The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Easter...more than chocolate eggs.

But neither do we fancy spending our time sitting in traffic eager to be anywhere other than home.

Most of our spring to-do list has now been achieved.  The decorating inside was ticked off on Maundy Thursday.  Good Friday we visited a garden centre but much of the day was wet.  Easter Saturday, we spent the morning in the garden.  

Spreading out a tarpaulin, I lifted the grasses while The Man That Can split them.  We moved the lavenders (which thankfully had not yet spread their roots since we only heeled them in last month) in the beds either side of the patio arch and replanted the grasses.

The new Weigela Wings of Fire was lifted to make room for the new magnolia George Henry Kern and then replanted in front of it.

 The plan is to more or less mirror the beds.  The right hand side however will be more shaded with the addition of the magnolia, and the left side has a sedum, but otherwise they have pretty much the same or similar plants in each side with similar colours in any flowers.

In the plan, the green highlighted plants were the ones to be moved and/or split, marking their planting spaces.  In yellow are the plants yet to purchase which includes white tulips and two varieties of hardy geraniums.   

Other tasks completed today were emptying some containers.  One had a very congested clump of of iris that I had never seen in flower.  It's something that should have been done long before today ideally.  I dug them out, pulled the long tubers apart, cut the leaves in half and replanted in the terrace border. They probably won't do very much this year but I haven't lost anything as these were among the containers we were given by TMTC's cousin.

And finally today, we repotted the two Skimmias into the above mentioned and now empty container in ericaceous compost with a tidy layer of bark to finish it off.

Another teaser

A Whiter Shade of Pale

I do like a bit of white in the garden, especially in the spring when the greens are so fresh.  Green and white go with anything in the garden.

Whites in April include:




Lamprocapnos Spectabilis (formally Dicentra Spectabilis)

And of course now, wood anemones. 


Sometimes a wee surprise occurs in the garden.  Usually these have been passed through a visiting bird, and more often than not are weeds.

Three small white flowers have popped up among the leaves of the now spent snowdrops.  I can only assume these wood anemones had hitched a ride in the pots.

Other happy accidents moments include...

A vibrant tulip thrusting through a pot of violets picking up the orange and yellow streaked wallflowers behind.

A late blooming double flowered daffodil (perhaps Irene Copeland - one of the pots going cheap we planted last month).

Both peonies have flower buds forming.  The one above was transplanted from the railwaymen's cottage garden last month, and I really thought it would sulk!

And there are flower buds forming on one of the terrace roses (r. Special Anniversary).

The loud pop of colour belongs to a pink azalea, with a saxifrage providing deeper pink punctuations through a mat of green.

Clematis Nelly Moser reaches along its wires to create a fan shape of foliage on the terrace. 

The cornus behind the birdbath finally received its prune, while the unlabelled shrub comes into leaf behind it.  We might discover what it is this year!

After a nervous prune, the staghorn tree has responded very well with heaps of tiny red buds sprouting along the limbs.  These are speedily forming into what we hope will become strong branches to create a more balanced shaped tree.

Battle Lost

But not the war.

Still upset about having to look at the obnoxious orange outhouse through the gap created by our neighbours in the hedge, I invited them round to see it from our side of the fence in the hope a compromise could be forged. 

An agreement between the womenfolk was reached whereby we use a 1ft tall panel of trellis (funded by ourselves) acceptably slotted into the top of the fence through which we would be allowed to grow a clematis. 

Less than 10 minutes later this agreed compromise was unequivocally vetoed by the 'man' of the house.  Myself and The Man That Can tried in vain to reach some semblance of compromise, but he was having none of it.  He forbade us to attach anything to his fence.  When it was clear that there was nothing further to be discussed, and the neighbour's attitude began spiralling into downright rudeness, I dismissed them.

There is nothing in law to prevent us attaching the trellis panels to the end of our shed on which to train the clematis.  The effect is virtually identical, however we did need to raise it a foot or so higher than it had been on the fence to create the straight line my OCD craved, and we swapped the panels with a lighter trellis that had been fixed to the opposite side of the garden having pruned back the c. Armandii.

One of the points raised during the Battle of the Gap was the fact that I didn't want to upset them by planting a tree to hide the Gap (since he was so thrilled we had removed a tree from practically the same spot when we moved in almost 4 years ago).  On this suggestion, the 'man' actually seemed to like the idea.  Indeed, he said he rather likes trees.  This was music to my ears! We had longed for the privacy trees would afford us on this side of the garden and create some much sought after shade.  When I designed the new patio, I had lowered the main seating area on the terrace in an attempt to gain some privacy, but it wasn't quite enough.

After much research and bouncing around the idea of specimen trees versus pleached beech trees, we have decided on a magnolia and a lilac.  Whilst I do like the effect of a pleached beech hedge, hedges can become a source of contention between neighbours, and I reckon we've had enough of that already.

