My Garden Right Now

When Michelle Chapman at Veg Plotting said she wanted to start a new on-line project asking us to show what our gardens are like the weekend of 4/5 March, straightaway I put my hand up and said “Yes please!”.   Then I fell at the first hurdle and failed to post on my blog during the weekend.  I hope I am forgiven for being a day late.

Nothing has changed since Sunday, these photos were taken first thing Monday morning.  I can’t wait to take the covers off the garden tables and sit in the warm sunshine, but sadly not yet.   It has been so wet, the lawn is like a quagmire as I squelched my way to the bottom of my small garden to take a photo from an angle I don’t usually use.  I stood at the back of the end flowerbed, and didn’t notice the green stick in the viewer!  The sticks and chicken wire are meant to be a deterrent from foxes, cats and squirrels but don’t work.  I am seriously contemplating buying a sonic scarer, but have bought cat repellant spray to see if that works.

The tulips are slowly making an appearance and the daffodils are beginning to produce a bit of colour in the garden. There is a Ribes to the right of the photo which is covered in tiny little pink buds and the forsythia at the bottom of the garden also has yellow buds on it.

This little bed has always had raspberries, but this year, I have filled it full of spring bulbs.  The iris reticula were a little late  and only 6 flowered and they are nearly over.  When I see photos of my garden, it brings home how much tidying up and work is necessary.  This is my ‘untidy’ corner.

These pots are packed with tulip and daffodil bulbs and are a joy to see out of the kitchen window.  If I look carefully into the leaves there are a few tulips ready to shoot up some flower stems in a couple of weeks.

This is the side patio from the other end.  I have sweet peas and dahlias cooking nicely in the little greenhouse.  The large pot is wedged in front of the greenhouse with a few bricks inside, to prevent it from blowing over in the wind.

A short post  but this is my garden right now.

End of Month View – January 2017


Not one of the best days for taking photos of the garden, it’s dull and drizzling, but I got out there for this January 2017 End of Month View  ( EOMV).

dsc_0141

The garden is very wet and I have done very little in the garden save for filling in holes in the flower beds courtesy of foxes and cats. I have spoilt the aesthetic look of the garden with sticks and chicken wire to try to protect all the bulbs, but sometimes even these don’t thwart the wretched animals.

dsc_0126The flower bed above I recently extended following the removal earlier in the year of the raised bed.  I have filled it with daffodil and tulip bulbs and hope that they will produce an impressive display.  The idea is to grow more flowers in 2017. 

dsc_0127

Taking photographs of the garden is an important way of seeing things differently.  The photo above has shown that I need to reshape the border slightly, I think it looks a bit odd.  However, although it is a small garden, I think I have proved you can still have an interesting walk around the garden and see things from different perspectives, rather than stand at the top of the garden and view everything at once.

2004-garden
May 2004
Out of interest I thought I would add a photo of the garden taken in May 2004 – 13 years ago. There was a lot of lawn with straight borders.  The ivy is still on the Victorian stone walls but along with my neighbour we are beginning to eradicate it although it is a long job.

dsc_0129

There is a small bed to the left of the back patio which in the last 5 years had raspberry  bushes.  I am cutting out a lot of them, not only because they produce more raspberries than I can cope with they have taken over a flower bed in a great sunny position.  In the summer, after the strawberries finished, I moved them into this bed and they have taken to their new home.  I put a cage over them, again to protect them from being dug up.   This is another bed full of bulbs, covered with chicken wire.  It is my intention to have a small cutting patch here.

DSC_0130.JPG

Just to finish off the view of the back garden is a photo of the other border which faces north and has very little sun in the summer with none in the winter.

The side patio is full of spring bulbs filled pots with just a few green tips poking through.  Looking back they appear to be a little later than usual in past years and there is, disappointingly no sign of the Iris Reticulata.  Below is a photo of the very pretty iris from a post on 8 February 2015.  You can see from the photo how much further advanced the daffodils were then.

iris-feb-2105
The first week of February 2015 – Reticulata Iris
Finally a quick visit to the front garden.   Those of you who follow my blog may remember that the front garden belongs to the flat upstairs, although the tenants have never been gardeners so for the last 15 years I have been lucky to be its custodian.

Last year  (2016) was different because the tenant planted a tomato plant in the bed under my window, which is her prerogative, but it grew rampantly and unchecked so took over the bed and I was unable to plant any summer flowers, which was a shame.  I am wondering if she will do the same again in 2017, I expect she will because despite the dry west facing aspect, clay soil, never watering, or pinching out, she had an excellent crop of cherry tomatoes – very annoying!  At the moment, the Day Lillies are producing healthy shoots and the tete-a-tete narcissus are looking as though they have survived the tomato plant onslaught, although there are not as many as previous years.

