Archive for October, 2017

Autumn jobs

October 29, 2017


Another gloriously sunny Autumn day here, perfect for more bulb planting.  Today it was another 50 tulip ‘China Pink’, which we’re trying to naturalise in lawn, under and around some Acer ‘Griseum’.  This may be an optimistic ambition, we’ll see.  Also welcomed into the garden today has been Rosa ‘Moyesii Geranium’, a spectacular shrub rose.  Like the tulips, we’re growing this in the lawn, in a small group with other shrubs roses.  These ought to become very big plants and will (hopefully) provide interest in early Summer, when the garden pauses between Spring bulbs and the herbaceous perennials of the later season.

A kind stranger

October 27, 2017

Wharf House 1960.jpg

A very kind stranger has sent us this picture of our house (and a very small part of the garden), taken nearly 60 years ago.  The house is rather different now but the small part of garden one can see here, has completely changed: the land is now on a different level, for one thing.  It’s rather odd to think that, well within the lifetime of many of our neighbours, this garden has altered so much.  But then that’s the nature of gardening isn’t it?  Constant, ceaseless change.

Twisted hazel

October 26, 2017


We were lucky enough to inherit this wonderful twisted hazel (‘Corylus contorta’) when we began gardening here.  It really is a stunner, with year-round interest.  It never looks better though, than at this time of year when its whippy base shoots are pruned off, just in time for its winter show of twisted branches.  We keep the off-shoots to be used in various ways; the very twisted ones are excellent for Christmas decorations and the straighter ones make great canes for the vegetable garden.


October 23, 2017


The second half of the summer here, from mid-July onwards, was exceptionally wet.  So wet, in fact, that we got blight on our tomatoes, even though they were in the polytunnel.  The worry now is that we have to pull out and burn all the affected vegetation or risk a recurrence next year.  We long-since gave up trying to grow tomatoes outdoors because of blight infestations and it would be more than a little irritating if we now had the problem indoors as well.  Like so many other growers, for years our tomato of choice has been ‘Gardener’s Delight’ but it may be that we have now to start thinking about more blight-resistant varieties.

A weekend of bulb planting

October 22, 2017


It’s that time of year.  The bulb order has arrived and it needs to be planted.  We garden on heavy, clay soil, which means that we have to be careful which bulbs we plant directly in the ground.  For the first time, we’ve planted tulips for naturalising this year: ‘China Pink’.  We’ll see how they do.  For the most part though, our tulips are grown in pots.  Painful experience has taught us that the pots need to be ‘defended’ from squirrels and other vermin.  That means we have to cover the pots with fine-mesh chicken wire.  We’re also big fans of ‘Iris Raticulata’ for very early interest.  Again, we plant them in pots and put them in the courtyard outside the kitchen.

A leaky weir!

October 18, 2017


We’re lucky to have a stream running along the southern boundary of our garden.  Our predecessors dug-out a pool, which widens the stream along a stretch of 200 metres or so.  Over the years, on our heavy clay soil, the pool has silted-up and now when the water-level is low in the summer, parts of the pool are above the water-level and have become covered with invasive weeds.  To try to overcome that problem, earlier this year we built up the height of the weir at the down-stream end of the pool and for a time, successfully raised the water-level by several inches.  In recent weeks though, the weir has started to spring new leaks and the water-level has dropped again.  We’re beginning to be at a loss as to how to construct a robust leak-proof weir.  For now, the plan is to throw yet more sacks of concrete at it but without enormous faith that it will do the job.

Daffs …

October 17, 2017


We have a bank on which we’re trying to naturalise daffodils.  In our first year, we went for fancy, double daffs from Parker’s.  They were fine in their first flowering season but have gradually lost their umph in ever since.  Some of them are in part-shade and now come up blind.  Some have died.  There is no (or no apparent) multiplying.  Having tried a number of different varieties, we decided that the bulbs most likely to reproduce and to survive less than ideal conditions (some of the bank is in part-shade, some in full shade and much of it rather damp), was to buy the cheapest bulbs from the wholesaler.  Our reasoning was (is) that the cheapest bulbs are likely to be the most unfussy and the best at multiplying.  We chose ‘King Alfred’, available by the 25kg sack from Parker’s.  It’s early days (the first bulbs  went in in 2015) but early signs are that we may be right.

Unseasonal weather

October 16, 2017


The temperature in the garden this weekend hovered around 20 degrees Celsius, with very warm nights as well.  This late burst of summer made gardening very pleasurable and also caused us to look more critically at the amount of late season colour we have in the garden.  The dahlias are still going strong, of course, but in the borders, we’re really dependent upon verbena bonariensis and the last of the asters (particularly the incomparable ‘Little Carlow’), together with the last of the gaura and rudbekia.  The question is though, how many mid or late October weekends can be spent enjoying the garden like this last one and how much enjoyment can be had from very late season colour in the borders?

The double border

October 3, 2017


The ‘Yellow Book’ National Garden Scheme

October 3, 2017

In July of this yea, we were visited by the county organiser for Worcestershire and some of his team and were lucky enough to be told that we would be admitted to the ‘Yellow Book’ in 2018.  The ‘Yellow Book’ is the brochure of private gardens which opens, across the country, as part of the National Garden Scheme (the ‘NGS’).  The NGS has been raising money for cancer-care charities for 90 years now and we are delighted to have been admitted to the exclusive club of gardens, judged interesting enough to open to the public.  We have a lot of work to do over the next 9 months to prepare the garden for our scheduled opening on 1st July 2018. garden17.2

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