Category Archives: garden

pink generous gardener rose at the top of an arch

Beginning of July 2024

Finally the Generous Gardener rose is in full bloom over the arch at the back of the garden.  It looks great along side the dark foliage and the pink flower heads of the Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Eva’ (PBR.)  There is perfume everywhere from the various roses, honey suckles and philadelphus.  However, the philadelphus flowers are now going over and there are white petals all over the ground beneath it.

pale pink rose beside deep purple leaves and pink flower heads of sambucus nigra
Generous gardener with sambucus nigra
pretty white flowers all over the philadelpus

The astrantias are flowering their socks off but the slugs have decimated the foliage of the white one which is in the garden.  The pink and red astrantias are in copper pots that the slugs dislike so they have been spared. And speaking of damage: the hellebores are in a bit of a state, as are the brunnera Jack frost.  Slugs and snails are not meant to like astrantias, hellebores and brunneras but nobody told the ones in my garden! To be fair I think most of the damage to the brunneras has been caused by the wood pigeons tearing bits from the foliage.  They have been pecking away at the honey suckle too.

half eaten foliage of astrantia by slugs
Slug damaged astrantia foliage. (I took that photo a day or so ago and when I went out on slug patrol today there are NO leaves left and I found 6 slugs on it!)
damage caused by pigeons, slugs and snails on brunnera foliage
Damaged brunnera Jack frost
slug and snail damage to hellebores foliage
hellebore damage

And here are some of the culprits:

tub of Spanish slugs that cause damage in my garden
Tub of Spanish slugs

If I don’t do a slug patrol daily then these ones would grow to this kind of size or even bigger!

big Spanish slug on the palm of my hand
Big Spanish slug
big Spanish slug on the palm of my hand
Big Spanish slug

I have resorted to putting some copper mesh around some plants but I have found slug trails over that too so now I will have to make copper hats to cover some plants until they get a little higher and tougher.  I had no problem at all with slug damage on the Gypsophila paniculata ‘Compacta Plena’ but this year it just can’t get started without being chomped.

large clay pot with copper mesh around a plant that has been eaten by slugs, shows slug trails over the copper mesh
Copper mesh with slug trails on it.

The rhododendron and duetzia have gone over now but the sambucus, spireas, hardy geraniums, thalictrums, astrantia,  lavender, cirsium, verbascums, verbena, alchemilla, gaura, erigeron, fuchsia, geums, cowslips and roses have now taken over.  There are still a few foxgloves hanging on and one clematis; Clematis warszawski has a few flowers on.

pink generous gardener rose at the top of an arch
Generous gardener rose (excuse the barbed wire of the fence in the background)
pink mini patio rose climbing up a pole
Mini pink patio rose
damp corner of garden with astilbe, fern and alchemilla mollis
Damp corner
tall yellow thalictrum flowers
Tall Thalictrum flavium Glaucum yellow

It is back to being cold and wet today so we are still waiting for summer to appear.

the view from the patio end of June 2024
the garden from the patio at the end June 2024
pale pink flowers on a rhododendron

Beginning of June 2024

After a couple of lovely sunny days the garden is becoming lush.  The weeds have shot up along with everything else.  The wet weather has been good for some plants like the candelabra primulas, the roses and the rhododendron.  I tried moving three of the primulas over from the pond overflow area to the damp corner by the ramp.  Only one survived, two were completely destroyed by slugs.  A bit like the  Achillea millefolium ‘Lilac Beauty’ I have been trying to establish near the pond last year.  The slugs got one so I potted up the surviving two and put one pot in a different area of the garden and the other pot on the patio table. The one in the garden  only just survived overnight whilst the one on the table is still great.    The patio table is becoming a nursery for  sick plants.  I have now put the damaged one on the patio to see how it does there.

achillea foliage looking good
Achillea millefolium ‘Lilac Beauty’ before the slugs
achillea foliage after slugs got it overnight
Achillea millefolium ‘Lilac Beauty’ overnight slug damage

Some primula get ravaged by slugs but some are spared and I don’t know why.  The white primula snowflake don’t get much damage at all and they spread freely but my primula apple blossom gets some damage but doesn’t spread freely.  The primula denticulata, veris  and vulgaris just get the odd nibble,  vialii have disappeared.

