Come into my garden 

Welcome to my contribution to an English Cottage garden.  Today it’s sunny, warm and we have had some rain, which is much needed.  I am feeling really pleased  with my garden so am going to give you a little tour.   It maybe one of the smallest gardens in the garden blogging fraternity but it keeps me busy and there is a lot in it. 
It is west facing and surrounded on three sides by a Victorian stone wall.   I have lived here for 14 years and been plagued by the ivy, it is an ongoing battle.  I have a new neighbour to the left and I was more than delighted when he cut down the ivy on his side that had grown into trees!  The difference it has made is phenomenal, there is so much more light in the garden. 
  
The grass is full of clover, I did a feed and weed job on it earlier this year, leaving me with a lot of ugly black patches – at least the moss has died!  It is now very patchy with lush grass where I sowed ‘patch fix’ and a different coloured grass in other places.  No doubt it will settle down, it’s a patch of green anyway although far from being a lawn as purists would have it.
 This year I moved my garden table on to the little patio area at the back of the house.   It is quite cosy here sitting with the Compassion rose towering on one side and the Rasberry bushes and fennel on the other.  The Sweet peas ‘Beaujolais’ seem to be struggling, I was a little late in sowing them and they are taking time to catch up but will get there eventually.  
 
  
On the other side of the Compassion Rose is a small raised bed in which I usually grow vegetables.  This year because I had extra cucumber and tomato plants I decided I would grow some outside also.  The cucumbers ‘market more’ are doing really well but the tomatoes ‘sweet million’ are slow to flower so not sure if I will get many toms this year.
  
 Fortunately most of the ivy has gone from the north facing wall so the garden does get a lot more light on that side than in last years. The soil is heavy clay and despite years of adding compost etc it still gets waterlogged in the winter. This bed is full of Astilbe, Hostas, Achemila Mollis and a Hydrangea.  Although Crocosmia likes sunshine, it still grows happily at the back of this border.   The Potentilla is flowering well this year which is a first, it had always struggled in the past. 
 
 

potentilla

 
I have a side patio which is south facing and a real micro climate, and sun trap.  It is looking exceptionally lush at the moment.  The white Agapanthus has graced me with two flowers this year and the Passion flower is just beginning to bloom.  I am growing a couple of cucumber plants in the greenhouse just to see which fair better, the ones outside or these.  At the moment it is neck and neck, I will report back in a few weeks.
  
 White agapanthus
Marketmore Cucumbers 
 
  
   Passion Flower
 
I haven’t blogged much in the last few months but I do hope I still have some followers and you have enjoyed this little trip around my garden on the coast in West Sussex. 

Penstemons and Roses

Long before I became interested in gardening, my first introduction to Penstemons was via my father in law.  He grew all sorts of varieties, but I was young and paid little notice.  I had no idea how easy they are to grow and they are slug and snail proof!  A couple of years ago I bought Penstemon ‘Garnet’, I give it a hardy prune early Spring and it rewards me with an abundance of flowers.  It has made its way through the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ which blends in well with Garnet.

 

Last year I bought three more Penstemons, ‘Sour Grapes’ which is an almost florescent bluish purple, the pretty pink and white ‘Vocano Fujiyama’ and a similar colored ‘Apple Blossom’ which had not flowered yet, hence only pics of the first two.


  

  In keeping with an Enlish country garden in June, the roses are looking magnificent.    The ‘Compassion’ rose never fails and was the first to flower earlier this month. 

   

 I love the ‘Peace’ rose, bought for me on my 60th by a friend as a ‘Silver Jubilee’ rose, it was clearly mislabeled but turned out to be a gem for the garden.

 This year the ‘Ballerina’ is doing particularly well, adding much needed color at the bottom of the garden.  This is always necessary at this time of year when the spring plants have died down and the summer flowers are yet to make a show.

 I have one rose without a label and can’t for the life of me remember it’s name.  However it’s vibrant color is a joy, although once it’s fully flowered, unlike the ‘Peace’, it doesn’t hold its blooms for long and the petals fall quickly. 

