June Review 2020

As I did a midsummer blog about the flower garden, this post will focus on wildflowers and wildlife and a more detailed look at the vegetable garden

June Wildflowers

We grow a number of native wildflowers amongst the cultivated forms in the garden. Most were introduced by us and often the seed themselves around. They are lovely in their own right and great for pollinators

Foxgloves We have both white and pink forms in varying shades. They flower in their second year and if they have seeded somewhere where they are not wanted, we simply move them. Their native habitat is woodland  and although they seem to grow happily in sunny spots, we usually move them into shady areas

Musk Mallow The native form is usually pink.  We planted a white form many years ago and it continues to appear in several places and now we have pink ones too! Both are very welcome

Lady’s Bedstraw, Straw Foxglove, Meadow Buttercup

Lady’s Bedstraw ( top left) is a plant that scents the whole area around it. It is a fairly untidy plant that usually grow in amongst grass in meadows. This plant has been in the same place for many years and grows up into the plants around it and sprawls a little on a path

Meadow Buttercup ( bottom left). we bought  a lemon yellow form of this a number of years ago and it is now a firm favourite in June. We now get various shades of yellow in  the plants that seed around and are very pleased it is now also growing in the lawn

Straw Foxglove ( Right) is a much more delicate form of foxglove. Orhiginally grown from a packet os seeds it is now a permanent fixture

June Wildlife


When the sun cam out after a dull and wet phase of weather so did the butterflies. We have many plants that attract and feed them throughout the garden


Top to Bottom

Meadow Brown on a Pyrethrum flower

Comma on creeping thyme – this is a plant much loved by all butterflies

Small Tortoiseshell on a Hebe

Red Admiral on an eryngium

Toads – natural pest control

I love toads! This one lives around our vegetable plot and we are always delighted to see him. We hope he is working his way through any slugs he finds. Toads can be distinguished from frogs by their warty skin and broader bodies and heads. They also walk quite ponderously unless they are in a hurry when they will jump


The Vegetable Garden and Allotment

After  a mostly very warm and sunny Spring, the fruit and vegetables were developing early

Here courgettes and mange tout ready for cooking within 5 minutes of picking ( 20th June) and some some strawberries and raspberries for breakfast ( 19th June)

The raised box beds

These are proving very useful. In this bed we planted several varieties of cabbage and kale with the intention of taking leaves as needed rather than whole plants. We put a frame above the bed covered with insect proof netting and this has meant that the leaves are in lovely condition. May not look very pretty but very effective

The only problem we have is that last year some Coriander “confetti” went to seed and the germination of seedlings in this bed and others has been amazing –  much more so that sowing from a packet! May not look very pretty but very effective


The other box beds

There are three more of these beds now. Like last year we are growing salad crops ( lettuce, spring onions, radish),

In another bed we have grown beetroot and  carrots which did well last year long with purple Kohl Rabi and a french violet Turnip. The only probelm has been that the germination was very good and we weren’t rigorous enough with early thinning

We have grown dwarf french beans  (D elinel) and celery in one  box for the first time an d so far they are growing well


Ground beds

The overwintered cabbages and broccoli grew particularly well.

Also pictured: Mange-tout peas ( Delikata) , broad beans ( The Sutton ) and Charlotte potatoes


These have loved the sunny weather and are growing very healthily, We are growing four varieties – two green ( Tuscany and Romanesco Latino) and two yellow ( Lemona and Sunstripe)


We harvested the garlic planted in the autumn in large pots and were very pleased by the results. Here they are hanging up to dry in the greenhouse



The grafted tomato plants have grown amazingly this year with all the extra sunshine. The picture on the left is from the end of May and the one on the right is early July

In the right hand picture, you can also see that we took the staging down for the summer so there is more growing space. We have two cucumber plants ( Tasty King),. We usually grow short cucumbers but the seeds were all sold out. A strange effect of the pandemic has been the difficulty of getting seeds online as many more people turned to gardening during lockdown and the only way to get things was online. The only seeds I could get were for this variety, described as “one of the longest cucumbers we know”

So to compensate for only long cucumbers, we decided to try Cucamelons – these are described as making fruits the size a cherry tomato which tastes like a cross between a cucumber and a melon – we wait to see! Below is the first flower on the cucamelon.



