A walk around the garden in Lock-down

We continue to be in lock-down with no apparent end in sight. The weather has been stunning which has enabled us to get many jobs in the garden done. We have created a routine for these days. Following breakfast we take a slow walk around the garden. As we go we discuss what needs to change and what is working well. Then we start work on the garden however, very soon after, it is time for a morning coffee! As the day progresses I guess we do four to five hours of gardening. On May 8th I took photographs as we went around. Here is our record of the walk:

By the back door is one the the early roses, Rosa ‘Old Blush China’. Not really a climber but it does a good job of trying.

Next is an old wisteria. This was here when we brought the house and fills the air with its scent.
Please note that the seats have been arranged 2 metres apart for social distancing.

Towards the front of the house is a real climber Rosa ‘Madame Gregoire Staechlin’ situated above some out-buildings. This is normally the first rose to come out however as we shall see there has been lots of competition this year. It does not repeat. We have tried to grow clematis up it to extend the season but so far only with limited success.

Coming through the little gate that you can see, with the green house on our left, we have our largest pond. There was a very large (over one metre) grass snake swimming here yesterday, trying to catch the fish and newts. On the right is Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ and the tall pillar is Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine.

The pond from the green house end.

The green house is rapidly filling up with plants waiting until the last of the overnight frosts. The photograph on the left was taken on April 5th.

The borders at the end of the large pond will look great in mid summer. Just now they need extensive hand weeding and some planting out with annuals.

Continuing on round is our fruit cage. Raspberries and strawberries. These have just been weeded, tidied up and watered. I thought I had fixed all the gaps in the netting but within 10 mins of closing the gate a blackbird was flying around in the cage!

Next is a small nature pond. The irises have just flowered and are looking stunning.

Further on the air is filled with the honey scent from Berberis Koreana ‘Red Tears’. This is a great shrub for a large garden and I wrote up a full description of it as an excellent plant with four seasons.

At this corner of the garden there is a very old apple tree. The blossom has been terrific this year but as it is more or less hollow I am concerned that the weight of apples may cause another branch to break away.

From here you can see into our wild flower meadow. One of the mature trees, Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolour’, that was planted at the end of last year is now coming into leaf. The leaves are showing the red margins that give the tree it’s name.

Back to the walk, we can see into the main garden under the rose arch with the wisteria in the distance.

This border is looking very empty. The area should be full of Hakonechloa macra to create a sea of rippling grasses surrounding the yew balls. Unfortunately we lost a lot in the very dry and hot weather last year. Currently we are waiting for replacements to be delivered.

Another small circular flower bed with peonies coming into flower.

Next to the circular bed is a small vegetable area. Currently only lettuce, spring onions, radish, beetroot, coriander and cannellino beans but it will soon fill up when the frosts are over. Beyond the rose hedge on the left is the wild flower meadow.

And from the same spot looking back towards the house.

And to our right is the bottom corner of the main garden with the wild flower meadow further to our right. This corner has been trial and error for some years but is beginning to come right now. The Osteospermums seem to come through our winter okay with the trees under planted with Epimedium  x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ and Epimedium ‘Akebono’. There are many spring bulbs flowering here earlier on.

These photographs are of the borders along one side of the main garden. The tulips are Red Impression and always look good against the new green leaves and purple Honesty. The Hostas suffered with the dry weather last year and we have some replacements on order. The pink flowering shrub is a Deutzia but we do not know its name.

This border had been over run with Alliums and we are in the process of removing thousands of Allium bulbs. I shall leave the Alliumns towards the back of the bed. The herbaceous plants here grow to 1.5metres which will hide any dry allium foliage.

The rose on the wall is Rosa ‘Shot Silk’ and you can also see that we have got Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ climbing through the rose to extend the season.

We decided it was time to replant our pots of Agapanthus. They had been infested with couch grass. It meant separating the roots etc and replanting. So far it seems to have worked.

Elsewhere Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ is starting to flower. Again not a climber but no one told it and it seems very happy climbing up to 3metres.

Another example of where Alliums have got too much and need sorting out. Maybe next week!

It is tempting to sit here all day.

and sometimes we do.

I hope you have enjoyed this short tour of our garden. Please keep safe.

