Wordless Wednesday..

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I’m sure these Tulips (Ice Stick) look like they are doing a rain dance when I’m not looking!

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Up and running..

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When we received the email, informing us that our garden would be the front cover of North East Wales National Gardens Scheme, I wanted to tell the world and his dog about it! I didn’t.. until I held a copy in my hand a few weeks later..

NO PRESSURE..

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Since my last post back in January, we have endured two bouts of snowfall, (see my instagram posts) we have finished tying and pruning the plane trees inside the walled garden (pre snow). We have pruned all the roses and other little jobs. Tom has fed the roses a good handful of of chicken manure pellets (after the snow) and will continue with a feeding schedule which I shall cover later on. I have focused on getting the House Garden tidy and weed free.

 

Once I’d finished, I moved on to the area where we park.. While Tom and John went skiing (not my thing!)

 

I have increased the planting by adding some double flowering ‘Tete a tete’ , Cyclamen Coum, helebours and some Pulmonaria I had moved and split.

I have also added some more unusual plants that we bought when we visited a lovely garden in Burton, Newton called ‘Brairfield’. This garden is owned by a true plants woman named Liz Carter and I highly recommend it, you will find out more on the NGS website. Here are some of the plants that we bought and have planted with the above.

While my gorgeous pair were away, my Dahlias arrived!! Yay!

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I can highly recommend Rose Cottage plants they have been extremely helpful every step of the way. The tubers look healthy, and I will set about potting them up in the next couple of weeks.

When Tom returned from his holiday he set about putting up some wires on the back of the Dovecote (not our property, permission was granted to insert large nails) where we are going to grow Rose ‘Mme Alfred Carriere’. It is a vigorous, fragrant fully double, white to pink, repeat flowering climber. It is a rose that will happily grow against a north facing wall, this wall faces East, so I’m guessing, and secretly hoping  it will tolerate this aspect too!

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Boys and their toys! There’s no way you will catch me up that ladder!

I hope you have enjoyed the rainy cold Easter break, I’m aiming to keep you more updated, now the days are getting longer and more exciting things begin to happen..

 

Yearly Planner..

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There’s always a garden book or 3 hanging around our kitchen table. On select pages will be post it notes, placed there to remind us of what might work in our garden..

For 2018, as usual, we have set ourselves too many projects! Most need to be completed before we open the garden in June. Here are some of them, and I’m sure the list will grow..

Hall Garden.. (back of the house)
1- Finish cobbling
2- plant up new bed next to house in hall garden
3- plant up a pair of beds, outside guest bedroom
4- plant up along the top of the wall by the utility door
5- re-dress the gravel in hall garden area
6- make a water feature with one of the stone troughs outside kitchen window

Walled Garden..

1- Finish off the area where plane trees are

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2- carve out a new area in the south west corner. There’s a little planting there at the moment, but it needs some serious landscaping to finish it all off.

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There’s much more, so I’ll stop there before it gets out of hand..

On a positive note, we have been quite proactive since New New Year’s Day, starting from 9am! Still in my PJs, list in hand, I very excitedly picked up the phone and ordered 20 different varieties of dahlias, (all come in packs of 3 ) from http://www.rosecottageplants.co.uk . I spoke to a lovely helpful chap named Jack, when I asked him if he’d had a busy hour before my call and he replied, “no you’re my first caller”

I know what you’re thinking (and Tom)….., that’s 60 dahlias in total!                  Gulp!

“Don’t worry, I have a plan!” I said to Tom as I put down the phone.. “Yes Dear!” Was his reply..

“ Yes I do.. I will be planting them all into 4 new beds, all will have a different colour theme”

“Mmm..” was his response   ( a little more convincing was needed!)
My thinking is to have a continuation from where last years dahlias were, that will be in the bed where the 400 daffodils are now, as soon as they have died back, the dahlias will go on top of them. The colour theme will be peaches and apricots, the reason for that is so the eye will follow on from the reds and oranges.
The next two beds will be either side of the entrance to the yew walk towards the east side of the lawn area. The colour theme will be white and cream and I’m hoping to sow some seeds to fill the gaps and give some extra flowers for cutting.

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The final bed is on the other side of the yew hedge (as you look at it from the lawn) will be filled with pinks.

