End of Month View – March 2017

Gosh it’s been warm here on the south coast for the last week and really brought everything on.   I checked back a couple of years and my End of Month View March 2015 blog post shows the garden is more advanced this year. 


Compared to most gardens, my garden would be described as ‘tiny’.  I have more by accident than design managed to move away from a square garden that can be seen in total from just one view.   It means that wherever you stand you get a different view, which gives the impression of a larger garden when photographs are taken.  


I removed the raised bed a few months ago and enlarged the bed to sweep around the left side of the garden.  The new bed is full of spring bulbs with the intention to turn it into a cutting garden during summers months.  I try to garden on a budget and can regularly be seen in Wilko browsing the garden section.   Their bulbs might be cheap and often disappointing but I bought 8 dahlia tubers at a £1 each and so far 6 of them have sprouted.   I did buy a packet of 2 Echinacia ‘white swan’ and sadly there was only one very limp plant in the dry dust they pack them in and I’m not sure if anything will come of it, however at £2 I can afford some no shows.

I have a plastic greenhouse, which really is nothing more than a cold frame, but it is full at the moment with sweet peas,  Cosmos, rudbeckia and sweet william.  I ordered cleome, aster, calendula and scabiosa seeds from the lovely Benjamin (and Flash of course!) at Higgledy Garden and when I can move some things out of the greenhouse, I will sow ready for a summer showing.   I ran out of copper tape and read that copper coins work just as well, it will be interesting to see if they work, and certainly will be one way to empty the coppers jug.  By the way, the slug pellets you can see on the bottom shelf are organic and only used as a last resort. 


The north side of the garden has a bed which in the winter is boggy, and in the summer under the shadow of the stone wall gets very little sunshine, so I have to be careful what I grow here.   The pink Astilbe loves it as you can see, along with Alchemilla Mollis.  Recently I put a lot of Levington Organic Manure on this bed to improve and feed it, however, it has been an attraction to the local cats, who have managed to knock off a lot of the Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’ tips and in order to protect the rest of it I have placed a bit of plastic, but I don’t think the Euphorbia going to be as good this year. 

A few months ago I bought a small Tree Peony and after deliberation and advice from gardening followers on Instagram and Twitter as to whether to plant it in a container or in a flower bed, decided on the latter and it seems to have settled into its new home. 

There is a very small corner at the end of the garden which I have left alone – I call it my ‘wild section’, the primroses love it.  A job to go on the ‘to-do-list’ is to clear the ever invasive ivy before it gets a real foothold.  

It is quite exciting to see the number of buds on the peony this year, the first time since I planted it many years ago.  Previous years it’s only produced one or two flowers. 

A couple of years ago I planted a Clematis ‘Josephine’  to wrap its self around the Sambus Nigra (Elder).  I love this because the flowers are a good combination of colour with the new shoots of the Elder.

In 2015 I over pruned the Montana ‘Elizabeth’ and it hardly flowered in 2016 so I left it alone last year and look at it now! In a week or two it will be a picture of pink, fragrant flowers.

The photos above are a part of the garden I often ignore and don’t write about because it is not interesting and tends to be a dump area.  This year it is going to receive most of my attention.   The bed by the house wall, has had ever spreading raspberry bushes.  At the end of autumn 2016, I cut the raspberries right down to the ground and planted lots of spring bulbs which has given it lovely colour.  There is a small gravel patio in front of the shed, and a rather too large patio set donated to me by my youngest daughter.  There is a small path leading around from the side of the house across the front of the gravel area.  At the moment it is full of containers because it is the sunniest part of the garden.   My first job to improve this part of the garden is to dispose of the patio set, opening up the area which feels cluttered.  


The Day Lillies and Agapanthus are going to look really good this year and are filling up the left hand sunny corner.    The garden is still full of bits of chicken wire to protect young plants from animals who have complete disregard for the hard working gardener.   


My final photo is of the lime green Euphorbia adding contrast to the yellow tulips and Alliums which, although you can’t see, has some flower shoots. 

Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting this invaluable monthly meme.  Please pay her blog a visit and take a look at her lovely interesting garden as well as those of other contributors. 

End Of Month View (EOMV) April 2016

Quite a few months have passed since I contributed to Helen’s Patient Gardener  end of month meme ‘End of Month View’ (EOMV).   This week we’ve been wrapping our gardens up in fleece and hot water bottles due to freezing temperatures and snow.  Can you believe it?!  My kitchen floor has been covered with seed trays in order to protect them from the below zero nights.  During the day in sheltered areas the sun is quite warm, so the poor plants must be wondering what on earth is going on.

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The sweet peas have been outside for several weeks and are ready to be planted.  This year I am growing Horizon Mixed and Old Fashioned Mixed.  I am never organized enough to sow them in the autumn so only sowed them a couple of months back, I am sure they will do just as well.

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Last week I planted the Charlotte potatoes and I am looking forward to having the first ones in about 12 weeks.  I am not sure how they will turn out this year, I bought seed potatoes from Wilko, they only cost £1.50 for 4.  I then read that you get a better crop buying from reputable garden centres and online plant companies rather than discount stores who purchase second class/substandard stock.  I shall report back after my first meal of Charlottes. img_0263

The right hand side of the garden is frequently in shade and over the winter became very boggy and the edges broke down.  I have put in wooden edging and sowed heavy duty grass seed, also from Wilko.  It is beginning to look a lot better, although the grass is a different colour to the rest of the lawn, hopefully it will sort itself out.  My next job is to give the whole lawn a good rake and scatter more lawn seed to thicken it up.

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For a few years now, I have had a small strawberry plant in quite the wrong place so a few weeks ago I split it, made four plants and put them in the same bed as the raspberries, which makes sense to have the fruit together.  The raspberries are spreading themselves everywhere, so I am expecting a bumper crop!   I quite fancy a blueberry bush so will take a look to see if I have room, but having said that there is always room in any garden if you put your mind to it!  The chicken wire is to stop the local cats digging up the plants whilst using the bed as a toilet – they have no regard do they?

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I am happy to see that the peony has a number of flower buds on it, this plant is always hit or miss and not terribly reliable.   It is a very pretty pink single peony that I have had for several years now, but a little temperamental.  It looks very pretty surrounded by forget me nots.

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Despite the unexpected cold snap, the Peiris ‘Forest Flame’ is looking splendid.  I also noticed some flower heads appearing on the climbing hydrangea.  The Choysia is also beginning to bloom.

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If you follow my blog regularly, and thank you if you do, you may recall I recently took a saw to the Sambucus (Elder)  reducing it to half its height.  I am happy to show you that it is full of new purple stems.  It won’t flower this year but at least it will be a bit tidier than previous years.  It’s amazing how much rough treatment a Sambus can take.

 

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I’ve been given a Sisrynchium striatum, which I am reliably informed I showed great interest in when wandering around a garden last summer – I don’t remember, but am delighted with it.  All I have to do now is find a suitable place and space for it, any advice is welcomed.

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I leave you with a photo of the side patio together with a photo of a few pots of tulips on the back patio.  I will be writing a separate post about my tulips, so I won’t spoil this for you.

Thank you Helen for hosting this meme.  Please hop over to The Patient Gardener blog and check out her lovely garden.  https://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/end-of-month-view-april-2016-hughs-border

End of Month View : October 2015

I tend to lose interest in the garden at this time of year and I am ready to start to pull things up and have a general tidy session.

Also I have not had a lot of time to venture out into the garden to do the necessary jobs.   My mum, who is 96, had another chest infection in September and went downhill very fast, not eating or drinking.  We were told by the doctor not to expect her to live through this one.   I sat with her most days and spooned water into her mouth as she didn’t have the strength to sip through a straw.   We even arranged for a priest to give her Last Rites, for the second time this year.

