Monthly Archives: April 2018

Decisions, decisions …

oh what to do?  For a few years now the ivy has been growing over the walls and trellis, which at least give us something green to look at during the winter and not just bare walls, but the garden has been getting increasing shadier with the surrounding trees of our neighbours and golf course.  So in order to get a bit more light in he garden we have decided to just have the ivy grow up the walls and chop it back from the trellis.  When we moved in, we planted a Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Columnaris Glauca in the top right hand corner but has outgrown the space and has been pushing the shrubs at either side over.  It was not only blocking out a lot of light but sucking up a lot of water which was also detrimental to the shrubs.  At first we tried to raise the skirt (crown lifting) to see if that would help overcome these problems a little but last year we decided to remove it completely.  It is quite sad because I loved the tree, especially when it was covered in tiny red  male globose cones.  Now this has left the corner looking very bare, the rhododendron completely one sided, the pieris lopsided and tall and straggly, and the spirea lopsided. Even the ivy is struggling to cover the walls.  How do I prune the shrubs to get them looking good again?  Or do I just wait for a couple of years and see what happens?  Maybe shortening the pieris will encourage more side shoots – but it is getting a few new side shoots already?  What can I do with that space now – maybe put in a corner seat which would be nice in the shade?  Maybe a statue?  At the moment I have just planted some Brunera macrophylla Jack frost and Aster divaricatus between the rhododendron and pieris and I will have another think.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Columnaris Glauca
Pieris japonica Forest flame
bunched up shrubs
corner top right
corner top right

Warm at last…

finally a warm day to loiter in the garden.  Lots of things are coming up now but only in little clumps and they haven’t quite spread out as much as I would have liked, but then I am quite impatient in the garden.  I have a few Fritillaria meleagris (snakes head) in various places but they look a bit sparse so I may have to splash out more money and buy a few more to put on a bit more of a show.  I do have some white ones but they are not quite in full bloom yet.  The Caltha palustris (marsh marigold) is looking nice and bright and it is always the first thing in my pond to flower.   I just love my mossy-grassy logs in the stumpery and I do have a favourite one right now.  It is a shame that it will just rot away so I will just have to take lots of photos of it to stick in my scrapbook.

Fritillaria meleagris
plants, pond,
Calthea palustris
Mossy-grassy log
plants, stumpery, moss,
Mossy-grassy log
plants, stumpery, moss,
Mossy-grassy log

Patio chit chat…

I do love watching  the birds in the garden so I always have bird food out for them.  This of course can get a bit messy when they poop every where, especially the pigeons, so every day I hose down the patio and small wall, empty their water and clean their water dish.  I do wish they wouldn’t poop in their water dish! But sometimes I have a bit more than that to clean up.  After a lot of rain I sometimes go out and find they have pulled out the moss/lichen/liverworts up from in between the paving slabs to get at the worms and grubs lurking in there, or they have ripped out the moss from the top of my plants to add to their nests.  They may have even been tossing out the dead leaves from the guttering and dropped them over the patio.  Messy things birds.  I give them a wee hand with their nest building by putting the dog’s hair, that I have brushed out, into an old pudding basin holder.  I don’t often see them gathering it up but I did catch a glimpse of a coal tit stuffing some into it’s beak the other day.  I put a cloche over the patio trough so it wouldn’t get too wet over the winter with all of the rain we have had and my Saxifraga x urbium looks a bit odd.  A long time ago I miss-heard the name my mum used for this plant so I have always called it Nancy pretty.  My mum was actually saying none-so-pretty, but it is also known as London pride.

lichen and liverwort pulled up by the birds
coal tit, birds, patio,
Coal tit with beak full of dog hair.
Moss pulled out by the birds

patio, plants,
Strange Saxifraga

Rain, rain, rain…

sleet, and then more rain!  My goodness when will we ever get into spring proper?  I am not venturing out over the grass in the garden as it is like a very soggy sponge at the moment but there is a bit of sunshine and some sturdy plants flowering.  Before the Acer  (palmatum dissectum Garnet) are clothed in leaves, creating dense shade, there are a few Chionodoxia in bloom but they are taking a very long time to naturalize so are looking a bit sparse at the moment.
I moved the Dens-canis (Erythronium) from the raised bed to the stumpery area as the large fern in the raised bed completely smothered them.  They look really pretty in front of the drumstick primula and I hope they will make a nice clump fairly soon.
I am trying to dig out all of the Ornithogalum out of the small bed out the front where my lavender is as the leaves have a similar habit to bluebells , where they fall to the sides and cover up anything under them and, as they go over and turn brown, look very tatty coming through the woody stems of the lavender.  So I potted them up in the conservatory for the time being just to make sure all the little bulbs were indeed Ornithogalum and not mixed together with snowdrops.  They were sold to me as nutans but I think they may actually be umbellatum instead.

flowers, raised bed,plants,
Chionodoxa luciliae
flowers, plants, stumpery,
Dens-canis snowflake and Primula denticulata
plants, flowers, conservatory,
Orinithogalum umbellatum and violas