The wall across the lawn

We moved to Glebe House in September 1994. When people come around our garden they often ask us what the garden was like when we moved in. Actually some of the garden features were there then but over time they have all evolved and in some areas a small paddock has been incorporated into the garden.17_05_25_5840 The other day I noticed that the wall across the lawn was looking particularly good.This wall divides the main lawn and follows the contours of the ground resulting in the lawn being at two levels and although it does not align with other garden features it takes the eye into the garden towards the views beyond.img120This photo was actually taken in June 1995. As you can see the wall was in place then but was not really made a feature of the garden.17_05_24_5833We always felt the wall needed a good “full stop” at the end. As you can see above we have created a small round bed at the end with a Rosa Bonica providing the “stop”. You can also see that the wall is actually higher than the original wall. In the old photo the lawn edge actually sloped down to the top of the wall.img119Another photo from June 1995. The steps up had been built and these have not been changed apart from the flower beds around them and the lawn in the foreground is now paved with sandstone  The very large tree, back right, is an old walnut. We were very disappointed when it died and had to be removed about ten years ago.17_05_25_5839The steps today with the sand stone paving.17_05_24_5831As well as raising the height of the wall we have created a flower bed along the top of the wall. This is about one metre wide and at this time of year it really comes into its own.

In any dry stone wall then Aubrieta is an essential plant.

The rock rose, Helianthemum ‘The Bride’ has been looking great although just one day after these photos were taken there were no flowers on it. That was probably due to the heat which has unusually been at 28c for the last few days!

This is probably my favourite geranium, Geranium cenereum subcaulescens. It is a very dark cerise colour which really shines out from the green leaves. It is planted singularly along the wall but also on mass under Rosa Bonica at the end of the wall.17_05_24_5824Another geranium at the end of the wall is Geramium sanguineum ‘Shepherd’s Warning’. This was planted about eight years ago and although it looks quite healthy has not spread unlike some  of the other sanguineums that can be very invasive.

This plant was taken from a cutting in a friend’s garden. It is definitely a “noname” plant at the moment.17_05_24_5818Viola cornuta ‘Alba’ must have arrived from else where in the garden but it is working well here.17_05_24_5832Rosmarinus officinalis forms a small bushy shrub and provides Rosemary for cooking.

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Geramium sanguineum striatum

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Geramium sanguineum striatum

17_05_24_5812Geramium sanguineum striatum is a lovely geramium and here it is on either side of the steps.17_05_24_5817Geranium cinereum ‘Ballerina’ another small geranium.17_05_24_5819Another rock rose, Helianthemum ‘Ben Fhada’17_05_25_5838Along the wall from the steps.17_05_24_5831Looking the other way along the wall. Over the next few days we will be planting Mesembryanthemum ‘Magic Carpet’ which have been started in the greenhouse and will provided interest throughout the summer.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
51 885 17
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Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day – May 2017

Foliage is everywhere now. At this time of year it is always new, fresh and clean. Last week we have had the first real rain this year, about 60mm in 48 hours, which has been great for the garden and has ensured all the leaves had been newly washed.17_05_21_5795Hostas catch the rain and look great.17_05_21_577017_05_21_5771Here a big leaf of Hosta Sun & Substance getting larger by the day.17_05_21_5808 A creeping thyme, growing in a planting pocket in the paving, is now covered with new small leaves. In four weeks it will turn purple with small flowers.17_05_21_5788Another herb, Oregano Origanum vulgare Aureum, has a wonderful yellow/green foliage and makes a great border plant as well as being useful for cooking.17_05_21_5791Arum italicum Pictum puts on a good display but this is short lived as the leaves disappear once it has flowered.17_05_21_5800Plume Poppy, Macleaya cordata, grows to about 2m and has the most delicate leaves.

