down at the base, so it will probably recover, and be better for it. The wheelie bin is full, so the pile down the end is getting bigger, and I might try to shred it when the woody bits have dried out a bit, as there is far too much to get into the next wheelie bin load. Next week, I will have the remaining Buddleas to chop down as well, but there is still plenty of colour on them at the moment, and they are attracting a load of butterflies.
I did actually venture down to the end of the garden and rescued a whole branch of Chicago Peace. There were five roses at various stages of bloom, so I brought them in so I could see them. Those I did photograph.
One Fuchsia shrub in the bed in front of the Forsythia is doing well at the moment, but the other seems to be having a year off this year, and has only sent out some limp shoots. Mind you, it is probably fighting for survival with the surrounding Valerian. Now we could do with some rain, as I don’t think we’ve had any for about two weeks, so daily watering is a must. I will try to do a bit more hacking every evening, if I have some spare time. If I only spend half an hour each day, I should be able to get the side sorted, ready for Autumn planting.
27.09.12. The garden wheelie bin was emptied today, so I was able to fill it again with the two bags of garden waste I had amassed since I filled the bin a fortnight ago, but again, there was too much to put it all in the bin so the mound at the end is getting higher. I had to be a bit ruthless with the horizontal conifers under the Eucalyptus, as there was not much room between them and the central Juniper, and next door’s cat also seems to hide under there lying in wait to catch birds, as the tell-tale pile of feather on the gravel bore testament. I have now planted the Choisya in front of the Potentilla, so I hope it fares better there than it has been doing in the pot. If it grows well, that will lighten up the border which is shaded by next door’s Cedrus. The Buddleas have all been pruned back now so the garden is looking a bit barren, but I still think I need to hack back some more come Spring.
There is not much colour left now, as one of my fuchsia’s had not done much. I think I need to plant another Hydrangea out at the back for this time of year, but where to put it is the problem.
Spot the difference. The first picture was taken in mid January, the second was taken at the beginning of July. Still wet and much greener! When is it going to stop raining?
Link to my poem Birds in Our Garden >>
Link to my poem Blackbirds >>
Link to my poem Frogs >>
Someone has asked me if I knew how many different plants I have in my garden – I’ve not got a clue, but I’ll try and list them:-
1. 1 x Eucalyptus gunnii (which has been cut in half umpteen times)
2. 1 x Silver Birch “Betula jacquemontii Snow Queen“
3. 1 x Prunus serrula
4. 1 x Conference Pear tree
5. 1 x Lilac tree (no pruning)
6. 1 x Sambucus nigra
7. 1 x Alnus incana Grey Alder
8. 2 x Common Ash Trees
9. 1 x Conifer (over sized dwarf Cupressus)
10. 4 x creeping or dwarf conifers (Juniperus horizontalis, Juniperus squamata, Picea glauca +??)
