Time for a Rethink

Time for a Rethink

Now that I have more time for gardening, I’m reassessing some parts of the garden to see if I can make improvements.  First for this treatment is the Lower Garden in front of the old part of the house.  It is tucked away in a corner and always seems to be bottom of the list for attention.  As a result, although it does look lovely in spring, it is pretty unsatisfactory for the rest of the year and is in need of replanting.
garden border

foxgloves

Pretty in Spring

The two  New Dawn roses that climb up the obelisks are an ill-disciplined pair, they flower poorly and shoot off in every direction and most of the other roses, with the exception of a Cardinal Richelieu, seem to be struggling, while the majority of the perennials have to fight  for survival.
roses

roses

By this time of year this whole area is looking tired and is in need of a revamp

aganpanthus africanus

hollyhocksThere are a few exceptions – a very happy group of white Agapanthus africanus, clumps of iris sibirica, self sown geranium palmatum and a growing colony of hollyhocks – but the plan is to dig up the rest of the perennials and relocate them in other parts of the garden.  There are some good shrubs and small trees  that I will then underplant with grasses (there are already plenty of spring bulbs) and at the appropriate time (April)  I will divide up the agapanthus so that I can spread them through this area.  If it all works as planned, the result should be that the Lower Garden requires less work and looks better for much longer.  Watch this space.

Of Cabbages & Things

Of Cabbages & Things

What with lack of space and other priorities I have pretty well given up sowing our own brassicas and rely instead on the excellent www.organicplants.co.uk to supply me with well-grown plugs. The important thing with any plugs is to get them planted out or potted up as soon as possible.
cabbages uncoveredI’m potting them up because that way they will be stronger, larger plants when they finally make it into the ground and in the meantime I can protect them from the predations of slugs and snails and cover them with enviromesh to keep the cabbage white butterflies away.
cabbages coveredWhen I’ve got lots of plants to pot up I fill the wheelbarrow with compost and park it in a shady part of the garden (not difficult in a garden full of trees) and do my potting up there. Bending over a wheelbarrow can put quite a strain on the back, so in my hillside garden I position the wheelbarrow on the edge of the lawn which is raised 50cm above the adjoining path and can work at a comfortable height – alternatively sitting on a chair or stool will also save your back.garden wheelbarrow full

In the Pink

As the trees spread their shade in the garden, much of it consists of textures and shades of green, but there also some star performers that provide splashes of colour, especially in shades of pink.  The earlier cool, wet growing conditions has meant that the plants that successfully outpaced the slugs and snails have reached giant proportions and I find myself looking up at many of them.  The Nicotiana have never been finer and although they tend to wilt a bit in the heat, they quickly recover.Nicotianapink flowers

It is also a wonderful year for hollyhocks with many of them over two metres high and flowering their socks off.  The dahlias have been more variable with Rip City munched to oblivion (I’m about to dig it up and see if I can resuscitate it) while Hillcrest Royal has never looked finer.pink hollyhockspink dahlias

Logging On

Logging On

Given that we haven’t yet had a summer worth mentioning, it may seem unnecessarily pessimistic, but we have just had a log delivery. The advantages are that it’s a quiet time for our local woodsman so there’s no waiting for the delivery, and as we have a dry and airy log store they can stay there and continue seasoning until we need them. It’s hard work getting them from the driveway to the log store, but they look great once they are stacked and promise a cosy winter to come. Now all we need is some summer! log pile
wheelbarrows
log store