On top of that I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.   Actually it is not as bad as it sounds.  They found a tiny little tumour on a mammogram, it had not even formed into a lump.  After a biopsy I was told it was grade one, and I had a lumpectomy and a lymph node removed from my armpit last week.   Mum has not quite bounced back, but is still very much with us and I am recovering well from my operation, with radiotherapy due after Christmas.  We are a family of tough women!!

Back to the garden; so you can see why it has taken backstage recently.

The leaves are falling fast from the trees and the lawn is becoming covered in leaves from the Sambucus.  When the muscles under my arm feel a little stronger, and the stitches have dissolved,  I will be out there with my rake.

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The trouble with starting to clear away the detritus is due to the mild weather there are plants in the garden still flowering, such Cerinthe:

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Hot Lips Salvia, Penstemon Garnet and even the roses are still in bloom.

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However, the majority of the garden really is now on its last legs and in the next week or so the majority will be slowly confined to the compost heap.  Leaving, of course, some plants for winter architecture, including the Sedum.

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Before last week I made a start clearing the side patio and now the Japanese Anemones are over, I can cut them down, turn over the soil and plant daffodil bulbs.

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I noticed the Pieris ‘Forest Flame’, which was looking a little worse for wear a few months ago, is producing lots of new shoots at the base.  It’s heartening when you think you may have lost a favourite plant  to see it rejuvenated.

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I am not too sure if the old wives tale of lots of holly berries is an indication of a harsh winter.  My holly tree has more berries on it this year than I remember from last years, so we shall see.

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There will not be so much to show when it comes to the November EOMV but I will take great pleasure in reading other contributors blogs from around the world who will be just starting their spring.   Thank you Helen from Patient Gardener https://patientgardener.wordpress.com for hosting this exceptionally useful monthly meme.

End of Month View – September 2015

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What a stroke of luck I booked this week off work!  The weather has been glorious, although with a marked nip in the air at night, during the day it’s been warm and sunny.  I love September.  Some people groan “oh it’s climate change”, but I remember going to school in September dressed in a summer dress, pullover and blazer, by lunchtime we would be sitting in the sun on the school fields having discarded our pullovers and jumpers.  50 years ago no one used the expression climate change – it was just the norm.

I am writing this on the 2nd October, a few days late for the EOMV, and it’s still warm and sunny.  The only bugbear I have at this time of year is fighting my way through the spiders and the many webs they have managed to weave around the garden, trapping me at every turn.
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I do think that the plants are a little confused, and have been lulled into believing it’s still time to be flowering.  My Compassion Rose is still in bloom, and today I noticed a lot of greenfly.

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I am still cutting sweet peas, but I suspect this may be the last lot which is sad as I have had an excellent supply for my mum, who loves sweet peas.

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I also noticed that Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’ , whilst looking a little leggy is producing new flowers.

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In the middle of the garden, Penstemon ‘Garnet’ and Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ are not ready to close down for autumn yet.

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I tried to get away from the pink theme in my garden this year but by default and not design it would seem that pink is still the predominant  colour, after green.  However, I am really proud of the Cosmos ‘Pied Piper’ grown from seed, as long as I keep remembering to deadhead them on a regular basis they are providing lots of colour in the bottom border.

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The side patio was becoming a bit of a jungle and in need of a serious tidy up.  It is now looking a little better and the garden wheelie bin is almost full. Here, again, the spiders lay their traps for me, stringing their webs from one side to the other, which makes it a bit like running the gauntlet when I go to the bins.  I now carry refuse bags in front of me, face high but still get caught sometimes.

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As I was photographing the garden this morning, I noticed that the Fatsia Japonica is throwing up their peculiar spikes of what I suppose could be called flowers.

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At this time of the year the hydrangeas slowly move into their autumn shades.  The Madame Emile Mouilliere is turning from a pure white to a pale green tinged with pink.

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Still on the side patio. I am not sure what happened but a few months ago half of the choysia died.  I lopped off all the dead parts and am happy to say that it has recovered and is healthy again.  It did me a favour as it was really rather large and it now a lot neater.

