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

The seasons are moving on

Time to pick the last fruits of the vegetable plot

We only have a very small vegetable plot for the two of us. However it is amazing how much can be grown and all the freezers are full to bursting withe the produce.

16_10_02_3542Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco beans.16_10_02_3532The green house haul. Tomatoes, Aubergine Bonica, and Cucumber Cucino. Now its time to clean the glass inside ready for seed planting.16_10_02_3541Last but not least the Winter Squash Barbara Butternut.

Putting the garden to bed for the winter

As well as sorting out the herbaceous plants the other significant work is pruning climbing roses.img_9702This is Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere in all her spender.

The first autumn clear up done.

Looking forward to 2017

Its October and time to get out the garden notebook and order plants that we have noted down and need to fill out gaps etc. This year I am planting my clematis now to take advantage of the warn soil. Normally I forget and buy them in a mad rush in February! I have been buying from Thorncroft Clematis and here is my list with links to the plants on their website. The Brief Overview also comes from their website.

Name # Brief Overview
Ernest Markham 1 The light magenta-red blooms have a deeply textured surface and beautifully crimped margins. A fabulous companion to climbing roses and, if hard pruned can be grown in a patio container.
BURNING LOVE ‘Vitiwester’ 1 The glorious vibrant red flowers have a textured surface and gently recurved, twisted tips. Their distinctive crown of contrasting yellow stamens adds to the attraction of this outstanding performer.
Venosa Violacea 1 (syn. viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’). The eye-catching flowers have broad deep purple margins that merge towards a white bar which has rosy-purple veins running through it. A lovely crown of stamens further enhance the striking effect of these blooms. Awarded RHS Award of Garden Merit.
SEA BREEZE ‘Zo09063’ 2 A huge abundance of flowers that have a fresh pale violet-blue colour become almost white at the centre of the tepal and surround a dark ‘eye’ of anthers in the middle.
Blekitny Aniol (BLUE ANGEL) 1 The gorgeous pale, mauvy-blue flowers have a pretty satin sheen across their deeply textured surface. Its crimped and wavy margins taper to pointed tips. At dusk the flowers become almost luminous. Beautiful! Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Victoria 1 The gorgeous deep pinky-mauve semi-nodding flowers have a rose-pink flush along their central bars which fades as the blooms mature to light pinkish-mauve. A wonderful companion for your climbing roses. Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Étoile Violette 4 The dark bluey-purple flowers have beautifully contrasting pale yellow stamens. An outstanding performer that adorns gardens across the world. Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
The President 2 This handsome old clematis has deep purply-blue star-shaped flowers with slightly paler bars and attractive beetroot-red stamens.
Dutch Sky 1 The pretty bluey-white flowers merge to light blue margins and tips. The reverse has the same colouring with distinctive purple ribs. It is exceptionally free-flowering.
Abundance 1 The pretty semi-nodding pinky-red flowers have a deeply textured surface and crimped margins. Aptly named, the blooms are indeed produced in great abundance.
Mrs Cholmondeley 1 The wonderful light mauvy-blue flowers have pale coffee-coloured anthers. A fabulous old cultivar which, if hard pruned, can be grown in a patio container. Cholmondeley is pronounced Chumley. Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

I plan to plant many of these so they can scramble through established roses and some on existing obelisks in the Italianate garden which is having a make over as the pond is repaired.

08_05_16_2371The other big planting at this time of year is bulbs, mostly for spring and summer displays. I normally buy these from Parkers. Here is this years list.

Aconites 100 Eranthis Hyemalis
Allium 20 Schubertii
Anemone 20 Anemone Nemerosa Robinsoniana
Crocus 100 Chrysanhus Ladykiller
Crocus 100 Siberi Tricolour
Eremurus 10 White Beauty Favourite
Lilium 20 Rosella’s Dream
Lilium 20 Inuvik
Lilium 20 Elodie
Lilium 10 Miss Lily
Narcissi 100 Tete-a-Tete
Tulips 100 Flaming Purissima
Tulips 100 Triumph Tulips Mixed
Tulips 100 Red Impression
Tulips 100 Doll’s Minuet
Tulips 100 Purple Blend
Tulips 50 Hageri Splendens
Tulips 50 Humilis
Tulips 50 Turkestanica

Many of the bulbs are to supplement existing plantings. I have taken photographs to identify where there is a shortage; maybe due to bulbs not returning or maybe they provided dinner for some animal! We do not lift our tulips as we have very sandy loam and they come back each year. However, we can look forward to a lot of bulb planting over the next few weeks.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
31 313 20

The regeneration of a significant walled garden

This week we went to Norwich to see the Giacometti exhibition “A Line Through Time” at the Sainsbury Centre. Absolutely stunning but that’s another story. As we were staying overnight near Norwich we decided to visit Blickling Hall and Gardens. The absolute star there was the walled garden.

In early 2015 it was just grass. Then a project was started to regenerate the walled garden to achieve a productive garden that is able to supply the Blickling Estate cafe.


Blickling Walled Garden project beginning

And now just 18 months later it is being realised.

A stunning achievement and Mike, the project manager, and his team need to be congratulated on their achievement.DSC01260

Clematis of the week


Clematis Margaret Hunt

Clematis Margaret Hunt is a strong-growing vine that has large star-shaped, dusty pink (with hints of lavender) flowers in mid to late summer. Its pinnate leaves are pale green.