  

Not one to be deterred or beaten by the technology it has taken me a week to get this post correctly loaded.  For some reason the WordPress app on my iPad has been very unforgiving and has sorely tried my patience.  A bit of Googling and setting readjustments, along with a friend suggesting I upload the photos first and then add the writing I finally succeeded.  

End of Month View -May 2015

This post is a day early but as I have found time to sit down I thought I would post it today.  I don’t write as many blog posts these days so making up for lost time.  Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting this meme, it has proved to be an invaluable diary of the garden over the years I have been writing my blog.

I don’t know about where you live but we have had a distinct shortage of rain this month.  My water butt ran empty during the week and the soil (clay!) has been rock hard and almost impossible to work.   We did have an afternoon of rain yesterday with more promised tomorrow, so I will be out there with the hoe to loosen the hard pan of soil at the back of my border at the bottom of the garden.   It’s still quite cold also which is holding back hardening off my plants and planting them out, this includes the sweet peas, Amaranthus and Cosmos. 

love peonies and was really disappointed when it failed to flower last year.  However, it has graced the flower border this year with three blooms.  It was great to see that the heavy rain yesterday didn’t beat them down.  

The roses are looking good too, with lots of buds on the Compassion rose.  I have pinched out the side buds to encourage larger blooms, I may regret this but someone told me once that this is what rose growers.


The Alliums are standing proud along side the Aquilegia.  It would seem that I have a flowerbed full of plants starting with the letter A.   Alongside the Alliums, there is Agapanthus, Aquelgia, Astrantia, Alstroemeria and Acanthus.  This was certainly not deliberate!  I was so pleased to see Nora Barlow this year, it didn’t make an appearance in 2014 and I thought I had lost it.  Nature never fails to surprise does it?   A very small William Guiness is doing its best to make a show, fighting for space with the emerging Dahlia.

Aquilegia Nora Barlow

Aquilegia William Guinness

There is a Ceonothus in the garden at the end of my garden which always flowers a good month before mine.  I’m never sure why, perhaps it gets more hours of sunshine.  Happily mine is now flowering just as theirs is dying off.  

Finally, I will leave you with the beautiful Iris by the front door that welcomes me home.  

  

Flowers in the Garden Early May

Oh, how glorious gardens are when the flowers start appearing.   Looking back on blog posts in previous years everything in my garden is a week or two later than usual.  We had some rain last week but not enough to really soak the soil and the temperature dropped for a week or two.  However, yesterday and today there is a distinct warmth to the air and we are due for a warm sunny week ahead.  This should bring everything on, nature has a way of catching up.

Rather than do a lot of writing in this post, I think the photos will say more than I can.  Starting off with the front garden, the lilac this year is magnificent and the perfume is whafting down the road.


Last year the Iris did remarkably well despite the snails and I am glad to say that they are looking great this year.   The Choysia on the side patio outside the kitchen door is abundant with fragrance.    

 I love the Clematis ‘Josephine’ that is scrabbling through the Elder sambucus nigra.    

 I always forget to plant something under the alliums as their leaves start to die off and look untidy when flowering.  Maybe this year I will remember; I read that Alchimilla Mollis is a good plant for this.    I bought an Erysimum Walburtons Fragrance Star a few years ago and it is still going strong.

 The Aquiligia are just about to flower and I am always so happy to see this pretty double pale blue one, which is ahead of all the others.    

 Even the strawberry plant is in flower.

 Last year I tried to raise Stock from seed and although it grew quite strong it failed to flower.  Much to my surprise, it did ok through the winter and is now in flower!

 The Dicentra is almost on its way out.  Such a shame it doesn’t flower the whole of the summer, it is such a lovely plant.   The verbascum is in flower with spikes of different colour.

 This is the bottom flower bed, with carefully contained Spanish Bluebells at the back and the forget me nots creating a blue hue.   I have managed to eradicate most of these chunky bluebells but they do give colour to the garden.   Just in front of the compost bin, there is a pretty clump of orange poppies.

 There are still a number of flowers just about to appear including three peony flowers, which is very exciting as it hasn’t flowered for the last two years.

 It is any wonder that gardens are thought of as being cathartic.