EOMV: Bare Essentials

Rambling round the garden this morning I was struck by how bare it looked – even Salvia ‘Neon’ seems to have hung up its clogs for the season, and that’s saying something! Apart from a stormy few hours yesterday the weather this week has not been unreasonable for November so why there has been this sudden subtle change in the garden I don’t know.

Above is the paved area directly behind the house, with winter pansies growing (but not yet flowering) in the pots in the foreground and tulips buried deeply in all the others. Below is the adjacent streamside and shrub border, shown from both ends: the cornus are beginning to stand out in the centre of the latter, but the former fails to show how well Viburnum bodnanentense ‘Dawn’ is flowering.

The woodland is looking…woody… and certainly no longer leafy, whilst the view from the bothy at the end of it shows the efforts of recent work on the clematis colonnade, shown better in a later photograph. Some leaf sweeping has taken place in the last week, bringing an instant improvement in tidyness.

The same borders are shown from ground level in the next photograph, followed by a direct view of the reconstructed clematis colonnade; work is not yet complete, with a decision still to made on the length of the overhangs. The raised brick edges to the beds are clearly visible and will, I believe, be a big improvement. It is not obvious from the photo, though, that all the existingclematis are currently suspended – still on the wire framework from the previous posts – by rope from the horizontals; fortunately they seem to have withstood yesterday’s winds.

The woodland edge border, shown from both directions, has definitely wound down for the year but will be waking up in a month or two with snowdrops, hellebores and two of the witch hazels:

Likewise, the bold borders (and Salvia Neon) are settling down to a deserved rest, but with a substantial number of new plants and nice warm manure blanket I am hopeful that they will rise like the proverbial phoenix in spring:

The cutting beds are all but empty now – but I have no idea where this corrugated plastic sheeting has blown in from!

The blue & white border is in hibernation, but something is happening in the rose garden…

The wind has blown over one of the very heavy R ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ next to the bus shelter, necessitating either a clamber or a diversion in my rambles. It will need a lot of support to get back upright and if I wasn’t currently busy elsewhere this would be impeding my progress on modifying and ‘terracing’ either side of the bus shelter. Here is the bed on the other side, roughly terraced and edged with brick and timber to gauge the potential effect. Much thought has been given and is still being given to the materials to be used here but the brain cell jury is still out… Bizarrely, what looks like a reflection is only a shadow on our neighbour’s fence!

Looking back towards the house, the snowdrop border on the right is discreetly displaying the first few green shoots, whilst the new shady border is boasting flower buds on some equally new hellebores – it is these little promises that keep us gardeners going throughout these leaner winter months.

This is how my garden is looking at the end of November, not sorry for itself but ready for a rest, apart from those parts trudging on whilst they undergo structural changes. The changes won’t necessitate a new map, so do look at the one under The Garden tab above to work out where the photos were taken from and how the different areas of the garden fit together. Finally, thanks to Helen the Patient Gardener for hosting this monthly look at our gardens

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18 Responses to EOMV: Bare Essentials

  1. bcparkison says:

    I do like all of the brick and pots

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    The Gothic window at the end of the colonnade looks good. I don’t remember seeing it before. Maybe I was too busy looking at the clematis etc. It looks like you have most in order except that wall (?) that fell.

    • Cathy says:

      The window was added earlier in the year but strangely didn’t look at home at all until the colonnade was reconstructed – it was rebuilt in chunkier timber and perhaps this makes a difference? The ‘fallen’ wall is in fact the new one not quite finished as the old fence support still needs to be removed first as its replacement is in a slightly different position

  3. Salvias, Geraniums and Erodium have all shutdown for me in the last week, Cathy. Only a few scratty roses now!
    You have great structure in your garden, and so many different spaces.

  4. tonytomeo says:

    That is ‘bare’?! It still looks like quite full, but merely partly defoliated. Even here in our mild climate, things go dormant for winter. I would prefer a bit more defoliation than we get. It makes pruning of some things easier.

  5. Cathy I like your pots, the woods, the beautiful lattices that now look naked and can be admired. I love every corner of your garden not so empty by the end of November. When the Hellebores grow it will look fantastic. Greetings from Margarita.

  6. Christina says:

    The barebones of the garden show how clever you have been in maximizing your space. It is unusual to see a garden so strongly divided lengthways but it really adds to your design.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – it means a lot to hear such positive comments from you, as in practice there was never ‘a design’ as such, more a gradual reassessment and tweaking… a continual process I suppose, aiming to maximise the space without cramping any style there is. And you know how I enjoy the practical process of tweaking!

  7. Chloris says:

    It is interesting to see your December garden stripped back to its bones. A plan is useful but these photographs show all your hard work in creating such a good structure and making the most of your space. Actually, it’s quite an exciting time as we have witch hazels, hellebores and snowdrops to look forward to very soon. How many witch hazels do you have now, have you added to your collection?

    • Cathy says:

      Maximising the growing space has certainly become a priority -the more I can fit in the garden, the better, as long as it didn’t look cramped! It will become even more of a challenge to use the space creatively although I have just identified yet another way I can add more roses! As you do yourself, I still enjoy my garden in winter with its own seasonal attractions. There are several snowdrops pushing their way up already, buds on some of the hellebores, and loads of buds on the witch hazels of which I still have 12. I did toy with the idea of adding one to the new partial shade border, but it was the wrong time of year then and there is no particular variety I hanker over (yet) but I a sure that time will come… And you, combien?

      • Chloris says:

        Only 7, barely enough to keep body and soul together. I have my eye on ‘Barmstedt Gold’ after seeing it looking wonderful at Anglesey Abbey.

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, I can see why you might struggle with only 7… 😉 I would go for another copper or orange or red probably (ie not yellow!), but am open to being smitten by any that I might be confronted with…

  8. Your garden has such a wealth of structure and hardscape that it is always of interest to me, especially as we are losing our plants for the next four months at least. So I always like to see what the “bare essentials” look like.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda; I know the hardscape means less planting space but it also means getting round the garden is possible whatever the weather – and there is something to look at in my garden throughout the year

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