Sweet Peas

Sometimes the unexpected happens. Last year “The English Garden” magazine included a free packet of Sweet Pea seeds. These were planted in October in the cold greenhouse and planted out in March this year. They have been enormously successful and have been flowering for many weeks now. The bad news is that I have no idea what variety they were so it will be hard to repeat this success next year!

Gardening at Glebe House Garden was very much dependent on the weather this week with frequent showers of rain ensuring it was not always possible to use an electric hedge cutter.  However, one of the boundary hedges was cut and the cuttings shredded ready for adding to the compost heap. More progress on the cobbles was made and another crop of milkweed around the roses removed. Such a hard weed to eliminate!

Gardening hours
This week Since June 19th
30 102

Leggy Irene Watts, creeping thyme and a very prickly visitor

Leggy Irene Watts


Irene Watts is an excellent rose and deserves a place in any garden. These bushes had been in for around sixteen years and had got rather leggy. This year we took the plunge and cut them all down to around one inch in January! Adding some rose fertilizer and a mulch we then waited………….and waited………… and after eight weeks new growth broke through and the bushes took on a new life.07_07_16_2773

The bushes are compact again, have been flowering for over eight weeks and look set for another sixteen years.

Clematis of the week


Clematis Ascotiensis

Clematis Ascotiensis is a very nice shade of blue, it has large flowers and they bloom from June to September. The height will be around 6 to 8 feet and the spread around 3 feet.

Creeping Thyme

Any paved patio area needs planting pockets.11_07_16_2866There are many low growing plants to consider but Creeping Thyme is my favorite.11_07_16_2865The drainage will need to be good but then it will look after itself, giving a great aroma when you walk on it and insects love it.

A prickly visitor


It is not often we see hedgehogs during the day. This one was quite small so maybe it had lost its mother and was looking for a new home. We fed it some peanuts and ‘June drop’ apples which it seemed to enjoy. And then it left our garden, crossed the lane and went into a neighbouring garden. However, we do have lots of hedgehogs living in our garden as evidenced by the little black piles we come across on the lawn and we have a number of wood heaps where they make their home.

Another sunny day; another photograph


The last week we have finally had some summer weather. With temperature at 32c in the garden and high humidity it has not been gardening weather.  The sun beds have been used a lot this last few days. As always in England the heat ended in a heavy rainstorm which can play havoc with the flowers. The rose growing over the arch is Rosa Ghislaine de Feligonde.  Clusters of small flowers bearing a sweet musky fragrance are produced repeatedly throughout the summer into the autumn. Blooms vary in colour going from orange/yellow to cream. The rose in the tree is Rosa Bobbie James, a vigorous rambler capable of considerable climbing feats, especially into trees or hedges. In addition in the foreground is Nepeta x faassenii, Osteospermum Tresco Purple and Rudbeckia Berlin.


Gardening hours
This week Since June 19th
25 72

Yew balls,cobbles and creepers


This part of the gardens is called the japanese garden mainly because of the granite Japanese lantern that you can see in the centre although we have planted it to give a Japanese look and feel. Originally area between the box hedging was planted with a  a variety of hebe bushes which were pruned to shape but over time they became woody and tended to lean too much on the box. So a few years ago we took the hebes out and replaced them with box balls and Hakonechloa macra. Alas the balls suffered from blight and so they were rapidly removed and replaced by yew balls. Now they are all due their annual clip. This will be followed by a fungicide spray as a precaution against the blight.


Job done!


The garden is situated on what must have been an old river bed. There is no shortage of river cobbles that seem to come up where ever you dig. These have been used  to good effect to make hard landscaping around the garden as can be seen above. The courtyard at the front of the house is also cobbled. This dates back to when the house was the stabling and coach house to the rectory next door. IMG_7748
Overtime the moss between the cobbles starts to take over. Every ten years it’s down on your hands and knees to remove the moss; a job that can take hours!


Half done!

Clematis of the week:


Clematis ‘Elsa Path’

Summer pruning

By the side of an old pig sty there are three double-U pear trees and some step over apples. July is the time to prune them. Strong laterals are cut back to three good leaves and sub-laterals to 1 inch.


Job done



Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is one of those plants that behaves for most of the year and then suddenly it explodes into growth and action is required to prevent the house disappearing.  A ladder and secateurs does the job but maybe it will need doing one more time before the end of the year.
The date 1977 on the side of the house which is now visible is the date an extension was added to the old part of the house. Old materials were used and it looks like it was always there.

Despite the rather strange summer weather the flower beds are looking very full. Interestingly the dahlias are only just coming into flower, a good four weeks later than normal.


Main garden looking towards the pergola

Gardening hours
This week Since June 19th
31 47

Art and Alliums


Back home after a week and a half away and it is not looking too bad. However, there is work to be done. The lawn never stops growing and needed a good cut.


It is not looking too bad although speedwell continues to be the main weed which is very hard to eliminate. Any suggestions?

We had arranged for the Hoby Art Group to spend some time in the garden. 13641192_10154394986859575_7592941501705427053_o

Looking at the yew hedge in the centre I can see some more work required!

Clematis of the week:


Clematis Viola making a fantastic display and this plant is only three years old!

_MG_1313 Alliums can look fantastic. Here typical mixtures of Alliums with Rosa ‘Shot Silk’ on the wall.  07_07_16_2784The issue in our garden is that they love to self seed so although the seed heads can look great we have to remove them before they seed.07_07_16_2786

It has rained on several days so not so much time in the garden!

Gardening hours
This week Since June 19th
12 16