We manged to find a suitable magnolia named George Henry Kern.  It's a hybrid of a stellata form and liliflora.  From deep pink buds emerge pink fragrant blooms April to June which will fit the bill very nicely. 

We also decided on a photinia fraseri Red Robin which I plan on training as a standard.  I've successfully created standards before from fuchsias so I'm not phased by the challenge.   It will take a couple of seasons to create and will be perfect for the long border to assist in creating privacy with the bonus of being evergreen.   I have already cut out the unwanted foliage and attached the chosen leading stem to a cane.  Once established, it will grow quite quickly, as does the similar variety in the front garden.  The more you trim it, the bushier it becomes and rewards with bright red new leaves!

The First Breath of Summer

"If your purse no longer bulges 
and you've lost your golden treasure, 
If times you think you're lonely 
and have hungry grown for pleasure, 
Don't sit by your hearth and grumble, 
don't let mind and spirit harden. 
If it's thrills of joy you wish for 
get to work and plant a garden! 

If it's drama that you sigh for, 
plant a garden and you'll get it 
You will know the thrill of battle 
fighting foes that will beset it 
If you long for entertainment and 
for pageantry most glowing, 
Plant a garden and this summer spend 
your time with green things growing."
Edgar Guest, Plant a Garden

I simply could not put it better!

Everywhere around me, life is springing into action.  We even have tadpoles in our pond, thanks to our little cousin J who brought some home from nursery school yesterday.  We hope at least a couple will survive.

As the last of the daffodils fade...

The first tulips begin to open. 

The hellebores have flowered for weeks, if not months! Now they too are passing, but I'm happy for them to seed around.

In their wake, Spireae and the clematis I believe to be Blue Dancer start their display. 

The various deciduous ferns around the garden with their otherworldly fronds are unfurling. 

And the vivid colours of hebe Rhubarb and Custard lend a spot of vibrancy to what is rapidly becoming a more green and pleasant landscape. 

There were one or two tasks to take in hand today.  The first was to erect a couple of trellis panels in an attempt to hide our view of the neighbour's orange cabin since they removed a section of hedge, and the fence came up short.

Once I'd disentangled the clematis Montana Rubens and attached it to the new panel, our neighbour decided that the trellis spoilt their side of the fence and looked unacceptable on their we had to lower it so it didn't we have to put up with an unacceptable view of their bloody huge orange shed!  I'm sorry to swear but I'm extremely upset about it.

To take my mind off the awful view we seem to be stuck with, the tunes went on whilst we swapped the smoke bush and red acer's pots over to better suit the plant sizes, down in the Yen Garden where I don't have to look at it.

The old strawberry plants were removed along with one of the rhubarb crowns.  This end of Bumblebee's plot will be planted up again later in the year when my 'project' is complete. 

The mercury reached 28c this afternoon on the terrace. 

Mother's Day

What another fantastic spring day! Here in the UK it's Mothering Sunday. A day to be spoiled.   I had a bit of a lie-in and read my book before our younger son presented me with a card, a pack of gardening gloves and some chocolates.

A morning in the garden was my only request on this special day.  

A further 5 pots of dwarf narcissus, a Weigela, 2 pots of heavily scented pinks, and clematis Alpina Constance were purchased from the garden centre we visited yesterday. 

Hemerocalis (daylilies) should be orange with a reddish-brown stripe.

A couple of large clumps of native primroses 

Some bluebells, lily of the valley and snowdrops. 

And two small clumps of pink and white flowering plants that I have yet to identify. 

TMTC dug up a large clump of astrantia in the long border. 

I split it into 4 good sized chunks. One was replanted in the same place, one in each of the borders either side of the patio arch, and the last replaced a fern at the other end of the long border that had outgrown its welcome.

The huge fern this end was also removed.  It was split into two pieces and these have been planted in the Yen Garden.

The white Colly-rose was moved to the back of the border, and the remaining yellow dwarf narcissi filled the gaps, along with clumps of snowdrops.  Although these bulbs are all past their best, they will look so pretty next spring in what was otherwise a very boring bed during the colder months. 

Did I mention my fondness for daffodils?

In the pink garden, we've planted clematis Alpina Constance with its pinky purple heads beside the mirror. 

In the beds either side of the patio arch, we've planted the pinks and clumps of the astrantia.  In the right hand one (above photo), the Hemerocalis, Weigela "wings of fire" and some lily of the valley. 

We believe this to be a red Peony.  Time will reveal.  We've planted it at the back of the terrace border. 

Iris and nerine bulbs have also been planted in the terrace border. 

In the Yen Garden, half of the fern has found a home beside the lantern and the other half beside the Buddha head. 

Buds breaking on the Acer above and cherry below.

The spicy tang of wallflowers are adding some depth to the spring scents....if only it wasn't so windy.

The final job today was cleaning the pond.  The ferns have been tidied up, dead foliage removed from the pond, and algae from the waterfall. 

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the sunshine.