Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Unfinished Garden – And So To Bed

28 May

We ventured to the local market/nursery for some bedding plants. Pelargoniums, Lobelias and a few Gazanias.  I’m in a bright red and yellow mood this year.

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I had to move the yellow Polyanthus that have had their moment so I popped them into plastic pots for the time being.  I know I should be splitting them – maybe next week.

The Lobelia have gone around the feet of Clematis ‘Mrs Cholmodeley’ because they worked well in that corner last year, so I’m hoping for the best.

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The Pelargoniums are in pots of various sizes. I’ll spread them about once they have got going and when the nights are warmer.  For now I think they’ll need the shelter of the house.

And the Gazanias are in a slightly unpromising position under the kitchen window somewhat overshadowed by the rampant wisteria.  But they can keep the Pulmonaria company, which needs to have its nibbled leaves cut back.

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The sweet peas are still dancing round the maypole.

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Following a recommendation by Chris Beardshaw on TV last week I am trying out wool pellets to deter the molluscs. They do smell a bit sheep-y, but I quite like that, and it’s faded after a couple of days.

The bank of rhodos is looking nice and the first rose has appeared.  It’s the ‘Mum in a Million’ which our daughter gave me on Mothering Sunday a couple of years ago. The gift that keeps on giving.

The Unfinished Garden – Too Much of a Good Thing

25 May

I really do have too many hardy geraniums.  They are useful because they spread and at this time of year they flower and make the place look luxuriant. But today I have had to be uncharacteristically ruthless and pull up those which were threatening to overwhelm the hydrangeas.

In the winter I moved the latter to a better position under the dining room window, and there was nothing much going on around them then.  However now I can see they are potentially being suffocated by the vigorous pink geraniums given to me (offloaded on to me?) by a neighbour years ago. The hydrangeas are cuttings from my brother’s former garden – there in north London they were a fabulous shade of blue, where I first put them in my garden they were purplish-pink, so I’m waiting with bated breath to see what turns up this year.

Then I moved on to the difficult bed beneath the huge Scots pine that dominates the drive. Here the equivalent of the geranium is hypericum – St John’s Wort. I should be grateful that anything is prepared to grow there I suppose, but I always feel there’s an echo of the municipal car park about it. Anyway there are also seven ferns soldiering on against the odds, so I tugged away at the hypericum shoots and roots around them and cut back last year’s fronds so that this year’s fresh growth can unfurl itself freely.

The old Ponticum rhododendrons that form the backdrop to our plot are coming into flower – perhaps a little late this year? They too are much-maligned for taking over swathes of the countryside, but for us they are just what’s needed to screen us from the ugly yellow brick houses behind.

The Unfinished Garden – Triumph of Hope

23 May

This morning I planted the sweet pea seedlings. I feel this is a triumph of hope over experience because they look so tender and tasty that I expect to go out tomorrow and find them eaten to nothingness by the local snail and slug crew. Anyway I took a photo for posterity of the way they looked for a few hours.

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I have put them right outside the back door because in the event that they do survive then I will (a) be able to admire them all the time, (b) hopefully enjoy the scent whenever the door is open, and (c) have no excuse for not picking them frequently to keep them going.

Across the patio there’s a happy combination of a flowery Heuchera and a Geranium Psilostemon which pleases me.

The Unfinished Garden – Out paced by Nature

21 May

Once again an unfortunate hiatus in the gardening at the point when nature really has her running shoes on. Actually the garden looks fine without my intervention – it’s just that it would look different if I had the time …

But some of the lapse in gardening was due to a very pleasant long weekend near Lyon where I was able to admire my friend Helene’s delicious irises. Though of course like the rest of us, in her own garden she worries about ‘les mauvaises herbes’, I don’t see them.

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And then of course there’s breakfast.

chasselay breakfast

But meanwhile back at the ranch, ‘Mrs Cholmondeley’ has survived the munchers and is putting on a show.  I’ve decided she deserves a weekly feed to give her a bit of stamina through the summer.

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The radishes are adding some warmth and crunch to our salads, and the hop and the vine are getting ready to hold hands over the pergola once again.

The Unfinished Garden – Panic Stations

5 May

Oh my goodness! Another weekend away, during which there was warmth here, and some proper rain, and the garden has gone mad. I did actually feel a bit panicked when I ventured out and saw how much there is to do. The weeds have exploded at least as quickly as the good guys have, and poor ‘Mrs Chlomondeley’ has been thoroughly chomped by the newly-refreshed and pesky snails.

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At least the border soil has been loosened by the rain, so I stuck to my intended task and planted the Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’ which I finally found in a Cheshire garden centre.

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I was also able to dislodge and remove just a few of the new cinquefoils that had spring up in that bed.

I popped the yellow Osteospermum into a pot while I was out there, and having sought advice from the internet about which way up to plant the Begonia tubers, I put three of them in each of two pots. It’s my usual haphazard and last-minute approach to the bedding – why is May always so full of non-gardening demands? There’s far too much to do.

But there are also Aquilegias.

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