pink primula apple blossom
Primula Apple blossom

Another area which has loved the rain is the raised garden.  We pruned the viburnum and  syringia last year (and a bit the previous year) so sacrificed some flowers this year but they are looking better.  I might take out the Zepharin drouhin rose entirely as it is always a bit hit and miss there.  The beautiful acer is now swamping the blue hardy geranium so I may have to find a new spot in the garden for the geranium.

plants in the shady side of the raised bed
Shady side of the raised bed
pale pink flowers on a rhododendron
Rhododendron Gomer Waterer loving the rain

Along the back wall the pink hardy geranium is looking good next to the dark leaves and pink flowers of the Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Eva’ .  The Generous gardener rose growing  over the arch has been teasing us for a few weeks with all the lovely buds but yet to open.

Generous gardener buds over arch
Generous gardener buds yet to open
pink hardy geranium against the dark leaves of elder
Pink geranium beside the dark elder

In the pond the number of tadpoles appears to be depleted.  I thought maybe the newts had eaten them all but some folk have said that they may just have found better hiding places since there are more predators about.  I still haven’t found a good flat headed flowering plant to go beside the pond – they all just get eaten by the Spanish slugs.  The little iris versicolour Gerald Derby that hasn’t flowered for a couple of years has just started to flower again – yeah!  I had been thinking of pulling it out.  It isn’t all that showy but it is pretty and dainty.

blue iris versicolour Gerald Derby against a white wall and metal statue
blue iris versicolour Gerald Derby

In the conservatory my lithops are splitting.  Sometime lithops split into two and sometimes into four.  Mine are splitting into four new leaves.

lithops splitting getting 4 new leaves
Lithops splitting.
close up of lithop splitting getting 4 new leaves
Lithop splitting – 4 new leaves

I took the very scary decision to chop my aeonium.  I didn’t want it to get too tall as the head is very large and also they look better when viewed from above.   I really hope it survives the chop and I potted up bits of the stalk too so you never know, I may get a few if I am lucky.

aeonium voodoo succulent head chopped off
Aeonium Voodoo chopped

The furry Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Dorothy Brown’ flowered this year but I kept waiting for the flowers to open up more before I took a photograph not realising that they didn’t open any wider so now I will have to wait till next year to get a photo of the furry flowers.

As I said in a previous post my Nepeta Junior walker drowned in the very wet autumn/winter/spring that we had so I ordered three new ones form Crocus.  They have never let me down before but this time they did.  They sent one lovely looking plant, one not so good, and one diabolical plant.  Who thought it was ok to package these and send them out? I complained and was offered either a refund or a replacement.  I asked for a replacement (big mistake).  The replacement plant didn’t have a single leaf.  To be fair – the rest of my order was ok (although they could have been in better condition).  I am now going to try and buy plants in person whenever  possible.  I do still have a few good nurseries mail order to buy from.

3 nepeta plants ordered together. 1 good, 1 ok and 1 very bad condition
Nepeta: the good, the bad, and the crap
nepeta replacement in very bad condition
Nepeta replacement plant!

Let’s end on a good note:  the bees and other pollinators are loving the rhododendron. the deutzia, saxifrages, chives, honey lilies and all of the hardy geraniums and primulas.  Soon the Generous gardener will erupt in beautiful flowers.  The other roses have started to bloom and smell gorgeous (although we didn’t get round to pruning this late winter so they look a bit more straggly than usual.  The sun has just come out.

