End of Month View – May 2012

With the blink of an eye we are at the end of May. A couple of weeks ago I wrote, with a sense of excitement, about the sudden arrival of warm, correction – hot, weather. I foolishly said that I hoped to have a garden full of flowers ready for the May End of Month View. How wrong could I be! I am beginning to wonder what I have done to prevent the production of flowers and I will read with interest the other EOMVs, with the hope it’s not just me.

Last year one of my beautiful peonies had flowered by now, this year not a single flower is to be seen.

Another disappointment is the sudden death of the glorious salmon pink poppy with its paper thin flowers the size of saucers. It has flowered every year for the past 6 years, this year it looks like this:

On a more cheerful note, one little lavender that looked sorry for itself last year, is making up for it now. There are a few rogue buttercups, and you probably can’t quite see it but in the right hand corner a pretty California poppy has self-seeded itself.

This is what I love about my garden, nothing behaves and self-seeds pop up in odd places, they clearly know that I garden without rules and regulations.

Although slow to start the vegetables in the raised bed are now beginning to get going. I have been eating (and giving away) Rocket for weeks now and the Swiss Chard is ready to use. In the front of the photo you can see tiny leeks. I planted some garlic between them and the Chard. Not having the space afforded by an allotment, everything is crammed in somewhat so I hope they will grow ok. The carrots are to the far left, just out of the photo and they are way behind from last year. Charlotte potatoes are my chosen crop this year and am watching the leaves closely for fear of blight which hit last year.

A few months ago a few gardeners on Twitter talked about growing Cleome, a flower I have not had in my garden anymore. The gauntlet was thrown down to see who could grow them successfully. I am not sure what mine will end up like, but they seem to be doing well at the moment and last weekend I planted out several of the larger plants. I think I should have put them slightly further back in the border, I forgot that they can grow quite tall. I am covering them with bamboo cloches at the moment to protect them from the neighbourhood cats, who like to use the flowerbed as a toilet.

The Cleome were amongst a selection of cutting flower seeds brought from Higgeldy Garden, all of which have been successful. I have pink poppies, black cornflowers, stock, nigella and scabious all waiting to be planted out very shortly. There are few courgette plants there too.

To make room for all of these I have decided to pull up a number of the hardy geraniums. They do spread and take over and they have been around for a few years in my garden so it’s time for a change. The ones I have left are the lovely Johnsons Blue.

Fingers crossed that with June knocking on the door, all the plants will burst into flower and the garden will be a mass of colour, which Summer is all about.

Thank you Helen (Patient Gardener) for hosting this monthly meme, I am now going to pay a visit to the other garden bloggers who have written an EOMV to see the different stages our gardens have reached the end of May.

  • Coming up soon on the blog: Celebrating the Jubilee in France

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

 The Weekly Photo Challenge prompt is:


“Where you live, summer might be arriving soon, or (if you’re in the southern hemisphere), a fleeting memory. But what signifies summer to you? For me, it’s this picture, taken a few weeks ago in Rome, of me wearing shorts and shoes with no socks on the cobbled streets of Rome. When I’m able to dress like this for more than a week, I know that summer’s really here.”

Share a picture that means SUMMER to you! 

Here in England, within the blink of an eye, we have gone from cold and wet weather more usual for March, straight into what feels like July.  The average temperature for May is usually about  17°C, but the past week has been unseasonably hot with temperatures of  around  23°C,  if not higher on some days lately.

It is not officially Summer until 20th June, the date of the Summer Solstice, but at the moment we are experiencing Summer weather in Spring.    Is it any wonder we talk about the weather in England, it is so unpredictable, we could all be digging our jumpers out next week.  The old expression “Ne’er cast a clout until May is out”  rings loud in my head.

With a taster of our Summer to come, I have found some photos that are evocative to me of  SUMMER.

SUMMER is beautiful roses in the garden

SUMMER is wonderful vases of Sweet Peas with their scent wafting  around the house

SUMMER is the hot colours of flowers like Montbrettia in the flowerbeds

SUMMER is the noise of lawn mowers early evening.   Bring back the sound of the push mower, far more pleasant than the constant drone of the hover mower.
SUMMER is sitting on the patio having Al Fresco breakfast at the weekend and supper with friends, chilling out, chatting and laughing until it gets dark.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
                                                                                                                (Sonnet 18) by William Shakespeare


© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now  Beyond, 2011 – 2015.   ©AarTeePhotography 2011 – 2015  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited 

Garden, Garden visiting, National Garden Scheme

Cocktails on the Terrace and Rabbits on the Lawn at Tylney Hall Hotel, Hampshire

When a friend says to you “I have a plus one invitation for a weekend at a Spa Hotel, to review their gardens, would you like to come”? I don’t suppose many of you have to think twice before saying “Yes please”? I didn’t hesitate either.

Where did we go? Tylney Hall Hotel, Nr Hook in Hampshire.

The majority of photos I took this morning before Breakfast, the birds were singing their hearts out and there were rabbits everywhere.

We have been so lucky with the weather – it has been glorious, perfect for wandering around woodlands full of rhododendrons and azaleas and listening to the tranquil streams running through the Water Garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1906.

