A stroll around the garden

Although I haven’t been keeping an end-of-month record of the garden this year, I’m glad I have the photos from 2018 to see how everything has matured since the end of June last year. One striking difference is how much greener the grass is from all that rain we had earlier in the year.

Anyway, here’s a little tour to show you what the village garden safari visitors saw over the weekend when they visited our garden. It was overcast when I took these pictures, so imagine hot sunshine, a light breeze, the distinct smell of the sea and birds singing, and a weary pair of gardeners raising a mug of coffee to you from their chairs in the shade.

Salvia hot lips
Salvias and Verbena rigida in the raised planters. ‘Hot Lips’ loves it here.
garden wall
I bought a bistro table and two chairs for under the old apple tree in the back garden and several people stopped to sit in the shade for a while.
Nepeta 'Walkers Low'
This bed was a riot of osteospermums and nasturtiums last year but I’ve planted three insect-friendly Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’ along the path edge. I bought it as one plant about six weeks ago, divided it into three, potted them on until roots poked out of the bottom of the pots, then planted them out. They seem very happy. In the background there are the step-over apples underplanted with geraniums and chartreuse Euphorbia oblongata to the right of the pic.
Mixed border
The border by the back wall is a mixture of blue/purple, pink and orange. Iris sibirica has gone over but there are agapanthus coming into flower and asters later in the year. Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ is also coming into bloom. Please avert your eyes from the slightly scrappy path. You see those pine cones? Hundreds of them. I’d cleared them all the day before. Every time the wind blows, more drop from the pines. If you have any tips for what to do with them, other than use as firelighters, I’d be grateful. They don’t compost well.
Hollyhocks and roses
Moving round the side of the house to the sea-facing side, here are remarkable self-sown hollyhocks growing in cracks in the paving and the prolific rose bush that has no scent, sadly (as it’s next to the house). The lavender hedges are just coming into flower.
Looking down onto the mini orchard and more lavender from the top terrace – the bees, hoverflies and butterflies love it there and you can hear crickets/grasshoppers singing their songs in the sunshine.
steps and rose arch
Looking down the Erigeron Steps to the rose and jasmine arch (both starting to flower) and the wildflower patch beyond, and our black cat hiding in the daisies.
Garden pond
Looking down onto the pond area, which we’ve recently cleared, with the wild area beyond (and bench on the area where we’ve had bonfires!). David relaid the flag stones around the pond (yet to be pointed) and we planted up the beds with heucheras and geraniums (permanent) and cosmos and snapdragons (temporary) and should mature to form lovely mounds of foliage with flowers in spring/summer. All the new beds (and bare soil elsewhere) have been mulched with bark chippings made from the tree work we had done last summer to help keep moisture in and cut down on weeds. Lugging trugs and trugs of that up the steps has improved my fitness levels somewhat!
Down the steps to have a closer look, you can see David’s ‘work in progress’ in the background. It’s going to be a covered seat with a cedar shingle roof and climbers growing up the sides. The hosepipe wasn’t there for visitors to trip over.
mini orchard
The little apple and pear trees are growing well – there’s a load of apples coming but hardly any pears this year. Maybe next. Again, more bark mulch to keep moisture in. I love the little areas of randomly mixed flowers down here – see next photo…

Dollymixture planting

Crocosmia and grasses
The border around the orchard is a mix of grasses (Stipa tenuissima and Calamagrostis) with perennials like Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ (just coming into bloom), Verbena bonariensis, osteospermums and heucheras. You can just see the mounds of Gypsophila ‘Gypsy Pink’ tucked into the edge of the border, an emergency purchase from a local supermarket to fill the gaps here!
mixed border
Moving along the path a little to see more of the planting. I love the way the lavender hedge above now peeps over the wall and ties in visually with the lavender below. Repeat planting is a very useful design tool.