The work on getting this into shape is continuing. We are growing crops which need a lot of room like potatoes and also those we struggle with in the garden. Members of the onion family do not grow well for us anymore due to the arrival of onion white rot in our soil. We are therefore growing white and red onions and leeks in the allotment



A few flower picture and cats!

Some of our plants with a more tropical feel, growing near the hosue in full sun

Left Top : A Delosperma so bright you need sunglasses to look at it!,  vivid California poppies

Right Top:  Brugmansia – we kept this is the summerhouse all winter. Lovely scent from its “angels trumpets

Bottom Left two: a lovely yellow Canna kept in the greenhouse through the winter, now sitting with the Delosperma


Never seen them sleep like this before. on the warm path after a hot day!



Around the Summer Solstice 2020

A celebration of flowers for the longest days of the year


Roses are such a feature of an English garden in June

top left Blue Moon, bottom left The Generous Gardener, middle Wollerton Old Hall, right Queen of Sweden. All are repeat flowering with lovely scents

A selection of pink- coloured flowers

Left top to bottom: Sweet Peas, Dierama, commonly known as Angel’s Fishing Rods , Paeony ‘Sarah Bernhardt”

Middle top to bottom:    Pinks, Paeony ‘Bowl of Beauty”

Right top to bottom:,  Allium cernuum, commonly known as nodding onions,  Musk Mallow ( native wildflower)

And blues

Oranges and whites

Top L to R California Poppy, White Musk Mallow ( Native wildflower), Alstromeria

Bottom L to R Gillenia trifoliata, Candelabra Primula


Purples and Magentas

Top Row L to R Clematis ‘ Violetta”  Clematis ” Mrs Cholmondeley”, Roscoea Purperea

Bottom L to R Tulbaghia robusta, Lavender “Melissa Lilac”


Put them all together and you get an English country garden in June








And finally, a bit of the tropics in our hot gravel garden!


Full blog for June available soon




May 2020 Still in Lockdown

May was another strange month weather- wise as well as pandemic- wise. Most of the month was so warm and sunny that it felt like midsummer. However a spell of northerly winds mid-month led to cold nights and one serious frost that caused  damage to young foliage of many plants . It was a depressing sight but all the plants have now recovered.


Luckily we had not been tempted to plant out any tender vegetables or flowering plants though the potatoes got slightly frosted


On a more positive note, our two wisterias continued to look lovely though they were completely finished blooming by the 3rd week of May


Vegetable Garden

Following the success of the waist -height raised bed last year we have redesigned to vegetable garden and Martyn has built three more of these. They catch the sun better in the positions they are in as well as being much easier to ork with

The mesh cover is over a whole set of brassicas to prevent the cabbage white butterflies getting to them


Some metal arches are now the home of the blackberry and will also carry the climbing french beans later

The overwintering brassicas have done very well and the tomatoes and broad beans got off to a very good start with the warm weather


This is on heavy clay and so a very different proposition to work than our free draining loam. Creating raised beds and putting on plenty of manure and compost should help. Maybe the asparagus will be grown enough for a crop next year

Shrubs flowering in May

These shrubs all have a lovely scent as well as blossom

Top to Bottom Choisya ternata, , Philadelphus aurea, unknown variety of azalea



Herbaceous Plants

The plants were all looking good in May. The parrot tulips have been in the garden for years now and still come up well. The foxgloves seed around and we often move them to places where they are wanted. There are whites as well as the typical purple ones. The osteospermums cam through the winter in a pot

Clockwise from top left : Foxglove, parrot tulip, Thalictrum “Black Stockings”

Osteospermum, Geum “Lemon Drop”

