The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.


Autumn is definitely on its way.  It's as though a switch has been flicked.  The nights are drawing in and it is taking longer each morning for the sun to rise.  There's a sharper freshness in the mornings and the nights are certainly cooler.

A little attention has been given to the Yen Garden today as the autumn tweaking begins.

The first job was to extricate the Cotinus (smoke bush) from the pot it has lived in for the past few years.  It took quite some effort and eventually, once it was free, it was planted at the back of Mugwort's Retreat.  If it has coped with the upheaval, the autumn shades will look wonderful here.

Back to the Yen, and the new bed is being created, along with making the original bed much deeper.

There are buds aplenty on the Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' above, and r. Mum in a Million is still going strong. 

Before long all the tints of the season will begin to develop.  I hope for a dry, less breezy autumn to enjoy the colours for the longest time possible. 

A quick glance around the garden.

Recently, Adam Frost hosted Gardener's World on the BBC and he was explaining the pruning techniques for Wisteria.  He was told to remember 7's and 2's!

So The Man That Can decided to give it a try.  We had a single flower this year so here's hoping that cutting back to 7 buds in the 7th month, and to 2 buds in the 2nd month, will give us the goods next year.  

He has only done a few shoots this way because we're still training in the framework. 

This curious flower belongs to Rhodochiton which we planted in July. 

As it's a tender climber, I doubt it'll survive our winter but it's happy enough for now, scrambling through r. Shropshire Lad. 

As the long weekend at the end of August passes, my mind begins to wander, toying with ideas for next year...

The Yen Garden

Now the blackbirds have finished nesting in the apple tree, we can spend some time in the Yen.

Everything looks lush and green after the recent rains. Highlights of plum and purple include the new enstete Ventricosum now it's been potted up, cotinus and an acer, a heuchera, a creeping sedum and a taller purple Emperor sedum, along with the gorgeous bark of the Tibetan cherry. 

The vivid red crocosmias pick up the red in the moon window and detailing at the top if the pergola. 

The cherry blossom tree at the back has been pruned.  Cherries are pruned in mid-summer to help prevent silver leaf, which is a fungal infection that causes the leaves to take on a silvering and can lead to the tree dying.  It can also affect other fruit trees including plum, apricot and apple.  

Good hygiene is of course important with pruning equipment.  A spring mulch of garden compost to help the tree remain strong and healthy is also important as that helps shrug off pests and disease. 

Record breaking Summer

25th July 2019.  Officially the hottest day since records began.  At the weather station in our South Yorkshire city, the mercury reached 35.1c - beating the previous record of 34.3c in August 1990.  The highest temperature reached on this day in the UK was 38.7 in Cambridge breaking the record too.

Thankfully a couple of nights before had seen a good deluge with some spectacular lightning.  The only plant to suffer from the extraordinary heat that followed was the hydrangea in the Terrace Border which needed a good drenching as it had wilted in the considerably hotter conditions (it reached a fraction over 40c in our back garden).  The patio also had to be dampened down as it was too hot for the dogs' was certainly far too hot for my bare feet!

The hydrangea, after 3 full cans gas rehydrated.  Due to an overhanging acer, rain doesn't really reach the plants in this area, so they need a little extra help even after a downpour.

The dianthus has been filling the air with its sweet clove scent.  There is a clump in each of the planters, one beside the pond and another in the left side of the patio border.  I'm particularly fond of the perfume from the petunias too.

Along with the dianthus, r. Special Anniversary is still blooming and just a single deep inhale never fails to brighten my spirit.  It's addictive. 

There have been a few additions to the garden in July.  The first is two pots of scabious "Kudo" which are a magnet to bees.

Both have been planted in the Terrace Border, along with a large tuft of veronica "Moody Blues - Pink" (below) and a Salvia "East Friesland" which is yet to flower. 

In the left patio border, the "skip find" hydrangea is becoming a really shapely specimen, with dusky pink daylilies to the left, a large lavender to the right on the verge of flowering and at its feet, the dianthus I mentioned earlier. 

