Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Garden Notes


I'm so glad the weather was good over the bank holiday weekend. We went into full gardening mode and cut, trimmed, pruned, dug up, planted and re-planted in the garden throughout Sunday and Monday. We did this with very little knowledge of what we were doing and so we'll see how that all looks in a few months. Trips were made to the garden centre and the recycling centre and it was all very satisfying. Today my muscles ache.

It seems like the garden changes so fast at this time of year, especially after rain. Within only a week - and sometimes days - things appear and I wonder if they are weeds or not, and whether I should pull them up or leave them. I'm glad I left the aquilegia, above.

The daffodils and tulips are all over now. They were lovely while they were here though. You never regret planting bulbs, do you? And I always wish I'd planted more, especially more tulips.I am patiently waiting for these to die down and then I might plant some annuals there, just for the colour and to fill up the bare earth.


The red wallflowers and hot pink azalea japonica are both coming to the end of their flowering season and I don't know what will bring colour in that border next as I am still getting to know this garden and can't remember exactly what I planted last year. But I really appreciated the colour they added throughout May. I remember my mum, in the garden centre last autumn, saying buy those wallflowers - just stick them in the ground and forget all about them and you'll have so much colour in the spring. Thank you Mum, good advice.


The two rhododendron bushes have been glorious again. 


They sit either side of our garden and give so much colour at this time of year. 


Even when they start to fade and the petals scatter the ground beneath them they are pretty.


And the bees like them.


The alliums are lovely too, and I wish I'd planted more of them, and in clusters rather than one or two here and there. They look really effective planted in groups. 


These three currant bushes are going great guns and I've no idea why as I've done nothing to them at all.


There is one large redcurrant bush on the left, already full of fruit. I don't really like redcurrants to be honest, I think they are sharp and overrated so goodness knows what I am going to do with all these when they ripen.


The two blackcurrant bushes are also looking promising. Again, I have no idea what to do with these. Jelly? Cordial? 


So, that's what is blooming. I am waiting and seeing with the rest. My hydrangea, planted last year, is looking promising. Not a natural gardener, I am trying to get the hang of bringing colour into the garden throughout the whole summer, not just all in May and then nothing in July or August.


I remain on Hollyhock Watch, marvelling at how tall they are growing and wondering what colour they will be. These must be the most anticipated flower ever.


I have planted a ridiculous number of marigolds, given to me by my mum and dad. They had hundreds, it looked like a canabbis farm in their conservatory. I have planted them in pots and the border and scattered slug pellets liberally. 


I'm also really curious to see what these two spiky-leaved planted below might do. I wonder if they are some kind of iris? I have no idea what kind or what colour though.


Luckily we can cheat and add instant colour to our gardens by going to the garden centre and buying stuff. John and I pulled up two dying conifer trees that a previous owner had planted directly under the living room window (trees! under a window!) and replaced them with hydrangeas. I know it all looks a bit sparse and sad right now (and try not to look at the upvc - hard, I know) but in a couple of years I hope they will all mesh in together and provide colour and a screen for that awful expanse of blinding white plastic.



I have tarted up my pots front and back, and wait for it all to flower and look lovely.


I always spend time on the containers by the front step. 


The entrance to our house doesn't exactly exude charm and, one day, I'd love to replace the upvc door and window with bricks and a wooden front door. A nice one, a modern one, which I'd paint a really good colour - I wouldn't go all faux-Victorian or country or anything like that - but there has to be a way to make the door to a 1960's house look good. 

Here it is. This photo reminds me why I've never shared photos of our front door here before. 


 Fingers crossed, those plants will add so much colour that no-one will notice anything else.

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Sorry, that was a really long post. I always think I've got nothing to say here and then I sit down to write and witter on and on. It's cold and wet today which, given that it's half term and the kids are really annoying me, is very irritating, but I am thinking of my gardening friends CJ and Leanne and reminding myself that at least it means I don't have to water the garden.

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In other new, my laptop is on it's way out (cue frantic backing up of all photos and documents onto the external hard drive) but I think my crafting mojo has returned.






33 comments:

Lisa said...

The garden really is coming on a treat and I love the pink you've painted your bench, a real splash of happy colour.
Lisa x

AnnieOBTextiles said...

Beautiful photos and so much colour. It is so exciting in the garden at this time of year as you can almost watch the plants grow! Your red currents would make a delicious savoury jelly and I think your spiky green plants are Crocosmia, which have orangy/red flowers in August, September. Hope the weather improves for the rest of half term, enjoy. x

Gillian Roe said...

Crocosmia! I've just googled it - lovely flowers. Thank you. x

Gracie Saylor said...