The garden in January 2024

Happy New Year 2024

Well, what a year 2023 was with it’s very dry spring and roasting summer, to the very wet autumn and winter!  The garden is ever so soggy right now with the amount of rain we have had over the last couple of months.  There is moss everywhere, which I actually like but it is dangerously slippy when it is down the ramp and on the paving slabs.  The mossy stones around the pond however look great, as do the mossy logs dotted around the garden.  It is at this time of year that you can see all the weeds at the back wall so they are easier to remove.  The plants in the pond itself looks a bit bedraggled and need some attention.

moss covered stones around small wild life pond
Moss covered stones

I haven’t been in the garden much at all during November and December and I miss pottering around checking on the progress of the plants.  I didn’t find much in the way of fungi this year – was I just not out at the right time?  I hate the cold and damp as it really gets into my bones and I just feel miserable spending all my time trying in vain to stay warm.  Now that we have started a new year my hopes are up for a splendid spring.  Even though we still have a couple of cold months to go I feel optimistic when I see all the spring bulbs beginning to grow.  Some of the snowdrops are already in bud and the earlier narcissi have poked their shoots up.

snowdrops in bud
Snowdrop buds

There are a few flowers to be seen at this time of year: some on the witch-hazel (Hamamelis inter Diane), a few sporadic flowers on the Hebe pink paradise, a few tatty flowers on the Viburnum X Bodnantense Dawn  in the raised bed.  Some of the evergreen shrubs have flower buds waiting for their chance such as the Osmanthus burkwoodii and the Erica arborea ‘Estrella gold’.  I do like having the evergreen structure in the garden to look at during the bleak winter months and a few of the ferns have quite a bright, yellowy- green colour which brightens the place up.

sporadic flowers on hebe pink paradise in january
Hebe pink paradise flowers in January
Erica arborea buds
Eric arborea buds
evergreen seelction of plants
Evergreen dark, bright, and purple.

I did spot one job that we will have to get to grips with as soon as the weather gets better and that is the harling on the right hand front corner of the patio.  When the rain gets in behind it and that water then freezes, the harling cracks and gets pushed off.

Broken harling on patio wall
Broken harling on the patio wall.
The garden in January 2024
The garden in January 2024.

From a rather cold and damp Edinburgh garden: Happy New Year!

What is flowering in June for the pollinators?

Thanks to my wonderful physio Nicholas, I have been able to get back into the garden again to catch up on a lot of jobs.  Harry has been helping me to dead-head and move a couple of things, but I have been able to do a lot more now, although I will have to be careful how I move the heavy pots on the patio.  I haven’t taken many photographs so quite a few plants have gone over like the hebe, syringia,  rhododendron, aqueilegias and weigela.  They had been absolutely covered in bees, but now the deutzia and philadelphus are in full bloom along with the geraniums, foxgloves, cirsiums, clematis, catmint, centaura, candelabra primroses, heucheras, Lady’s mantle,  and astrantias, which are great for the bees and other pollinators.  The astrantia again have been a mixed bag where the slugs/snails are concerned.  The white ones don’t even have a nibble whereas the dark red one (Astrantia major ‘Gill Richardson Group’) is almost entirely eaten.  I am going to dig it up, put it in a pot on the patio and hope it survives.

white astrantia in shady corner
white astrantia in shade
astrantia on patio in the sun
slug/snail damaged red astrantia

In a corner of the stumpery where it gets a bit more sun than the rest of that area I have planted a few different plants to see which one likes it there the best.  The erigeron was good there last year, the little red mossy saxifrage are ok, and the dark leaved geranium is now happier than it has been in the last couple of years. I am still undecided.  The rogue foxglove will either come out once it has flowered or I will transplant it.

deciding which plants stay

The seedlings from the golf course trees get absolutely everywhere in the garden and you really have to weed them out when they are tiny.  I have to get right in amongst the plant to fish them out.  Once the roots get hold when they are in the middle of the plant they are much harder to remove.  The ferns especially are a nice moist spot for them to survive.

tree seedling nestled inside a fern

I am going to have to invest in some more plant supports for the bushy plants that hand over the edge of the path.  I love how they soften the edge but it often means that I have to roll over them with my wheelchair to get past.  I missed the boat again with the large Patty’s plum poppies and the keeled over in that very heavy rain we had just a day or so ago, and all the petals fell off.  The roses have just started blooming now so I should get some pics very soon.

bushy Lady’s mantle over the path

I am disappointed with a couple of plants that I bought for the pond a couple of years ago.  The dwarf bulrushes died, and the variegated yellow flag Iris not only didn’t flower last year but it failed to flower this year too, and is not variegated.  It looks like it might be the tall yellow flag iris which will be too vigorous for our pond.  Grrrrr!

