End of Month View: the Leaf Thief Has an Accomplice

Someone seems to have tidied up after the Leaf Thief because it certainly wasn’t only my efforts that have left the paths largely leaf free at the turn of yet another month. As many garden bloggers – in the UK at least – will be proclaiming, it is nothing like the start of the  Decembers we remember from the past. Who knows what the rest of the month will bring,  or the first few months of 2016?

Today though, here is the view over the paved area immediately behind the house:


The streamside grass (where I noticed some green spears of crocus today) and the shrub border:


The woodland looks so different at this time of year:


From Bill’s chimney, looking out over the herbaceous borders, the two borders on the left still needing their overhaul:


The same borders from ground level:


The clematis colonnade and the heuchera bed around the Acer griseum:


The woodland edge border from both directions – noticed the flopped Red Dragon in the second picture:



The three bold borders:




The blue & white borders:



The rose garden:


Retracing our steps but veering to the right behind the sitooterie we now pass the special snowdrop border with its delights and disappointments to come:


Almost back at the house the current small project is on hold till drier weather, but the path has been widened and enough of the existing wall dismantled to allow it be realigned –  not surprisingly I am itching to get on with it!


We are not at home at the moment and this post is being written on a spanking new but very portable tablet, a new experience for me so I am having to learn as I go along, the WordPress app being a little different from what I am used to. If the format looks a little odd when it is published, then I apologise! I am not yet sure about adding a link, but nevertheless I would like to thank Helen the Patient Gardener for valiantly hosting this End of Month view for many years – do check her blog to see other gardens at the end of November.

Posted in Gardening | 4 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Loose Women

IMG_6288When I see the gorgeous blooms of ‘The Poet’s Wife’ every time I look out of the windows at the back of the house how could I not resist picking some of them to share with you at closer quarters?

IMG_6294I have said it before and will no doubt say it over and over again that any rose which produces such beautiful blooms at the end of November must surely be a winner – and the buds are beautiful too, yellow suffused with pink. Having found another perfect bloom, this time of ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’, lying on the ground after one of the recent windy spells I looked up and saw there were several others above my head still attached to the plant – so she has joined Mrs Poet in today’s vase, making a group of loose women if ever there was one.

I have never seen the television programme ‘Loose Women’ so I haven’t a clue what antics they get up to, but I am sure it will involve shoes in some way or other – and hence the props, a collection of little plastic shoes (Sindy’s?) which are just the quirky sort of thing which appeals to me and which sit on one of my shelves along with other miniatures. Props are not obligatory for a Monday vase but it adds to the challenge and for me they tie neatly in with the blooms and the title in a most satisfactory way :) The vase is a glazed Bretby vase which in hindsight was possibly a little over-large for the contents, which also included some twisted hazel recycled from a previous vase and a few fragments of fern. What will you find in your garden or forage near you (as I did last week) to pop in a vase or other receptacle today? Please share it with us by leaving links to and from this post as usual.

IMG_6297Thank you for all your kind comments about my Mum’s birthday last week – I am pleased to say she read the post without any prompting from myself and was most touched to read them and would like to express her own thanks too. By the way, I brought my illicitly foraged snippings home with me last Monday and was pleased to see that whilst the other contents had gone to their withered death the jasmine was beginning to open up after several days in a little vase and now sits in front of the mirror in the bathroom.


Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday, roses | Tagged , , | 66 Comments

Slight Panic Sets In…

panic.setsinAs the snowdrop season approaches (hardly credible with the mostly mild autumn we have been having), I have not been able to resist poking around in the special snowdrop border to see if there an early spikes of green showing. Following on from the first bud of ‘Faringdon Double’ I was pleased to see several shoots of another early variety, ‘Mrs McNamara’ but there was no sign at all of ‘Maidwell L’ which was one of my very early purchases. Gentle excavation with the end of the seed label still failed to retrieve anything so I carefully lifted the basket the clump was growing in and inspected the contents more closely – alas! only soil and a few hollow bulbs… :( Maidwell L has been nobbled… and if an established clump can be devastated like this then how much more likely is it for a single bulb to meet the same fate…? :( :( :(

The clump was so well established that I felt confident using two bulbs to experiment with propagating by the ‘chipping’ or ‘twin scaling’ method (which on this occasion was unsuccessful) and I may possibly have given a small pot of bulbs to a friend – with whom I have left a begging message. I am especially concerned because all the established snowdrops in this border had been temporarily lifted in their baskets whilst I raised the level of the bed earlier in the year and most had been repotted in their existing or larger baskets. Time will tell, but I shall be doing a lot more poking around in the coming months I can tell you – and I seriously wonder whether to keep duplicate bulbs potted up elsewhere to allow for disasters like this. It does feel like a disaster, as I may have lost individual bulbs in their first year but never an established clump – woe and double woe!

IMG_6287On a happier note (and there will always be happier notes), there should be no problem with stray laburnum seedlings from next year as the Golfer has begun to cut down the laburnums that our now deceased neighbour had personally planted in the hedge – hurrah! Also a cause for happiness is the creation of another small bricklaying project, arising from clearing the ivy at the foot of one of the rose arbour posts which generated the vision of a continuation of the existing supporting wall alongside the path. As this is the access required for getting wheelbarrows up the slope from the front of the house to the rest of the garden a wall on either side would have made it awkward, but widening the path by a couple of mini cobbles should make all the difference. Rain is forecast for the next few days but it’s only a couple of hours work so I shall get the bricks and mortar in anyway, just in case.