This combination of Lambs ears and a deep blue Love in a Mist just arrived in the gravel garden and looked amazing


A random miscellany

No Mow May

This is campaign by Plantlife to encourage peop to see what grows in their lawns if they don’t mow. Our lawn is only small but we did leave some areas


The picture on the left shows a very overgrown and tangled mess of honeysuckle  (deciduous and evergreen) and clematis montana that had been left far too long without pruning. So once we were sure there were no birds nesting in it we got to work. The picture on the right shows it gone – the clematis will regrow. The bed below now gets much more light so now to do some planting

We also worked on a bed under the back kitchen wall that was a tangle of alstromerias. We decided to make it more narrow and to use it for some pots of plants


Warm summer evenings

It is most unusual to have so many warm evenings when the garden can still be enjoyed as the light fades



And finally

Our two Blue-Point Siamese cats enjoying the garden too

April 2020 In Lockdown

How strange it is that everything about “normal ” life can change so quickly. So many concerns, fears, uncertainties, difficulties created by the pandemic but with the lockdown , life became much simpler. So few decisions to be made about how to spend our days but the usual rhythms of Spring carried on regardless. With lockdown came unusually lovely weather day after day in April – so unusual in this country that it almost felt like cause and effect. I thought I would have a lot of time for gardening but have been very busy helping to develop resources and support for my psychologist colleagues and all the people they work with – other health staff and patients – and for the general public that I had less time than usual

It is certainly strange to think we will not be opening the garden this year. Maybe an opportunity to be a bit more relaxed, make some changes. We will need to try to find ways to sell some of the plants we accumulate for Notts Wildlife Trust to get the some funds and to create a bit of space in the nursery

So this post is going to be a celebration of Spring flowers


We have mainly restricted ourselves to early tulips this year so that the beads are not full of their leaves when we need to be getting more plants into the beds

A selection of oranges and yellows

and of pinks and purples


Garden Scenes

In the circle beds we put mixtures of later flowering daffodils and tulips which worked and lasted well

And below are views of the tulips In the beds running from the summerhouse


With all the sunshine, the Wisteria multijuga came out really early this year


Camellia ” Donation” had a particularly good year, though the others were less good and their flowers didn’t last with the sunshine and warmth


Miscellaneous Spring delights

Top row: Clematis alpina “Frankie”, perennial Honesty –  Lunaria redidiva

Lower row: Annual white Lunaria (Honesty) , Epimedium sulphureum, Euphorbia polychroma

Wild Flowers

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland ( BSBI) have been running a Garden wildflower Hunt this year where you can upload records of native plants in your garden. We have many – some planted, others that arrive. Some that are welcomed and others that need more control!

Top Row: Bluebells, Sweet Woodruff, White Herb Robert, Geranium sylvaticum, ” Mayflower

Lower row: Greater Celandine ( actually a member of the poppy family: and Red Campion

Bottom Set: We are not mowing parts of our lawn this spring to see what grows following the advice of the charity Plantlife   – so far Ladies Smock, Thyme leaved speedwell, cowslips  and buttercups (these are in a bed but I will show them in the lawn in the May post!)

And finally

We have a view of the village church to the west of the garden. For a few evenings we got  this fantastic effect from the sunset through the stained glass windows

February to March 2020


The weather was thoroughly miserable through February, wet and cold. We had bad flooding all around the village

Still the winter flowering shrubs did their best to brighten things up as well as scenting the air

 Top Row: Hamemellis pallida ( witch hazel) , Daphne bholua  “Jacqueline Postill” Mahonia “ winter sun” Sarcococca humilis ( sweet box) ,

Second RowLonicera fragrantissima ( winter flowering honeysuckle) , Viburnum bodnantense “ Dawn” , 