this iris should have been the smaller variegated yellow iris

I do love sitting on the patio relaxing with a cuppa but I tend to just see all the things that I need to get on with.  U have hardly done anything in the front garden so it is a monument to weeds and the yellow irises are now past their best.  I had been rethinking the front garden and have not come up with any ideas yet.  I was going to take up a few more slabs but that was when I had a garden help and they were going to help keep the weeds under control.  I may just take up all the slabs and just have keep the border but add a couple of drought tolerant plants.  I just don’t know – something to think about while I sit on the patio in the sunshine.

view from the patio

Mid April in the garden

Strange weather again, one minute we are basking in warm sunshine, the next we are down to freezing.  I have been trying to harden off some cuttings but don’t really want to put them out in this icy wind just in case they get a shock so they are staying undercover for a few days until it warms a little.  Of course I just ordered the vine weevil nematodes the other day, but now I will have to keep them in the fridge until we have had a spell of rain and it warms a bit. You can’t apply them to dry soil as they need moisture to move around in the soil and find the weevil grub.  Most of the narcissi did well this year, except the Segovia and Ice wing.  Only 3 Segovia came up and two of those had their flowers eaten before they opened (exactly the same as last year).  No Ice wing came up at all.  The good news is that the narcissi Actaea poeticus did really well.  Last year most of them were eaten by snails or slugs either before they flowered or once they flowered.  They look great beside the berberis as the colours of the eye of the narcicci are almost the same as the berberis flowers. The tulips Mystic Van Eijk are still looking good as are the Erythroniums.  The cherry blossom have just gone over now and will soon be blown away in the wind.  It is too cold for me outside so I will concentrate on my indoor plants this week.

view of the garden from the patio April 2023
View from the patio April 2023
View of the stumpery bed in April 2023
Stumpery bed April 2023
View of the stumpery April 2023
Stumpery April 2023
View of the raised bed April 2023
Raised bed April 2023
orangey yellow Berberis alonside Narcissi Actaea Poeticus
Berberis and Narcissi Actaea Poeticus

March 2022 on a cold but sunny Edinburgh day.

 We have had some wet, windy, gloriously sunny and warm days in March, but are now back to very chilly weather and it is trying to snow/hail/sleat in between sunny spells.  No wonder the frogs left it a little later this year to spawn.  In 2019 and 2020 the first spawn in our pond was spotted  in February (in 2020 it was as early as the 5th) but this year the first spawn was on the 18th March.  We can now count about 7 clumps of spawn which means there are at least 7 female frogs around the pond.  We haven’t seen any newt spawn yet.

7 clumps of frog spawn 18th March 2022
Frog spawn 18/03/22

Some areas of the garden are looking better than others right now.  The stumpery is looking fine as some the spring bulbs are coming through such as the narcissi and chinadoxa,  some of the primroses, anemones, pulmonaria, hellebores, vinca and erythroniums are in flower now.  Although some of the narcissi have gone over, there are others still to come out.  Some of the tulips are just ready to open.  A couple of shrubs that have scented flowers: the mahonia out the front, and the lonicera fragrantisima and osmanthus burkwoodii out the back are flowering well.  There have been quite a few bees and butterflies out in the warmer days taking advantage of these flowers.

I found this dark edged bee fly ( Bombylius major) sitting on a tulip leaf as it was watching a wasp very closely.  I have just read about it, and have found out that the bee fly will follow wasps and single bees to their nest, they will then gather some sandy soil with their feet, and flick this, along with their eggs, near the entrance to the wasp/bee nest.  The larva will attach itself to a wasp/bee and it will be taken into the nest where it will then find a wasp/bee larva to feed on.  After which it will turn into a pupa, hatch and fly away undetected.

wasp and bee fly on a tulip leave
Bombylius major (dark edged bee fly)

I will need to put the pot of Iris Katharine’s gold in a better place for next year.  It is one of the earliest flowering plants in the garden and I had the pot under the garden bench just to protect it from some of the heavy rain.  By the time I remembered it was there it was almost finished flowering.