Finally, I can’t complete a January End of Month View without showing the snowdrops in the front garden.   A strange thing has happened though.  I always hang bird feeders on the lilac tree, but this year the inevitable drop of seeds have produced grass!  This has choked some of the snowdrops and will give me another job to dig over this bed to remove the grass without disturbing the snowdrops.

The EOMV meme is hosted by Helen of The Patient Gardener.   Please pop over to her blog as many gardeners across the world contribute to this meme and it is really interesting to see how others are doing at this time of the year.

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.

img_0273
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.

img_0262

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.

imageimage

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?

image

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.

image

image

 

image

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.

image

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.

 

image

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.

imageimage

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.

image

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:

imageGaura

image

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

image image

image

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

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. 

End of Month View: August 2014

I have realised that I missed out the End of Month View for July, but the garden was looking particularly dry and probably not very photogenic which is perhaps why it didn’t get published.

In contrast to what has been a really good summer, August saw an autumnal dip in temperatures and a lot of rain.   I went into hospital on the 13 August for a further operation and was unable to mow the lawn before I went in because of the rain.   Since then I have not been able to give the garden the much needed attention it now requires and it is looking neglected.   The grass is far too long, ankle deep in some places, and due to stomach surgery I can’t, as yet, use the mower so it will continue to grow until next weekend when a friend has kindly offered to mow the lawn for me.

Some of the taller plants, such as the cosmos badly need staking as they have flopped over the smaller plants.  I am really pleased with this particular variety of Cosmos, called Sea Shells, which I grew from seed.  Some were pink, but the white ones seems to have taken over.

Cosmos (1024x683)

I have been very selective with my photos this month to give the impression that the garden is still full of flowers, which strictly speaking is not really the case.   There is an abundance of greenery and a few patches of colour.  The Echinacea and Rudbekia have been devoured by the slugs and snails and are, sadly, no longer to be seen, so no wonderful late summer orange shades.

Tucked away just behind the Cosmos I found a very pretty white Scabious which I grew from seed last year and survived the winter.

DSC_0059 (1024x683)There are a few plants I grew from seed this year; one is a Cleome.  I have two plants which survived the ravages of the snails and has flowered continuously for the last few months, with more flowers to come.

DSC_0061 (1024x683)

Another is a Verbena which, although it has struggled, has added some bright colour on the border edge.  Unlike its relative Bonariensis this variety only grows to about 8″ and comes in a number of colours ranging from deep purple through to pink.

DSC_0064 (1024x683)

I was given a Gaura last year which I thought I had lost but I found it growing quite happily in the south facing border.   It must have flowered well in the last month and not being in the garden I missed it, There are only a few flowers left on it but I was pleased to see it.  I am inclined to dig it up before it gets cold, and nurture it in the greenhouse over the winter to give it the chance to establish in size before putting it out in the garden next year.

DSC_0065 (1024x683)

The roses are in their second flush and looking good with the white Japanese Anemones behind them.

DSC_0074

It has been a fabulous year for raspberries, and I am not sure if it is just the good weather or if it was partially down to the good helping of  fish blood and bone that I gave them in the spring.   They have fruited since July, and are the size of strawberries and incredibly sweet.  I have given them away to neighbours, have bags of them in the freezer and my grandchildren helped themselves to large portions last weekend.   Still they continue to produce fruit.

DSC_0077 (966x1024)

The ‘Moneymaker’ tomatoes are very slow to ripen.  I have had a good number of them, along with the slugs, but there is a branch with tomatoes the size of small apples that seem loathe to turn red.  I have removed most of the leaves now with the hope that they will concentrate on what they are supposed to do.

DSC_0078 (1024x683)

The one plant I love to see turn pink at this time of the year is the Sedum.  Slowly their flower heads are changing to a rose colour and will, eventually, become turn to a lovely dark burgundy shade during the winter.

DSC_0063 (1024x683)

Finally, the side patio.   Here it has become a bit of a jungle and everything is very overgrown.  With the promise of good weather this coming week I will have to take the secateurs to several of the plants, including the passion flower and the Clematis “Jouiniana Praecox,” which is looking good but taken over most of the patio wall between me and my neighbour.

DSC_0083 (1024x683)

As always a big thank you to Helen from The Patient Gardener for hosting this monthly meme.  Visit her blog to see what is happening in her lovely and interesting garden as well as then hopping across to other gardens who have contributed to this month’s End of Month View.