There were also the snowdrops, cyclamen coum and primroses to enjoy

Colourful plants in pots

Putting these where they can be seen from indoors certainly helps with dull days

New Roses

We ordered new bare root roses from David Austin

Wollerton Old Hall and Teasing Georgia for the metal pergola in its new position

The Generous Gardener for the circle garden pergola

Maigold for the front of the house. We planted one when we first moved here and it was glorious for a few years before dying. A replacement was overdue


The worrying signs of the pandemic were certainly building through February and accelerating . On March 7th the opening party for the Nottinghamshire NGS gardeners was held and we were still thinking about what additional precautions would be needed when gardens opened this year. We were presented with this lovely engraved trowel for opening for 10 years for NGS


I was also planning for all the flowers to grow from seed to provided the decorations at the wedding of one of our sons in September. By mid March it was clear that everything would have to change as the pandemic built up and people were making the necessary changes and adaptations , even before the Government finally imposed the lockdown.

We decided to move the nursery benches so that they ran across the front of the house, leaving us a nice area to establish a cutting garden



We took over the allotment which was run by another son who had left for the Isles of Scilly. We will be growing a lot more vegetables there than has been possible in the garden over recent years. The soil is heavy clay and also has horsetail in it so it will be much harder work than we have become used to here! I will report on progress on this blog too

Late winter/early spring flowers

Top Row: At this time of year you notice and welcome very plant as it comes into flower. Hellebores ( top row) are such an important feature in the shadier areas that then disappear into the background as the year progresses. The old leaves need to be cut off to show the flowers at their best and to reduce disease,Minature daffodils, like this tete- a -tete, are earlier than their bigger relatives.

Second Row:The gentian blue  flowers of Pulmonaria “Blue Ensign” really stand out (sorry about the blurred photo!) and are very popular with early bees. The leaves are quite unlike the usual pulmonarias and these don’t seed around either. Lovely deep purple crocuses


Very early white tulips with a Clematis macropetala  ” Markhams Pink” behind on a new obelis

lMore  early shrubs also came out – Skimmia japonica on the left with its lovely scent and Forsythia “Lynwood” and a single camellia flower jumped the gun on ‘Donation

Gardening Jobs



We had to rebuild the wall at the back of the pond last year following a leak and tried a small terraced area. It didn’t really work so we have widened it and put some slabs to enable access to both sides of the wall. It is now planted with new spreading alpines

And we started sowing the seeds in the greenhouse – mange tout peas here


And we built some more raised beds. The first one was very successful – no carrot root fly, easy picking and weeding. The new ones also get more sun than beds on the ground would. You can also see the new wormery in the first picture

And Finally!

Playing around with a google feature during lockdown enable us to have a tiger approaching the back door!

January report 2020

January is a tough time for a gardener. It seems like a long time since the conditions have been fit for getting out and there are few jobs to actually do. Still there are pleasures to be had, which are the more potent for being smaller and less frequent than in spring and summer

The autumn was very wet which meant that a number of jobs were left unfinished or undone and will have to be picked up in spring. Although there have been some frosts, overall this is proving to be yet another worryingly mild winter


Winter Flowers

in winter we notice everything in flower when we go outside and get great enjoyment from any colour and scent whereas later in the year it is the big picture that predominates and individual plants can get overlooked. As I have written before, I particularly love the scented winter flowering shrubs that are also good for any early pollinators brought out by sunshine

Viburnum bodnantense “Dawn” ( below) is a very easy shrub to grow. The flowerbuds can be damaged by frost but then the plant quickly puts out more so  it is usually in flower from November to March. In the summer it forms a fairly nondescript green bush so is best placed at the back of a border. It is easy to keep in shape by removing old branches at the base after flowering

Evergreens are particularly useful:

Daphne Bholoua ” Jacqueline Postill” (large circle below) is another favourite. The scent is so strong and the flowers come out in such profusion. We have had to prune it every year as it is in a small space and it seems to cope despite pruning not being recommended. We have planted a new one this year in a bed against a fence where it will have much more room to grow


Above are (Left to right) Lonicera fragrantissima ( winter honeysuckle), Sarcococca humilis and Mahonia ” Winter Sun”

Yellows are always welcome on dull days – Hamemellis mollis ” Pallida” and winter jasmine ( sadly not scented)

With January being mild, the small winter flowers arrived early.

