Gardening On a Small Scale

IMG_2153The Golfer takes great delight in informing any visitors who want to have a nose around the garden that it is ‘designed and maintained by someone under five feet tall’ which is, I have to admit, strictly true. The implication, of course, is that anyone taller than me will be inconvenienced by overhanging greenery and the like – an exaggeration, albeit with a small but unintentional element of truth. On wet days like today, however, even shorties like me have to bear the brunt of exuberant raindrop laden growth, particularly in the woodland edge border which takes on an even denser and lusher appearance and generally encourages a different direction to my rambles.

Despite the dampness of these rambles I have still been able to carry out some minor tasks today, but mostly have just been enjoying the freshness and lushness of it all. In particular the roses have suddenly become emblazoned with colour, looking wonderful even in the heaviest downpours and now giving  more than just a hint of their fragrance as you approach the rose garden itself. Somehow the photographs don’t do them justice, other than in individual close ups, but nevertheless here is a view through the rose garden, with Zépherine Drouhin, Guinée and Mme Alfred Carrière. Blush Noisette on the surrounding fences is in bud but not flowering yet.

IMG_2158Danse de Feu is clambering over the pergola by the paved area behind the house (don’t be misled by the blue sky – it cannot have been there for more than a few minutes!):

IMG_2161Rural England, a continuous flowering rambler is opening its first few buds, whilst I regularly check the blowsy old fashioned buds of Souvenir de la Malmaison:

May.rosesRambling Rector is building up for an early display with masses of buds becoming increasingly but meanwhile, outside the front door, Pink Perpetué defies the lack of a traditional decent location by beginning its annual flowery profusion in its tiny raised bed:


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35 Responses to Gardening On a Small Scale

  1. rusty duck says:

    Beautiful. I only have one open so far: Susan Williams-Ellis.
    I’m not very tall either. Our last house was extremely old and we decided to create a first floor galleried mezzanine, not full room height, but which I could use as a study. It was always going to be a compromise, but I settled on a ceiling height half an inch above my head. It made builders’ site meetings highly satisfactory: I stood, they knelt.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jessica – and hurrah for kneeling builders!! Your gallery sounds like a great use of space – oh, that was your old house, though. Your SW-E rose is a lovely one – I remember previous pictures.

  2. Christina says:

    Strange I imagined you tall and willowy!

  3. Julie says:

    As another ‘shortie’ I know how easy it is to think that plant levels are fine because I can walk underneath them! Your rose garden looks so tempting – it is surprising how well these flowers cope with a heavy downpour. Well done Cathy for carrying on with your rambles today – the dogs and I have stayed inside, apart from a quick dash to cut some peonies that were in danger of collapsing with the weight of water on their petals.

    • Cathy says:

      Shorties unite! Ironically, I had cut back the edges of of the path through the woodland edge border only a few days before, but it didn’t stand a chance with an inch of the wet stuff! No time in the garden today other than a couple of quick rambles, but there are definitely some allium that need propping up. Luckily nothing seems damaged. The rose garden is really beginning to come together now after a change in location two years ago

  4. bittster says:

    I love the full lushness of your shade garden. It’s perfect for people of all sizes!
    I hope there’s plenty of fragrance though your garden from the roses. I was out weeding today and the bearded iris are filling the yard with a mix of perfumes. It was a good day 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, do bearded iris have a fragrance? How lovely. Yes, all these climbers have a fragrance and I have underplanted with lavender which hasn’t flowered yet so I can’t imagine how intoxicating that might be

  5. croftgarden says:

    So that’s why you spend so much time up a ladder! There must be plenty of advantages in being hobbit size, fitting into a camper van is one and being close to the ground is a great for gardening! Having one’s head in the clouds leads to botanist’s stoop, gardener’s back ache and a tendency to fall over one’s over large feet, but great for getting things off the top shelf! 🙂
    Nice roses by the way.

    • Cathy says:

      Do I assume you suffer from all the above mentioned afflictions then? I have got used to my lack of height over the years and rarely notice it, looking people in the eye regardless of their height – unlike when I was a teenager – and I have developed techniques for top shelves ps it is a very small camper van

      • croftgarden says:

        In comparison I’m Amazonian, a fine figure of a woman, or according to my dear old Dad built like a prop-forward! 🙂

        • Cathy says:

          There’s Dads for you ps I am sure there would a position on the rugby pitch for me too, at whichever position requires a player who is small and tough and can run fast 🙂

  6. Chloris says:

    Yesterday’s rain was just what we needed, everything looks much better for it. You have lots of lovely roses. I am enjoying mine now, but aren’ t they early? I am interested to hear how your Souvenir de la Malmaison copes with rain.
    I love your lush ferns.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes – I was really pleased to have the rain too, despite the quantity of it! I was going to mention that I thought the roses were early but was going to check back in the blog first. Definitely no roses even at the end of May last year…. The ferns just get better and better (= bigger and bigger, so will have to be attended to at some stage!).