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I’m ridiculously excited to see how it all works out this year. More so I can’t wait to see all the flowers I’ve been drooling over in magazines, other peoples gardens and on instagram.
I now have until March (when they arrive) to have most of the beds and boarders prepared, with 60 pots, compost and labels ready to plant them all straight into. What’s just as important, is to decide exactly where each Dahlia will go, I will sketch out the individual beds, print off and cut out a picture of each flower ( I’m very visual like that!). Then I will play around until the colours, flower shapes and foliage work well together. Once I’m happy with the ‘look’ I will skip out into the garden! and put a piece of wood to mark where they are to go. There is nothing worse than receiving a load of plants and then worrying where they are to end up! I’ve done it so many times before ..

Even though we still have lots more to do, things s are beginning to take shape in the Hall Garden (behind the house). We now have a copper beech hedge and the washing line has gone,or snapped when Tom tried to lift it out of its hole! It has now been laid to rest at our local tip!

We are going to let this hedge get as tall as the fence, so to hide it and the manholes too! It will be kept tightly clipped to give a thick dense look. What will be lovely in time, are lots of pots and a bench in front of it. The picture below shows what I can see from the door that leads you to this space.

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Now picture the hedge taller, thicker and in full purple leaf… the Catalpa (tree on left) in its full glory with its incredibly large golden leaves, gravel all tidy and a beautiful bench as my focal point with some gorgeous pots in all the right places! I cant wait to take the next few ‘after’ pictures over the next few years to show you..

I hope you have a great weekend planned, be it making lists or getting stuck into your own project!

OK so I’ve been away..

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Hello and a Happy (belated) New Year from us all!

Sorry for my absence. There have been technical issues and lots of other distractions that I won’t bore you with. Most importantly, I’m back! For those of you that don’t know me personally, or haven’t been following my instagram. I’d like to give you a quick update on what’s been going on here since September. One important thing I’d like to share with you is that the Macmillan coffee morning I held raised over seven hundred pounds! Thank you to all who came and donated.

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While I have been patiently uploading some pictures (that takes forever, due to our slow broadband!) it has highlighted how much we have done here!

Firstly I’d like to show you some pictures Tom took from above and on ground level inside the walled garden back in October. We think it has come a long way

 

We have also enjoyed a fantastic Autumn, the colours have been wonderful.

 

Tom planted a Liquid Amber tree, in the woodland outside of the walled garden. It was a gift for his Birthday from his sister.

 

 

Directly opposite the tree, we also planted an Acer and a Rhododendron ‘Jenny’ that was my Birthday present from a girlfriend of mine.

There have been some changes going on inside the walled garden, mostly along the south wall.

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I took this picture looking down to the west wall, with the south wall to my left. Wonderful and scruffy as it is, we felt it needed breaking up in the middle (where Tom is standing). I’d recently seen an amazing picture in a book of six Plane trees, spaced out to form a large square area, at about 9-10 ft the top is then trained across to join the other trees to give a tabletop effect and all lower branches are stripped off. Below is the kind of idea but we will have a square.

Table top pleached Platanus - plane trees at Alnwick Castle. A natural shade.

So on 15th October, out came the machines to dig out the area and holes for the trees. While I began (with some help from Andrew our occasional volunteer helper) weeding the rest of the areas, in preparation to seed.

 

Then on 4th November we seeded the, now divided, south border. We also started up a trial/ nursery bed in one of the opposite beds (see below) and filled it with mixed perennials and grasses, in hope they will thrive, spread and in due course, move into the south borders opposite.

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Here we are sowing some meadow seeds onto the weed free, raked and sifted south beds. We did a little research, and decided autumn was the best time to sow, in hope they would germinate sooner. We are going to keep our fingers crossed that there will be flowers for when we open on 9th and 10th of June for the NGS. Yes, we are doing it again.. gluttons for punishment! But we love it.. gets things finished and tidy. (Mostly!)

 

On 8th November I planted up my pots. Sadly I haven’t gone for any Tulips this time, purely because I didn’t want the extra hassle of lifting them just before we open! This pot (above) and a few other have been planted with a gorgeous white daffodil ‘Misty Glen’. I’m confident they will have died back in time to plant over with some bedding plants for when we open. A less labour intensive plan I thought..