Snowdrops, of course,


and also Cyclamen coum naturalising nicely under a tree and an early primrose in the gravel garden


Beauty of frosts


Winter Pruning

Getting out to prune is another winter pleasure – giving a sense of restoring order in amongst the chaos of last year’s remnants.

Fruit Bushes

One of the first tasks was to prune the currants – black, red and white. Then taking out most of the canes from the autumn fruiting raspberries. We leave in a few in place to give some summer fruits.

We have created a raised bed with a more acid soil for the blueberries which had become pot bound  and these also had a very light prune

We had already taken out one blackberry , which was supposed to be a small cultivar but turned out to be a rampant monster! In the autumn we put up an archway to carry the Oregon Thornless which has been in the garden for many years and is such a good reliable cropper


Pruning the wisterias was a big job! I don’t have a “before” picture but this is the “after”


The climbing roses were also pruned and fastened into their supports.Black spot continues to be a problem to us and so we took off all the old leaves – a tedious task!

Redesigning and replanting

The other good thing about the garden in winter is that , without all the flowers and foliage , it is easier to see what needs redesigning. We did some work on paths on the left hand side of the garden in the autumn to create a more spacious feel and got part way through splitting and moving perennials in the beds before the heavy rain stopped the work

We have now been redesigning the paths and beds on the right hand side of the garden. One key decision was to move the metal pergola from its diagonal position to cover the path which runs up the side of the pond.

Unfortunately the photos are not very clear but below is the old position

and this is the new one

It is not a major change of position but it will have a significant effect on the overall feel, planting and bed shape on this side of the garden. Now there is also the exciting task of choosing new roses to go on it. The old climbers have been pruned low and will now grow up obelisks instead








January 5th 2020

I failed to keep up with this blog last year but a New Years Resolution is to restart!

Wild Flowers

I took  part in the New Year Plant Hunt organised by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland again this year: https://nyph.bsbi.org. The aim is to see how many wildflowers are in bloom at New Year . I found 10 species in the churchyard and round the village

The flowers below are very early but they usually are in the churchyard:

The three in the top left corner are various colours of native primrose. To their right is Cyclamen coum  and, on the bottom line, snowdrop and lesser celandine


These are the common ones found at this time of year. Clockwise fro top left: dandelion, cow parsley, white dead nettle, groundsel and daisy. There was also shepherds purse not pictured


So, I  thought I would start the 2020 blog with the flowers in the garden at New Year.

Compared to other years there were definitely fewer. The frosts and heavy rains in the Autumn and early Winter meant that many plants that can carry on in a mild winter have finished and the only flowers are those that are true winter flowerers. Apart from a couple of primroses there are no early spring flowers in the garden.

Scented Winter Flowering Shrubs

These can give such pleasure on dark and dismal days, Shame stat I can only put pictures and not share the scents!

Clockwise from top left:

Daphne Bholua ” Jacqueline Postill” – just starting to come out

Lonicera fragrantissima – the winter flowering honeysuckle

Viburnum x  bodnantense : Dawn”

Hamemelis pallida – Witch Hazel

Viburnum x bodnantense ” Charles Lamont”

Mahonia x media ” Winter Sun”



From Left to Right:

Helleborus niger – Christmas rose, a native primrose and a more showy form





November and December 2018

In this last post for 2018 I am focusing on the consolations to be found in the garden in winter . Looking out, much of the garden is in various shades of brown as we leave the seed heads on perennials for the birds, interspersed with the green of the evergreens, lawn and those summer plants that have held on so far due to the relative lack of frost so far. Bur there are also splashes of colour and strong wafts of scent

Winter flowering shrubs

The winter flowering shrubs are brightening up the garden and most of these have lovely scent to attract any pollinators on the wing in milder spells

