My Garden at the End of May 2014

It seems to be alternate months that I have contributed to the Meme run by Helen at Patient Gardener called End of Month View.  As the sun is shining (at last after a few wet and cold days) and its the weekend I have managed to get out there with the camera and make a record of how the garden is looking on the last day of May 2014.    It is looking very lush and green.

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The roses are coming out just as they should in time for June, but the Aquilegia are turning to seed and the Alliums are almost over.

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The Alliums and Ceanothus are a mass of bees which I find heart warming in the knowledge that I am doing my bit for the bee colonies.

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Rather than grow vegetables this year I decided to grow cutting flowers in the raised bed. I bought summer flowering bulbs and scattered them across the bed. The slugs have eaten their way through some, including an Agapanthus which is disappointing. The Anemones are in flower and there are some very pretty white doubles.

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The side patio is filling out and becoming a wonderful tranquil place to sit, weather permitting.   The Fuchsia is in flower, although it seemed to have been flowering throughout the winter also, such has been the mild weather.  I am also hoping that the white Agapanthus will flower as well as it has done over the last few years.  It is now quite pot bound but I am loathe to do anything with it until the summer is over.  Meanwhile I am feeding it with a mild solution of tomato feed.

Patio May 14 (1280x853)

Last year after seeing a very pretty French patio with a large white Hydrangea in a terracotta pot, I felt I wanted to replicate the scene.  After some searching I located a variety called Madame Emile Mouilliere  – it was a small plant and I bought a large pot for it.  However, within a year it has almost outgrown the pot but is looking fabulous.

Hydrangea (1280x853)

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This year I have grown Money Maker tomatoes from seed.  A couple of plants I brought out of the greenhouse several weeks ago and, out of interest, I nurtured two plants inside on the lounge windowsill.   Last week, I bought a small plastic growbag greenhouse  from Wilkinsons, the intention is to test the difference in taste between the plants grown outside to those grown within the greenhouse – this will be the first year I have grown tomatoes in greenhouse conditions.

There is a very dark shady spot at the end of the patio which is underneath the honeysuckle.   Generally I have just left this patch but this year I decided to grow orange begonias to give a little colour.  I bought some tubers (from Wilkinsons – no surprise!) and then a couple of plants from the local garden centre.   They have grown well and so far the slugs and snails have ignored them.

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I saw on television last week that the strawberry growers are a happy bunch this year due to the healthy crops and large flowers which will mean large strawberries.   Mine are doing really well also, as are the raspberries.  If I can dissuade the slugs from chomping at the strawberries, there is going to be some serious jam making.

Fruit (1280x905)

The very grand sounding “north border” – is just a border down the right side of the garden facing north.  It gets very little, or no sun, but the Astilbe, hydrangea and ferns are more than happy in their shady and damp conditions.   For the first time in two years I recently took the loppers to the Ribes when it had finished flowering.  I am pleased to see lots of new shoots.

North facing border (1280x853)

Slowly colour is arriving in the garden, the Salvia Hot Lips made it through the winter again, and the Astrantia is looking wonderful which is great because I thought I had lost last year due to a strange brown blisters on the leaves.


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Astrantia (1280x853)

I have lots of plants in pots this year and am growing sweetpeas in a Long Tom terracotta pot and rather than have the beansticks in a tepee fashion I have placed them so they grow outwards so it will be a “sort of ” cordon effect. I am not sure how well this will work but fingers crossed it will work.
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Finally, I leave you with another photo of the garden taken from a different angle.  As you can see the Ivy is very overgrown now, it belongs to my neighbour who seems loathe to cut it down and I have left it too late because the flower bed is filling out and there is little room to get to it.  I think I may try and chop some of the hanging branches back, although because the bed is south facing it is not creating any shade, just sapping some of the goodness out of the soil.
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Thank you Helen for hosting this meme, and I would recommend that you pay her blog a visit and check out all the other contributors and what is in their gardens at the end of May.  Click HERE to take you to The Patient Gardener Weblog.

Win “Remaking a Garden – The Laskett Transformed” by Roy Strong

Sir Roy Strong’s garden The Laskett in Much Birch, near Ross on Wye in Herefordshire is a garden I am yet to visit and on receiving my pre-publishing copy of Remaking a Garden The Laskett Transformed  from Frances Lincoln publishers, it is now definitely on my ‘must visit in 2014’ list.

The Laskett Garden is one of the largest private formal gardens created in England since 1945.  Over almost four decades historian, Sir Roy Strong, and his late wife, theatre designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, transformed a four acre field into a series of stunning garden rooms, vistas, ascents and descents. 

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The book takes us initially through a timeline from 1973 when Roy Strong and his late wife Julia bought The Laskett.   Rather than a written guide of the garden, it is more of a picture book full of photos taken by Clive Boursnell.  It starts with a written history of the garden, which sets a backdrop.   When Julia died in 2003, Roy spent a lot of his time revamping the house, and it was only in 2005 that he decided to remake the garden which is what this book is all about.

Remaking a Garden is not a book that will give you information about gardening, plants and planting designs.  It will however take you on a journey and we are introduced to “The Cast” of gardeners, builders, painters, tree surgeons and others over the years as they transform The Laskett.

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Who are the lead members of The Cast?

Sir Roy Strong is a writer, historian, broadcaster and gardener. He has published many books, including The Laskett: the Story of a Garden, Creating Small Gardens, The Roy Strong Diaries, Visions of England and Self- Portrait as a Young Man.

Clive Boursnell is a photographer of architecture, gardens, landscapes and people. His books include: The Curious Gardeners, The Royal Opera House, Houses of the Lake District, Old Covent Garden: The Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Markets and Covent Garden: Then and Now.

The majority of Clive Boursnell photographs are action shots along with before and after photos such as the development of the New Walk.

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Remaking a Garden – The Laskett Transformed is published on 15 May 2014 at the retail price of £30.   The publishers Frances Lincoln have a Readers Offer for you:
To order Remaking a Garden: The Laskett Transformed at the discounted price of £24.00 including p&p* (RRP: £30.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG146. 
*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.
However, if you would like the chance to WIN copy of this lovely book, please leave a comment to this post saying that you wish to enter together with your email address.  Unfortunately this competition is only open to readers with a UK postal address.

The closing date is midnight on Wednesday 21st May and I will draw the winner the next day and let you know by email.

Sir Roy Strong and Clive Boursnell will also be hosting a talk at the Garden Museum in London on 3rd June 2014 where they will be discussing the remarkable transformation of The Laskett and signing copies of the book.