Hoverfly in flight
We’re trying to plant as many plants that are beneficial for insects as possible – lavender, verbena, salvias, geums, poppies, scabious, wild flowers and many others are insect-magnets. Above you can see a hoverfly coming in to land (more luck than judgement on the part of the photographer!).
Erigeron karvinskianus
The two most commented-on plants during the garden safari were Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican fleabane) and Stipa tenuissima, both looking rather lovely at this time of year.
Light blue salvia
I can’t remember the name of this blue salvia but it’s perennial and lovely 🙂
Pale pink rose
This rose was a gift about 5 years ago, planted elsewhere in the garden, moved twice and is now in its final home, breathing a sigh of relief and sending out beautiful scented blooms.
Garden planting
I’m really happy with how the different levels are working – lavender on top of the wall, mixed border below, further mixed border, pond area. I’m looking forward to seeing how these all fill out and develop.
Rose 'The Garland'
I think this rose is ‘The Garland’, a highly scented climber from David Austin. I say ‘I think’ because David and I bought a rose for each other at roughly the same time and temporarily planted this one in a trug while we cleared the area and the labels got muddled. I am not very good at keeping track of labels… Anyway, it’s been here for a couple of months and is looking happy. The hope is that it will eventually cover this fence and look fabulous.

So, here we are, nearly at the bottom of the garden. I haven’t shown you the area to the right of the rose in this picture because it’s more of the same (geraniums, grasses, Erigeron, Artemisia and ivy) or the wildflower area in detail but I’m sure you’ve seen enough for now.

Hope your week is going well. I’ll be back soon x

21 thoughts on “A stroll around the garden

  1. You have a beautiful garden, Sam – and last weekend’s visitors must have thoroughly enjoyed their time with you. I hope this weekend will be a little bit more relaxing! X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It really does look coastal, but also quite familiar, as if on the coast of San Mateo County. I know the rest of the plant material must be very different, but may are surprisingly similar to what is here, or farther north on the North Coast of California and up into Oregon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks fabulous Sam. I’m not surprised that visitors lingered in the shade of the apple tree – it looks very inviting and they probably needed a rest from all those steps. It looks a beautifully relaxed garden.


  4. It looks beautiful, so soft and relaxing. I love the way the different areas are ‘joining up’ with your thoughtful repeat planting which I’m sure gives a lovely flow as you wander around. And I am in awe of David’s skills in stone-laying (I think he he laid the beautiful meandering path?) and arbour-building. I always found my one allotment pear tree quite temperamental compared to the bounteous apple trees, but the white blossom more than makes up for the ‘resting’ years. I am trying to outwit rabbits here. After 18 years of allotmenteering alongside the railway line and Bookham Common I thought I knew all about rabbits but these Sussex ones are something else. But I am loving my new garden as it starts to reflect ‘me’ and our new wildflower meadow (from a half acre of amenity grass/dog agility course) is breathtaking. Did you see GW from 28 June? I was enamoured of the wild Suffolk garden and believe this is the future of gardening. It reminded me of Miriam Osler’s ‘A Gentle Plea for Chaos’, a wonderful read if you haven’t come across it. I have a big basket of Scots pine cones in the greenhouse which I use for firelighting. Could you stamp or soak yours so they break down more easily? Well done on your beautiful garden Sam. Last year we dropped two boys and their bikes at Dover for an early ferry and found ourselves at the NT White Cliffs cafe for coffee and sausage rolls before walking along the cliffs to the lighthouse. It was early July and the wildflowers and sea views under a cloudless blue sky is still in my memory bank. Should have pinged you an email to meet! Another time perhaps. Sarah x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah. David loves the practical building (better than the day job!). I did see that GW but I haven’t read that book – I’ll look out for it. It sounds my kind of thing. Please do get in touch if you’re ever over this way again. It would be lovely to meet up x


  5. Oh, it’s beautiful out there, well done both of you, you’ve made a wonderful job of it. Lots of apples here too this year, I think it must have been the good weather when the blossom was out. I do so love your garden wall, it’s a thing of beauty. The new covered seat promises to be good, it will be a lovely place to sit. What are the pale pink flowers on the left in the second photo? They’re very pretty. Have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It all looks fabulous Sam. Your visitors must have been impressed. I agree the stipa is wonderful and Erigeron karvinskianus puts itself around and looks good wherever it decides to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely tour your visitors must have had!!! It looks so beautiful with the sea on one side and those beautiful brick walls on another. Looks like the perfect garden setting and how blessed you are to be it’s keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for the tour, Sam – it’s always interesting to know what the most asked about plants are – here it was the annual bunny tails grass and Astrantia maxima

    Liked by 1 person

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