The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Mugwort's Retreat

Regular followers will know that we recently changed what had been the Pink Garden into a new seating area, altering the flowerbed and planting another two birch trees to create a shady, secluded spot to enjoy a book and a cuppa in the heat of the day. 


The massive (beautiful but hard work) hedge was removed.

And replaced with a fence.

The detritus left by the fencers was tidied as well as possible but the gravelled area just never looked neat.

The new trees were planted and Bumblebee and TMTC painted the new fence.

The Man That Can marked out the new shaped flowerbed and utilising all the bricks found under the soil over the time we've been here, made the red brick edging...

...and most of the plants were put back in.

Footings were dug out and the red bricks were also used for the new mini patio.

Now the job began to fix the issue with the litter among the gravel.  Over three weekends, TMTC and I painstakingly riddled the stones over some tarpaulin, removing twigs, weeds and leaves and soil that had lain over the weed membrane from composted leaves etc.

Gauging by the buckets we used, we collected 50 litres of home made compost from the gravel. Talk about something for nothing!

A couple of cushions and a little table, and Mugwort's Retreat is ready for summer. 

A quick peek

Rose on a Ramble

Spring is well under way now and it's time to take a look at how things have progressed in our friend's new garden.  The photos are all courtesy of The Man That Can as I didn't really spend any time outside. 

The expanse of lawn has decreased, creating two lovely sweeping beds.  The boundary is now marked with hawthorn hedging that will knit together in no time.  An ornamental pear tree has been planted in the bed on the left, along with a little blossom tree and magnolia. 

The large hydrangea has been pruned, and now has pride of place among a good sized swathe of erysimum Bowles's Mauve and flanked by a stand of tulips from our Dutch friends.

This purple azalea draws the eye back to the opposite bed, and is backed by a massive clump of lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly known as dicentra spectabilis)...

...nicely supported by a cracking euphorbia with tiny flashes of colour among its zingy bracts.

While I enjoyed tea and company inside the bungalow, The Man That Can assisted "The Bloke Who Does" to dig out holes and erect some posts in preparation for their new gate.

(very rare sight of The Bloke Who Does)

In the back garden, everything is coming together nicely.

With a eye for colour and form, this garden is going to be looking great in every season as it matures. 

The spectacular acer corner already takes your breath away! 

Another Bank Holiday Weekend

But vastly different from the last as there's very much a chill in the air.

Bank holidays are generally big business for garden centres who are more than happy for you to hand over your hard earned cash in return for great looking summer bedding plants...but beware as there's a frost looming that can kill those young plants.  Bring them into a porch, shed or garage if you don't have a greenhouse or coldframe.  If that isn't possible, throw over some fleece and tuck them up against the house.

The roses are beginning to flower, thanks to the unseasonably warm April.

At the top, orange r. Maigold in the front garden, pink r. Special Daughter in the Terrace Border...

...and white r. Margaret Merrill also in the front garden.  I hope they make it safely through the cold snap.

In the Yen Garden the Cotinus coggygria (smoke bush) is finally coming into leaf.  It's difficult to get the light right to show just how beautifully vivid the red-purple foliage is.

The rhododendron is happily joining the spectacle too.

With a backdrop of hundreds of pale pink clematis Montana Rubens blooms, the final daffs sing out.

A little movement in the Long Border is required to fit in another tree.

Having removed the syringa Sensation which didn't seem to be particularly thriving in the Long Border, the Photinia red robin standard (which is still a work in progress) has been moved along and the new tree planted.

The label states that it is an Acer aureum but it doesn't have the promised red new foliage.  I couldn't find a picture of the bark on t'interweb but I'm certain the blurb somewhere would mention the unusual colouring and stripes. 

We have therefore contacted the nursery for confirmation of the variety. 

The syringa Sensation has been replanted in the Terrace Border in full sunshine which should improve the vigour and flowers.

Aquilegias, as mentioned last time, are quite promiscuous and cross so easily.  This can produce some lovely variations. 

In the newly emerging Mugwort's Retreat, a new seating area is being created.

This will form a much needed private area now that our neighbour has converted their loft including a balcony with doors.  Their views must be amazing, but it's made my agoraphobia kick in again, hence all the trees.  Making a garden is a wonderful task.  Not being able to actually sit in it to enjoy all that beauty is so heartbreaking. 

On a brighter note, a young robin has been happily pottering about in the back garden while we work, coming closer and closer to see what goodies we might be digging up.  We hadn't seen our usual robin since last autumn (hopefully old age rather than the neighbour's cat has been responsible).

This new robin looks young and sleek.  Today he discovered the bird feeders in the front garden.  He spent around 5 minutes on a recon before flitting off again.  He's easily unnerved by the marauding sparrows but if he's anything like his predecessor, he'll soon make our patch his territory and defend it fiercely.

Other new visitors spotted today were a pair of greenfinches! It's been a couple of years since they were last seen but I could hear their distinctive voices before they descended on the sunflower hearts.

Our bird feeders are positioned just outside our sitting room window at the front, and keep me entertained for many hours.  Along with sparrows, regular feathered friends include goldfinches, long tailed tits, coal tits, great tits, blue tits and blackbirds.  The latter are very amusing to watch in the birdbath, which is a large black plastic plantpot saucer on a stack of bricks to raise it to viewing height.  We put a couple of rocks in it to keep it steady and it's relatively secluded beneath the Photinia in the front garden.  All the birds use it, whether to bathe or drink from it so it is regularly cleaned and replenished. There is another saucer-bath set up in the Long Border.  It's thirsty work raising chicks!