11. 2 x weeping conifers
12. 4 x dwarf conifers
13. 1 x yew horizontalis
14. 1 Goat Willow stump which keeps sending up shoots again, refusing to die
Total = 14 types 22 specimens
1. 1 x Photinia Red Robin (prune back quite hard after foliage has faded to dull bronze – best in March/April)
2. 3 x Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) (Prune in Spring or Summer only prune back by a third at a time)
3. 2 x Lavender (cut back after flowering every year)
4. 6 x Buddlea (inc pink, lavender and purple) (prune down to near ground in early Spring, but cut back after flowering)
5. 3 x Forsythia (prune directly after flowering to a good leaf bract & cut at least a third right back almost to ground level))
6. 1 x Ribes sanguineum (do not prune late in the year – prune after flowering)
7. 1 x Genista lydia (will not tolerate hard pruning)
8. 1 x Kerria japonica pleniflora (prune back hard after flowering)
9. 3 x Potentilla fruticosa (prune gently in mid-Spring)
10. 1 x Leycesteria Formosa (humungous)
11. 1 x Symphoricarpus albus (prune late Spring, early Summer)
12. 2 x Pieris Forest Flame (no regular pruning necessary)
13. 2 x Ceanothus (only take off dead heads)
14. 2 x Spirea (prune after flowering)
15. 2 x Skimmia japonica (prune after flowering)
16. 2 x Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ (only prune if necessary)
17. 2 x Magnolia (no pruning necessary)
18. 2 x Rhododendron (only take of dead heads)
19. 2 x Hydrangea (only take off dead heads in the Spring, old bushes can be pruned to near the ground in the Spring, but will not flower until following year)
20. 1 x Dicentra spectabilis (perennial really)
21. 1 x Peony (perennial really)
22. 2 x Euphorbia (inc 1 lime green one) (Perennials really – cut back flowering shoots to ground level in late Summer/Autumn)
23. 1 x Hypericum hidcote (can be pruned back hard in Spring)
24. 1 x Tamarix tendrandra (n.b. do not prune in Autumn – prune directly after flowering)
25. 1 x Viburnum grandiflorum
26. 1 x Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’
27. 2 x Fuchsia
28. 2 x Berberis darwinii
29. 2 x Euonymus japonica
30. 2 x Cotoneaster horizontalis
31. 3 x Clematis Montana – (prune after flowering)
32. 1 x Clematis Nellie Moser (no need to prune)
33. 1 x Clematis Markham’s pink (do not prune)
34. 3 x assorted clematis in pots
35. 1 x climbing rose ‘Masquerade’
36. 2 x Winter Jasmine
37. 2 x Summer Jasmine
38. 4 x Honeysuckle
39. 1 x Fatsia japonica
40. 2 x bamboo clumps
41. 1 x Laurel
42. An ivy clad back wall
43. 2 x Cerise Azaleas (only take off dead heads)
44. 2 x hebes (deadhead only unless needs cutting back with care)
Total = 44 types, 79 specimens
2 x lupins
2 x ladies mantle
2 x geranium ‘Johnsons Blue’
5 x clumps cranesbill geraniums
2 x delphiniums
2 x everlasting wallflowers
2 x clumps purple Iris
2 x clumps yellow iris
2 x clumps forget-me-nots
4 x clumps honesty
2 x clumps red hot pokers
2 x clumps valerian
2 x clumps pulmonaria
2 x clumps dwarf pinks
1 x stipa gigantia
3 x stipa tenuissima
2 x horsetail clumps
2 x clumps montbretia
2 clumps vinca major
1 x Perovskia atriplicifolia
1 x Echinops (Globe Thistle)
Plus umpteen clumps purple wildflower looks like liatris (loosestrife, I think)Umpteen clumps ornamental nettles
Umpteen clumps fennel, chives, thyme, mint all left to encourage bees
Not to mention all the bulbs – snowdrops, crocus, muscari, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, alliums and all the annuals that self seed – violets, violas, pansies, primulas, aubretia, sedums, foxgloves, antirrhinums, sweet williams, nasturtiums, poppies.
In addition to all the hundreds and hundreds of rocks in my garden, there are 3 concrete gnomes, Terry, David and Reg, 2 concrete runner ducks, Gerald and Geraldine, 1 concrete aligator, 2 concrete hedgehogs, 2 concrete birds, 2 concrete rabbits, 1 concrete statue of Pan playing his pipes for the animals below him, 1 concrete cherub holding a fish in the middle of the pond, 1 pink concrete pig with a curly tail called ‘Rash’, 2 concrete moles in boots, caps and capes, a concrete frog basking on a deckchair called ‘Toad’, a concrete frog sitting on a toadstool, a weird ‘Gollum’ looking concrete gargoyle, a concrete birdbath, most of which were presents, and a concrete plaque saying:-
“The kiss of the sun for pardon,
the song of the birds for mirth.
One is nearer to God in a garden
than anywhere else on Earth.”
I think I’ve lost count now! I think if I were to add up the worth of my garden, it would be more than the worth of what’s in my house! How can I ever go and live in a flat?
Oh, and I forgot the alabaster model of Mozart or someone that I inherited from my father sitting under my birdbath!