Posted in garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, projects | Tagged | 19 Comments

Thinking Ahead

Many thanks to all of you for the best wishes forwarded to my Mum on her 90th birthday – I am hoping she will read them for herself on last Monday’s post. Not surprisingly our few family days together in Edinburgh were all the more special because of the auspiciousness of the occasion and with the coming together of several generations.

Back home later on Monday, it was clear that the chilliness of Edinburgh had been surpassed by temperatures here in the Midlands, with my greenhouse registering a minimum of -2.6ºC and plenty of evidence of the effect of heavy frosts – especially ‘Red Dragon’ who has given up for this year and flopped and, not surprisingly, all the dahlias.

IMG_6281The dahlias have all been lifted now and are drying out in the greenhouse alongside the few fuchsias and pelargoniums which were brought inside just before we went away. The greenhouses are rapidly filling up, the smaller one already chocabloc with seedlings and the larger one still home to some less hardy chrysanthemums. Joining them will be some of the contenders for Younger Daughter’s wedding posies for her April wedding.

IMG_6278Supplementing the red, white and blue Anemone de Caen (Hollandia, The Bride and Mr Fokker) and thus increasing my options are Tulipa ‘Linifolia’, Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’ and blue muscari, making up my very late second order from Peter Nyssen. Thanks to a helpful prompt from Julie of Peonies and Posies I also arranged a late second order from Owl’s Acre sweet peas – having already sown two varieties of their ‘winter flowering’ sweet peas some weeks ago there are now scarlet, blue and white varieties too. Julie had some of these sweet peas flowering at the end of April last year and although I am later sowing them than I would have liked it does give some more options.

IMG_6280It is so hard to judge when things might flower but of course I couldn’t NOT rise to the challenge of growing the flowers myself! Some will be planted outside and some in pots in the greenhouse, with only a small degree of staggering of planting times because of the lateness of the season. I shall keep you posted of their progress!


Posted in Gardening, Gardens | Tagged , | 18 Comments

In a Vase on Monday: Forgive Me For I have Sinned

IMG_6254Only a little sin, I think, but like this time last year I have purloined a few snippets from the front garden of the flat we have been staying in. Back in Edinburgh for our now annual family get together, this year it was my Mum’s 90th birthday and therefore rather special, with many more family members than usual and from all parts of the UK (and one from beyond). No time for out and abouts this year, but of course Monday means a vase and here it is…

Last year the snippets were only foliage but this time I have sneaked blooms from an unknown persicaria, a yellow wallflower and a pelargonium, along with a lovely maple, spent sprays of astilbe and a sprig or two of winter flowering jasmine. Unlike home, the flat boasts blank tiled walls in the kitchen which make an effective background for the wine glass and its simple contents.

Do see what you can find in your own gardens or purloined elsewhere and plonk them in a vase to brighten your week. I will probably not have time to reply to any comments left on this post but I shall catch up with your own vases as soon as I can.


Posted in Gardening, Gardens, In a Vase on Monday | Tagged | 33 Comments

On the Wind


Abigail may have merely waved at us but Barney certainly shook our hand very firmly, leaving a few twiggy branches around and a couple of our neighbour’s fence panels down. Any residual breeze now carries with it the delightful scent of V b ‘Dawn’ – until I had my own I didn’t quite appreciate how delightful the fragrance was although I can’t quite put my finger on what, if anything, the smell reminds me off. I think I have heard it referred to as ‘candyfloss’ which must surely have some artificial smell rather than one of its own – nothing artificial about ‘Dawn’ though! Showing off against her bobbly pink blossom is a follow-on from my November blooms day post – a bud of the Poet’s Wife, now opening delightfully and not browning into a soggy lump like some roses are prone to do in the circumstances. She also smells gorgeous, a definite citrus fragrance, and I was pleased to read ‘Which? Gardening’ recommending her highly in the recent issue.

IMG_6224Between periods of wind and rain I was able to complete my painting of the rose arbour, meaning I could then tackle existing and proposed planting around the feet of the posts. Clematis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ was rescued from its ignominious position face down in a puddle on the paved area, and retied around its post (middle post on the right) where it will get a little slate tile surround to prevent its roots being exposed. On the far right post, a flash of inspiration saw Clematis jouiniana ‘Praecox’ moved to the middle post on the left where its generous foliage can spread itself around without reducing access as it had been doing. This left climbing rose ‘New Dawn’ to climb up the post without hindrance and without being smothered in a clematis bear hug, leaving me surprised to see how much more vigourous she was than the spindly underperforming specimen I had expected.

IMG_6226Two new clematis have been waiting a few months for their allocated spots to become available – C viticella ‘Alba’ (with its lovely wavy green edges) for the far middle post and C viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’ for the ‘middle middle’. Avoiding my 2016 plant buying embargo I have a pair of ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ climbing roses on order for the two front posts – but what could go in the spot to the left of the path that I have been clearing of ivy…?

Posted in garden structure, Gardening, Gardens | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: On a Magic Carpet


Image | Posted on by | Tagged | 3 Comments