Wordless Wednesday..

DAAA6879-C36C-4D1A-8A9D-C6335CC6AD39

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..

Advertisements

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..

IMG_0819

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

IMG_1033

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..

IMG_0785
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.

IMG_0867

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..

IMG_0572

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.

IMG_0338

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.

IMG_0025

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.

IMG_0557

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

IMG_0546

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..

IMG_0538

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

 

 

What if?..

IMG_2211

What if the sun never went down and burnt everything to a crisp!?

What if the winds picked up and ripped through our gardens and destroyed everything!?

What if all the bees died!? Then what!?

Oh and what if the slugs ate all of my new Dahlias!? Disaster!

There are the occasional moments when I have a little wobble about the world we live in, about my family, friends and of course our garden.

Last Friday that I said goodbye to my eldest son, before he went away with his girlfriend to Morocco. They are only going for a week for goodness sake! The way I’m behaving you’d think they were never coming back!

To upset me further, on the Saturday, Tom woke, complaining of feeling sick, then put himself back to bed. Poor thing, he’s hardly ever ill, and has a huge list of jobs to be getting on with in the garden.. ( when hasn’t he!) THATS it! My head then went into a spin. What if he became quite poorly, and remained in bed for a month!? What if I caught it and we were both ill!! Then what? I know that sounds over the top, but there are times when we have those uncomfortable discussions about the ‘what ifs’… I hope it’s not just me?

Maybe I worry too much?

And then I turn my phone on..

IMG_0147

I can not tell you how much this text means to me..

He’s there.. Phew! And safe.. Relief.. Oh how I love my boys.

Outside, the rains have cleared, and the skies are looking promising. It’s so welcoming to see the rain, and watch the garden feast on a good drenching after the long dry spell.

I think I’ll get the sheers out and do some box clipping, might clear my head at the same time!

I always start with the partaire nearest the house, mainly because I see it every day and it’s the easiest one to do.

I start by clipping the top of it all and getting a levelled look, I do all of this by eye and hope it works. Maybe being a hairdresser helps? Next I clip the outer sides, then I do the internal quarters and finally the centre pyramid. I then look over the whole lot, double checking for any strays.

Half way through I had a little visitor! Glad I’d put my sheers down when he appeared..

IMG_0159

Time for a break, mainly to stretch out my back and to check on Tom! Thankfully the sleep did him some good.

After our cup of tea, Tom felt up to doing some mowing while I tidied up all the clippings.

IMG_0161Very satisfying..

On Sunday we had some help from Andrew for a few hours, I can’t tell you how much it motivates us when he comes, he’s been such a blessing, and we are very grateful that he gives his time for free. Luckily the weather was dry and very sunny, Tom and Andrew set about weeding the south border inside the walled garden. After lunch, Tom sowed some green manure.

We intend to continue applying this method, as it cuts down the weeding and nourishing the soil at the same time. Depending on time and money we hope to landscape this area of the garden in the next two years. In the meantime we will be doing some homework and lots of dreaming and planning… So watch this space!

Hey! Check out these 9 Dahlias!! Annoyingly two were knocked back by slugs, (not shown in the picture below) thankfully with some close monitoring they are coming along,

IMG_0168

I have scribbled out where they are going to be planted in the new bed that Tom uncovered and rotivated last month.

IMG_0166

This may not make any sense to you, but it helps me a lot! After weeding the bed, I set about placing the pots, then filled in the gaps with other plants that I’ve split, or that have seeded about   in my garden. I’ve also been given plants from my Mother-in-laws and friends gardens.

IMG_0204

Because it’s a long narrow space, I’ve mirrored some plants from the opposite bed, to give continuity and take the eye forward. In the middle and back Tom fancied trying out more of a drifted look, using the Dahlias, Salvias and Asters. Should be interesting! It won’t look much this year, but hopefully next year it will.. (Fingers crossed!)

As our day was drawing to a close I noticed that our Magnolia Grandiflora had opened one of its magnificent flowers!

IMG_0174

It almost looks fake it’s so perfect..

Something else that is about to open its flowers, that has never flowered before is our Phormium Tenax, very exciting!

IMG_0026

Here are some more of the roses that have been flowering their socks of..

Remember in my last post we sowed the meadow seeds..?

Look at that…

Isn’t it exciting what a difference a packet of seeds, rain and six weeks can do! Typical me here, had it in my head, thinking..

What if we didn’t buy enough seeds?

What if they didn’t germinate?

Ermm… What if I stopped worrying?

Yesterday Luke finished in junior school! End of an era..

Tomorrow John finishes his first year of seniors, and two more days George will be flying home from Morocco.

All my boys home.

What if….

..we all went out for a lovely meal over the weekend?..

I hope your week has gone well, can’t believe where the time has gone! Have a wonderful weekend.

Time for a walk..

IMG_2130

Sometimes when there is so much going on, you have to pause..

take a step back from it all..

and spend some time with the people that matter the most..

Then when you come back..

IMG_2115

Look around.. Take stock..  Then carry on!

We bought some seeds when we visited the Gardens Illustrated Festival, intending to sow them mid May in order to have a late show of flowers. That never happened of course! Even when the seed box was staring us in the face every day..

At last our moment arrived on 28th May.. Better late than never hey!

So… The week before, in preparation, the space that was to be sown was cleared of all remaining weeds and raked to remove any large stones.

IMG_2082

On the day we started by dividing up the seeds, with enough in each pot to cover each area.

IMG_2077Next was the fun part of scattering them!

This is a whole new ball game for us and will be a bit of trial and error! We are very optimistic people thankfully..

After all the seeds were sown, Tom got to use his ancient roller to firm them into the ground

If you’re wondering what our Jack Russell, Digger is doing, he has a bit of an issue with wheels and things that rotate and tries to attack them! Strange dog.. I think he’d loose here..

