13/07/2014

A Memorial Garden

Recently, one of my beloved cats had to be put to sleep. Misty had been with us for 12 years, and as any pet owner knows, they become a huge part of the family and as such, we want to treat them with some dignity when they pass. Misty loved the garden. At the first sign of sunshine she'd be the first of the cats lined up at the door just itching to get out. She'd find a sunny spot and there she'd stay until her hungry stomach got the better of her!



It seemed fitting to place her ashes in the garden, but I also wanted to create a small space just for her. If you've seen my previous posts, you'll know my garden is fairly choc a bloc, and I was worried anywhere I placed her would become overgrown with plants in the summer. So I came up with the idea of using some raised beds I have on my patio as a memorial garden.

I wanted it to be a bright, happy space, and raided our local garden centre for the cheeriest plants !


I began by planting a beautiful Clematis called Niobe, which has stunning purple flowers and will hopefully smother the fence within a few years. 



I planted the pretty Dahlia Happy at the back of the bed, although I remember now why I love Dahlias but don't usually plant any. This is the before photo:-


And this is the after, when those pesky slugs and snails have been on the attack! I've been picking them off by the bucketload, but it's a never ending battle and they seem to be winning. I think I will replace these with geraniums if the problem gets any worse.


Impatiens (Busy Lizzies to you and me) and baby Geraniums that I've grown from cuttings have been placed in front, along with the prettiest Nemesia. I appear to have missed the boat with Lobelia to drape over the edges as I couldn't find any in the garden centres, so I may well pop back and get some more Nemesia to soften the bed and fill in the gaps at the front. All in all though, I am pleased with it so far and think it will look really beautiful once the geraniums get going. 




Rest in Peace my little Misty.


26/06/2013

Paeonies, Poppies and Roses

These three plants have been the stars of the show for the last couple of weeks. I've been blown away by my Sarah Bernhardt Paeony this year as not only have the blooms been huge, there are also so many of them, 20 flowering together, and buds still waiting to open! It's been a bit of a nightmare to stake though, and I really must find a better solution than canes next year. One of the branches of the apple tree is doing a good job at holding a couple of the blooms up though.






And this was Paeony Shirley Temple. Only one flower, as it was newly planted into the area in front of the shed this year. I can't wait to see more of the gorgeous ruffled white blooms next year.


I still have one more paeony waiting to flower, only one bud to bloom again as it's another newly planted variety, but it looks like it will be a stunner!

As happy as I was to see my coral coloured Poppies, I was even happier to see these wonderful pink ones appear.




Not so happy to see two of these orange one though. They were a bit too bright for my liking, and, along with the red poppy, have been transplanted into a pot and moved to the front garden. I'll be saving the seeds from the pink ones to sow on next year.


The roses in my garden are all new additions this year.  I have to confess that I've never been a huge fan of roses before. They'd never be my first choice for a bouquet of flowers, and I guess that transferred into my choice of plants for the garden when I started it. Having seen some wonderful examples in the last few years though, especially at garden shows and from other bloggers, I decided to add some this year, and I'm so pleased I did. In fact, I think I may have been bitten by the rose bug, as I find myself looking for space now so I can add more.

This is my favourite rose so far, Arthur Bell Golden Bouquet, which has the most amazing fragrance and superb sunshine yellow flowers that repeat through to winter. It's in the sunniest part of the garden and seems to have settled in nicely.




This is a rambling Rose from David Austin called Malvern Hills. It's lightly scented, repeat flowering and said to be very disease resistant. I'm training this up a trellis to mingle with the clematis growing behind up the shed.



Rose Summertime is also flowering beautifully, even though it's just been moved. I originally planted it next to my bamboo in the shady area, and although it was growing really well, the hardy geranium, fern and bamboo were crowding it out. No point having a pretty rose if you can't see it, right? It's now growing next to the fence in front of the shed area and will, hopefully, blend with the other Clematis and mirror the Malvern Hills Rose.


I'm on the lookout for some pink roses now, and am saving my pennies for my next garden show visit. If you know any good varieties I should look out for, please let me know.

I've lost track of the names for the Hardy Geraniums I have, but they are fantastic for adding colour to the garden in summer, and they flower for so long. The only downfall is that they can sometimes get out of hand, but a good chop back sees them grow rapidly again and re-flower later in summer. I have dark pink, light pink and purple ones.


Rock Rose Cistus Sunset is another gorgeous pink brightening up the end of the garden, along with Ostrowskianum, the teeny Alliums.



The fruit and vegetable side of the garden is also doing well. I've been making salads for lunch with the Lettuce Leaves, Radishes and Spring Onions, and have had bunches of Spinach and Baby Chard added to dinners. The Tomatoes and Kale are coming along well, and the Courgettes and Cucumbers are growing quickly. There's also been lots of Rhubarb and masses of Strawberries, just in time for Wimbledon :-) 






10/06/2013

Now you see it!

Things are changing so quickly in the garden just now, that it's hard to keep up with everything new that is blooming.
















Alliums are definitely the stars of the show at the moment. From Purple Sensation, Nigrum, Cristophii, Globe Master, Chives and dainty Ostrowskianum, they are providing plenty of nectar for the bees and butterflies, and are quite the purple spectacle. I love the way you can just leave them to get on with it, and how they happily self seed and weave amongst the other plants.















Anemone Harmony Pearl seems to have been enjoying the sunny weather. This is a new addition to the garden, and I shall be nurturing it this year, ready to divide next year. It's such a beautiful colour, and I'd like little clumps of it dotted around.



Foxgloves are one of my favourite flowers, and they have self seeded everywhere this year. Just look at the delicious pale pink colour and speckles of this one. So pretty! Due to a mix up with one of my internet orders, I've  been informed that I'll be getting some free Illumination Pink Foxgloves sent to me soon. These are a perennial variety that flower for months. I'm really looking forward to comparing them with the traditional kind.


And result! One of the other Viktoria Luise poppies that I thought was also going to turn out red, has in fact bloomed the fantastic coral pink it was meant to. I can't tell you how happy that made me! The others are still waiting to bloom, but fingers crossed it was just one rogue red. Doesn't it go beautifully with the burnt orange leaves of xHeucherella Sweet Tea, an interesting cross between  Heuchera and a Tiarella.




Another Heuchera in bloom is Paris. The wispy pink flowers are so dainty, and the marbled leaves stay on the plant almost all year. My other Heucheras are only halfway to blooming at the moment.


Polemoniums have been blooming for three weeks now and are still looking good.



And the Astibles are busy brightening up the shady area. These are Breman and Europa.



Lamium Red Nancy and the gorgeous, richly vanilla scented Nemesia Sweet Lady are joining together to smother one of the wildlife pond borders. I could stand here all day sniffing in the perfume.




I have Nemesia Raspberries and Cream here too, and although the little flowers are beautiful, they have no scent. They do flower until Autumn though, so I guess that is the compromise. I'm hoping if I mulch these well after flowering, they may last over winter.



There are lots of lovely combinations in flower just now. The Verbascums are mingling nicely with the Hardy Geranium.


And in the shady area, Poppies, Foxgloves, Aquilegia and Hardy Geranium are all keeping company with the Marsh Marigold and Carex.



And the Aquilegias are still going strong. I am always sorry to see them finish blooming, so that late start to Spring has actually done me a favour this year as there are still many buds on the plants.










It looks like the sunny weather has finished for now (I really hope that week wasn't our summer!), but I am still spending nearly all my time in the garden, there is just so much to do at this time of year...and I LOVE IT!