Tylney Hall is a Grade II listed house, rebuilt in 1898. From 1948 it was school until 1984 and Elite Hotels opened Tylney Hall as a hotel in 1986. The Hotel’s impressive gardens are looked after by a team of 6 gardeners, with Paul Tattersdill as Head Gardener, and are open for the National Garden Scheme 1 April, 27 May and again on 14 October.

We arrived on Saturday to join our party for a splendid lunch, with wine of course:-

Tartare of Salmon and Soured Cream served with Carpaccio of Cucumber

Pineapple and Tylney Mint Sorbet

Rack of New Season Spring Lamb served with Fresh Seasonal Vegetables and Tarragon Broth

Strawberry and Basil Shortbread served with Sweetened Mascarpone

This was followed by a guided tour by Paul who has been looking after the garden for 25 years. We started with the Italian Garden which is approached from the Terrace by impressive stone stairs and balustrades heavily laden with heady Wisteria.

As we walked through the garden we saw a number of hotel rooms which have been renovated from the estate buildings. I love the idea of staying within the grounds of a hotel, especially on Summer evenings (and early mornings) when you can amble around the gardens at your leisure.

There are rooms in the old terraced cottages, with a very pretty pergola running up the middle of the garden in front of them. The roses were just coming out, and I was informed that they are New Dawn, Albertine and two other pinker roses (although I have been very remiss and can’t remember what they are called).

Next to these cottages is the original kitchen garden, these days it has fruit bushes. The greenhouses are still in use and at the moment the gardeners are busy planting up hanging baskets for the Hotel. This part of the garden also has borders of wonderful Irises.

The other rooms, outside the main hotel building, are in the old Orangery. These are two storey suites with a lounge downstairs and views over the water garden. Definitely somewhere I would like to choose for that very special romantic break. (If only!!)

As we walked back to the Hotel, late Saturday afternoon, we passed the outdoor pool busy with residents sunning themselves and cooling off in the water. I went back again this morning about 8:00 a.m. to take some photos minus people. It has such pretty surroundings, approached by steps which, similar to the Italian Gardens, have Wisteria around them.

Our Saturday evening started with cocktails on the Terrace as we watched the rabbits on the lawn. Then, still on the Terrace, we drank Pouilly Fume, and plate after plate of delicious buffet food arrived including duck and pork rillette, spicy chicken kebabs and a selection of continental meats to mention but a few. It was a very civilised end to a most relaxing day.

The great thing about the garden at Tylney Hall is that you don’t have to wait for another NGS open day, or stay there to visit the garden. How does afternoon tea on the Terrace sound to you? The teas at Tylney Hall look something very special – sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and cakes all on a tiered plate and champagne if you feel so inclined. You can then walk it off around the grounds at your leisure.

Related articles:

Coming up shortly on the blog:-

  • * Weekly Photo Challenge : Summer
    * End of Month View – May 2012
    * An English Jubilee Party in France


    At Last the Flowers are Appearing!

    It only took a few days of sunshine and hot weather for flowers to appear, at last, in the garden. After so much rain the garden was bursting with greenery but not much colour.

    My favourite flower, the Aquilegia, is now flowering all over the garden. I have let too many self-seed so there are the usual element of the dusky pink, but I also have a few “new” ones. I am sure I haven’t had a wonderful deep purple before there seem to be two types, one is very frilly and the other has almost single petals.

    Surprise, surprise, I have white aquigelia this year. It is amazing what appears each year after cross pollenation.

    As this is Chelsea week, it is time for the Chelsea Chop and the hardy geraniums (Cranes Bill) will be given a severe haircut, which in a way is a shame, because they have only just started to flower, but they are taking over the flower beds. Not to worry, they will come back and flower all the more very quickly.

    The Ceanothus (Canadian Lilac) is slowly turning blue. I thought it was going to let me down this year, as other ones I look at are already in a cloud of blue, for some reason it is just being a little slow this year but it is getting there.

    All the chives are now flowering in competition with the Alliums. Apart from being an almost identical colour, I love the structure of each of these flowers, the Allium with its individual star shapes that make up one flowerhead and the chive flower that is like a single starburst.

    I was looking at all the roses, which are still in bud, but now covered in greenfly, and was beginning to wonder how long I am going to have to wait for them to bloom. Then, as I looked up over the Ceanothus, at the Golden Showers, right at the very top I saw my first rose of 2012. Silly how little things can be so exciting.

    In another week, by the time I am due to write the End of Month View for May, I expect (fingers crossed) that I will be spoilt for choice to include in that post. Dave Marsden The Anxious Gardener said: “As we head into June, May is arriving” – never a truer word.

    What’s coming next on the blog?

    This coming weekend I am off to Tylney Hall in Hook, Hampshire, who are opening their Gertrude Jekyll Garden in aid of the National Garden Scheme, so watch this space.

    Wordless Wednesday

    Wordless Wednesday – Ferns Unfurling

    Copyright AarTee Photography 2012

    © Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now  Beyond, 2011 – 2015.   ©AarTeePhotography 2011 – 2015  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.