  7. Annette says:

    Hi Cathy, back from the UK and so happy about it. Chelsea is no match for my own humble plot. I love the view of your woodland. It really draws me in but I guess I’d have to do some serious shrinking…or maybe you could take me for a ride in your wheelbarrow! That would be fun. Enjoy the lushness and beauty of your garden. It’s so much nicer than all the artificial stuff they come up with at the shows.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Annette – I am so sorry you have had such a disappointing visit, or perhaps it is not so much that as the pleasure in being back with what you love best. The big shows seem a good idea at the time but are an expensive and tiring way of reminding you that are you are happy with what you have. Or perhaps we are just fortunate to be content with our lot…. I know I am ps you are welcome to a ride in my wheelbarrow any time!

  8. Anna says:

    You had blue sky albeit briefly yesterday! I’ve always been rather envious of petit folk being slightly taller than average. There must be some pleasant fragrances drifting through your garden.

    • Cathy says:

      I still don’t recall the blue sky, Anna – but if the naval tailor had been quick he could have run up uniforms for half the navy! And someone envious of shortness ( I wouldn’t use the word petite for me – that implies dainty, which I never have been!) – wow!! 😉

  9. Vertically challenged? maybe, but a delight for the eyes and nose, so who cares! Mdme Alfred de Carriere has opened this week in my garden and I love it. I only planted it two years ago and already it is covered in soft white blooms. It is a bit of an experiment really as it is against a fence which faces North East. So far so good.D.

  10. AnnetteM says:

    What lovely roses – especially the red ones! I have one tiny patio rose in a tub that is out and the rest are in bud so won’t be long now. I seem to have really been smitten with greenfly this year though. I suppose it was the mild winter.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Annette, and I have noticed the greenfly too, but so far I have a live and let live attitude! Might not last though. What variety is your patio rose?

      • AnnetteM says:

        I have just discovered my lovely white lupin is absolutely covered in greenfly. Never happened before – they usually only get it at the end of the season when it is half dead. Not sure what to do as I don’t think leaving it is an option.Too many bees about to spray. So many greenfly will definitely affect the plant. Sorry don’t remember the name of the patio rose – I’ll look it up.

        • Cathy says:

          I do tend to wipe greenfly off with my fingers as I go by, but only on a small scale – might be worth it for your lupin though? Some recommend washing up liquid as a spray

          • AnnetteM says:

            Well my lupin has all but had a bath in soapy water! I wish I had noticed this before when it was more manageable. Think I will be buying a new one unless it makes a miraculous recovery. I am just praying that it doesn’t spread to neighbouring plants. Actually when I looked closer it was whitefly and not greenfly – same problem though.

  11. Pauline says:

    Your roses are looking super, I noticed a few out the other day before we went away for the weekend, I will have to have a proper look tomorrow now that we are back again.
    I used to be tall, all my life I have been tall, but now I’m shrinking, there are certain jobs that I just can’t do any more, someone else has to do them for me!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Pauline – I am sure if so many of mine are out that yours will be too. Yes, I am aware that ‘shrinking’ will come in due course – seems strange that my Mum is shorter than me now 😉

  12. hmm I had forgotten about raindrops dripping off foliage and down ones neck so a lack of trees has it’s advantages, especially in a wet landscape, there was a foot (12 inches) between my Mum and Dad, most times when he made reference to her lack of height she would reply ‘all the best things came in small parcels’

    Cathy you have some lovely roses and in the previous post some beautiful hostas, Frances

  13. The rain, although, welcome has made for a soggy walk round the estate, but I can’t have a day without it! Your roses look wonderful. The first of mine has started with some gorgeous pink blooms of “Gertrude Jekyll”. I’m intrigued by your comment about the naval tailor. It’s reminding me of a story from my childhood!

    • Cathy says:

      You are so right about the walks round our estates – couldn’t do without them, whatever the weather! I am a bit concerned about the volume of roses flowering at the moment – will it be and early flash in the pan and then they are all over for another year…? Hope not 😦

  14. Love all that foliage in the rain. Wish I could smell your roses. Mind you, I have a rubbish sense of smell! I have a yellow rose now flowering in the front garden and I think it has a pleasant scent, but I need someone who has a good sense of smell to tell me. My other rescued roses are in pots being auditioned for a more permanent role…

    • Cathy says:

      Now that’s a good way of describing pots that have been sitting around for ages waiting to get planted…!! Thanks for kind comments – and it’s interesting about the scent, as thinking about it now I suppose it is a very personal thing, like taste and colour and sounds, smelt, tasting, heard and seen differently by different people…

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