On 29th November our six Plane trees and copper beech hedging arrived. I also lifted the Dahlias, turned them upside down, wrapped them into newspaper and carefully carried them into the kitchen area (next to the potting shed) to dry out. I ummmed and ahhed over whether to lift or leave them all in the ground. The reason I decided to lift them was that they are planted is in a frost pocket on the north side of the garden. This border sits in permanent shade through the winter months. I felt the odds were slightly against me, so I didn’t take the risk!

On 1st and 3rd December Tom dug out and planted some of the copper beech hedging. It has been planted in the woods, that forms a division between our parking area and the walk around the outside of the walled garden.

I’ve also planted some Alliums, in the hope of having some extra interest in June. The first lot are 200 Allium Neapolitanum ( small white) planted under the pleached crab apples and, x10 Allium ‘Schuburtii’ split between the two box beds that sit on the outside of the crab apples (not pictured).  The second lot are x70 Allium ‘Christopii’, planted in groups of ten in the Dahlia bed and the bed opposite (see where I have positioned black pots). The beds filled with Nepeta ‘Six hills Giant’ surrounding the metal pergola in the house garden, are now under planted with x30 Allium ‘Pink Jewel’

 

The day after I planted the Allium ‘Pink Jewel’ (7th Dec) it snowed!

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It was as if, like magic a wonderful white carpet appeared overnight..

You can imagine how delighted my boys were, including Tom! I decided to look back on past pictures, the last time we had this much snow was in 2013! Too long!

The snow didn’t stay for long, it had completely gone after only 5 days!

Without further a do, on 16th December, we were back into the garden to get the Plane trees into the ground and then on 30th the framework went up around them. It’s not completely finished, but when it is, there will be more pictures!

A busy end to a hectic year, and here’s to the next.. and the next and the next..

I hope your winter months have kept you busy, indoors or outside and the New year is full of exciting projects big or small.

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday..

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Here are the last of my roses. All picked in a rush yesterday, to brighten the table for my garden club meeting. The smell takes me back to the summertime..

I feel sad when I look at them, as the occasional petal falls. The end of the flower season  has come, and for the first time, I’m clinging on to it for as long as possible! I must let go..  move into the winter months, put the garden to bed and plan for next year…

it will happen, but for now.. I shall enjoy these Roses just a little longer..

Looking back..

 

IMG_0934I can’t believe it’s September, and the boys have been back in school for over 2 weeks! I don’t feel ready to embrace Autumn just yet and I’m certainly not ready to start emptying out my summer pots as they are still going strong.

 

Looking back since I last blogged is always a good reminder of where we are and where we are headed to in the garden. I’m going to give you a quick run down with pictures of what’s been going on here last month.

We have enjoyed a good crop of figs off our tree, and so have the birds and wasps! We shall contemplate on netting it next year.

Both of our mulberry trees have produced a mammoth amount of fruit that we sadly don’t use! I must find a local group of people that are happy to harvest them all and make lots of jam to sell. It’s quite frustrating..  The trees are so big and we have such little time at the moment to dedicate in dealing with their crop.

Not forgetting the plums! There are less this year, but enough to graze on and make a few puddings with..

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The new ‘Dahlia bed’ has been quite a triumph..

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Having never grown them before, I’ve discovered that Dahlias are an essential and rewarding addition for a late summer flower display. They just keep on blooming! I’ve been cutting them once a week, to prolong their flowering and to enjoy their flamboyance indoors too.

Here are 8 out of the 10 that are flowering, as I was late planting them, I’m amazed they have even flowered!

And as for the roses! Their second flush have been as impressive as the first..

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Rose border

Smelling and enjoying the roses have been one thing, but watching hundreds of seedlings grow into a riot of colour has been an absolute joy this year. What sparked this was that we needed an injection of colour through July and August for two groups that were due to visit. It was a risk and a real eye opener for us. I’m so glad we did it and will most definitely do it next year.

I managed to gather several buckets full to display at home and to take to friends.

Remember the Buckwheat? Once it started to  flower, and reached almost (my!)  waist height, Tom cut it down to prevent it from seeding everywhere.

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Our future plans for this space short term is to keep sowing the green manure.

Over the winter, we will do some research to find an appropriate seed mix to sow in the spring. Having had such success with our seed sowing this year, our aim is to have a riot of colour here to draw the eye further on. It’s also a bit of fun too! Can you imagine  how it will look?

