2016 Garden

 January & February

The weather has been topsy turvy so far this year, and compared to last year far more flowers seem to be out.

DSC_0473There are any number of cyclamen still flowering away as Winter bedding and the choice of white flowers last Autumn seems to have worked well.

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There is something almost abstract about the soft swirls of their flowers. I can never really understand how something that looks so delicate and exotic can be so very tough in the garden.DSC_0485

The white flowers really stand out against the greenery at the end and beginning of the year when nothing much else is about to liven up the borders.

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My favourites are probably still the really vulgar fuschia pink flowers but maybe there’s hope for a more elegant white future.  DSC_0513

Or maybe we’ll just have to settle for half-way with the white dipped pink cyclamen.DSC_0514The hellebores are out and quite vigorous. I’m told that after a couple of years they can lose much of their strength but mine are still going strong.

DSC_0477The pinks are perhaps the most pretty but their faces look down so you have to grow them on top of a bank. From my kitchen window, I look up at them smiling down from above a retaining wall, and they make me want to smile back.

DSC_0503The shady garden is also the warmest part of the garden and the flowers are out in force. For a change, it’s also quite wet, almost boggy in part so things are really starting to put out new leaves and new growth. DSC_0480 The white flowers are looking really bright, standing out in the shade.  DSC_0504 DSC_0515The daffodils are out in the main beds and in the shallow gravel garden on the flat roof.

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DSC_0510In fact staring out at the gravel garden, there seem to be flowers everywhere.

DSC_0530The roof is looking pretty shaggy and so much more cheerful than it’s neighbour which is essentially muddy moss and grass.

DSC_0525I planted some mini narcissus, and they are looking especially good against the black grass, ophiogon and the whole thing is just full of promise.

DSC_0518 DSC_0509  DSC_0511 And finally the snowdrops have sprung up near the doorstep.

DSC_0505 DSC_0506The crocus have mostly poked through the soggy lawn and beds but need a bright day to really stand out.

DSC_0500 DSC_0512 DSC_0517And there are the stubborn plants that should be long gone, but insist on flowering on, the berries, the rhodanthemum, the hardy geraniums that refuse to go away.

DSC_0476 DSC_0482 DSC_0522And the promise of flowers still to come, fom bedding violas, primroses and primulas to dwarf iris.

DSC_0475 DSC_0486 DSC_0489 DSC_0519And the foliage of the alpines that always seems worth a second look.

DSC_0523 DSC_0524Everytime I step outside, the cats are more than happy to keep me company, epecially if it involves insepcting the bird feeders or a chat on the bench.

DSC_0488 I love this time of the garden, the quietest but also so full of promise.

 May/June

 

The garden is looking lovely just now but there’s no doubt that everything is still quite mixed up after a warm Winter and wet Spring. The seasons have run into each other.

clematis 2016
clematis 2016

Normally the clematis succeed each other but they’re both out together. The iris planted to fill a gap have come and gone. Luckily the gap appears to have disappeared as everything runs into each other.

White Clematis
White Clematis

Under the holly tree the sempervivum are surviving, if not exactly thriving. I may just stick some more in to build up a little colony.

Sempervivum
Sempervivum
Sempervivum
Sempervivum
Sempervivum
Sempervivum

The gravel roof is looking busy, very colourful and more than a little bit overgrown. The Mexican Fleabane is making a bit of a run for it. As always I can see myself spending the next twenty years faithfully digging up all of the plants that I’ve put in, just to keep it tidy.

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I’m especially pleased with the saxifraga urbina (London’s Pride) which came from my partner’s mother’s garden and provides a link back through family.

London's pride
London’s pride
Saxifraga
Saxifraga

In fact the saxifragras, sedums and sempervivums are looking rather good in amongst the more showy flowers.

Dianthus
Dianthus
California Poppy
California Poppy

Mid garden and I’m not convinced by the planting up of the fritellaria bed. I had hoped that geraniums and alchemillas would sprout up and cover the fritellaria remains, allowing the alliums to catch the eye.

in fact the geranium is too leggy and the alchemical too small. I’m not sure whether it’s just that they’re young plants or the variety. Surely alchemical mollis is a one-stop garden plant?

Mid garden

 It’s all just a little bit too messy still. And then there are the hanging baskets, my annual disasters.
Hanging Baskets
Hanging Baskets

This year I’ve been persuaded to stick with white petunias. From a distance they look good, set against the green hedge and lawn. The nepeta hanging down has proved easy and happy. I am trying my best to be diligent about watering and feeding them. So far it seems to be working.

Fritelaria Bed 2016
Fritelaria Bed 2016
Fritelaria Bed 2016
Fritelaria Bed 2016

Although I’ve enjoyed the alliums, I can’t help wishing the geranium was less wispy.

Allium 2016
Allium 2016
Old Climbing Rose
Old Climbing Rose
Geranium Roxanne 2016
Geranium Roxanne 2016

The back bed is promising to look good once the lavender comes in but is still plain. Leftover plants from last year that have returned unexpectedly include some snapdragons and annual geraniums – always a treat to see them return.

Lavender Bed
Lavender Bed
Snapdragon survivor
Snapdragon survivor
 Brushing up against the back of the lavender are some campanulas and silver leaf.
Campanula 2016
Campanula 2016
Erigeron
Erigeron

In front of the lavender, in the small bed, the fleabane is thriving and I’ve planted some lobelia over the top of the narcissus bulbs.

The side bed is looking pretty with perennial wallflowers gifted by a friend, sedum, fennel and curry plant.

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Perennial Wallflower 2016
Perennial Wallflower 2016

The bed is full of roses and rock roses backed by cat mint and campanulas.

Sedum Herbstfreude 2016
Sedum Herbstfreude 2016
Perennial Wallflower 2016
Perennial Wallflower 2016
Catmint 2016
Catmint 2016
Yellow Rose 2016
Yellow Rose 2016
Rock Rose 2016
Rock Rose 2016
David Austin Rose 2016
David Austin Rose 2016
Pelargonium Bedding 2016
Pelargonium Bedding 2016

And down near the door underneath the clematis are the later flowering armeria (thrift).

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clematis 2016
clematis 2016

The shady garden has gone from a dark barren wasteland to a bit of an overgrown jungle. The pink geraniums are taking over.

Shady Garden
Shady Garden

Geranium thugs

Geranium Phaeum Album 2016
Geranium Phaeum Album 2016
2016
2016

Iris foetidissima is flowering but they’re less than spectacular.

2016
2016

The “weeds” including the yellow poppy is by far prettier.

Welsh Poppy
Welsh Poppy self seeded
Woodruff 2016
Woodruff 2016

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With every successful project, there has to be some disaster just in case I get too happy. How can two identical fatsia plants, in tubs right next to each other have such opposing outcomes. The black grass seems fine in both boxes. I shall have to plant the pot grown fatsia in the empty one.

Fatsia
Fatsia
Clematis planting
Clematis planting

I decided to plant in a couple of clematis plants in the final bin planter. The leaf mould is still breaking down so the level of the soil is falling and will probably keep falling for a year or so. Until the compost is stable, planting up with another plant seems a bit of a waste. I’ll need to think of a cheerful plant that can cope with dappled shade, maybe a hydrangea or a rhododendron.

It seems that there’s always something to be done, even if my partner is adamant that none of the beds can be increased. Who knew gardens could be such fun?

All about me!