April 30th, 2014
It’s the middle of March as I write this and I have just had a smashing day pottering in my very messy garden. Why messy I hear you say? I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had chance to spend time in it, and, on the odd occasion when I have, the weather has been awful. Fortunately I’m not an obsessively neat gardener, quite the contrary. So now I have got around to it, I have found some lovely little surprises under all the dead and manky stuff. A few self seeded crocus, honesty seedlings (most weeded out); violets in abundance, both white and purple and some lovely hellebores whose old leaves I have now cut off so I can see them at their best. The endless wet weather doesn’t seem to have harmed anything in the garden as far as I can tell so far and the spring bulbs have been fabulous. You can lift and divide snowdrops clumps now they have finished flowering.
March 1st, 2014
Shrubs are often seen as the rather boring mainstay of the garden and can look quite uninspiring for much of the year. But in Spring and early summer they really come into their own and can be real stars both in flower and scent. If you plant them in a mixed border you can situate other plants around them that will provide interest at other seasons; most shrubs combine really well with bulbs and perennials. One more unusual planting suggestion: I have a viticella clematis next to a Cotinus so it can scramble over it and provide a bit more interest. I prune the clematis hard in late winter.
February 1st, 2014
It’s hard to love your garden in February, isn’t it unless you are blessed with lots of early Spring bulbs? Earliest here are snowdrops and winter aconites. The latter are especially cherished as they are a cheery bright yellow and it took me ages to get them established on our heavy soil. I love crocus, but they tend to be mouse food here, or fatally pecked over by birds. I get round it a bit by planting some in pots and keeping them covered, but it’s hard to get a good annual show by that method without a lot of work and expense.
December 26th, 2013
All together now
The holly and the ivy, now are both well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.
November 15th, 2013
Photos from Charnwood taken today.
November 2nd, 2013
Four dead easy, hardy plants looking fab now: marvellous Mahonia, yummy Yucca, gorgeous Grasses and charming Cyclamen. I'm now bored with alliteration!
October 20th, 2013
We inherited some beautiful mature trees when we moved to ‘Charnwood’. To make sure we continue to enjoy them and pass them on to the next owner in good shape, we occasionally ask a tree specialist to help us to look after them. It’s always money well spent: to see an expert lift and thin the crown of a big old tree is like watching a sculptor make a work of art and the result is at least as good. No cruelly shorn lollipop style trees are allowed here!
September 1st, 2013
This is a good time to take some cuttings of your favourite tender perennials. It really is very easy and you get lots more plants, more or less for free. Because they are new they are often more vigorous and free flowering than their older ‘parents’. Geraniums, salvias and penstemons can all grow well from tip cuttings. As long as you are prepared to keep them watered and frost free over the winter there is little else to worry about.
August 25th, 2013
Rosa 'Biddulph Grange'. Gorgeous, single red repeat flowering rose. Planted next to a purple aster.
Blue Agapanthus 'Headbourne hybrid' next to Crocosmia 'Lucifer'. The agapathus survived the last winter outside.
Pink buddlleia with red leaved berberis and an emerging miscanthus..
All taken early August 2013 at Charnwood.
August 11th, 2013
Walking and driving around over this last few weeks I’ve noticed many of you have lost your Golden Robinia trees. After a little research I discovered the problem, well described by a knowledgeable gardener on the Gardeners World website:
Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' is currectly suffering from a countrywide disease…. Dry, flakey bark with a canker-like appearance will show it is in fact the virus. There appears to be no cure.
We planted ours in 1990 and it has been a lovely feature but it has now definitely popped its clogs. Standing at around 8 metres it’s not going to be much fun to remove, but hey, ho. A dead plant, even a treasured, mature one like this, is a planting opportunity. Just be careful if you decide to do the same, it’s a brittle, spikey tree and could do your bare arms and face serious damage.