Im sure there are a few little things I’ve missed and I hope you’ve enjoyed the summer as much as I have, my boys are all settled back into school, and I’m slowly getting my head around the onset of autumn. I have one last event that marks a close to our garden and it’s a Macmillan Coffee morning.

A nice way to get friends and family together to raise money for a good cause.. oh and drink lots I tea and eat tons of cake, without feeling guilty!

Have a great weekend X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All together now..

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As I sit here, feeling the warmth of the early evening sun beaming through our kitchen windows, feeling happy and content, having had all of my boys home last night. This tends to happen two to three times a month, as my eldest is only home the occasional weekends. With all the noise, extra mess, cooking, and chaos it brings, I love and make the most of it. I listen to some of my friends fearing the summer holidays, but this year, the beginning of mine started with my youngest Luke, flying off to San Fransisco with my sister in law to join a summer drama camp for TWO WEEKS! I’ll admit we got lots done in the garden and I had some time with John and Tom. BUT, it has made me realise that they are all growing up fast, TOO fast, and I somehow need to make the most of the next few years.

Its been a busy month so far, celebrating Birthdays, collecting and waving goodbye at airports, visiting gardens and having gardeners visit our garden.

Here’s what’s been going on in the garden so far this month..

On the 9th the shears came out and the beech hedge inside the house garden had a tidy.

 

Including the round window! This view is what is see (without Toms head!) as I come out of the boot room door, every day.

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We also made a start clearing all the seed heads from the forget me nots, this should have been done last month!

The day after Luke set off to America, on 15th, we gave the lime avenue a haircut.

It makes such a difference and makes us pleased at seeing a fairly big job ticked off the list! The next task is the box that encases the roses, backbreaking but rewarding too! Firstly I pull out all the seed heads of the alliums, along with a little weeding and rose deadheading.

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Then the sheets an mats go down and the clipping gets underway!

weather permitting this can take me two to three days, off and on. By 17th and thankfully in time for the first half of two visits from the Tatton Garden Group. The box was clipped and tidy, along with the new border getting planted up.

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I look forward to seeing the Dahlias flower, hopefully before this month is out!

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The Buckwheat is growing nicely, which has made Tom very happy! What has pleased us more than anything has been..

..the spectacular outcome from the seeds we sowed only 9 weeks ago! A triumph and something we shall most definitely be doing again next year. We have discussed sowing a taller mix along the south border where the buckwheat is growing for when we open for the NGS next year.

Here is one of the views that greeted our visitors last week and the week before..

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The word pleased doesn’t come close to the way we are  feeling right now, on how the garden is taking shape, and how we have managed to keep the interest going at this time of year. Having reluctantly accepted to show, not 1, but 3 groups to view our garden! At a time of year when it can begin to look tired and weary. We put on our thinking caps and soon realised that that isn’t the case, with thought , planning, time and a packet of seeds, you can transform a huge bare patch into an explosion of colour.

Our next and final group are visiting in mid August and we feel confident the riot of colour will continue. Until then, I’m looking forward to this coming weekend, when I shall be turning 42 and will be spending it the best way possible.. With my boys and visiting gardens!!

 

A year ago..

… this blog was born. I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but where has the time gone?

It started with the idea of keeping a diary/record of what is going on in the garden through its early years of development. I did start a paper diary that lasted 3 and a bit months! The thought of a blog meant I would be sharing everything, including pictures, with likeminded people. Also, I would have more of a reason to keep it up, for them and for us.

So.. While we were on holidaying at Centre Parcs with our boys, we decided it was the right moment to do something about it, and I’m so glad we did!

So much has happened in that amount of time, I have met so many wonderful and inspiring people, through blogging and starting up our own gardening group, that has just celebrated its first Birthday too!

I’ve watched my boys steadily grow up making me proud in so many ways. Not to mention my amazing husband that has helped make everything possible ( he’s sitting right next to me!) I suppose he’s right, and I wouldn’t be without him..

Our garden has gone from strength to strength, just looking back on previous posts shows me this, and surprises me every time!

There’s still so much more to learn with the garden and blogging too. I hope through this next year to keep up the momentum, I don’t know how, but sometimes things happen and you learn from them.

Im sorry this blog features no pictures, I couldn’t find anything that fitted or worked. Maybe it’s meant to be that there are none.

Happy Birthday! to THE LAUNDRY ROCKS and THE AVANT GARDENERS. And thankyou to all that follow and read my posts xx