June 2013

June 7th, 2013

Open garden 23 and 30 June

As you read this the final preparations are being made here to make sure ‘Charnwood’ looks at its best for when we open to the public on the afternoons of Sunday 23 and 30 of this month. One thing is for sure, I will be panicking about something! I guess in many ways it may seem a bit odd to invite everyone into your private space, but in my experience it is always worthwhile. To share your precious plants with like -minded folk is a real pleasure; the community of gardeners is unfailingly both appreciative and generous spirited. If you don’t believe me go to a Tollerton Garden Club, such lovely folk.. Read More...

May 2013

May 31st, 2013

A little journey round 'Charnwood' today

Left to right - Peter loves his wisteria and has carefully pruned this standard over several years. Gibbs the fleabag mongrel chewed my fav wellies so I put them to a different use in the seaside garden. Classic combo of pink cow parsley and Allium 'Purple Sensation'. A longer view of the back border. We open on the afternoons of 23 and 30 June through the NGS - please come and see us! Read More...
May 18th, 2013

'Charnwood' in May

The garden is looking lovely, if a bit fluffy round the edges but I don't mind that. Everything is moving so quickly, its as if it is trying to make up the time lost in early spring when nothing seemed to move at all. We are so relieved we didn't open in April this year. Visitors - assuming some braved the cold and rain - would have been looking at sogginess and mud! We spent today weeding and mulching the woodland garden with home made compost, a really satisfying spring job! Photos l to r - apple blossom, fern fronds unfurling, wisteria in bud, Exchordia. All taken at Charnwood 17 May 2013. Read More...

April 2013

April 1st, 2013

Planting a 'native' hedge

In an effort to keep our new large dog in the garden we’ve had to have some new fences built. It does make some of the garden feel different, so I’ve been thinking of ways to use the new structures to good effect. One idea I’m toying with is to plant a native hedge next to the fence. When I say native, I really mean natural looking – I’m not about to plant a scruffy, boring row of shrubs. My hedgerow would also have to have some really pretty climbing plants. Read More...

March 2013

March 1st, 2013

Daffodils in March?

I can’t write about the March garden without mentioning daffodils; such easy, generous plants. There is a daffodil to suit more or less every taste from the big, bold and blousy to the small and sophisticated. ‘February Gold’ is one of the easiest and most reliable, it stands about 1.5 feet tall, increases and naturalises well and never fails to flower. ‘February Silver’ is a paler version, comes a little later. Despite their name neither actually flower in February here but no doubt they do further south. ‘Tete a tete’ is a small, dainty daffodil, perfect for a pot or a rockery. It lasts for ages and multiplies well, so if you buy a little pot of it from the garden centre for your windowsill, plant it out afterwards and it will appear every spring for you. ‘Thalia’ is a beautiful and elegant white daffodil, at its best in April. Read More...

February 2013

February 4th, 2013

Confessions of a compost anorak

Compost has been on my mind a lot lately. To be honest it often is, I absolutely love the stuff. When we moved to Charnwood in 1987 the soil here was horrible, really dense, heavy clay. Since then we’ve dig tonnes and tonnes of compost in, using it as a mulch as well as to improve the soil. As result, the longer established beds now have good, friable, reasonably well drained soil. Garden compost improves the conditions of the soil as well as it’s nutritional value. We will keep adding it, or it will lose it’s condition. Read More...

January 2013

January 26th, 2013

January snow at Charnwood

Not a great gardening month so far, so I thought you might like some nice photos. All taken this month at Charnwood. Read More...

December 2012

December 23rd, 2012

A cheery winter walk round our wet and windy garden!

Despite the appalling wet weather a walk round 'Charnwood'; this morning showed there is always something good to see in a garden if you look hard enough. Photos from left to right: Mahonia looking and smelling lovely, a real ray of sunshine in a dark corner; Ferns close by the mahonia still fresh and green; Rosemary in flower, some of that will end up in the Christmas dinner roast spuds; Winter flowering jasmine, so easy and pretty, prune after flowering; Bright stems of a dogwood hard pruned last March. Happy Christmas! Read More...
December 9th, 2012

Christmas present ideas for gardeners

Stuck for Christmas presents? How about these: A book, the best present ever. ‘Ten Poems and Gardens’, introduced very eloquently by Monty Don, is a lovely small gift. I got given it for my birthday by my mate Liz and it is a lovely read. From 'Vespers'; 'This is how he gardens: fifteen minutes of intense effort, fifteen minutes of ecstatic contemplation..' Remind you of anyone? Read More...

November 2012

November 4th, 2012

Ideas for gorgeous trees for small gardens and how to plant them.

We've some lovely Autumn colour here at Charnwood. The dwarf Japanese Cherry Prunus incisca 'Kojo-no'mai' is currently gorgeous shades of red and yellow and the Euonymous alatus a stunning ruby colour. Both are little, slow growing trees, so ideal for smaller gardens. Acers are also performing well here and will thrive in a spot sheltered from winds and, depending a bit on the variety, in fairly acid soil. We also have a medlar, a really trouble free and compact tree with beautiful, simple white flowers in spring and clear yellow leaves in Autumn. They are self fertile, so you don't need to plant more than one to get the rather weird fruit. Read More...