End of month view gets going for 2011

I really enjoyed getting involved in the end of month view posts hosted by Helen at patient gardener last year so I have decided to do it again with the odd addition here and there to reflect new projects or attempts to tackle past failures.  It was interesting to see how things changed and encouraging looking back on the photographic diary of the year to find that areas which look like a war zone in late winter do fill up and out and create things of beauty as the year goes on.

Here is the side garden.  The angle I usually use for this does not let me show you the snowdrops just coming into flower at the bottom of the side wall.  The path which goes out through the gate to the workshop and the field gets wet and muddy in the winter.  One day we will have the money and the time to put down a proper path.  This is a spring and summer garden. In summer the sun gets high enough to make the seat whose corner you can just see into a sunny and sheltered spot to sit in the morning with a cup of tea.  For winter I have planted sweet box, sarcococca humilis, at the corner of the bed nearest to you in the picture.  The plants are quite small but are covered at this time of year in tiny white flowers which smelt exceptionally sweet.  Behind them are five hellebore orientalis.  They are full of fat buds and this morning I have been cutting off last year's leaves so that you can see the flowers when they open.  I love hellebores and, when so many things I love are not happy up here, hellebores love me right back.  I have bought some more from Sarah Raven which will go down by the native trees in the field.

Here is the new little orchard looking up towards the cutting garden.  The trees, with the exception of the mulberries which are so slowgrowing you can hardly see, are beginning to look like proper trees now after three years in the ground planted as maiden whips.  The native daffodils are just starting to poke their snouts up around the trees.  Last year I began the slow process of introducing native wildflowers to this area.  There are ox eye daisies, fox and cubs, teasels and ravenswing cow parsley in here but far too few of all of them!  I have found a local nursery, Saithffynnon meaning Seven Wells, which specialises in plants for butterflies and bees and is only a few miles from here.  I am hoping to buy more seed or even treat myself to some plugplants from them in the hope that local plants will thrive.  I am only just beginning to get my head round the number of plants which you need for naturalising, even though I am not after instant results and am quite happy for things to take their time.  The thirty of so ox eye daisies which I grew from seed and planted out last summer in this meadow barely made a splash of white.  Think of a fairly big number and multiply it by ten seems to be the rule of thumb.  Even then you are hardly drowning in the stuff.  Last year I let the grass grow tall over the summer and Ian scythed it down in September.  This year I shall do the same but with one mown path so that you can walk right through the middle of the meadow.  The grass will be as high as my soon to be five year old grandson's head.

Here is a revamped bed in the cutting garden.  The cutting garden is a rather grand name for a long thin bed, about the length of an allotment but a little narrower.  The mesh you can see is one of three sets of supports for sweet peas, one at each end and one dividing it in the middle.  So far each year the sweet peas have been fabulous and the rest of the cutting garden a bit disappointing.  I have grown the plants in stripes, in keeping with the allotment feel, but I have never been pleased with the effect.  This year I shall grow in blocks   between the baby box hedging in this half.  Cosmos grows well for me every year but last year's first attempt at zinnias was disappointing.  This year I am going to try Centaurea cyanus, Black Ball, a deep almost black version of the cornflower, with Cosmos sulphereus Bright Lights, a vivid orange cosmos.  At the other end I have lavender in rows and globe artichokes and need some ideas for what to plant between the artichokes and the middle row of sweetpeas.  There are tulips in there already in two of the squares.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could remember what they are?  The cutting garden is one of my projects for this year.  It needs more thought and time in its planting to be a beautiful thing in itself rather than a repository for half grown things which won't quite fit anywhere else.

This is another new bit to work on this year: the native tree walk in my head.  At the far end is a whitebeam, then a rowan, a silver birch and at this end a wild cherry.  Between the trees are hollies and dogwoods and beneath them some snowdrops and scillas.  Here I shall also put the new hellebores and perhaps over time try to increase the numbers of everything.  I want something to lure you down to the bottom of the field on a bright late winter or early spring day.  I am almost tempted to put more daffodils down here but I think I shall resist, leaving the daffodils to dance round the trees in the orchard and to crowd behind the swing.  There is enough space here to let each area have its different feel and I think the yellow of daffodils might overwhelm the woodland feel.

The witch hazel is out, it spidery flowers catching me unawares again.  It hides in the corner of the field, amongst hazels put in for coppicing and filberts for nuts.  It is probably not the best place to see it and it's easy to miss its flowering period if it is cold and wet and the days are not for wandering  about in.  Too big to move though, so it will have to stay there.  I love it.  I wonder if I love it so much I can justify another one?

