End of the Month View – January 2017

The following view across the garden is often central to my End of the Month View. See AugustSeptember, and  October .

16_09_28_3503

End of the Month View – October

Now it looks totally different as the winter tidy up takes place and old herbaceous material is removed and some plants completely removed where we have decided a change is due. 17_01_30_4712It  looks completely empty of plants but as my last blog said spring is on its way. You will just have to come back later in the year to see it transformed with tulips and alliums.

17_01_30_4713The rose on the wall has been rehung. Each year they always out grow their space and I find the best solution is often to more or less take them off the wires and try to hang them in a way that their new growth is horizontal. Not always possible!  At the same time and dead growth can be pruned out. If you look at the view in October  you can see the extent of the new growth that had to be tamed. We have also removed some Cephalaria Gigentea.

Cephalaria Gigentea is quite nice when it is flowering but this happens early in the summer and then the plant looks a mess and it seeds everywhere. I will be honest we are still thinking about how to replace it. The bed has been mulched with our compost so the spring bulbs will just have to push through this.

17_01_30_4714To the right of the pond there are two roses against the wall Rosa Alister Stella Grey and Rosa Crown Princess Margareta. There is not really enough space here for them but with a bit of help they have been squeezed in. Eventually Alister Stella Grey will grow to the top of the wall.17_01_30_4715Looking back to the pergola the roses Rosa Gloire de Dijon and Rosa Souvenir de la Malmaison growing up the pergola legs have been pruned and generally tidied up. The plastic sheet on the right is where we have a small peach tree and it is to prevent peach leaf curl. It will be covered until May. On the right the roses have yet to be sorted out although they do not look too bad.17_01_30_4716 This is a shot taken in a direction I have often shown:16_09_28_3505It is hard to believe this is the same border!17_01_30_4717Another piece of pruning that has been done can be seen here. The Pyracantha Orange Glow is in the process of being trained horizontally. It is straight forward to do but just takes time. There are three Rosa Jacques Cartier in front of the Pyracantha so later in the year it is not very visible but right now it looks great.

Do have a look at Helen The Patient Gardener’s blog where you fill find links to other gardens at the end of January. Thank you to Helen for hosting this meme.

The weather continues to be foggy and damp restricting the time in the garden. Main activity continues to be cleaning up dead herbaceous leaves etc.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
12 550 17
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Signs of Spring

17_01_27_4696Everywhere there are signs that spring is on its way. Snowdrops are beginning to come through all over the garden. The Hakonechloa macra (above) has been cut back to make way for the spring bulbs; snowdrops, crocus and Anemone Nemerosa. Elsewhere the new growth is emerging.

Spring always arrives before we have done all those nagging jobs. The last week the weather has been against us. Either wet or bitterly cold. Nevertheless we did mange 18 hours in the garden; removing dead foliage, pruning roses on the walls and generally tiding things up.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
18 538 17

A trip up the River Chindwin, Myanmar

the-chindwin-7-nightsAt the end of last year we had a long holiday travelling in Myanmar and Thailand. Part of this trip involved travelling by boat up the Chindwin River from Monywa to Homalin which is very close to the Indian border. In order to get as far as Homalin you need to travel during or just after the rainy season. We went in November and by December the water level would have dropped too far for the boat to get up the river. The boat takes you to places that are very remote and away from the normal tourist trail.

With little change in Glebe House Garden this week I thought I would share with you some images from the trip.

Buddha images are everywhere in Myanmar. These ones are in the Moe Hnyin Than Boaddhai Temple which has over five thousand Buddha statues. In fact the walls are lined with little images.

Nearby are the longest (over 100m) reclining and the tallest (125m) standing Buddha in Myanmar.16_11_20_3732The Chindwin River and the boats we traveled on. On this particular trip there were two boats, the nearer one with 8 guests and the further one with 16 guests. The river floods every rainy season (April to October) but even in November the water level had dropped significantly as you can see along the banks.

We were travelling in very rural areas of Myanmar and almost all the women used Thanaka cream. The cream is made from the bark of Thanaka trees which are often being sold in the markets. The bark is then ground into a paste and applied. It has a fragrant scent somewhat similar to sandalwood. The creamy paste is applied to the face in attractive designs, the most common form being a circular patch on each cheek, nose, sometimes made stripey with the fingers known as thanaka bè gya, or patterned in the shape of a leaf, often also highlighting the bridge of the nose with it at the same time. Apart from cosmetic beauty, thanaka also gives a cooling sensation and provides protection from sunburn. It is believed to help remove acne and promote smooth skin.

