A Change is as Good as a Rest

Non-gardeners tend to look incredulous when gardeners such as myself respond to the question ” What are you doing this afternoon?” with “Oh, I shall probably be doing something in the garden”, but that’s how it is – summer or winter, rain or shine, hot or cold – there is usually something to get on with. In recent barely-above-freezing days we got on with replacing many of the internal fences, the Golfer cutting timbers in the shelter of the shed and me (albeit in the house) on a production line painting the slats and posts. With the back sitting room and kitchen table occupied for a number of days with this process I was glad when I got to the end of it and although there is another section to do but that will wait till next year. In the meantime, it was really strange to be able to look down the bottom section of the garden without the encumbrance of fences and I wondered for nano second whether to abandon the internal divisions but quickly dismissed the idea. The rose garden would have questioned its identity without them as you will see in due course when I show you what it looks like with the new terraced areas. This was the view without the fences:

Milder days have seen some chopping and changing in the borders, with too-lanky roses ‘The Poet’s Wife’ and ‘The ‘Pilgrim’ moved to the back of the shrub border, and smaller shrubs moved to the front. The two obelisks had already been moved slightly to ensure the non-performing climbing roses planted against them were getting enough light, aided by the earlier removal of Lonicera ‘Budapest’ to the woodland edge border where, despite its rude wresting from the ground, it must be happy because it is flowering as normal in its new home. I hope the newer removals are equally happy.

Pittosporum and Rosa ‘The Poet’s Wife’ have changed places

Rosa ‘Harlow Carr’ and ‘The Poet’s Wife’ have also changed places

I have not been happy with the dominant Poet’s Wife at the front of the border for a long time,Β  growing as she does way beyond her supposed stature despite severe pruning over the last couple of seasons, so I am pleased to have been decisive and finally made this move. The border looks so much more balanced now and will hopefully benefit from further tweaking and additions. I have also removed an under-performing and ugly ornamental quince that was next to the three cornus and will be replacing it with a rose, and moved Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ from the ‘gallery fence’ to the other side of the cornus. (you may have noted that Roses are becoming a recurrent theme at Rambling in the Garden and you will hear more about this in coming weeks…).

Space created for a new rose by removal of an ornamental quince

The two urns that were either side of the bus shelter have been roughly repositioned at either end of the shrub border, the only other place in the garden that they might remotely look comfortable. I am not yet convinced of their suitability so they may or may not make it to the end of the season although I am reluctant to try and sell them. They are SO big and SO heavy and not readily tucked away out of sight till a new scheme comes along, so sadly selling them may be the only practical option.

Urn at the left hand end of the shrub border, close to Gertrude Jekyll’s new home

Not all changes are as obvious as these and you would be hard pushed to realise that the last of the self-seeded Cyclamen hederifolium have been removed from the snowdrop border and replanted in a very dry bed at the back of the shed. I had been hoping that a nearby Clematis jouiniana would loll about and cover this bed, bus she is not in a hurry to do so. It will be interesting to see how well they take as it really is VERY dry, but as self-seeders there is nothing to lose.

self-seeded Cyclamen hederifolium replanted at the back of the shed

Since the variegated holly was crown lifted the area below gets so much more light as well as rain and instead of just leaving it to the clutches of ubiquitous ivy and a range of self-seeders over the last few months I have been gradually moving various woodland oddments here, into what I suppose could now be called the Holly Bed. The three rugosa roses have been evicted from the shrub border and one has gone here (the others are in the woodland edge border) along with some struggling rhododendrons and handfuls of bluebells, snowdops and primroses. The wooden structure is a temporary brick store, housing the remainder of the bricks recycled from our neighbour, and in due course the bed will be extended to include this area. It is hard to believe just what a difference the improved light and moisture levels have made here.

Rosa rugosa, rhododendrons, bluebells, snowdrops and primroses

So, you can see that sitting indoors and twiddling my thumbs just isn’t an option!

This entry was posted in garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, projects, roses. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Change is as Good as a Rest

  1. Yes, we can lose ourselves for hours in the garden. πŸ™‚ I love the colour you’ve chosen for the timbers.

  2. prue batten says:

    It was fascinating to see your garden without the divisions and to realise what perfect sense they made. I look forward to seeing the newly painted screens once returned. It makes ‘rooms’ doesn’t it?
    Also, re Cyclamen hederifolium – why would mine, dotted about the garden, be tardy in flowering from year to year? They put on lovely leaf growth but seem shy…

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Prue. The cyclamen shouldn’t be planted deeply at all, and don’t like rich soil. Saying that, mine don’t flower hugely but the leaves are so pretty and they make great ground cover

  3. Oh you have been most timely with all your rose swapping and planting Cathy in view of the forecast for the next couple of weeks or so. Mind you some real winter weather will slow the snowdrops down so that we can enjoy them longer πŸ™‚ Was ‘The Poet’s Wife’ near to ‘Crown Princess Margareta’?

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, are we due wintry weather? We were thinking about a night or two in the campervan… No, The PW was in the shrub border, next to the path and the ‘log’ bench

  4. J & D > What we notice from your photos here is how many leaves you have in the garden : brown dead leaves that is. Here, there being so few trees, and so much wind to sweep them away, the leaves of autumn are a brief and very localized phenomenon : we treasure it all the more! We’ve lots to do in the garden, and would gladly be out, but the past couple or three days have been absolutely dreadful.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the wind sometimes makes a good job of blowing the leaves into piles – although I had not long done a big sweep up myself when the photo was taken! It is interesting to read that you treasure your brief autumn leaf phenomenon as it is a seasonal event that many people could do without! I don’t mind it myself, if the leaves are dry that is. Sorry about your inclement weather although I know it is nothing unusual for S Uist – our January has been very dry so far

  5. tonytomeo says:

    for some gardens, winter is actually the busy time of year. For us, we need to catch up on all the winter pruning before spring. Because spring comes early here, we have a lot to get done in a short winter season.

  6. The Potter says:

    Love the paint colour, it looks like the one I use. Is it Beaumont Blue?

    • Cathy says:

      No, it’s actually more green than might appear in the photos, a grey-green I suppose – Cuprinol Shades ‘Wild Thyme’

  7. croftgarden says:

    I am perpetually amazed at your drive and energy, not to mention how much you manage to squeeze into your garden. I would love your problem with self-seeded cylamen, I was delighted to find some seedling cyclamens had crept into a pot of some very superior snowdrops. I hope you will be pleased to know that your aristocratic ladies are still thriving, but too precious to be risked in the garden

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, I wouldn’t say the cyclamen were a problem but I have been removing everything except snowdrops, hellebores and white narcissi from the snowdrop bed to reduce competition. They are noticeably seeding about now though. So glad to read that The Ladies are still doing well – in your ‘absence’ you may not have read about the fancy lean-to greenhouse we have added which is housing more tender plants and bulbs, especially winter flowering ones, although I am still establishing what will do well here

  8. Cathy I love the color of the paint for the new pillars. Never stop remodeling the garden to make it better. Now it’s the roses. Well done with the Rose “the wife of the poet” by dominant: move it to the back of the border, and it is very large. When finished with “these” changes the rose garden will win in beauty. After sure others will come: his restless mind always thinks about improving his beautiful garden. πŸ™‚ Greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Margarita – I am not sure that my mind is ‘restless’ but these ideas just seem to come out of nowhere and I do enjoy the creativity of new projects. Have a good week

Comments are closed.