While I was photographing in the garden Titus emerged from the border and posed in a way that made it clear he required to be photographed. I’ve heard rumours that cats are inordinately popular on the internet, so here you go.
Tag Archives: Garden
The strawberry grapes have reached a respectable size and are just beginning to ripen.
It hasn’t been warm enough to persuade the Aeonium Schwarzkopf to flower, but it thrives in a pot of very gritty compost in a sunny part of the garden.
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ will be covered in bees and butterflies once the sun comes out.
It’s going to be a vintage harvest from the Grape Boskoop Glory which grows along the high garden wall and over the garage entrance.
This planting combination of Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ and scented pelargonium ‘Lady Plymouth’ works well either side of our front door. The carex were previously in the lower pots, but with the leaves cascading to the ground they began to look like some very exotic dog that might scuttle off or nip your ankles!
In pursuit of interesting and exotic fruit, the Strawberry Guava Psidium littorale is my latest experiment. The fruit should ripen to deep red in October. Available from www.readsnursery.co.uk
Hydrangea ‘Ayesha’ is developing a lovely green tinge – now is the time to dry the flowers for winter by standing them in a couple of inches of water
Our mulberry tree is now ten years old and cropping well. It hides it fruit beneath the leaves which means the birds only eat those that fall to the ground
As the quinces get larger the branches of the tree begin to droop and walking along the path becomes quite hazardous – contact with a dangling quince can inflict a nasty bruise.
The table top lemon tree has half a dozen nice lemons on it
Wollerton Old Hall garden in Shropshire* is a beautiful blend of inspired planting, immaculate topiary and wonderful structures.
Ingeniously laid out, it reveals itself bit by bit in a series of differently-themed rooms. When the owners bought the house the garden was none existent – what they have achieved is guaranteed to delight.
And there is a lovely tea room and a nursery too! For more information go to www.wollertonoldhallgarden.com .
It does seem to be a spectacular year for roses and – from the rampant to the refined – they have never looked better in our garden. At the rampant end, the Cooper’s Burmese rose has defied its tender reputation despite the cold winter and has now entirely clothed our rather ugly garage. Mind you, the first time I saw it was in Italy, where it was up to the roof of an old monastery, so I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Although it only flowers once, its pure-white single flowers have a simple beauty and are followed by great clusters of orangey-red hips in the autumn. The other charming thug is Treasure Trove which grows 30 feet in either direction along a fence, has colonised an adjoining hedge and clambered up a large bay tree.
Although it does look spectacular at the moment I’m not sure I would recommend it – it is just too vigorous and the flowers don’t die very attractively. Moving on to the more refined contenders, climber Buff Beautyhas finally asserted itself among its companions on the garden wall where its soft apricot flowers peer out from the vine’s foliage.The extraordinary Giant Fennel planted in the border in front of it has now reached 12ft! Of all the roses in my garden, the one that has most significance is one that I bought many, many years ago. It spent most of its life in a pot and it was only once I moved here that I finally felt it had found its home. I always thought it was Omar Khyam, which was reputed to have been propagated from the grave of the poet, but it is too deep a pink. Nevertheless it is utterly gorgeous and intensely fragrant and I am now trying to get it identified – for the moment it is my ‘Mystery Rose’.
In the greenhouse: all the windows and doors are wide open all the time to keep the air circulating and the blinds are pulled down on sunny days to stop scorching. I also follow the old tradition of watering the path on hot days to keep the humidity high and cool the air.
In the coldframe: my experiment with sowing carrots in rootrainers to get better and quicker germination seems to be paying off. They are growing like grass at the moment. Of course it could all go horribly wrong – I still haven’t worked out how, or when, I am going to transplant them.
In the garden: After rain, dig up self-sown seedlings that might be useful elsewhere or make nice presents. Euphorbia mellifera and Euphorbia stygiana self sow enthusiastically and I’ve collected up dozens of young hellebore plants that germinated last year. I’m rather excited about a seedling rose* that is poking through the fence of the vegetable garden – I think Cooper’s Burmese has had a pink semi-double baby!
Two days of proper rain may have blighted the Bank Holiday, but the garden loves it. A friend rang me up this morning and said “ I swear I can see the plants growing!” That certainly seems to be the case in the greenhouse – suddenly the tomatoes are romping up their supports and I can see the first flower trusses forming. The four grow bags I can fit into the border of my 6×4 greenhouse allow me to grow 12 plants. Last year, despite the poor weather, we were picking tomatoes for months. I’m experimenting with something new this year – spiral plant supports. My usual method is to support the plants by winding them round string that is fastened to an overhead wire. The re-useable spiral plant supports, also known as Veggie Cages, have been used in America for a while and have just found there way over here. Apparently they are brilliant at supporting and containing the tomatoes. I will report the results.
The hungry gap is behind us and we are starting to eat regularly from the garden and the allotment. We’ve enjoyed our first broad beans, have regular pickings of asparagus off the allotment, daily pickings of cut-and-come-again lettuce and for the past week, there have been sufficient strawberries for a generous helping on the morning muesli. And all the fresh herbs really give everything such a lift – I don’t know whether the past winter’s weather is the reason, but the mint is super size.
Over the weekend I emptied the tulips out of their pots in the courtyard and replaced them with a mixture of herbs, French beans and dahlias. It is a real suntrap at this time of year and there is nothing our cat loves better than sunbathing on a newly planted pot – especially once it has been topped with Strulch (my favoured mulch – its brilliant). So, to protect the plants, I have created hazel-twig cages – attractive cat deterrents that also act as plant supports!
Sown in the greenhouse: Zinnias and Morning Glories in peat-free coir pellets. Both their seedlings will sulk in the cold and hate root disturbance, so it is a good idea to delay sowing until now or even later for good results. In a couple of weeks they can be planted out into the garden.
Sown in the coldframe: Carrots –the cold frame isn’t much used during the summer months so I’ve sown carrot seed and covered the frame with Enviromesh. This will keep the pesky root fly at bay. With our deep sandy soil we should be able to grow brilliant carrots, but we’ve yet to succeed here, or on the allotment. Fingers crossed.
Sown outside: Spinach – in partial shade in an old galvanised water tank next to the greenhouse. Spinach tends to run to seed if growing in full sun during the summer and raising it up should keep it free of slugs and snails.
On the allotment: A mixture of squash plants