End of Month View: Around the Corner

Some of the bloggers who join in Helen’s End of Month meme at Patient Gardener have decided to focus on one particular border or area of the garden this year. As I want to keep a record for my own interest I shall continue looking at the whole garden, even though at this time of year the changes are not readily visible. The other dilemma involves photographs – lots of views mean more space taken up on the blog, but smaller pictures mean lower resolution. When my blog was first started it would have taken a number of years to fill the allowable space, but longer posts and more photos have seen it filling up at an accelerated rate, so apologies for any lack of clarity and thank you as always to Helen for making it possible to readily share these monthly posts.

Starting as always from outside the kitchen windows, the view across the paved area shows little colour at present, other than pansies in the posts in the foreground and the lovely cornus stems in the square lead effect pots, but in all the pots there are already signs of tulip bulbs pushing skywards, perhaps a little early, but that’s this winter for you. On the right is the streamside view, with some of the gorgeous witch hazels. Again, bulbs are poking through, lots of Tête-à-Tête and some more Crocus tommasinianus to add to the few planted before.

EOMVjan14.1Even a larger picture of the woodland would not show the wood anemones and bluebells that on close inspection are becoming apparent above the leaf litter, whereas the main borders really are just ‘in waiting’ for new growth to begin again – although here and there are signs of species tulips, always well in advance of their larger counterparts. There is still planting to get right in these beds as the season progresses. Hopefully the various hostas which are collecting themselves in the pots in the foreground will see the winter through unscathed, this being the first time I have had them in anything other than large pots.

EOMVjan14.2Clematis in the colonnade shown above left have been recently pruned but need to be reassessed later in the year to see if any extras are needed to extend the flowering season on each post. Likewise the geranium in the beds at their base may need a boost as some of the varieties planted are a bit on the lanky side which is not what was intended; I was intrigued to find a lonely flower on a G sanguineum here as I rambled this morning! The woodland edge border on the right is ready to take off in the next few weeks as the hellebores and ordinary snowdrops get going and will no doubt be starring in next month’s EOMV. You may just about make out the ‘full stop’ (or perhaps more of a semi colon) at the end of the path through this border, the recently revamped boundary between it and the right hand side hot border, which does exactly what it was meant to do and look as if it has been there much longer than it has.

EOMVjan14.3The hot borders are awaiting their transformation into bold borders this season with the addition of bold and bright annuals, dahlias and some late bulbs. This is a real change in direction, but hopefully will get over my struggle to fill them with hot colours for most of the season – I am quite excited about this change, but it may take a year or two to see what works and what doesn’t, and which annuals are worth the effort of sowing and nurturing.

EOMVjan14.4The equivalent ‘semi colon’ in front of the hot border on the left side has also been successful, now nicely defining the blue & white borders and creating almost a courtyard space. I am well chuffed with this and just need to get the planting sorted – again, I hope to make more use of annuals here this year.

IMG_1183Two views of the rose garden this time, the first looking towards the ‘bus shelter’, on either side of which will soon be two recently purchased (from the our reclamation place) urns with prostrate roses trailing from them – at least that’s the idea. I had been hoping to find a matching partner for the leaning urn on the left, a not uncommon concrete creation, but the place we got it from doesn’t produce them anymore and we haven’t come across one at a car boot sale either. All the existing roses have been sprouting new shoots for weeks now, raring to get going and establish this enclave further, and I shall also be interested to see the result of my pruning of the lavender at their feet in this the second season of these young plants.

EOMVjan14.5If you find yourselves disorientated following this end of month ramble, do have a look at the plan of the garden to help you. We are now doubling back toward the house where we can see the species snowdrop border that is demanding so much attention recently and beyond that the hedge border created a little under a year ago following the removal of the D****’s plant. The latter reminds me how quickly new planting can take shape and transform an area, with this bed about to be transformed further with lots of white crocus  and Anemone blanda in a few week’s time. Such an exciting time of year in the garden, this winter/spring transition, so do pop over to Helen’s blog to see what is happening in other gardens – and watch this space!


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20 Responses to End of Month View: Around the Corner

  1. Christina says:

    Full of promise Cathy. I do love the structure in your garden, there is a true sense of place. When do you prune your lavender. The currant thinking is that it should be pruned very soon after flowering to give it a chance to put on some nice new growth for the winter and then again in early spring. Mine is sometimes done three times a year depending on how organised I am.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – after the revamp a couple of years ago it is beginning to come together again, I think. I asked you about pruning the lavender a little while ago and I remembered you saying you often did yours three times a year. I shall certainly trim mine after it has flowered this year although it was a bit later than that last year. I suppose I am aware of rules of ‘not cutting into dead wood’ and was a little hesitant to prune at first.

