End of Month View: What a Difference a Grey Makes

It was only a reference to EOMV by Jen of Duver Diary that reminded me that February has been and gone and I hadn’t posted an End of Month View! Not that it matters to anybody else but me, but it is a useful record of what the garden is up throughout the year and from one year to the next – this month’s post, therefore, is five days overdue…

Following the route of my usual ramble around the garden, let’s start with the view I see from the kitchen windows – there is a map of the garden under The Garden tab above which will help to guide you if need be. After a few weeks of making a new framework for the fruit cage on the paved area here (the only available space for such a task) the Golfer has completed that and it is looking rather tidier than it has done. You can clearly see the pansies in the pots in the foreground and tulip shoots in the others. Below is the streamside area to the right of the above view and I am sure you will agree that painting the fence dark grey (Cuprinol Shades ‘Urban Slate’) was a good decision, as it really sets off the planting in the shrub border:

I hadn’t originally planned to paint this section (and it involved clambering behind the shrubs which included several prickly roses), just the newer section down the side of the Coop, but having thoughtlessly tried a tester pot on part of the older section I really didn’t have any choice, but I am glad that I did and am thrilled with the result. The photos of the Coop and the semi-shady border beyond show the other sections, which look equally effective. Just inside the door of the Coop you might notice a lemon hanging about – this year I managed to buy a healthy lemon plant from Aldi, last year’s plan having been thwarted by The Beast from the East destroying their stock of citrus plants almost as soon as they went on display. It smells heavenly in there with several narcissi and hyacinth now in bloom

The semi-shady border, created just under 12 months ago, is doing OK but needs more planting. Hellebore ‘Anna’s Red’ against the back fence has been magnificent, and the Clematis armandii was barely more than a stick when it was first planted in the corner.

Turning back and walking down between the streamside grass and shrub border, we have our usual view towards the house from the other end:

As we continue our ramble, we head through the woodland, with primroses clumping up again and new foliage of bluebells and wild garlic appearing thick and fast. Not as obvious are the delicate leaves of Fritillaria meleagris, nor the first shoots of hundreds of wood anemones:

From the bothy at the far end we can look down over the main herbaceous borders and the revamped clematis colonnade with its underplanting of roses, before viewing them from ground level. I am pleased to see that, like the paved area, they are beginning to look much tidier! All the borders and new roses are sporting fresh and healthy new growth, a wonderful sight to see.

We now head through the woodland edge border, the snowdrops having suddenly shrugged their shoulders and decided they had had enough, but the hellebores are doing their bit instead, still at their peak. I have added some small new hellebores over the last couple of weeks, and found two or three more I had forgotten about, hidden (along with some pulmonaria) under mounds of ivy which I have been removing. Once finished clearing ivy, I will give the whole border a good feed.

The three bold borders are coming into life but with flowering still some time off, other than some species tulips which should be with us in a month or so. I worked hard on these borders in late summer last year, trying to bulk up the planting, so look forward to seeing how successful I have been – they certainly don’t look much at the moment:

Popping through the gate for a quick look at the working greenhouse, you might find that it is pretty full already, with ‘Winter Sunshine’ sweet peas planted in the bed on the right, pots of cuttings and potted up dahlia tubers on the staging on the left, and lots of seedlings in the section at the bottom end. Once I am confident that we have seen the last of the frost, I shall move the cuttings outside to make room for the exponentially growing trays of seedlings.

It is not easy to photograph the blue and white border because it is in two different sections, one of which is curved, so I have taken photos from two different positions this time. Like the other borders they are full of luxuriant new growth, reminding us how quickly some plants clump up again each year – aquilegia, aconitum and geranium are particularly good at this. And of course allium bulbs are always in a hurry at this time of year too.

Pressing myself against the fence I could nearly get all the rose garden into this photograph, both the original rose beds and the new terraced ones either side of the bus shelter.

Passing through the colonnade and past the main herbaceous beds we retrace our steps past the woodland towards the house and reach the snowdrop border. Like the native snowdrops these ‘specials’ suddenly declined to shine any longer, not helped by some exceptionally warm February days, but there are still a handful of later varieties bringing pleasure – and some lovely hellebores in the same border which can be enjoyed from the kitchen windows as well as in passing. Witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Strawberries and Cream’ is in the far right of the border, just visible in the right of the picture.

So that’s it for February, a time of speedy transition on the cusp of spring. Keeping a monthly pictorial record is a useful tool and I often refer back to it for all sorts of reasons; at this time of year, however, others may not find it especially interesting. Helen the Patient Gardener intermittently hosts the EOMV meme so you may find links to other EOMV posts on her blog

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29 Responses to End of Month View: What a Difference a Grey Makes

  1. bcparkison says:

    I do love those wonderful old pots sitting every where. Things are looking good.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I think your Greying of the fencing is spectacular. The plants and other garden accoutrements stand out much more. When your garden gets to filling in the fence will fade away. Fun to see how your garden is growing. You have so much more green than my garden shows now.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lisa – I was really surprised at how effective it looked. It’s our neighbour’s fence rather than ours, otherwise I would have done something withthe colour earlier. At least a faded fence is not as garish as the bright ‘orange’ it was when it was first installed 😉

  3. tonytomeo says:

    I likely said this already, but there is so much going on in that confined garden! It is not as bad as Brent’s, but it is impressive that you can fit so many projects there.

