End of Month View: Ready(ish) and Waiting

Was it only a week ago that there were collywobbles loitering with intent to unsettle? Well, they didn’t hang around for long, and the absence of our usual activities due to a Bank Holiday weekend meant additional time to crack on and complete all those lingering tasks. It was therefore only a few days later that I could ramble round the garden and feel that we were all but ready for our garden visitors, give or take some cake baking, label writing, poster putting-up and ongoing maintenance such as deadheading, tying-in and path sweeping. Coinciding with the start of the main rose season and the bulking out and budding up of perennials, this has produced something akin to smuggish satisfaction – no let’s be honest, I have felt quite proud of how the garden looks and the part I played in this achievement.

It won’t look as good in the photographs, but nevertheless have a look for yourselves (and remember the map under The Garden tab above), starting above with the view from the back of the house (the seagull isn’t real, by the way, he is just looking for another home, or perhaps waiting for cake crumbs), and the adjacent streamside area and shrub border (below), the latter from both ends:

Walk through the woodland, then look out over the main borders and clematis colonnade from the bothy:

The main borders from ground level with some fairly slug free (so far) hostas in the foreground:

You can begin to see the effect of the new roses at the base of the post of the colonnade, with roses starting to bloom in three of the four beds:

Through the woodland edge border, then looking back in the opposite direction (ignore the long, slinky but harmless snake):

Three bold borders, mostly bursting at the seams:

Cutting beds, one or two things beginning to bloom (cosmos, crepis rubra, limonium), and buds on some of the dahlias:

The blue & white borders, always difficult to photograph because of the two sections on two different levels:

The rose garden, with brick edging to the main beds and terraces either side of the bus shelter:

Looking back toward the house with the snowdrop border and its white annuals on the right, then down past the Coop to the not-quite-as-shady-as-I-thought-it-was-going-to-be border:

And you don’t really want to see the wisteria again, do you? You do? Well, here it is, just about at its absolute peak and absolutely stunning:

Posted in End of Month View, Gardening, Gardens, open gardens | 41 Comments

Six on Saturday: June Means Roses

Harlow Carr above, Munstead Wood and Susan Williams-Ellis below:

Lady Emma Hamilton:

England’s Rose and Claire Austin:

Darcey Bussell:

And Crown Princess Margarita and Hansa:

With thanks to Jon the Propagator for hosting the meme – and do visit his blog for more sixes this Saturday.

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, roses, Six on Saturday | 42 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Fresh Faced and Freckled

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In a Vase on Monday: More Sweeties

The Winter Sunshine sweet peas in the greenhouse are flowering profusely and I aim to give at least one posy each week to whoever I happen to be seeing. Even so, that still leaves plenty and I don’t think I have ever picked such a large bunch of sweet peas before:

I shared a sweet pea order with a neighbour for this year, choosing 10 of the 12 varieties available from Owl’s Acre because they don’t do mixed packets of these early sweet peas. This gave us 5 seeds each of 10 colours, and my share produced 40+ plants. I have mentioned before having no regrets about mixing my share, thus producing this pleasing blend of shades, the bright and striking ‘Navy’ and ‘Rose’ shades still looking at home amongst the other more subtle ones

I picked out the shorter stems of the bunch to give as as a gift, but that still left a generous fistful which needed just a plain clear glass and no frippery. Rather than purloin the Golfer’s sweet collection again I used one of my ‘word pebbles’ – joy – as this is what a humungously large vase of sweet peas brings me. I wrote positive states of mind on these pebbles two years ago and distributed them around the garden; yesterday I gathered them in again to repaint them where necessary. It wasn’t an easy task finding them and peace and love are both still missing, perhaps so embedded in the fabric of the garden that they will never be found…

Cutting flowers from our gardens on a Monday morning never fails to bring us joy, and if you haven’t yet done so please give it a try – there is much joy to be had. If you would like to share the pleasure with other bloggers on IAVOM please link to and from this post in the usual way.

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Six on Saturday: Collywobbles

A few days ago I had a minor attack of the collywobbles, aware that it was but three weeks till our first (and only) group visit to the garden and just four weeks till the first of the three open days – and there still seemed such a lot to do. With a concerted blitz on a range of little tasks, the attack was quickly quelled and most of those remaining should be completed this weekend, leaving cake baking and on-going maintenance for the final few weeks. As a celebrity interviewee said during recent television coverage of the Chelsea flower show, opening your garden ensures you finish all the jobs that you have meaning to do for ages and anything that I have done in preparation is largely for my own satisfaction rather than the pleasure of visitors.

Today you can  see a route through the woodland again, thanks to a refreshing of the existing but hidden-under-foliage bark path; sadly the bark supply ran out before I could complete the area under the apple trees but on completion this too is going to look so much better, a huge improvement on the spent narcissi foliage and encroaching weeds.