Gillian, I love seeing how your garden is growing...so pretty. If you have a chance could you type back and tell me if you dig up your bulbs and replant them in the fall? What I have done is just clip the leaves off after they have have browned...and in some areas plant annuals around them for later season color. My daffodils come back year after year, and I had a tulip that did at another house where I lived, but have not planted any tulips here yet. My hollyhock did not bloom its first year but has a promising looking bud like yours on it this year! xx

Jo said...

I was going to identify your spiky plants but you are sorted now. Leave the aquilegia after they have flowered and the seeds will sef set everywhere and you will have loads. They seed themselves in different shades of purple and pink. I LOVE mine. Then I get ruthless and pull some up if they are in the wrong place. Did the ones I send you ever pop up. If not I wills ave some more. My neighbour has black ones which I am coveting at the moment - will be begging for seeds. We netted our fruit bushes last weekend (just saying!!) otherwise the birds strip them bare. We make ice cream now out of all of our fruit because it comes in gluts and I have to freeze it and the girls won't eat soggy fruit, but they love ice cream. You are very honest Gillian, it is a good way to be, people will always help if you ask I have found. Off to the coast tomorrow. Have a good week. Jo x

CJ said...

Oh it's all looking glorious Gillian. The pots on your front step are lovely, I particularly like the dark red flowers. Sorry about the rain, and thanks for the mention, you're right about the watering, I'm waiting for a promised shower here at the moment. Blackcurrants are great with apple in a crumble. I de-stalk them and freeze them so that they're ready to just sprinkle in with no preparation. Christina at A Colourful Life mentioned home-made redcurrant ice-cream in a post today, I bet that's quite delicious. I shall look forward to seeing the hollyhocks unfurl. You're doing a lovely job on the garden, it's going to be fantastic summer out there. CJ xx

Bex Jenkins said...

It's looking fantastic. I'm very inspired. We did absolutely nothing with our garden and now we are leaving I feel sad that I wasn't a bit braver. I'm hoping that once we are home my mum and grandad will help me a bit. There must be a gardener in me somewhere. And your UPVC comments made me laugh. Looks lovely to me!

Jennifer Hays said...

Your garden is looking great, Gillian. I can tell you've been working hard out there. I think you'll have a really nice summer with all of those plants.

Susan Smith said...

The garden is looking lovely and yes your spiky plants on the left do look like crocosmia, which tend to go mad out here along the sides of highways and they aren't even native. I think the one on the right is a Solomons Seal. Might be wrong on that one. I love your bench and especially those colours. Have a good week and take care.

Nic said...

The spiky plants could be Monbretia? Not sure if that is spelt right! We have just moved into a new house and it us exciting watching what is coming up in the garden - mostly weeds but odd surprises like honeysuckle, clematis and peonies!

VeggieMummy said...

You have been busy - your garden is looking fabulous. I agree with the spiky plant identification as crocosmia (I think it's also called monbretia); we have some and they're lovely. As for the currants - maybe a summer pudding with some raspberries? You've made me want to rush out and paint our garden benches! xx

Librarian said...

For someone who claims not to know what they are doing in terms of gardening, your garden is coming along VERY nicely :-) I am truly clueless in that area; at my flat, all I have are some pots with herbs on the kitchen windowsill and a potted orchid and azalea in the Third Room. It's my parents - especially my Dad - who do all the gardening; they love their allotment, and I am hoping to go there this Saturday. It is so beautiful this time of year, and really all summer and well into autumn.
My parents have red and black currants, too, and my Mum always has plenty of ideas what to do with them. I can ask her for a few tips for you, if you like.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gillian, your garden looks great - I am a fan of the stick it in and see what happens approach to gardening too! ( only your mum sounds much more knowledgeable than mine!!) I think your spikes are Crocosimia - if they are orange/red and look like freesia buds when they come out then that's what they are! I have a really tart blueberry and I just leave the fruit for the birds - they strip it completely! Have a good half-term, love and bestest Suziemac x

Anonymous said...

It's all looking lovely, Gillian. The strappy-leaved plant on the right looks like a Crocosmia, as Annie has already mentioned, but the one on the left looks a bit different. It might be another Crocosmia but it could be Hemerocallis (day lily) which comes in lots of colours. Exciting to see what will unfold! Sam x

Ellie Foster said...

Dear Gillian
Your garden is looking lovely and I think you may have been bitten by the gardening bug!
I don't want to sound like a nag and apologies if I do, but it is best not to tie leaves of daffodil bulbs into knots though, because it stops them taking the goodness down into the bulb and may stop them flowering next year. The latest advice is to wait a good six weeks after flowering before you try to tidy the leaves up! (I get round that problem by having hardy geraniums which grow up around the leaves, so you don't really see them).
Enjoy your new plants.
Best wishes
Ellie

Jacquie said...