Ferns continue to unwind their leaves17_05_21_5801and some just put out beautiful coloured leaves such as this Japanese Painted Fern, Athyrium nipponicum Pictum.17_05_21_5804These are the leaves of Geranium renardii and don’t they look great.17_05_21_5780Plenty of foliage but the purpose of the photo was to show the plants waiting to be put into the garden! As well as my dahlias, which have been hardened off before planting out, last Wednesday it rained and rained so what do gardeners do. We went to a good plant nursery and filled up the car with more plants!17_05_21_5782Dahlias in pots having been grown from tubers.17_05_21_5803And in the green house now the foliage of the future just staring out.17_05_21_5802Courgettes  waiting to be planted. Interesting the golden varieties also have gold leaves.

The gold foliage of Sambucus racemosa Sutherland GoldBerberis tunmbergii AureaPhysocarpus opulifolius Dart’s Gold and Euonymus fortunei Emerald ‘n’ Gold looks really great.

And the red foliage is not to be outdone! Heuchera ‘noname’, Berberis thumbergii ‘Red Chief’, Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’ and Acer palmatum dissectum.

The yew hedges have all put on new growth and look stunning.

Varigated foliage Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’, Cornus alternifolia Argentea and Osmanthus heterophyllus variegatus also adds interest.17_05_21_5784The beautiful leaf of Rodgersia aesculifolia gets bigger as the year goes on.17_05_21_5783Lastly the new leaves on the pleached lime hedge are wonderful.

Do have a look at Christina of My Hesperides Garden where she encourages us to look at the foliage in our garden rather than focusing on the flowers on the 22nd of each month. You will find links to other participating gardens there. Thank you Christina for hosting this meme.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
28 832 17

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2017

Just four week since the April Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and what a difference. Spring has gone and we are now into summer although the weather has yet to fully realise that!17_05_13_5700The first wave of aliums are looking splendid throughout the garden.17_05_14_571817_05_14_5724These have been in for many years and over time have multiplied to the extent we are having to reduce them despite their displays at this time of year.17_05_13_5696These are actually killing off the Euphorbia griffithii Dixter!17_05_10_5686nevertheless the alium flower is a thing of beauty.17_05_10_5687And whats left of the Euphorbia griffithii Dixter is too.

17_05_14_5713This is Rosa Madame Gregoire Staechlin and is normally the first rose to flower in our garden but not this year as Rosa Old Blush China started flowering on April 8th!

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Rosa Madame Gregorie Staechlin

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Rosa Madame Gregorie Staechlin

17_05_13_5710Another rose in flower is Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere.

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Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere

17_05_13_5691Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere is on the end wall beneath our conservatory from where we can also see a fantastic display of wisteria.17_05_10_5667Wisteria seems to have been very successful all around the area we live in which must have been helped by the lack of hard frosts this year.17_05_14_5725The scent from these flowers permeates into the house and is a delight.17_05_10_566617_05_10_5665 Below the wisteria a  Choisya ternata  which is in also in flower.17_05_13_5695Actually this plant has been moving itself. Originally it was planted under the steps leading up to the conservatory. It obviously decided it needed more light and over time has moved!17_05_14_5714We have a number of hardy osteospermums in the garden. These have come through the winter well and are already putting on a good display.17_05_10_568017_05_14_5719However, we always have a backup by taking cutting and bringing them on in the greenhouse. 17_05_14_5716Cerinthe major Purpurascens is not really hardy for us although sometimes they self seed and come through the winter as this one has.17_05_14_5717but there are also replacements in the greenhouse should they not self seed.17_05_14_5721Clematis have started flowering. This is  Clematis Daniel Deronda,17_05_13_5701and this is Clematis Guernsey Cream.17_05_14_5723One of the first geraniums to flower is Geranium himalayense with a Potentilla Abbotswood in the background.

Potentilla Abbotswood and Potentilla notknown.

The pond Iris sibirica looking great in front of the yellow Philadelphus coronarius Aureus.