Many of the villages we visited had their own markets. For me the markets always provide a huge interest as you can see the range and quality of the vegetables and fruit that is being sold. Visiting at the end of that rainy season the range of produce was very different from when we were last here during February.

The river is very important to the local people and provides the main transport for moving produce and people and for everyday living.

The rainy season flood provides new river banks each year that are immediately planted up with crops by the farmers. The crop is often Pigeon peas, both a food crop (dried peas, flour, or green vegetable peas) and a forage/cover crop. In combination with cereals, Pigeon peas make a well-balanced human food. 16_11_25_3981Each village has its own school which we would visit. The schools are often basic but it appears that all the children attend school and many have extra tuition after school hours.16_11_22_3866As tourists were not often visiting we quickly became the centre of attraction whenever we went ashore. 16_11_23_3889Travelling along the river you could never forget you were in Myanmar with temples and stupas along the banks and on the hills.  16_11_26_402416_11_26_4022The markets sold everything for living. Many of the tools were clearly locally made and who would not want a watering can like these!16_11_24_3921I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see a bit more of Myanmar than the classic tourist route. The company who run the boats are Pandaw.

Glebe House Garden

The weather this week has not been good for gardening. There is still plenty of tiding to do ready for spring which hopefully will start appearing soon.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
8 530 17

Looking forward to spring and summer

IMG_8263It has been a cold, wet and windy week so I thought I would share with you some of the delights from spring and summer.

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There is lots to look forward to and spring is on its way.

Glebe House Garden

A couple of days in the garden this week. Turned one of the compost bins. An ideal job to keep you warm. The dahlia tubers have been upside down and drying out in the garage. Have potted them up in dry potting compost ready to start them off at the end of February.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
14 512 17

Creating and maintaining a pleached lime hedge

img_1907The pleached lime hedge in full summer splendor and below a week ago. 16_12_29_4654

The hedge was planted about 17 years ago as we were developing the structure of the garden.img060If you get the leaflet from the RHS on pleaching hedges then they suggest putting in metal posts with wires to train the horizontals as they grow. At the time I certainly did not have the time or inclination to set up the wires so I created a  frame using bamboo fixed to the trees themselves. img059Each year the hedge was tied in and, as the trees grow, new bamboo layers were fixed in place to train in the new growth.

The lime trees are Tila platyphyllos rubra and are under-planted with Rosa Alfred de Dalmas and Lavandula augustifolia Hidcote together with alliums and lilies. The alliums have been a great success but the lilies are no longer present.img061 The photograph above is about the third summer after planting.

27_05_16_2436The hedge above is at the height we have had it for many years. The bamboo frame has more or less rotted away and we think the hedge looks great.  .In spring the alliums stand out against the new leaves of the hedge and roses.2010_20100624_509And in summer the roses come into their own. In this photograph there are a lot of allium seed heads which I remove as I have found that leaving them results in far too many alliums the following year.2010_20100624_511Rosa Alfred de Dalmas is a Mossy Damask shrub rose with creamy pink, semi-double cupped flowers with yellow stamens, and a delicate sweet scent that attracts pollinators. It flowers from mid-June to November and benefits from lush foliage and tidy manageable growth. Its moss is greeny pink, turning to russet red on older shoots.

Hedge maintenance

17_01_04_4659Once a year there is a significant job to be done to keep the border looking good. 17_01_04_4660First the roses are cut back and any dead wood is removed. The vertical bamboo are a relatively new addition. I have planted a range of clematis that are designed to grow into the hedge to give late summer interest. It is early days but it seems to work. The clematis are Clematis Blue AngelClematis Perle d’Azur and Clematis Ville de Lyon.
17_01_07_4661The side of the hedge facing the lawn together with the top is then cut. I find it is best to do this with secateurs either reducing the shoots to a single bud or weaving the shoot into the structure as required.17_01_08_4665Almost complete, just the cuttings to shred ready for the compost!17_01_08_4662The finished hedge. A once a year job but it is worth it giving a unique pleached lime hedge.17_01_08_4664Technically the hedge is not a traditional pleached lime hedge which would have very distinct horizontals. 17_01_08_4663However, take a look at the pruned hedge and you can see that it creates an enormous amount of winter interest and makes an effective hedge.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
15 498 17