In the same border are two of my daylilies, a dark red with yellow stripe was given to me many years ago by the neighbour of a lady who had donated a boot-full of veg plants to a school I volunteered at.  He asked what all the plants were for and was extremely happy to share a large shopping bag rammed full of a plant I hadn't heard of before.

 I was able to split the huge clump into many smaller ones for the school, and kept just one for myself.  This has been divided and shared many times since then for friends and family as it is so vigorous. 

This is the dusky pink daylily.  It's not nearly as vigorous as the red one and even disappeared for a year with not so much as a leaf.  I'm glad to see it has returned. 

These two hydrangeas are Blueberry Cheesecake and stand sentry either side of the gated arch.  The one below is a fair bit paler and I've no idea why.  They have the same, ericaceous compost, the same ericaceous feed and are both watered with rain water.  Regardless, I love them.

Another new addition is this Rhodochiton.  It's a tender climber with purple bell flowers that look lovely against the pinky-peach rose Shropshire Lad growing up the left hand side of the patio arch. 

To the right of the arch grows r. Gertrude Jeykll which has temporarily halted flowering due to the heat.  It did that last year also.  Beyond the rose is a deep pink hydrangea that once upon a time was almost red.  It's certainly darker than last year so maybe the weather played a part last summer when we had very little rain.   Right at the back here is a golden yellow daylily with dark red markings.   This has the complete opposite colours of the red daylily in the previous photo.  It had been growing in our friend's old garden and we exchanged a clump of each so we could both have the distinctive blooms.

Through the gate and under the arch, we descend the steps to Mugwort's Retreat.  R. Mum in a Million is flowering again.  I had an issue last month with her being unable to hold her blooms aloft so cut her back by about half.  The same thing has happened so I may have to give her some support.  On close inspection today, I spotted she also has some caterpillars munching away at her leaves which appear to be sawfly.  I've picked off what I could find in the rain today.  I'll return tomorrow and have a better review of the situation. 

This handsome chap was a chance find.  TMTC had been on the lookout for a green man but was struggling to find "the one" until now.  He will go well on what is currently a bare fence overlooking the mini patio here in the Retreat. 

Another hydrangea, with feathery pink astilbe, pink astrantia, ferns of many shapes, and climbing r. New Dawn. 

Moving now under a Wisteria clothed arch, beside the purple cotinus bejewelled with raindrops...

...and into the Yen. 

A wasp is drinking from a red crocosmia.

Two of the three cannas came through the winter outside and are about to bloom, leaves a little nibbled but I'm impressed nonetheless. 

Our bargain of the year now.  This seat was meant for the Yen Garden.  The black metal matches the pergola nicely but it was the Yorkshire Rose that filled my heart with glee.  The Yen, if you recall, is named such because it's a Zen Garden with a Yorkshire twist.  We spotted it in a nearby garden centre but it didn't have a price tag.  The shop assistant went off to look up the price and came back with a figure that we were happy with because he couldn't find the price.  We discovered later with a little online browsing that we had paid £40 less!

And finally....enstete Ventricosum.

I've been after a dark leaved banana for some time.  It'll have to spend winter in the porch but will enjoy summer in the Yen.  


A blessed day of sunshine and until around 5pm there was unusually very little humidity!  Almost like that dry heat experienced on the continent, 33c too.

Other than removing a couple of overhanging branches, the order of today was to enjoy the garden.  The Man That Can with a book, myself with my latest WIP (work in progress).

Between World Cup matches.

An anniversary.

Not much has happened this week due to the appalling weather. In fact there have been warmer days in winter than during the early part of this week!

I thought a glimpse of what we've managed to achieve in the time we've been here might be of interest, particularly since this week saw our 6th anniversary of moving into this house. Each will have a before and after photo.

Front garden 



Terrace Border 



Long Border 

Yen Garden 

Mugwort's Retreat 

Mugwort's Retreat 

Of course most of these areas have had multiple alterations during the last 6 years and I'm sure the next 6 years will reveal a few more.

Earlier in the week, The Man That Can tidied up the workspace as it had become cluttered with pots and bits of old wood, which were taken to the city refuse tip.

And finally, before the next downpour, a couple of floral shots of mid June's irises beside the pond and r. Shropshire Lad.