Yes, crocosmia. Wonderful plant. i love the fresh green foliage and the flowers are pretty and long lasting too.
I think the one on the right could be crocosmia Lucifer...bigger and bright red flowers. it's a star.
Jacquie x

Jane said...

Your garden is lovely Gillian and I love your painted bench. Jxx

driftwood said...

so many lovely things going on in your garden x

Julie said...

I have red and black currant bushes too. Every year I freeze some, give lots away and make redcurrant jelly and give that away too. The blackcurrants do make lovely cordial but it doesn't keep well I find. A couple of years ago I made blackcurrant curd which was lovely and really easy. Fab in a Victoria sandwich.

Jo@awholeplotoflove said...

It's all looking splendid. Lovely and lush. You must be doing something right xx

Gem said...

We have these, they are so pretty and each year we seem to get slightly more of them where they self seed, very pretty indeed x x

Gem said...

It's looking beautiful, give it a few years to establish and it will be just stunning x x

Angel Jem said...

Love the hollyhocks and I am looking forward to seeing what colour they are!

Sarah said...

It's looking lovely Gillian and the bench especially very "Charlestonesque". How about planting something frothy and May flowering such as hardy geraniums or Alchemilla mollis under your currant bushes which will do a good job of hiding the dying-down bulb foliage? The lime green flowers of A. Mollis look especially good with alliums and hide their (in my garden anyway!) slug-chewed leaves. I used have about eight soft fruit bushes at the allotment but now I have just one delicious red gooseberry bush. I spent hours on hot summer days making jam, jelly ((the wobbly sort as well as jars), ice cream and summer puddings while the children played outside. Crocosmia looks great with late-summer flowering grasses as well as perennials such as helenium and rudbeckia. The strappy leaves on the left of your photo do look more like hemerocallis as Sam has said, it will be fun finding out! Your hollyhocks look so pretty in their ready to unfurl state. Last year I kept seeing a beautiful dark red one called 'Nigra' so you have reminded me to buy seed to sow now for flowers next year.

Gillian Roe said...

Hi Gracie. I don't dig up the ones in the flower beds, I just leave them there to come back next spring. The ones in pots I leave until they are really gone, so that the leaves are quite brown, then gently pull them up and put them in the back of the shed and re-plant them in the autumn, either in different pots or in the borders. This seems to work fine for me, although I am certainly no expert!

Gillian x

Gillian Roe said...

Yes they did and they are lovely! Thank you. xx

Jacqueline said...

I too think they are crocosimia but the one on the right I think may be some other type of lily. Do let us see them in flower. Your garden does look colourful and pretty. I do believe Delia has an easy recipe for blackcurrant jam in one of her earlier books, that used to be my favourite flavoured jam when I was a child.

Sharon - creativity and family said...

It's looking beautiful. I love aquilegia, we get them self seeding from the neighbours garden!

Anonymous said...

Hey Gillian,
Come on! It's looking fab! I think you may have crocosima there which always add a nice bit of height and colour. I think the trick is to slowly add perennials and herbaceous plants as time and money allows. Then pack the gaps with annuals. Boot sales are great for plants. Oh and Wilkinson and Poundland brilliant for tulip, allium and anemone bulbs. Ultimately your garden reflects your style and personality. And as my Uncle Allan says, you are always gardening for next year :D
Leanne xxx

Katie said...

beautiful tour around the garden, what lovely progress you have made! x

michael said...

All the gardens reach a point where they need a little renovation. Renovation is a huge work. It requires a lot of new ideas, time, and knowledge. Most of the people want to rearrange their garden to be more beautiful and more comfortable. Some people want to install a pond or a swimming pool.

cassie said...

I love all the plants, of course! And don't feel bad about your front door. Ours, along with the crappy front porch/deck, is an awful, worn shade of purple. Painting the house and door is just one of the items on our very long list of house projects...

Penny said...

I planted aliums for the first time last autumn, and they came up really well this spring, but like you, I wish I had planted them in groups, not like lone sentinels dotted round the flower border. By autumn I will have forgotten where the solo ones are, but will plant more, in groups, amd hopefully all will be well this time next year! I think your front door looks fine, but did you know, you can paint upvc? We had the exterior of our house painted several years ago, and had our ugly, white upvc door and window frames painted grey. What a transformation. We didn't do it ourselves, we got a professional decorator to do it. He used some sort of special undercoat, and it all worked perfectly. Might be worth investigating X