Archive for May, 2019

Island progress

May 20, 2019

Our big Christmas project this year, was to rejuvenate a little island we have, in a stream running alongside the garden. We repaired the rather rickety bridge and after much debate, decided to clear and deck the island. We edged the island with old railway sleepers, leaving a marginal area, about 2 foot wide, around the decking. We’ve now planted-up the marginal area, choosing a mix of grasses, dwarf iris’ and a dwarf lysimachia. ¬†They’re bound to be thuggish, so we’re resigned to some annual clearing. Finally, we must decide what to put on the decking itself. The debate is on-going! The photographs show rattan chairs and a couple of yet-to-be-planted pots. We’ll try a set of metal bistros tables and chairs as well. For the planters, ideally we want height, reddish foliage to stand out against the rhododendrons behind and plants that will tolerate shade. At the moment, we can’t get past acers but all ideas are welcome.

Another milestone to summer passed …

May 6, 2019


Whilst on holiday in Italy last year, we came across what we think is an old street drinking fountain, for sale in an antiques shop. We had long wanted a small, upright fountain to provide a focal point in one of the small courtyards in our garden. In the U.K. however, they are fiercely expensive. There was no price on the one in the shop in Italy so, more in hope than expectation but knowing that the Italians are not as wild about antiques as the Brits, we asked. It was about 1/4 of what one would expect to pay here. Shipping was also surprisingly cheap, so in July last year, it arrived in Shropshire, having made it safely all the way from Lake Como. The lorry was far too big to get down our drive and the fountain is made of solid stone. After much thought (and not a little swearing) we eventually got this Italian drinking fountain into our garden and we absolutely love it. It is perfect for the spot. Just as we had envisaged it. We drain and cover it for the winter and this weekend, we unwrapped, filled and switched on. And so, another step towards summer is taken and the garden looks and sounds that little bit better.


May 1, 2019


For the last few years, we’ve mulched all our flower beds. It’s a massive undertaking. We spread 12 tonnes of the stuff and it is, without doubt, the most tedious and back-breaking job of the year. But it’s also thoroughly worth it. We use semi-composted bark which has the great advantages of being comparatively light, free draining (the pile doesn’t therefore become heavy and soaking wet) and is even sweet-smelling. It adds structure to our heavy clay soil but best of all, it really suppresses weeds and that’s principally why we do it. A few weeks’ effort in Spring, saves us weeks of weeding the rest of the summer. Best of all, this year’s mulching is now done!

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