Iris Katharine's gold in a pot
Iris Katharine’s gold

 There are lots of jobs still to do:  over the wall is now rather overgown and needs a good sorting out.  The vinca major is now acting like a climber and is growing up the fence and smothering the hydrangea petiolaris.  It actually looks ok but it needs cutting back.  There are ferns and lots of few-flowered-leek popping up everywhere so they will need to come out.  The ivy needs to be kept in check.  I am going to be quite ruthless now and any plant not earning it’s keep must go.  I have started getting rid of some of the plain brunnera in the stumpery.  It does look ok when it is in flower but it is rather plain and I wish I had planted the Jack frost version instead.  I had let a few hellebore seedlings grow a few years ago but I don’t actually like the colour of the flower so it has gone now to another home.  I don’t bin these but they go to other peoples gardens, or the local park takes any plants that would do well in the park.  I also put them in the plant sale at the Duddingston Kirk Garden Club plant sale (which this year will be held on Saturday 30 April 10:30 – 12:00).

CVinca major growing up and over hydrange petiolaris
Overgrown vinca major all over hydrangea petiolaris

Here is the view from the patio.  You can just see in the background one of the large ash trees has had a huge bough snap off during the strong winds.  The entire tree is pretty dead and I think most of the ash trees in that golf course are going to have to come out.  That is good news for us as we may get more sunshine into the garden.  What with all the shade from the trees and all the recent rain, the ‘sunny’ border hasn’t been able to dry off very well.  I have lost the nepeta again this year which were in the ‘sunny’ border.  I will just hae to keep taking cuttings each year.

view of the garden from the patio
View from the patio

This is how the stumpery is looking right now.  I love the dappled shade in this woodland area, and spring and early summer is the best time of year here before the tree canopy develops allowing less sunshine to get through. The whole garden will soon have plenty of colour.

The stumpery in March 2022
Stumpery in March 2022

Autumn colour

 Let’s start off with the weather again!  October had lots of rain, and so has the beginning of November.  I have had to move a lot of the cuttings, that were on the patio table, indoors to the conservatory as they were water-logged and had no chance of getting drier.  Other plants are sheltering under the table and under the bench (with a cover over the bench seat).

The Japanese anemones are still looking good, and so is the salvia Amastad.  A couple of the hellebores are doing well while other hellebores are struggling to get going.  The cyclamen flowers are over but their foliage  looks amazing and creates a lovely patterned carpet along the garage border.

purple salvia amistad, pink rowan berries
Salvia Amistad and Rowan Pink pagoda


Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Garnet’ is putting on a fabulous show by changing it’s deep purpley/green foliage into bright red before losing it all.  I tried to get a photo from inside the dome of the small tree.

under the acer showing red leaves
Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Garnet’


 The view from the top of the ramp shows the continuation of the red theme in autumn, going from the persicaria amplex ‘Blackfield’ down to the acer then across to the deep pink berries of the rowan.  If I had taken the photo from inside the conservatory I may have also got the indoor red cyclamen and a  few of the red weigela ‘Bristol Ruby’ flowers too.

dark red colours in the garden flowers and foliage
view from the top of the ramp


The earth-star fungi apparently pops up anywhere in the garden.  It starts off looking like a bulb that someone has forgotten to plant, then it opens up to form a star shape with a little puffy ball in the centre.  When it rains, the rain drops are heavy enough to dent the ball sending the spores out to start the cycle again.  This looks like the collared earth star Geastrum triplex.

collared earthsar fungi
Earth star fungi (Geastrum triplex)


I am attempting to plant the awkward area at the far corner behind the garage.  The ivy was a mess there so now there is a Hydrangea anomala  petiolaris in it’s place, and in front of that, a Farfugium
japonicum ‘wavy gravy’.  In amongst them Debs planted some yellow erythronium that she brought round.   We also spotted some pink flowered persicaria that had popped up beside the deep red one, so we removed that and planted it next to the periwinkle.  That should all fill that corner nicely.

corner with tatty old ivy
corner with tatty old ivy

corner with farfugium and hydrangea
corner with farfugium and climbing hydrangea

 I will finish with a gloriously coloured, fallen leaf from the witch hazel, Hamamelis
inter Diane.

