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.
I have not been happy with the dominant Poet’s Wife at the front of the border for a long time, 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…).
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.
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.
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.
So, you can see that sitting indoors and twiddling my thumbs just isn’t an option!