Here is the sunny bank, the little quince tree bare and leafless and the bank all tidy and weeded ready for spring.  This is a late summer place with pinks and penstemon and sedums.  I have cuttings of a tender pink salvia which I bought last year at Wollerton Old Hall.  It doesn't look as if the parent plant has survived the cold but the cuttings are sitting up on a bedroom windowsill so I must remember to care for them until they can take their place besides the jostling valerian.

Here is the kitchen garden.  In the summer the growth of trees and hedges and the overflowing of the raised beds with herbs and salads disguises the fact that the whole garden is on a slope.  At this time of year everything looks as if it is sliding away down the valley.  You can hardly tell from this picture that there is more yew planted at the far end to extend the big yew hedge which protects the henhouse.  When it is big enough I shall cut it so that it produces a horizontal, spirit level straight against the fall of the valley and the rise of the hills beyond.  I think it will make me smile but if it doesn't work it can always be left to do what it likes.

So there we are.  Too many projects, too much rough ground, all still a work in progress and fledgling as a wet bird.  You can tell I am tired because I am not yet champing at the bit to get seeds sown although I did feel a stirring of excitement when I went walking with my secateurs and my camera.  And look, it's February now.  Surely Spring cannot be far behind?


  1. The garden looks lovely in the February sunshine - and yes - hopefully Spring wont be too far behind. I enjoy hearing your plans for the different areas this year.

    My resolution is to do my end of the year post tomorrow - I just need to decide which bit of the garden to focus on. The Salvia sounds nice fingers crossed the cuttings live to be big healthy plants .... (and that you took too many tee hee )

  2. I've been wandering about with my camera too, but I focused on the Hamamelis. I'm sure you can justify another if not several. They really earn their keep at this time of year. It's a shame they are so uninteresting for the rest otherwise.

    You do look very neat and tidy - I'm embarrassed by my disheveled plot.

  3. That's what I call a garden. So envious, I especially like the tree walk.

    My garden is taking shape, but it is very much at the pruning and groundworks stage. It must once have been a magnificent Edwardian town garden - but the previous owners let it get ut of hand.I shall post some pictures in the spring I think.

  4. Such a lot done - such a lot to do when you wish. I love the walk through the native trees - so civilized compared to what we have here.
    I have lots of time, these days, for dreaming and planning as I sit and watch my dear Great Dane slowly, slowly recover. We'll have a quiet spring by the ponds - mostly dreaming about what we'll do here and there, but with not much actual labour other than what I can do and hire out. Still, it's beautiful and lovely to make those plans.

  5. Well, one thing is for sure, you are definitely not going to be short of things to do outside during the coming spring and summer!

  6. I have to say that I really enjoyed your photos of the gardens and your explanations about them and your plans about what you are going to do this coming year. I always enjoy visiting your blog, especially when there are lots of photos. I can't wait to see what changes will take place over the coming seasons. I'm especially interested in the progress of the wildflowers. Like you say, multiply it by a hundredfold and you will get there.

  7. Amazing how things catch you unawares. I don't think I have ever seen catkins half-out, for instance.

    And you've reminded me how beautiful uncut grass is and how tall it can grow. There's a meadow like that at the Mill, full of wild flowers. And the grass stems are full of sugar - really just a junior variation of sugar cane I suppose - and you can suck them like straws.

    A year used to seem an eon. Now it seems you need to snap it before it's gone. The seasons spin as though they were a toy wheel.

  8. I love your tree walk!

    You have so many wonderful projects and already your garden looks neat and ordered; ready! Mine is ok-ish, but looking as though it needs an injection of TLC.

  9. Wow what a lot of work. The happy farmer has planted a very small orchard here, with apple and pear trees and damson bushes. I love the idea of a cutting garden,. I am always trying to grow plants that will provide an abundance of flowers for the cottages and our house, so I will enjoy reading about your cutting garden Elizabeth.I haven't even ordered my seeds yet, but must get onto it as the happy farmer made me two large seed boxes, using old patio doors as covers, so no excuses here....

  10. Thank you for the lovely tour of your garden and glimpses of "the bigger picture".

  11. Ah lovely, lovely....brings back very happy memories. Oh, please, can it be spring soon? hugs,xxxx

  12. I am so envious. The size of your garden is more than I could ever hope for. Still, if those lottery numbers come up...who knows!

  13. Thanks for the tour - you live in such a beautiful place and your gardens are lovely. I keep thinking to myself, "One day..." And - I don't think I commented before, but your essay on Time was so well written and wonderful to read. Take care, L.

