Archive for August, 2008

Today I  was putting a few plants into one of the newly dug borders that we have made this year.  I was thinking about how I go about re-planting a flower bed – or a whole garden for that matter.

This is what the “Keyhole bed” looked like in 2006 when we moved into the house.

I must say that now, looking at this picture – it has a charm about it.  The reality is that it had, among other things, diseased fruit trees, mombretia, St johns wort, brambles, lemon balm and lots of weeds.

At the beginning of the year – we cleared it all out – keeping only one apple tree and one ornamental crab-apple.  To-day it looks like this.

So I was thinking …. I am the kind of person who has a feeling about the type of planting I would like in an area and I build on that feeling over the seasons and the years.  I know that this “keyhole” is going to be a summer area. I want scent, summer flowers, nostalgia, I suppose the idealized cottage garden feel. I don’t particularly want any “winter interest” because the tracery of the apple and crab apple against the sky will be my winter interest,  their blossom will be all I want in this location for the spring.

I admire plantsmen and designers who can design and plan on paper and then bring that design to life in a garden.  But I wonder how I would feel if I was in a position to plan a border – and go and buy all the plants required in one fell swoop.  I suspect I would be uncomfortable.  I enjoy the feeling of “falling in love” with a particular plant and bringing it back to the garden. I enjoy the palimpsest.  My planting, my predecessors planting, my interpretation of the keyhole bed – overlaid on theirs.

Eventually I hope that this area  will have the “charm” that I found in the top picture – and be full of plants I love.

To-day I planted 8 x Hardy Geranium, 3 x Lavender ‘Walberton’s Silver Edge”, Drifts of Black Cowparsley and Angelica Gigas grown from seed. Physocarpus ‘Diabolo d’Or’ – which is my current favorite shrub for spring colour.

There is room for day-lilies and more paeonies, which are on my shopping list this Autumn – and room for more planting over the years, as the geranium are a kind of temporary ground cover while the garden evolves.

So tell me – what kind of plantswoman/plantsman are you – a planner or an evolver or a mix of each?


To-day, 28th August 2008

(That is my dog “Merlin”)


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Wordless Wednesday – Pink Water Lilly

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Sometimes ….

I get quite fed up with “Nature”

The strong winds broke my Canna – so this year I wont be seeing this


Are doing this …..

This ornamental cabbage

Now looks like this ….

Because of these …..

This years Rudbeckia is a pale shadow of what I had hoped for …

Based on last year

And devastatingly this …..

Now looks like this – due to wind and rain damage.

But the saddest thing is the lack of sunshine on my tomatoes

I think I will ask Emma to add a new catagory to the Emsworth Village Show – called “Tiny Veg”

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Shedman and I have worked quite hard this year – clearing three bits of our garden.  I have been looking for a “before” photo of the area we have cleared this past week.  To my surprise – I didn’t take any!  I think that I thought this bit of the garden was so unusable that we were just going to leave it alone. This is the best picture I have – it is from summer 2006 when we first moved here.

The Right hand side of the garden in 2006

In this picture – the area we are dealing with is the right hand side of the photo – It doesn’t look too bad.

A bit overgrown perhaps.  It is the “planting” along our boundary wall – between us and out next door neighbors path.  But the “planting” took up about 20 feet.

We had dumped a few bits and pieces back there from various projects around the garden over the past two years – and Shedman went to clear it out and cut back a bit of the tangle of undergrowth.

I am not really sure how the decision to turn this 20 x 20 tangle of undergrowth into more “garden” happened.

Shedman cleared and then we cut back the branches from the towering Laurel  growing along the boundary.

Looking down the garden towards the studio

Our neighbors – with whom we get on very well – cut back the Laurel branches that were overhanging their path and suddenly we had a new light plot of garden.

We moved the Medlar tree which was at the path edge of this plot – back to the wall – and the biggest surprise we got was; that we have soil, with no stones – which in this garden is practically unheard of.

My plan is to use this area as a cutting garden – although quite why I want a cutting garden as I never pick flowers for the house is a quandary.

Looking up the garden - towards our neighbors house and our house

It is also at this point that I say to Shedman “we have broken the garden”.   After the initial clearing, it always seems to look so much worse – raw and empty.

On the right hand side of the photo above is a row of blackcurrant bushes.  I have taken lots of cuttings from them – the next step is to dig the bushes up.  We will try to transplant some of them in another part of the garden.

If you look closely at the picture above you can see my neighbors kitchen roof – it is grass – how cool is that?

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Wordless Wednesday

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Seeds and a Village Show.

Spurred on by the comments of  Zoe, James A.S. and HappyMouffetard, I have decided I will enter my  “flower arrangement” in the show.

If you don’t know about the Emsworth Village Show it is on now – until the 30th August.  It has been organized by Emmat – and it is in conjunction with VP’s Water Aid fundraiser.

In the tradition of any good village show – there are loads of categories where you can display your crafts, produce, livestock, flowers and cooking.

I have to say that “Floral Achievement 3: Bouquet in the style of Sarah Raven” was not the first thing I thought of when I was deciding which category to enter, and after looking at the competition – from Glosterwomble – I think that he has it sown up with fabulous velvet queen sunflowers.

I was going to enter – and will still enter the “Homemade Seed Packets”. As this is quite appropriate to me just now.

A few months ago – I grabbed a brown paper bag from my seed stash with “Green Wizzard?” (Note the question mark) Anyway – I had grown them a couple of years ago – unfortunately, all were eaten bar one seed head which I kept.

However – I have sown the seeds and they are looking suspiciously like Verbascum chaixii Album-

I love to grow things from seed – but I am very bad at labeling my seeds properly, usually because I am in the middle of something else when I realize that the seed is ready for harvest and I grab something – anything and stuff the seed in, fully intending to label and bag it later

I should stop doing this – as my memory is not what it used to be.  I cannot for the life of my remember what these are:-

No date – no name – no idea!!!

I know that I am deluding myself if I think that by making seed packets I will save myself from this

or this

But it will mean that I can swap seed at the garden club – which hopefully will be correctly labeled!

Now – I wonder if I can make a Celebrity Portrait out of fruit or veg for the village show

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A good place to visit is…

An open garden

Especially if it is

VP’s (Virtual) Open Garden

If you have some time over the next few days – I can recommend you visit VP’s Open Garden.

VP has been working very hard and has opened her garden to raise money for WATER AID, and you can go – even if its raining!

One word of warning – there is so much to see – don’t think you can just pop in for a minute – but grab a cup of tea – put the phone to answerphone, and send the kids/partner/dog out.

Then settle down for a lovely tour, which is very well signposted if you get lost.

If you cannot make it this weekend – don’t worry – the garden is open until the 21st September and there are some prizes when donation milestones are reached





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