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Regular followers of my blog will know that I have been reviewing an online 4 week container gardening course run by MyGardenSchool.  It has made me take stock of the odd assortment of containers and plants that I have dotted around  and  I am slowly having a sort out and rethink.  Looking after pots of plants requires a lot more thought than I usually give them which is probably why they always look so neglected by the end of the summer.

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Moving on to the back garden again.  The north facing side of the garden will not see anymore sun now until next year.  It gets very damp and boggy, fortunately the hydrangea and astilbe live very happily in these conditions.

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On this trip around the garden, a quick visit to the front garden, which doesn’t often get a look in. The Cotoneaster is glowing red in the sunshine and always amazes me, it grows in the wall and I can’t think where it gets its goodness from.

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That almost ends my EOMV tour of the garden for the end of September, well two days into October! Before I go, let me share the Sedum which is looking magnificent, as usual, and the nasturtiums that always appear about this time of the year and brighten up a dark corner.
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Thank you Helen from Patient Gardener at http://www.patientgardener.wordpress.com for hosting the End of Month View. Please hop over to her blog and take a look at all the other EOMV’s from a whole load of other garden bloggers from around the world as well as the UK.

End of Month View – August 2015

I am very lax in writing an End of Month View (EOMV) on the blog but I am sure you will forgive me if at least I do post an occasional update.

When reading the majority of the EOMV posts from gardeners in the UK you will probably find mention the abysmal summer weather.  We have been unlucky in being subjected to an inordinate and unfair number of wet weekends, and those rare good weekends we have been  blessed with I have not been at home.  I work most of the week and get home late and am tired so my poor garden has become overgrown and now is beaten down by heavy rain.  However, I think it still looks lovely, lush and slightly wild.

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When going through the garden at the side of the house I feel I need a machete.  This year the white Agapanthus honoured me with two enormous flowers which are still in bloom and the Japanese Anemones are standing tall, whilst  as usual the Clematis “Jouiniana Praecox,” is madly scrambling through the climbing rose and along the wall.

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Earlier this year I cut the Elder Sambucus Nigra right down to about 3 foot and in just  a few months it has shot up to over 12 foot, however there were sadly no blooms on it as it flowers on last years growth.  So I have to decide each year whether to go for the height and have blooms or cut it down annually.

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The tomatoes are slow to ripen but getting there.  This year I have grown Sweet Million and they are so sweet and an ideal size just to pop into my mouth as I pass by.   I had a couple of plants left over and for the sake of somewhere to put them I planted them in the raised border and to an extent have let them grow wild just to see what happens.

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I had an idea that I would go for a colour palette of burgundy to lilac in the garden this year and I ordered a selection of seeds from Higgledy Garden.  There have been a few failures but I think that was down to me and not the seeds.  The Sweet Peas ‘Burgundy’ were beautiful although not very prolific and are now over.   Below are those that were successful:

Cosmos ‘Pied Piper’ (with a Cleome muscling in)

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Scabiosa ‘Back in Black’

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Cerinthe ‘Major Purpurascns’

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Amaranthus ‘Caudatus Red – Love Lies Bleeding’

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The other plant that has suffered from neglect and the rain are the raspberries, I have not been picking them quickly enough and many have gone mouldy

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I love peonies in the spring and it is such a shame their leaves go so manky for the rest of the summer.   I had hoped the Guara would hide them but they have gone very straggly and again that is down to me not staking them properly.

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Just in front of the obelisk the sweet peas were growing up there is a very pretty shrub that has interesting blue flowers, I can never remember what it is called, can you help me please?
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The last part of the garden is the on the right hand side, which gets little sun and is full of Astilbe which have turned brown now.  The Alchemilla Mollis are spilling out on to the lawn and I need to get out there and cut it back otherwise I will have bald patches.
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There you go that’s my contribution this month and now I will take a tour of the other EOMV’s for August. Thank you Helen from Patient Gardener for hosting this long running and very popular meme.

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.

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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.