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 – 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).

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 – 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 – March 2015

It is getting a little warmer now and everything in the garden is full of the joy of spring.   We have been unlucky this last week with some very strong winds and I, for one, suffered the loss of seedlings when my plastic greenhouse blew over.  Fortunately it is still early enough to get going again.  I shoved my sweet pea seeds, which were sprouting, back into their pots hoping that they will recover. 

Today, a few days after the end of March, it is mild and wet but during a lull in the drizzle I managed a couple of hours in the garden.  The soil is burgeoning with weeds and ideal to work at the moment so I spent most of the time hoeing and adding organic compost.   

  The Forsythia and Ribes are contributing to wonderful spring colour in the garden.  The lawn desperately needs some work this year.  I have put feed and weed on it and now there are large black patches where the moss was.  Also there are bald patches caused by me walking on the lawn when it was very wet and frosty. 

   

I love the Spirea at this time of the year because the leaves are beautiful shades of rosy pink and russet.

 

The south facing border is a spring delight with daffodils, forget-me-nots, and peony shoots. 

 

 As I walked around I could see the euphorbia, which I thought had died, has recovered for another year. 

 

 On the opposite flower bed the tiny shoots of the euphorbia ‘Fireglow’  are making an appearance.  It seems to have spread so I am expecting a good show this year.

  A few years ago I planted a clematis ‘Josephine’ at the base of the Elder and it is full of buds so the contrast of the pink flowers and the purple leaves on the Elder should look good within a month or two. 

  In my last post I said I was delighted that the Clematis Montana ‘Elizabeth’ had survived it’s severe hacking.  This year I think the shed is going to be covered in pretty fragrant flowers. 

   

 

The lasagna pots on the side patio are blooming well with an assortment of daffs and the tulips are slowly coming up also. 

   

  

 Although the Peiris is looking a little thin, it is flowing well so can’t be too unhappy. 

  Thank you Helen from Patient Gardener for hosting this great meme, which serves as an extremely useful record of how the gardening is fairing over the years. 

Next month, when the EOMV for April is put together, there will be lots more of exciting new growth to show you.