The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Spring Lost

The calendar says it's spring. The plants are trying so hard to say it's spring, but for most of this week we have had four seasons in each day.  There's been sunshine and snow, rain and hail, we've had the lot!

The Man That Can has been busy this evening, putting plants yet to be planted in the shed as the short range forecast is atrocious for the end of April.  Between sheltering plants and filling up bird feeders, he very kindly took these shots around the garden for me to update the blog. 

The birds don't seem to be fazed by the inclement weather, I just hope any hatched babies aren't affected.  

We have recently invested in a caged bird feeder as the magpies and starlings were gorging on the mealworms.  So far I can report that it has them stumped. Our beautiful Blackbird isn't very happy with the new set up however because he had worked out how to use the old feeder. He shouts his irritation as he drops to the ground to pick up any leftovers.  The sparrows on the other hand seem to be thrilled with the new feeder.

This afternoon I spotted what I thought were a pair of greenfinches on the feeders, but they didn't look quite right. I took a gander at the RSPB website at the male and female greenfinches and was certain these new visitors were different. Thankfully they suggest other, similar birds and recordings of their songs - no, definitely not greenfinches. They are in fact siskins! I've never seen these birds before.  Later this evening the siskin pair returned so I was able to confirm their identity with TMTC and Bumblebee.  I'm a very happy they have found us!

I hope the weather picks up soon, we have a Bank Holiday weekend coming up and there's a plant sale at the Botanical Gardens...I'm sure I can squeeze a few more plants in.

Spring colour

And for no other reason but the light was right...

Keep an eye on your tender shoots, there's an arctic spell coming our way.

Happy 90th Ma'am

And long may she continue to reign over us!

Photo courtesy of my TV.

All things bright

And undoubtedly beautiful

Yen Garden

A Japanese Zen garden...with a bit of Yorkshire relish!

The Man That Can had been left to his own devices on Friday afternoon as I am being 'phased' back into work.  On my return he had completed the first raised bed which already contains two climbing roses 'Dawn' and a clematis scrambling up the Folly arch.  The retaining sleepers and soil were re-used from the veg bed.

And then it rained...heavily.

We were out in the garden a little before 9am on Saturday morning.  The sun was shining and there was much to attempt to do while it remained dry.

Prunus Kanzan (flowering cherry) was the first thing on our long list of tasks.  Once we found exactly the right spot for it, some well rotted leaf mold was added to the soil and a good stout stake inserted for support.

Task number two involved bedding in a further sleeper recycled from the veg plot.  The soil from the plot was levelled and weed membrane laid.

Then came the we took the opportunity to nip out to the builders yard to fetch some more gravel.  It's astounding how much gravel we've used in this garden since moving here!

After lunch the end piece went into the new bed.  Blocks left over from the patio were added to the left hand side and soil backfilled.

Next the new arch was assembled.  

We played around with the layout of our new Yen Garden to get it just right.  The plan as I mentioned in a previous post is always subject to change so it took some time, viewing from various places in the garden and sitting in the warm sunshine to get the 'feel' just right too.

Staying with the recycling theme, we lifted a large clump of Japanese Anemone, split it and replanted a piece in the original spot...

...and the other piece behind the cherry tree.  It's quite a tall pink variety so should be perfect here.

Wisteria 'Caroline' was planted in the newly created bed.  I carefully unwound the Wisteria from the cane and rearranged it on the arch.  There are two main stems and lots of shorter ones lower down the plant.

While The Man That Can does all the hard work, I am still on light duties.  This included arranging all the plants, but not the actual planting.  So, all the fun bits I suppose...

...and taking photos of course!

We were given a very large rhododendron last year that had outgrown our neighbours garden.  Never one to say no to a plant, it was quickly potted up and temporarily put in an empty spot until we knew what to do with it.

I noticed a few new buds appearing lower down the plant so we took out a few of the oldest branches and trimmed all the dead stuff away.  We tried to balance up the look of the plant as best we could and repotted it in a new container using ericaceous compost. A good feed with slow release granules specifically for rhododendrons, a drench with collected rain water and topped off with cornish pebbles should give it a chance.  It's a bit suck-it-and-see.  

All planting has been done in the cherry tree bed.  Two acers have been planted in containers and top dressed with the same pebbles to bring it together.

I read that this style of garden is about balance rather than symmetry.  TMTC and I both have OCD tendencies so creating asymmetry was something quite challenging and we had to keep reminding ourselves of this mantra.

I think we may just have achieved it.

I didn't want to completely reveal our Yen Garden just yet as there are a few things to add.  

We have discussed, rediscussed and discussed some more what will go in the bed above alongside the Wisteria.  The initial plan was black stemmed bamboo in containers; however I wasn't comfortable with the possibility of it becoming a problem and read all sorts of horror stories about falling out with neighbours due to the plants escaping into their gardens!

So the planters have been repositioned to contain...something else.  The idea of plants to screen remains, but after some more discussion and some further research we have agreed on....well, watch this space.

Sunshine on a rainy day...

Gardening is good for the soul.  Even a walk around between showers to take some photos has lifted the spirits on what is a 'rest day' in my phased return to work. 

As the Viburnum flowers fade, wallflowers are coming into bloom with their unmistakable spicy scent.

Within the plant support below are Peony buds. Perhaps 2016 will be their year to begin flowering... To the right is one of the pink dicentra clumps.

And below clematis Montana.

I moved the pot of muscari and laid down some logs to create a damp spot in the hope of encouraging some critters to the pond.  I also added a couple more rocks to the sloping side to help any aforementioned critters access the water.

I plan to scrape this side of the pond back, add a liner, replant it with bog plants and thicken the planting up somewhat to create a better route for any wildlife to enter/exit the water in privacy...I have been researching ways to make our little pond more attractive to wee beasties.

Round to the front garden and things are filling out once more.  We've had a couple of very cold nights recently, waking up to frost which may have had an effect, but on a good look around it seems the only reaction is a sharp intake of breath against the chill.

The osmanthus has loads of scented flowers this year.

I'm thrilled to see the clumps of aubretia are not only surviving, but thriving - finally!

Sambuccus nigra has suddenly put on growth and forming flower buds.

Beneath which are clumps of tulips.

The acers next door are coming into leaf already, but ours are still in bud.

Fresh new growth of both pieris above and photinia below delivers a shot of bright red.

Swelling buds of rhododendron. The one below still retains the previous spent flower which I won't remove just yet. It's still a wee bit chilly.

It does appear pretty bare still, but a closer look reveals everything seems to have survived the mild if wet winter, even the hibiscus!

More rain is forecast for the next few days. It'll fill the waterbutts back up - and afford The Man That Can some much needed rest before he returns to the latest project.