  14. I too love the tree walk,and the incredibly neat vegetable garden!Great photos.

  15. how do you find Sarah Raven? Have a load of stuff hovering in my Basket, but am having a last minute dither...
    Wish I had a bigger garden now. :(

  16. I agree about Spring, but stop calling me Shirley!


  17. Thanks for joining again with this. I love the sound of Cutting Gardens but think volume may be the key and I agree planting in blocks will probably look better than in strips.

    I have so many projects in my head but each one seems to be dependent on another and all come back to me moving the raspberry canes to the allotment!!

  18. Yes, probably too many projects Elizabeth, but oh the excitement of it all. I love the idea of a tree walk and you include many of my favourites in your list. I would give worlds to have an orchard, though we have a mini version here. Yes also to the seeps of flowers which I always regret not adding far more too.

    I absolutley loved this catch up on your garden and am now desperate to get out in mine. Have a good day x

  19. Karen - afraid the salvia cuttings are tiny so far, but you never know, might just take off!
    Mountainear - once again the neat and tidy is a combination of taking photos of places where David, who comes once a week all through the year, has been tidying, and turning my back firmly on the places we haven't got to yet!
    Mark - it is really more of a field than a garden but it can't help but be lovely because of where it is!

  20. Pondside - so sorry to hear of TGD's illness and so glad to hear too that he is on the mend. Some quiet sitting sounds perfect!
    Weaver - a shortage of things to do just doesn't happen round here.
    Nora - thank you, such an encouraging comment! I am very keen on the wildflowers so hope to be able to show you those multiplying.
    Fennie - I love long grass and these last couple of years have been full of the excitement of S at grass way above his head. We seem to have tigers out there, when the bears are not around.

  21. Hi Elizabeth - loved this catch up on your garden. I would love to come and see it all one day.

    I have little projects in mine too - mainly developing the woodland area as so much of the rest of the garden is 'set'. Yet, having just started a new module at college on Garden History, I looked out at my large middle lawn the other day and tried to imagine a knot garden there! It would be very radical...

    I had ideas about a cutting garden - inspired by a book a good friend gave me (and yes, it was Sarah Raven's) but I have not found a place for it yet. A Mulberry tree I am also thinking of purchasing - and crab apples and medlars to add to the 'orchard' at the top of the garden. I did buy a witch hazel the other day - one with red flowers as I tire of yellow sometimes. It is yet to be planted but I think I know where it shall go.

    It is lovely to spot the first signs of spring as you wander around your green kingdom, isn't it? I sense my sap starting to rise...!

    Good luck with all your plans but don't try and do too much at once!

    I have responded to your comments about Reaseheath etc over at mine.

  22. Go for another Witch Hazel - some have fab autumn colour too and go butterscotch yellows and fire engine reds.

    Wooded walk is certainly taking shape, I am sure they look much more grown than when I saw them last summer. Cant wait to see it with some bulbs and Hellebores doing their thing.

  23. Hello, I am a fellow Welsh Hill farmer also on blogspot. I farm in mid Wales on the Radnor forest. Your region looks kempt and idyllic, it's a big wild round these parts and I have talking animals...
    keep the Welsh flag flying
    James R. Johnston

  24. Great post! I love the picture of the little bare tree!

    I really enjoy reading your blog! I hope you will follow me back.


  25. H - it's not really neat. I am just selective about I point my camera!
    Posie - your orchard sounds just like mine. Hope it thrives. Mine is still pretty small. I haven't cracked the cutting garden yet so hope to improve it this year. My soil is pretty challenging so not everything grows although poppies of all sorts seem happy.
    Bilbo - thank you. I like to see the bigger picture myself when looking at other people's gardens. It is good to get an idea of how a garden fits together. I haven't really done that yet I don't think. Perhaps I should have a go at some sort of plan.
    Jane - Spring cannot come soon enough. I long for it and can get quite moony and adolescent waiting for it if I'm not careful!

  26. Helen - I have never had so much space until we came here. Most of my gardening life was spent on city gardens or suburban plots. It can be quite daunting but the place is so beautiful in a funny kind of way I am trying not to do too much.
    Lisa - thank you! I shall come to yours for a look too. It was "one day" for me for over twenty years too!
    Linda - the veg garden only looks like that because the weeds haven't started to grow yet. Watch this space.
    Milla - hi, I tweeted you. I like Sarah Raven. Things are a little bit more expensive but her choices are really good.
    Marcheline - sorry! were you a Leslie Neilsen fan?


Post a comment

Comments are the best thing and the conversations they produce are the whole purpose of blogging for me. Do tell me what you think!

Popular posts from this blog

Making lined curtains

Running and Spanish and oodles of family time

Resurrecting the garden blog