Shropshire Lads

CIMG2258Having planned to pick the damsons today (variety ‘Shropshire Prune’) it did not take many moments up the ladder to realise that they weren’t quite ready after all – there was no ‘give’ when I gently pressed them between my fingers so they can hang around for a bit longer. I imagine there will be around 4 or 5lbs when the time is right for picking, a relatively good crop for a tree that is not in the best location. It has the advantage of being grown on a fairly dwarf rootstock, so it needn’t involve a tall ladder or any stretching, just in case any of you are worried about further potential accidents – the Golfer is quite humbled by all the good wishes you have passing on in your comments. Thank you.

This lack of readiness for picking threatened to put me at a bit of a loose end – having made up my third batch of tomato chutney in the morning I had envisaged spending time harvesting damsons and then doing something appropriate with them, including some jam making. It is strange how quite suddenly there are not as many jobs to do in the garden, but after having had so many months of getting something done in it every day it is going to take some time to get used to perhaps not spending time in it at all, other than my rambles and – who knows?! – maybe even sitting down in it! I wandered round a little aimlessly after my harvesting was stymied, snipping off the odd deadhead and plucking out a wayward weed or two, but then focussed instead on studying it as objectively as I could.

CIMG2255Unblinkered, I could see that by next year many plants which were new or movedย  last year would be clumping up nicely and that as they did so the overall effect on the borders would be subtly different. The phlox and penstemon would be making more of a statement, as would the sedum which this year have been quite spindly after being shunted around. The clematis on the colonnade would have settled in better and instead of just leaves would be producing flowers just as this newish ‘Buckland Beauty’ has done, now gracing the garden with a small second flush. I can see better now how annualsannuals can be manipulated to fill the gaps in the borders between the perennials and provide colour to knit the garden together throughout the seasons, like the tagetes and heliomeris I showed recently on GBBD. The importance of foliage cannot be underestimated either, and my regular ramblings have opened my eyes to this too – after all, there is more green in the garden than all the other colours put together, so ferns and hosta and pulmonaria and countless others provide a welcome backdrop for many months of the year.


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15 Responses to Shropshire Lads

  1. Annette says:

    Very beautiful, your Buckland Beauty! Has it got anything to do with Jim Buckland?

    • Cathy says:

      Not according to the British Clematis society website which I have just checked – ‘raised by Everett Leeds from seed donated to the BCS seed exchange scheme by Wim Snoeijer’. Who is Jim Buckland? The picture I posted shows just how beautiful she is in close up, doesn’t it?

  2. Anna says:

    Interesting to read that there was no ‘give’ with your damsons Cathy. We rushed to the allotment yesterday afternoon after a weekend away expecting that the high winds and rain might have bought the apples down but there was only one on the ground! Thought that I would check all the trees but despite my gentle cupping and tugs very few apples came off. I wonder if everything is still slightly behind as one of my apples should be ready for picking in August. Butting in but Jim Buckland manages West Dean Gardens in Sussex although I don’t think there is a connection between him and your beautiful clematis which I once had. Could be wrong though ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      Glad your apples survived the weather, Anna – we have had a fair sprinkling of windfalls, but mostly just a natural thinning of small ones and the main crop is certainly not fully grown yet. Although we had a long w/e in Sussex a few years ago West Dean was not one of the gardens we got to (surprisingly, as we squeezed so much into the w/e, as we do!)

  3. The pink Clematis is stunning!

    • Cathy says:

      It is indeed, Natalie and because the flowers are small they are also perfectly formed and don’t get the same weather damage that larger flowered clematis might do.

  4. Pauline says:

    So glad to hear that the Golfer suffered no lasting damage, it comes as quite a shock when we find that we can’t carry on as we used to doesn’t it? Your clematis is beautiful and well worth its space for flowering so late when all the others are finished, does it belong to the Texensis family?

    • Cathy says:

      It won’t slow him down for long although it didn’t do his golf any favours – and it won’t stop him cutting trees down either! This is the first full year I have had Buckland Beauty so I was chuffed it had flowered in the first place but particularly pleased to see this second flush. I have double checked and it from the Texensis-Viorna family, Viorna clematis being native to N America or so google tells me

  5. croftgarden says:

    I’m delighted to learn that you have a damson tree – a truly much under-rated fruit.
    As you are always telling me to be careful I’ll call touche and mutter something about ladders and ladies of a certain age!
    Nice clematis!

    • Cathy says:

      Ha ha – it’s not a tall ladder, and a step ladder rather than a ladder as such – so not the triple stretch ladder I climb to prune the wisteria at its highest point …. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I prefer damsons to plums, if I had to make a choice.

  6. well Cathy if you are bored and want to do some gardening do you fancy a gardening holiday on Lewis??? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    seriously, I’m pleased that you are finally using your seats as more than ornaments, enjoy, sounds like the golfer is not the only one who can’t rest …….
    your garden always looks great when you post, reward for the years of hardwork, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      Now I didn’t say that I DID spend time sitting on them, Frances…! You are right though, we both like to be busy. Thanks for your kind comments – I must admit that this is probably the first year ever I feel I have kept on top of things and made real progress, so as long as I don’t plan more changes in the foreseeable future then I may sit on a bench one day….ps we may make it up the Hebrides next year (but don’t hold fire on your gardening!)

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