  2. Pauline says:

    That was quite a “ramble”, it was lovely looking round your garden with all the different areas that you’ve made. My tulips too, that are in pots have been up for such a long time now, and the alliums, I hope they don’t get a shock if we get a cold spell! You have reminded me that all the clematis need cutting back, if only the lawn would dry out, most of ours are on the pergola which leads through to the veggie beds. This is a very exciting time of year, how different everywhere will look next month!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline. I realise I also have some non-species tulips left in pots from last year – I wonder if they will flower again? I hadn’t thought of using alliums in pots do they do well?

  3. Hi Cathy, I love the idea of using dahlias and annuals for your hot borders, plenty of material for the vase then too. I love the way that the structures in the garden give it a coherent feel despite the many different areas. I generally really dislike garden rooms, you seem to have created areas with different foci but that still flow together and feel coherent somehow. I am looking forward to seeing your clematis collonade this year, and pestering you with questions about how you combine them without making pruning really awkward…

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Janet – in some ways the areas were more fluid before the revamp a couple of years ago, as there were more curves and less corners. I also had to think about direction and not shading areas with the boundaries but it seems to be coming together OK. With the colonnade I should really have chosen clematis with similar pruning habits for each post of the colonnade, but I didn’t – it wasn’t an issue this last season as none are fully established yet, but I shall keep you posted!!

  4. Helen Johnstone says:

    Lots of interest despite the time of year, especially like the woodland walk with the ferns. Thank you for continuing to join in

  5. Julie says:

    Hi Cathy – how lovely to be able to make a cup of tea and have a virtual ramble around your garden with you! I love all your different areas and the many structures and pots you have included in your plans. I am sure we will see a big change next month when all those emerging bulbs you mention start to get going. I am also sure you will be glad you decided to do more annuals, dahlias and summer bulbs this year – apart from their value in the vase they give an enormous lift to the garden which can start to flag a bit from mid summer. For now though I am looking forward to seeing how your woodland progresses through the season – I am hoping to pinch a few ideas from you as I concentrate on developing that area of my own garden. I have made a note of this meme in my diary and will try to join in next month.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Julie – it has helped to have been able to really focus on the garden for the last couple of years and learn from past experiences too, thinking about it as a whole instead of working on it piecemeal. This seems to make investing time (and money too I suppose) in it all the more worthwhile, nurturing not just the garden but, as the tag line says, my soul too. The structure seems to be paying dividends now, but the planting will need tweaking for a good while yet. It is a real joy to have the moral support of other bloggers, so thanks again.

  6. rusty duck says:

    So much seems poised to burst out right now. With your beautiful walls you must have created quite a microclimate there. Looking forward to seeing the woodland plants especially.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jessica. I was thinking that about the area by the Wall myself – and the whole garden is quite sheltered anyway. Well drained too, I suppose, as we don’t have the sogginess that other people are suffering. The woodland and woodland edge borders are the two parts that haven’t really changed since their inception as they have both worked so well – it is strange to see photos of both when they were first begun!

  7. It might seem an odd thing to compliment you on but I just love all your paths. The difference in the textures in each area kind of defines them too. Is that deliberate or just developed over time?
    Your woodland planting should be quite spectacular next month and I look forward to seeing it.

    • Cathy says:

      I had to stop and think Angie – I suppose it wasn’t really deliberate, and in some cases it has ended up that way because we have reused materials in a different way when the garden was revamped. Near the house we used paviors for the paths because they were quick and cheap, and the paved areas were Stonemarket slabs that look like real York stone which gave some immediate age. Further down the garden we used a lot of Bradstone ‘carpetstones’ because of their versatility but ended up with a different colour of them for some parts because they were being sold off cheaply – at one time some we kept some grass for paths but it was a pain to cut! Bark, of course, is great for the woodland and woodland edge border paths.

  8. lots to see and lots of promise for things to come Cathy, your new courtyard looks nice though the 2 seats made me smile will you ever sit out on them and just enjoy ……………. 🙂 Frances

  9. pbmgarden says:

    It’s nice to see a plan and purpose taking shape. I need to trim my clematis–thanks for the reminder.

  10. Anna says:

    As always coveting your walls Cathy 🙂 Can you buy any additional photo space with WordPress?
    I had the same dilemma a few years ago but now pay a small annual fee to Blogger which gets round the problem.

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