End of Month View – April 2018

April has been another strange month. Its been cold, wet and dull for most of the month, to the extent that any gardening was out of the question. Then we had a very short three days of sunshine and temperatures at least 10 degrees higher at 26c. And did we get out to work in the garden with around 90 people coming around the garden on the 22nd! We were lucky that day was also dry although there was a cold wind. But the last week has gone back to where we started, cold, wet and windy.18_04_22_8612At last colour is coming back to the garden with the tulips bursting out. 18_04_22_8632Looking down on the garden we can see the the lawn has benefited from all the rain. The alliums have also grown at an incredible speed, in some cases bloting out the tulips. 18_04_22_8631Looking further round to the left the wall across the garden is about to burst into life and the Tulip Red Impression that fill the left hand border are coming into flower.18_04_22_862918_04_22_862118_04_22_862318_04_22_8611Tulips are the main feature at this time of year in this part of the garden. the Red Impression always works well against fresh green foliage and also the purple honesty.

18_04_22_8613Last year under-planted some roses with Anemone blanda atrocaerulea. the idea was to give some interest when the roses are only just coming into leaf. It is great to see it working again.18_04_22_8626The bed to the corner of the wall is full of tulips and far to many alliums! When we get some gardening weather I shall remove some of them. The red tulip, Tulip Ad Rem at the back of this picture were planted in 2014 and continue to put on a good display.

Tulip Hageri Splendens is now in flower across the stoned edged circle bed. This was planted at the end of 2016 and are coming back well.

One of my favourite tulips is Tulip Ballerina. 18_04_22_8620It was great to see some frog spawn in one of our ponds and now it is tick with tadpoles. This small pond does not have any fish in it so the fish do not eat the tadpoles. however, if it were warmer I would expect to see grass snakes having a feast.

Looking back a year at End of the Month View – April 2017 its is amazing to see how behind the garden is this year. In April 2017 there were roses in bloom, apple blossom on the trees and the first swallows arrived on April 3rd. No sign of them yet this year! In many ways we are four weeks behind normal.

2018 Gardening Hours
Week beginning April 21st Total 2018 to-date Average per week
8 211 13

The poor weather and a week skiing in France has resulted in little work this month with the exception of the three days mentioned above.

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

End of the Month View – April 2017

At the end of December I took you on a frosty walk around our garden. This month I plan another walk around the garden but this time going in the reverse direction taking in the different views as we progress around. The old kitchen garden divides the garden making circular walks the best way to see the whole garden.

17_04_25_5361This is the view you get as you enter the garden through a gate in the garden wall. The lovely tulips are Tulip Ballerina. The urn is designed to be a focal point as you enter. In fact when the plants have grown up in the summer the view of the garden is restricted making an element of surprise as you walk in.17_04_23_5346From this point, with the urn on our right, we can see diagonally across to the steps which provide access to the higher level lawn. The Tulip Red Impression is continuing to create a good display.17_04_23_5347As we move further into the garden it begins to open up. In the distance you can just see small lake which used to be the fish ponds for the rectory that was next door.17_04_23_5348Further still on the paved area we get a different view down the garden past the tree that got damaged recently in a storm. Behind us is the back door of our house with a number of climbing roses on the walls.17_04_25_5359This one is Rosa Old Blush China. Actually it is not meant to be a climber but if it wants to climb I happy with that. 17_04_25_5360Next to Rosa Old Blush China is Rosa Madame Alfred Carriere. These two roses are both flowering very early this year.17_04_23_5324Going up the steps on to the higher lawn we get to the spot where my classic End of Month View is taken. (See January, MarchOctober, September, August)The tulips are continuing to put on a display and the aliums are just beginning to open up.17_04_23_5325The blossom on the apple tree is out and looking good despite the storm damage.

Behind us is an area, beneath some large lime trees, which we treat as a woodland garden. We have made some cobble paths here to enable easy access. A  seat provides an interesting viewing place across the garden.17_04_25_5354Continuing on around the garden we can see the end of the garden wall on the right.17_04_25_5375In the circular bed as well as  the Brunnera Mr. Morse,  Tulip Hageri Splendens is now in flower.

