The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Garden Visitors

We don't often have little people in the garden now our youngest is almost 14 and so we aren't really geared up for their play. However a couple of washing up bowls of water and the odd well aimed squirt of the hose soon transform the patio on a hot day.

Sensibly, Angel remains inside.

Elsewhere, summer has arrived. 


The Clematis beside the stag horn is blooming, but again the one beside the Photinia seems to be failing as the flower buds swell.  

The Stag Horn tree has really exceeded our expectations after its reduction. 

r. Margaret Merrill 

r. Tall Story 

There is still so much in the garden yet to begin their display.  Each day reveals a new flower.  That's the beauty of gardening. 

Mercury hitting high

With temperatures soaring to 30c on Thursday, it is the hottest day of the year so far, however the weatherman informs us the Bank Holiday is likely to top that and make a new record for a May Bank Holiday. 

Of course, it being Britain we have a run of summery days followed by a stormy breakdown and the heat will be replaced by fresher conditions.   The current night time temperatures are more akin to day time at this time of year.

The garden is loving every moment. 

Astrantias in the long border. 

Crisp white aquilegias beside the pond. 

The newly opened vivid pink r. Special Anniversary, and the soft spidery seed heads of c. alpina "Blue Dancer"

Enjoy the long weekend, and don't forget to wear suncream and a hat!

Sights, sounds and scents

The fledgling sparrows are lining up on the fence to learn how to use the bird feeders, twittering and fluttering to their parents who are desperately trying to attend to each hungry mouth.  The blackbird and robin lend their beautiful tunes to the darkness, bidding goodnight. 

In the front garden, the rhododendron is beginning its display revealing a pattern I'd not spotted previously on the upper petals.  Last year's prune has paid off with plenty of flowers.

And for knockout scent, the roses are stunning!

r. Tall Story above.

r. Margaret Merrill below. 

The warm sunshine is bringing on the flowers all over the garden very nicely.  All being well, they will be a great welcome to our Dutch friends later this week.

Preparing for Summer

Be careful what you wish wish had been for rain.  My waterbutts were bereft and the thought of having to use mains water filled me with dread.  And then it rained...and rained....and then rained some more.

Actually at this time of year I don't mind the rain much, as long as there are some sunny periods as that's ideal for the garden.

It's another Bank Holiday next weekend and one I suspect will encourage gardeners to flock to garden centres and nurseries up and down the country.  We decided therefore to beat the hoards and once sated in the restaurant, we set about filling a trolley with bedding plants whilst dodging heavy showers.

On our return home, we unpacked the car and headed indoors with a cuppa as the heavens opened once more.

Sunday morning arrived with barely a cloud in the sky.  By 8am we had begun creating our own little patch of summer.

The containers either side of the terrace seat were relieved of their spring bedding which was composted.  The bulbs were lifted and potted up to allow the foliage to continue to die back naturally providing food for the bulb for next year's flowers, out of the way in the workspace.   In their place we've planted a couple of pots of pink themed petunias,  verbenas and calibrachoa. 

This theme has been echoed in the containers, with the taller pot at the back having a more purple hue to the petunias, and each pot having a white lobelia. 

The purple petunias continue in Bumblebee's pot, along with a lilac brachyscome, bacopa scopia "double ballerina lavender" and a white lobelia. 

The hanging baskets have picked up the pink theme once more, with the white lobelia to link them with the other displays. 

And finally the wall mangers have bounced back to Bumblebee's pot, picking up the purple petunias,  lavender bacopa and this time a white verbena with nepata for cascading foliage. 

In a few weeks everything will have filled out and look amazing. 

Elsewhere in the garden, TMTC set up the pool in the Yen Garden, with the waterlily and foliage which had overwintered in the main pond.  We had lost one of the grasses, but the rest seem to have coped well.

He also potted up the new Rhododendron in ericaceous compost. We just need to finish it off with pebbles to match the other containers in the Yen Garden. 

Since the pond had been disturbed when moving the plants, TMTC gave it a good tidy up, removing excess weed and cleaned the pump.

I'm torn between plants to feature in the 'Plant of the Month' section.  I have a few days left of May to decide.  What's your favourite?

Dirty Hands and Sore Feet

Saturday was a day to enjoy.  The new Magnolia "George Henry Kern" is in full bloom and looks fabulous with Clematis montana "Rubens" as a backdrop. 

The front garden had a once-over, removing the spent flowers of tulips that had gone over and removing any weeds.

There are a few frost damaged leaves on the Acer and hydrangea, but they'll provide a wee bit of protection in the event of further cold snaps and will be dropped from the plants in due course.  It's just bad luck.

Rosa "Maigold" is really finding it's stride now, and Rosa "Margaret Merrill" is beginning to bloom. 

New growth on Pittosporum tenufolium "Tom Thumb" is green but it eventually turns to rich purple/brown.

Sunday was a day for dirty hands and sore feet.  We had picked up 3 matching pots, one to replace the very old plastic containers either side of the patio arch, the last was for a new Rhododendron for the Yen Garden.  

To begin with we emptied out the containers either side of the patio arch and removed the old wallflowers.  The Man That Can drilled drainage holes into the new containers and we then mixed 50/50 garden compost and John Innes no 2 before replanting the Viburnums into the fresh soil.  

One had managed to layer itself and was growing away very well so I cut it from the parent plant and potted it up separately! 

I do like something for nothing, don't you?

Next up we replenished the compost in the two rattan containers, giving the heucheras a bit of a tidy before replanting them.  I also potted on the Photinia "Red Robin" into the next size up.

Down in the sunken Yen Garden, TMTC enriched the soil and planted a new Fastia japonica.  This will begin to create a more shaded area in what is essentially the sunniest part of the garden, with its exotic looking leaves.

In the final pot will be a new Rhododendron "Christmas Cheer".

It is yet to be planted however because time was against us.  It has finished flowering now, but it blooms December - May with pink flowers fading to white.  It will pick up the cherry blossom colours and the apple blossom, before the  other deep pinky red Rhododendron comes into bloom.

Stunning rhododendron in full bloom. 

The Azaleas turn to shine. 

Clematis "Shikoo" and Ceanothus, also in the Yen Garden. 

In the Pink Garden:

I've cleaned the old bark from the birch tree and TMTC moved the stake into a more upright position.  It's not yet ready to go it alone, but the trunk girth had increased and was rubbing on the stake. 

On the terrace I've removed the violas. 

The terrace pots have yet to be replanted.  The violas are pretty much exhausted now, having flowered for pretty much 6 months non-stop. 

But that is for another day.  Time to stop and enjoy.