And finally, watering.. We will need to keep the soil wet for the next fortnight so that the seeds have a good chance of germinating.

IMG_2107And it doesn’t stop there! The crop of green manure on the south border inside the walled garden has been cut back and needed Rotovating back into the ground. As this area is so vast and would take us both a few days to dig over, Tom hired a rotivator (boys and their toys!) The whole task turned out to be more labour intensive then he expected!

IMG_2163I feel tired just looking at this picture!

While he was sweating away, I was at the opposite end of the garden potting up some dahlias I’d bought from my friend Gabrielle. I’ve always fancied growing some of these interesting late flowering beauties for cutting, but somehow I’ve shied away from it through fear of getting it all wrong. Luckily with having a garden group I have made some amazing new friends that can help me overcome some of my fears by encouraging me to try new things, offering me their knowledge and advice. These dahlias we’re lovingly chosen and bought by Gabrielle but they all came in packs of 3 and she only has room in her cutting garden for one of each.. Cue me! I have space and a fresh mind to give them a try.. Isn’t it funny how things happen when you least expect it!

 

I have made a note of all 11 peonies and looked them up to see their form and colours too. Each and every one made my smile grow wider and wider. I got a little excited and jotted down their name, colour and height, then placed them into groups for when I decide to plant them into the ground, this will be around mid July when they are well rooted and there is a substantial amount of foliage showing.

IMG_2543

I shall keep you posted on their progress along with the newly seeded area too.

We have just finished watching BBC Gardeners World, celebrating 50 years of gardening, held at the Birmingham NEC. This was the first garden show Tom and I visited together, the beginnings of our love of gardening and one another..

It was wonderful watching tonight’s programme, and seeing the influencing gardeners that have graced our screens over the past 50 years. It was fascinating hearing the stories of how they managed to succeed one another and  keeping the momentum going in their own individual ways. I remember when I had my first garden, and a client of mine gave me a video of Geoff Hamilton’s Cottage Garden. I watched this video over and over, devouring all of his ideas, and planting tips. He was a big influence on me early on, and to this day I can recall most of the plants that I purchased from the nearest green groser. I can picture myself running out in my lunch breaks, just to check out what took my fancy for my new garden space.

Tonight on the show, Mary Berry announced the winner of what plant has had the biggest impact on our gardens over the past 50 years, out of 10 nominations by a collection of figure heads within the Gardeners World team, Dahlia, Aquilegia, Echinacea, Stipa Gigantia, Chilling, Jasmine, Acer, Rose and Geranium Rozanne, were voted by the public, which was their favourite.

Of course it was the Rose, this put a giant smile on our faces. Interestingly this would have been our choice too!

..SO on that note we decided to take a romantic stroll to celebrate and enjoy our roses…

IMG_0597

BUT!!!…….

before we could do this we had to deadhead a few first!!! Ahhh.. life and love in the garden.. A balance we have to maintain.

IMG_0594

Have a wonderful weekend x

 

 

 

 

Need a drink!..

IMG_2114

And flower they did! I’ve lost count how many we have, dotted all over the garden, and equally the amount I have weeded out too!

It’s been a fairly busy couple of weeks here, mostly watering the garden, that has been scorched by the endless sun and heat. Having such a large space with different areas that have been planted up at similar times and pots that need watering or emptying of tulips that have finished flowering. There is so much that needs looking after when there has been little or no rainfall in weeks. We have been discussing our future projects for the walled garden, the next big area that we hope to design will be along the south wall. With all of the dry weather our country is experiencing (and it is set to continue over the coming years), it’s vital that anything we plant in that section of the garden needs to be more than tolerant of these conditions.

Here’s a glimpse of what is looking good in the garden now.

 

The White Hesperis has happily seeded itself everywhere. It’s since been growing in abundance in my white and south borders, also in pots too, so it seemed a good idea to pick a load and display it in my kitchen! The seedlings that Luke potted on for me are doing well, we took some to be sold for charity over at the Church Plant and book fair.

IMG_1963

On 21st May Tom did some more cobbling, I don’t think he will want to see another again after he has finished this!

He reckons it takes him about 5 hours per quarter section! Thank goodness he’s over the halfway mark now.

Meanwhile, not far from Tom, Andrew and I cleared the area outside the sitting room window, with some assistance from the green machine! The plan is to have a tall tree or obelisk that will sit central, acting as focal point as you look out of the window, I haven’t quite decided what to have surrounding the base, possibly box.

On the 22nd May my son George turned 18!

IMG_1979

As I sit here writing, listening to the rain beating down on the roof of the boot room, and drenching the parched garden. I’m still in shock, and disbelief..where has the time gone?

The days that followed couldn’t have been any hotter for May! All but a few of our roses started bursting into flower, it was hugely exciting. This time last year we opened our garden for the NGS and frustratingly there wasn’t a single rose in bloom! If you click on the pictures there names will appear. Hope you like them as much as I do.

There are about another 10 varieties that are not far from flowering and I’m sure they will be featuring in my next blog for you to enjoy, if only you could smell some of them too!

Before I go, here’s a look down the West wall inside the walled garden now..

IMG_2054

The Irises have put on a spectacular display in ‘Maggies’ border,  I’m still pinching myself on how far we have come in this part of the garden..

And finally the south border in the house garden..

IMG_2115 Looking at the ‘Gin & Tonic’ corner! X

Wordless Wednesday..

IMG_2019
‘Love in the mist’ or Nigella

Today I dedicate this flower and post to all the families and friends that lost their loved ones, and are waking up today to re live the horrors of Monday nights bombing in Manchester.

Peace be with you.. xxx