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

End of Month View: November

Can it really be December tomorrow?! It doesn’t seem that long that I was writing about our autumnal garden at the end of October and now we’re careering headlong into winter. Not that it feels like it out there today – the temperature is in double figures and there’s a definite warmth to the sunshine which is so welcome after yesterday’s atrocious wind and rain. The rain was incredibly heavy but it topped up the pond and quenched the soil. Last weekend, we planted a little Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ that has been hanging on in a too-small pot for about a year(..!) and the soil that came out of the hole was incredibly dry.

Planting this little shrub in the gloaming on Sunday afternoon felt like a mini-achievement as I’ve been glancing at it guiltily for months and months. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve also managed to plant all the bulbs (yay) – 50 Narcissus ‘February Gold’ have been slotted into the lawn outside the window where my desk is (to cheer me up in late winter) and 50 Narcissus ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ have been tucked in among the perennials and grasses on one of the lower terraces. My birthday tulips (30 each of ‘Veronique Sanson’ and ‘Ronaldo’) have been combined in the two big pots at the front of the house for a glorious display of colour in May. There are still some anemone and ranunculus corms to plant (maybe tomorrow morning if I get a move on).

The raspberry canes (in front of the greenhouse) are almost bare now but there are a few pale raspberries hanging on. I usually leave the canes until February then cut them down to the base but have read recently that it’s ok to cut them back now.
There are still quite a few small apples hanging on for grim life in the higher branches of the apple tree. I think it indicates that this variety is a good keeper but these fruits will be for the birds to enjoy rather than us.
The grasses on the lower terrace are at their best right now – bleached and eye-catching, they weave the garden together and add real interest (to my eye). I love how the winter sun catches them.
The rickety arch over the path is being held up by a climbing rose on one side and a jasmine on the other.
The topped-up pond.
Loads of forget-me-not seedlings.
I must move this aeonium to a more sheltered spot.
Marigolds ‘Sunset Buff’ still going strong, bare twiggy sweet pea supports and grasses.
More forget-me-not seedlings and cyclamen leaves (and assorted weeds).
Gooseberry branches – soon all the leaves will drop to leave the spiny bare stems.
I pulled out a load of nasturtiums the other week and found this lovely Epimedium (can’t remember the species, must check the label!) which I planted in spring. It’s survived happily under its leafy blanket.
I love the colour of fading hardy geranium leaves.
More marigold ‘Sunset Buff’.
A big pot of tulips tucked up for the winter.


So, there’s our garden at the end of November. As the festive season looms and the days become shorter, getting out there to see what’s going on is harder but always rewarding, even in the depths of winter. I hope you’ll come. back next month to see how the garden is looking at the end of the year. Thanks for visiting and bye for now.

[I’m joining in, as usual, with Helen, The Patient Gardener. Thank you to her for hosting the End of Month Views.]



Five on Friday: brevity




One  I’m a big fan of ornamental grasses. Tall ones (such as Miscanthus) add drama and height; fluffy ones (such as Stipa tenuissima) add softness, and all of them bring movement and a delicate touch to a border. I’ve been taking the time to properly look at the combinations of grasses and wildflowers on my daily dog walks. They have been looking wonderful for weeks now – the blends in nature are exquisite. The subtle colours of different grasses really are astounding and they look so beautiful in the early morning or evening sunshine. An inspiring tapestry of wild plants. Nature really does it best.

Two  There’s a new house being built at the end of our road. It has a wavy, modern design that makes the most of its sea-facing position. Opinions are polarised: some people love it; others hate it. I love it. Best of all it has a green roof. I’ve been keeping an eye on it as the plants have grown and I can’t work out whether they grew from seeds already there or whether the roof has been colonised by local native plants – they do look very at-home in the landscape. Whatever, it’s a lovely sight. I took this photo a few weeks ago when the skies were blue…

Three  Our lavender beds are in full bloom. The scent is delicious. It would be lovely to have a few sunny, still days to appreciate them in full. The weather has been dismal all week. I actually wore my winter coat for a damp dog walk this morning.

Four  Self-sown Nigella has taken over the ‘veg patch’ in the back garden so I’ve been pulling out clumps and sticking them in vases indoors. There are no actual veg in the patch this year. We just have a lot of raspberries and strawberries, and tomatoes growing in the greenhouse. I’ve gone big on flowers. Pragmatic gardening.

Five  My middle child will be away next week at a CCF camp – the activities include climbing, mountain biking, archery, fieldcraft and an overnight ambush. He’ll have a ball. My eldest will be at home doing as little as possible, so it’ll just be the youngest who’ll be going to school. She’s not terribly impressed about that. Still, it’s less than three weeks until the summer holidays. Yikes.

Have a lovely weekend. I’m hoping for some sunshine and some time in the garden.

Joining in with Amy and her popular Five on Friday. Thank you, Amy.

PS I managed to write a post without mentioning you-know-what! Oh… Drat 🙂