Time for a walk..

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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..

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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Have a wonderful weekend x

 

 

 

 

Need a drink!..

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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.

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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!

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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..

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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..

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‘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

Race week!

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It was May Races at Chester last week, a time of year that holds lots of fond memories for me, and now holds a marker in our garden calendar.

I remember as a child looking forward to my dad taking me to the fair when it came to town. It would always arrive arround the first week of May, it would stay for about a fortnight. On our arrival there, I would make a beeline for the Waltzers, one of my favourite rides, and scream to go faster after each spin! I can almost smell my treat of the giant pink fuzz of candy floss, that was as big as my head! After several other rides, we would end with playing ‘Hook a Duck’ and winning a goldfish that ended up with fish from previous years in my dads front pond.                       You could almost guarantee beautiful sunny weather on the second week into May, which was perfect to watch the horse racing.

Ten years on when I was working in the city of Chester, and training to become a hairdresser, the world became a bigger place and a day at the Chester Races was the thing to do and the place to be. It was such a fun time, women would come to the salon to have their hair put up and the whole of Chester city would become a buzzing place to be with a mixture of people all out basking in the glorious weather and enjoying their winnings.
Nowdays, family life takes over and I no longer work in a hair salon. We have focused on expanding into the walled garden. Not much time to be socialising and cheering on horses!  The beginning of May feels like the pace of the growing season is accelerating like a race horse! with me hoping to be on top of the weeding! Thankfully this year I am, only just, partly due to the lack of rain.

Here’s what’s ‘racing’ away in the garden now..

The Aquilegias are also flowering their socks off! As some have been inherited or self seeded, I won’t try and give exact names.

 

I could put a large bet on some of the Foxgloves opening their flowers next week..

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And finally.. Here is a little peek at Toms progress with the cobbling.

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Just to explain the slate cross division.. This symbolises the compass points, where the blue trug sits is pointing due North. I am standing by the back door, which indicates this whole space is a fantastic sun trap!

I hope we have some rain due soon..

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead x

Hot air..

IMG_1807It’s not every day a hot air balloon drifts over your garden! It came so low and close we managed to say hello and get a hello back!

Just before it disappeared into the fields beyond we captured theses pictures. It made my youngest sons evening!

We’ve basked in some rather hot sunny days, followed by calm cold nights and frosty mornings. I’m guessing this must be perfect conditions for hot air balloons?

The same balloon came over again the next evening and we asked if they had a good view of the garden? To that we had no reply.. oh to have been up there and enjoyed our garden from another perspective.

one day maybe…

 

Productive April..

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14th April, flowers open on our Cornus kousa chinensis

The weekend before Easter our boys went to stay with my dad, which gave us a golden opportunity to garden our socks off!

Here’s what we got up to..
On Saturday 8th April . In the Hall garden (behind the house) Tom, Andrew and a digger scraped away the surface areas in preparation for cobbling the area where the pleached crab apples are. The scrapings went into the tonne bags and were moved into the walled garden to be reused as a base for our greenhouse.

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Meanwhile I cracked on with top dressing the south border inside the house garden.

We’d set the pace now and had to keep going, so, at 6am on the Sunday (9th) we were up! After breakfast we set off into the walled garden to spread mulch onto the New west border.

With a break and a pub lunch in between we finished it by 4.30pm then we finished off mulching in the house garden  until it went dark..

The weather over the whole weekend was glorious and the time flew by. Our romantic weekend without the boys was immensley productive and satisfying judging by the amount we achieved together.. So much so..

The following weekend…

On the 15th April (Easter Saturday!) Tom made a start on cobbling around the Outer base of the crab apples, a job he has been itching to get started on. The instant change it has made in the space of an afternoons work was quite something!

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Then on 17th (Easter Monday! Theres no stopping him now!) he continued with the inner circle mostly in the rain and with the help of Tex.. He was on a bit of a mission as it is a painstakingly slow job!

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View from my sons bedroom!

The turf had its first haircut on 22nd April and on 23rd we finished off mulching Maggies border.

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Oh yes.. Not forgetting.. Tom finally got the ladders out and put the capitals on top of the pillars!

I was obviously more interested in taking pictures of him instead of helping!! He didn’t seem to mind..

What a difference.. Our minds keep changing on what to to next.. do we leave them as they are? or have a wooden frame made that can sit on the top? All for another day…

On Tuesday 25th. We enjoyed our second gardening group meeting over at Wendy and Tony’s garden, I’m going to feature this into my next blog along with some other gardens I’ve visited in April.

Before I say goodbye to the driest and what feels like one of the busiest Aprils I can remember, here are some pictures of what has been greening up and flowering throughout that month.

If you click on any of the pictures above their names will appear.

Thankyou for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed following our progress thus far as much as we have.