Another early geranium is Geranium renardii. This is quite an unusual geranium with interesting foliage as well as attractive flowers.17_05_10_5674Deutzia x rosea Carminea a relatively new addition to the garden.17_05_13_5702Global warming means this Euphorbia Mellifera is able to grow and do well now in our garden.17_05_13_5698One of the climbing roses Rosa Shot Silk has started to flower.17_05_14_5727This is a beautiful rose but does not repeat well.

And I have added all the photos below.  Click on any one to scroll through them all. It is also possible to see them full size by clicking on the full size button (bottom right).

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is blooming in gardens around the world.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
13 791 17

‘Digital Detox’ on The Isle of Carna Scotland.

For the last week I have been away from the garden having a ‘Digital Detox’ on The Isle of Carna with Diane and four other friends. carna-wholeCarna is a small island lying in Loch Sunart, nestled between the Ardnamurchan and Morvern peninsulas on the West Coast of Scotland. Although now a place known for its peace and seclusion the island is packed with history stretching back to being formed up to a billion years ago! The island is a 600 acre mosaic of wildlife rich habitats including traditional wildflower meadows, Birchwood, Pinewood and internationally important Atlantic Oakwoods, heather moorland, peatland, hill grazing, many burns and some bogs. All of which is open to explore.

Here is a map of Carna and here is a link to the Isle of Carna website.

17_05_05_5629There are only three houses on the island, two of which are available to rent, located on the gentle and sheltered eastern side. The above cottage is the one we stayed in and with no electricity, no land lines and no mobile signals you are totally disconnected from the rest of the world; a complete digital detox! 17_05_01_5411The cottage does have bottled gas providing lights downstairs and cooking, open fires for heating and candles in the bedrooms.17_05_05_5599 With no roads on Carna and just an old tractor to help move luggage and supplies, there are no traffic worries, and the sounds of the shore, the sea breeze and the abundant wildlife is all that we had to contend with.17_05_03_5492 The view from the cottage across Loch Sunart to part of the Scottish mainland that has no roads and is virtually empty of human inhabitants.17_05_05_5597Everywhere we looked the colours are stunning.17_05_02_5641The loch is tidal enabling many walks along the shoreline and an ever changing landscape as the water rises and falls.17_05_01_5426At low tides the seaweed provides an extra colour dimension to the scene.

We scaled the 170m (550ft) summit of Cruachan Chàrna, the hill behind our cottage, for stunning views over the loch and open Atlantic Ocean.17_05_03_5488The cottage as seen on the walk down Cruachan Chàrna.17_04_30_5397There are many different habitats on the island that can be explores via a network of tracks and trails most of which are rarely visited by human footsteps.

Bird list

We kept a list of all the birds we saw and identified. It was great seeing the Golden Eagles in their natural habitat and the sound of the Cuckoo, no longer heard in Leicestershire, could be heard all day.

Rock Pipet Wheatear Dunnock
Sea Eagle House Martin Sparrowhawk
Herring Gull Thrush Siskin
Common Gull Robin Great Tit
Meadow Pipet Shag Chaffinch
Cuckoo Canada Goose Twite
Greylag Goose Merganser Greenshank
Raven Common Sandpiper Wren
Heron Golden Eagle Swallow
Oystercatcher Stonechat Buzzard
Willow Warbler Reed Bunting
Pied Wagtail Great Black-backed Gull

Wild flowers

The start of May is probably a little early for the majority of wild flowers. The following photos are some of the more interesting we identified.

Otters and seals

Provided with the cottage is a boat with an outboard motor which can be used to explore the island and surrounding lochs.

Common Seals rested on many of the rocks around Carna. Otters are much harder to see as they tend to be much shyer. Using binoculars it was often possible to see them feeding and playing across the water from the cottage. To photograph them well required either luck or a very long telephoto lenses neither of which we had. However, the following photographs  capture the otters although the quality is poor.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at The Isle of Carna.17_05_02_5643