colourful leaf from Hamamelis inter Diane
Hamamelis inter Diane leaf


And, back to being cold again…

oh this fickle weather.  You just never know when you can put the thermals away.
I spotted the common morels again this year but a metre or so over from where they last appeared.  It is always lovely to see fungi in the garden.  I often go around the garden looking for slugs and it is a great opportunity to find unexpected things popping up in the garden.  I noticed also that the ragged robin hasn’t appeared yet so I don’t know if it has died, along with the blue poppies and the bronze fennel.
While I was on the patio I spotted a pigeon, just sitting having a wee soak in the pond, he then started splashing about having a real bath.  I took a pic from upstairs of some of the back garden.  I am finding it more difficult as the years go by to push over the grass, especially when it has been raining, so we will be getting more slabbing put down in June sometime.  I don’t want to have a lot of slabbing but it will make gardening easier and a lot less messy.  At the moment, every time I come in from the  garden, I have to get a stiff scrubbing brush on my wheelchair tyres, and also an old towel, to get most of the dirt from my tyre treads before going into the house proper.   The new slabs won’t prevent me getting pigeon poo in my tyre treads though, and it can be very tricky trying to dodge them.  The grass is also very uneven and some of the slabs we put down years ago have actually sunk as they were only put down onto sand.

plants, fungi,
Morchella esculenta (common morel)
plants, fungi,
Morchella esculenta (common morel)
pigeon, birds,
Pigeon in the pond
May 2019

Dreaming of summer….

on this – yet another dreich, Scottish day.  Here is one of my favourite photos taken from the patio.  It was a lovely warm sunny day in August 2005 and it was all looking splendid.  Lush  foliage of greens, purples, and reds.  Smelling the scent from the roses wafting by, and watching the birds going about their day.  Sadly the ivy got too heavy for the arches so they had to get chopped back.  The photinia Red robin died, and the weeping tree got waterlogged and also died.  The flowering currant got the chop, as did the cotinus.  The clematis just disappeared!  I had 3 different colours at the side wall but they gradually just went over to next door.  I can’t even find their original plant stems.  So today I will close my eyes and pretend I am back in summer 2005 enjoying the warmth and the garden as it used to be.

August 2005

Feeling blue…

what a week!  Suffice to say we have had the builders here for a few days and the less said the better!!  Scaffolders grrrrrrrr!!
I don’t have that much in the way of blue in the garden but I may add a few more blues over the next few years.  The brunneras are still going strong, as are the veronicas, but the forget-me-nots are looking a bit straggly so I have been pulling some of them out.  They will have self seeded  and will pop up all over the place next year.  My mecanopsis Willie Duncan and Susan’s Reward are doing fine now.  The slugs really went for them when they were first planted last year (or was that 2 years ago?) but they are now looking good.  I moved the blue iris (Jane Phillips) from the middle bed to a sunnier spot last year, having only had them a year, and although they appear much happier the slugs got them too!  The centauria blue is flowering away but it looks like something has sat in the middle of it, it is just not able to hold it’s own weight. (the white one got eaten by the pigeons!!). The pale blue aquilegia is still flowering away.  My proper blue bells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)  that I have in little pots didn’t flower again this year so that has been 2 years now with no flowers. There are a few blooms on the blue geranium but maybe I should thin it out a little as it is spreading just a bit too much and is coming up through other plants now.  I had to cut back the Jacob’s ladder as it was being used as a slug nursery and was being completely decimated.  That was  right next to the fennel (which was also decimated by slugs) so, now that I have dealt with the slugs they might get a chance to grow. This time last year the fennel was over a meter high!  There has hardly been any rain over the last 6 or 7 weeks and  I have had to keep on top of the watering which takes ages. And the poor pond too needs topping up, and with no rain water about, I have to spray tap water into it.  The tadpoles don’t seam to mind.  Anyway the garden on the whole is looking ok and the wee sparrows and tits have started to fledge so there is a lot of cheerful chirping about.

Aquilegia pale blue
Centauria blue
Iris ‘Jane Phillips’
Mecanopsis ‘Susan’s Reward’
Mecanopsis ‘Willie Duncan’
raised bed,
Raised bed
garden from patio
stumpery right side
stumpery left side