    • Cathy says:

      When one loves one’s garden, one usually wants to squueze as much into it as possible- and the garden isquite deceptive in terms of size. Mind you, size is all relative – one person’s small garden may seem huge to others, and vice versa 😉

      • tonytomeo says:

        That is something that Brent and I do very differently. He must fit so much into a city lot because he is a landscape designer and need to trial so many things. (He uses his home garden for such.) I insist on giving most of what is in my garden the space it needs, and even though my garden is quite large, I do not want what I plant to obscure what is out there in the forest. It is actually more difficult in some regards.

  4. Annette says:

    The variety in your garden is just awesome, Cathy, and I realise I haven’t been in your garden for a while. You’ve worked hard. It looks fab and is a true inspiration for people with small gardens. The grey works very well with the pink. Doe the latter have a name? Always loved it. Looking forward to seeing all those roses and clematis in bloom! Meant to contribute a vase this week but had such a bad accident on Sunday…still look like Rocky after the 6th round and keep wondering why anyone would like to become a boxer 😉 Alas, my garden cheers me up. Glad to say that we’ve finally decided on the greenhouse. Will keep you posted. Take care xx

    • Cathy says:

      Awesome? That’s praise indeed, Annette. Thank you 🙂 The pink of the house? It’s a specially mixed shade, Water Lily No 4 – I tried samples of WL 1,2 and 3 too and it was worth doing as they look so different in different light conditions. I invariably have paint specially mixed as I am very choosy about colour! I will email you, Annette, about the other matter…

  5. I like the gray fence very much. It really makes green of the plants “pop”.

  6. Heyjude says:

    I’m another who admires the grey fence. Dark grey or black helps the boundary to disappear once the plants start to grow. Perhaps also paint the brown fence? I know. You’ve got enough to do already 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      I know the grey would look good on the fence at the back of the herbaceous borders and rose garden too, but this is not our fence either and the scalloped trellis top poses a problem. It would be silly to paint the panels and leave the trellis bits bog-standard-fence-colour, but painting just OUR side of the trellis section (without affecting the other side) would not be easy. I like to find solutions for things but I am not sure I could come up with one for this!!

  7. Cathy says:

    It all looks fabulous, and I think I can now envisage a walk around your garden as I had your map open at the same time. The paint colours on the fencing and structures look really smart. And so much fresh growth too. Is your spring early or are we so far behind this year?!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy. I checked back on Feb18 EOMV which is when the Beast was visiting, and the crocus were in full flower then (under the snow!) – so last year spring definitely came a bit later but it had been a cold winter generally then, unlike this time round

      • Cathy says:

        We had a mild spell last year in February but then a big freeze in March which literally nipped a lot of things in the bud, including my hellebores! So maybe just as well things here are taking their time this year 🙂

  8. The new grey fence looks wonderful Cathy! And it complements the lovely pale blue-grey of the other woodwork around the garden. I always enjoy your rambles!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Joanna – with the fences not being ‘ours’ it is is not a job I have needed to do in the past, making me a novice fence painter! A special ‘timbercare’ brush made the job much easier, as I discovered after the first few panels 😉

  9. Cathy the new colonnade of clematis with roses I like a lot. The dark gray color of the fence contrasts beautifully with the green of the plants. The Coop I love with its lemon tree and its bulbs in bloom. The garden is all green and full of foliage, divine: it is spectacular. Have a nice weekend. Greetings from Margarita.

  10. Oh it’s most intriguing to see the bare bones of your garden Cathy. So different to when I’ve seen it in the flesh. Painting that fence has really paid off – it looks great! I hope that you didn’t come to any grief in the process. The snowdrops made off with indecent haste this year.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, having seen it ‘in the flesh’ you have a different view to compare it with. Apart from an unusally large quantity of grey paint on my face there were no mishaps with the fence painting. And yes, I think we have all found that with our snowdrops – I don’t ever recall such a hasty departure 😦

  11. It all looks so wonderful, and as I look out on my still-remaining snow I am very envious! What a difference in the fence, indeed, and grey (or as seems to be more popular on this side of The Pond, “gray”… though I like the “e” version better) is very on-trend nowadays as well. 🙂

  12. It all looks so wonderful, and as I look out on my still-remaining snow I am very envious! What a difference in the fence, indeed, and grey is very on-trend nowadays as well. 🙂

  13. It all looks so wonderful, and as I look out on my remaining snow I am very envious! Love the fence color, and grey is also so ‘on trend’ nowadays as well. 🙂

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