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Tulip Hageri Splendens

17_04_25_5367We have now come round to the bottom right hand corner of the garden and are looking up behind the garden wall. The planting here is mainly shrubs designed for relatively easy maintenance.17_04_25_5373Continuing on and just before the first yew hedge there is a small pond on the left. This pond has been designed to be very nature friendly with a sloping edges enabling easy access to the water and an easy escape route should something fall in!17_04_25_5377Having walked along behind the wall we get to a small grass lawn and flower bed. The Geranium himalayense has just started to flower and looks great with the tulips. The bed is called Ivy’s bed after the lady that lives in the cottage over looking the border.17_04_25_5378Across the lawn we get to the Italianate area. Twenty years ago this was all paddock and we added the pond and landscaping. As I mentioned, in 2016 the pond developed a leak and a major repair job was done. With this disruption we decided to renovate the whole area.17_04_23_5343The gravel borders were contained with wooden edging and this had rotted away. These are being replaced with metal edging and the gravel, into which the garden had been growing, is all being cleaned up! The obelisks each have had a rose planted in their centre to grow up with clematis. Work has yet to be done on the joints between the paviours which need cleaning and re-pointing.17_04_23_5344The seat by the pond is one of our ‘gin & tonic’ seats and this is the view from there. With all the work on the pond it is going to take a year to stabilise.17_04_25_5352The little green house at the end of this area is even fuller and there will soon be standing room only!17_04_25_5379Looking back at the ‘gin & tonic’ seat the Carpinus betulus Frans Fontaine columns are just coming into leaf.17_04_25_5380Having completed the tour we get to the shady border by the end of the house with Erythronium Pagoda, various hostas and ferns providing the main planting.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
27 778 17

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

Tulip Mania

News flash: The first swallows arrived on April 3rd

Tulip Mania

17_04_05_5209Tulips have really come out this week. For many years we have planted Tulip Red Impression all along the left hand border to our garden. It is hard to get the effect in one photograph but standing looking at the display with the sunlight shining across the flowers is just magical. Most of them come up each year but we look for any gaps and replenish them. Probably we plant around 100 extra Red impression each year plus many other tulips and bulbs. See blog with bulb list.17_04_03_5197Looking along the same border. There is a small cobble path running through this part of the border although it is covered in twigs from the tree above (another job waiting to be done).17_04_03_5192The same border with Anemone Blanda Atrocoerulea and Leucojum Aestivum 17_04_03_5193 Leucojum Aestivum which resembles a snowdrop but is much larger. Worth a space in any garden.17_04_03_5196Looking from the back of the same border.17_04_03_5188Another part of the same border.17_04_03_5183Tulip Turkestanica a species of tulip native to central Asia. It was first described by Eduard August von Regel in 1873 as a variety of T. sylvestris, then elevated to full species status two years later.17_04_03_5184Tulip Turkestanica on the edge of the “Dingly Dell” border which is actually at the back of the Japanese border.17_04_07_5240Another tulip species, Tulip Humilis17_04_06_5214Tulip Ballerina lining the path to the pergola with Tulip Apricot Impression in the background.

17_04_06_5217

Tulip Ballerina

17_04_06_5212Close up of the lovely Tulip Ballerina 17_04_07_5242Sitting under the pergola looking towards the corner bed. Tulip Gavota in the foreground.

17_04_07_5238

Tulip Gavota

17_04_07_5243From the pergola across the main lawn with Tulip Ballerina in the foreground.

17_04_06_5218Tulip Ad Rem at the back of the corner bed. When the sun comes out Tulip Ad Rem really fluoresces.

17_04_06_5220

Tulip Ad Ram

17_04_03_5172Tulip Apricot Impression together with many alliums.

17_04_06_5216

Tulip Apricot Impression

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Tulip Apricot Impression

17_04_03_5181Tulip Purissima (white) and Tulip Beauty Queen (pink) both plant in 2007

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Tulip Indian Summer and Tulip Annie Schilder

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Tulip Annie Schilder with Tulip Indian Summer in the background

17_04_07_5236Tulip Indian Summer and it has a wonderful perfume a bit like wallflowers.17_04_07_5247A final view across to the border full of Tulip Red Impression with the evening shadows across the lawn.

News flash: First rose in bloom!

17_04_07_5244As I walked back to the house I noticed that Rosa Old Blush China had started flowering

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
30 679 16