Our collection of photographic pictures are brought inside over winter to prolong their life and so far show no signs of fading or deterioration. The ones from the wall at the back of the blue & white border were replaced some weeks ago, but those on the ‘gallery fence’ needed new supports because the fence had been replaced and the job blitz got this done so the pictures are now back in place:

For a brief period the paved area looked clear as the Golfer had finished tinkering with the vintage mangle and mower; this did not last long as they were soon replaced with other jobs-in-hand, thankfully jobs of a smaller scale and less obstructive of my views from the kitchen windows.

The main borders are stuffed full with late spring aquilegia, astrantia and alliums, with oriental poppies just about to burst from their fat buds, but the cutting beds desperately need more than just a drop of rain to bulk up and make any sort of an impact. Nevertheless, there are some new treats elsewhere, and for the first time (not for want of trying) I have camassia and never-tried-before gladiolus (G ‘Green Star’).

Watching all the buds begin to appear on rambling rose ”Rambling Rector I was disappointed that it looked as if it would be flowering early this year, meaning our visitors would miss its dependable floriferousness; not so, it now seems, as there is still no sign of them opening so our visitors will be in for a treat, even though they will miss the wisteria which as you may have seen yesterday is breathtaking. I have taken today’s photo looking along the back of the house, to give you an idea of how much the racemes dangle – this variety, Wisteria floribunda Multijuga’, has racemes up to 24″ long although these have not quite reached that yet.

Thanks to Jon the Propagator for facilitating the sharing of my collywobbles in this Six on Saturday meme – thankfully, the collywobbles have gone and it’s onwards and upwards towards our 2019 garden openings!

Posted in Gardening, Gardens, open gardens, Six on Saturday | 33 Comments

Ten May Blooms or Thereabouts

Chloris and her Blooming Garden encourage us to share our top ten blooms every month and May brings a dilemma – with burgeoning blooms, how do we limit our choice to ten? As usual, I haven’t counted but have chosen my stand-out blooms and guess there will be ten or thereabouts – thank you Chloris for giving us this opportunity.

I have to begin with The Wisteria, which is mind-blowing – and for the first time I can actually detect a fragrance, perhaps because there are trusses along the lowest branch for the first time in ages where, unlike the higher branches, the fragrance is within reach of my nostrils. The first time my wisteria flowered, six years after planting, I cried, and I have felt quite emotional standing admiring it this year too as it really has been awe-inspiring, especially with those trusses down the side of the house as well. Fulsome is the word…

The roses are only just beginning to come on board, with buds abounding but only a handful of blooms yet – apart from Madame Alfred Carriere (top left) which is is on its way to being smothered. In clockwise direction she is joined by single blooms on Gloriana, Crown Princess Margarita and Munstead Wood.

May is aquilegia heaven, and these are all seed sown from seed supplied by Touchwood Aquilegias a few years ago before the nursery suffered a devastating attack of downy mildew:

It is also the time of year for many alliums and as I tend to add more of the ‘ball on a stick’ varieties every year I realise I could do with photographs of each border taken around now so that I can plan a better distribution of bulbs. So far the ones shown below are nice and erect due to surrounding foliage but they may need staking in due course.

This year I have been surprised by a couple of clumps of Allium (nectaroscordum) siculum which have not been seen for a number of years – what on earth have they been doing in the meantime and why do they feel now is the right time to reappear?

Alongside the aquilegia and allium are the third of my Wordless Wednesday As – astrantia. Astrantia ‘Bowl of Beauty’ is my newest and, seemingly taller than some varieties, is particularly striking.

Geranium, another garden stalwart, also begins to appear in May and usefully fills gaps and provides colour for many months. Below are Geranium ‘Rose Clair’, G psilostemon and G thurstonianum

All my annuals are planted out now and could desperately do with some rain to boost growth and promote flowering. Cosmos were anxious to flower when they were still in their cell trays and, although still small, these Candy Stripe have been flowering since the end of April. Also beginning to bloom is the statice Limonium ‘Rat Tail’ which I didn’t get to flowering stage at all last year but they have made up for it by romping away this season so I can anticipate some useful vase material from them.

Centaurea montana has been such a good do-er for many ears in my garden and is now joined by a white variety which promises to behave in a similar way – such reliable clumps of colour in May and June every year, and such pretty blooms too:

I shall finish my ten or thereabouts with the loganberries, safely tucked up within the fruit cage and absolutely smothered in blooms which in turn are smothered in bees. Crops of both loganberry and raspberry were significantly down last year, presumably because it was such a dry summer, but things are looking very different this year despite another relatively dry season so far. These should be ready for picking in about a month or so.

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Wordless Wednesday: AAA

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