Witch Hazel

This is a young tree of  Hamamellis intermedia ” Pallida”. It began flowering in mid-December and has a lovely scent that will become more noticeable as it gets bigger. It is plated in a shady spot near the front door. Although said to prefer an acid soil, we have found no difficulty growing them in our neutral loam

Viburnum bodnantense “Dawn”

This is one of my favourite winter plants. It flowers from November to March with heavily scented pink flowers. These may be hit by frost but then more will come out. We have one plant at the back of the garden where it disappears into the background come summer and another planted on the front boundary to share its scent with passers by. It seems to be totally trouble free and we just prune as needed to keep it in shape and take out some old stakes from the ground to encourage now growth from the base


Despite their reputation for being difficult plants we have not found that to be the case with these two.

Daphne bholua “Jaqueline Postill” on left and Daphne transatlantica “Eternal Fragrance”on right

Jacqueline Postill is just coming into flower here in late December; its main season is January and February when it scents the whole garden. It grows in a sheltered spot against a south facing wall and has never been troubled by winter weather. It is a vigorous grower. Eternal Fragrance lives up to its name. As it flowers on new wood, there are flowers throughout the year on a smallish rounded shrub. The scent is not so strong but a good addition to our planting

Mahonia x media “Winter Sun”

This was a new plant last year and this is the first time it has flowered, starting in late November. The scent is reminiscent of lily of the valley. It is planted against the north facing back fence and it is unclear how large it will grow as the label says 2m but websites suggest 5 m! It is a tough plant that grows well in shade and we may have to keep on top of the pruning as it grows


Winter flowering jasmine and honeysuckle

The lovely yellow flowers of the winter jasmine brighten up a west facing fence. This is another new plant, first flowering this year. It is sadly not scented unlike the winter honeysuckle which is similar to its summer cousin. The jasmine needs pruning and training to keep it looking good on a fence though some houses in the village seem to have it on their walls like a fur coat. The winter honeysuckle is a vigorous unshapely shrub which needs pruning every spring to keep it in bounds. This is another we have on the front boundary as well as at the back of the garden

Berries, Fruits and Buds

These are also valuable contributors to the winter garden

Malus “Evereste”

We bought this specifically for the heavy crop of crab apples it produces although the blossom is lovely too. The birds don’t seem interested in these until late December and they do not get eaten too quickly even then

Pyracantha and Iris foetidissima

Two plants whose bright red berries are a treat on dull days. The pyracantha berries last well and seem to get eaten from late December onwards. The iris is native plant that arrived unbidden and continues to appear in various shady spots in the garden. As its name suggests , the flowers do not have a pleasant smell and are a fairly dull browny yellow so would not want pride of place but are a welcome addition in places where little else grows. Although quite deep rooted they are easily removed if they turn up where they are not wanted.

Camellia Buds

I also love the swelling buds on our camellias, getting ready for flowering in early Spring. Again plants that are acid lovers that seem to grow happily in our soil

Other flowers out on Christmas day

clockwise from top left

a (very early crocus) , rosemary, primula, pink

The Vegetable Garden

The varied greens to be found in the leaves of winter crops are a pleaser in addition to the fact that we have fresh organically grown vegetables to eat

Top row – Early flowering Broccoli, Kale “Hungry Gap”,

middle row- parsley, kale, kohl rabi

bottom row- spring cabbage, broccoli and lettuce and tunic greens in the raised box

Although the fruit we have in winter is mainly in storage in the freezer, we had a surprising amount of autumn fruiting raspberries in November



And finally, some practical matters

We have roofed the seating area behind the shed so we can store some of our large less hardy plants under some cover through the winter. we hope that by using fleece on very cold nights that we will be able to get them through. other are in the summerhouse and the greenhouse


We have also been getting the compost out from the bins and spreading it on the vegetable plot. In amongst it was this very long stalk from an avocado stone!



September-October 2018


I am writing this is November when the garden is definitely declining into Winter but September and October this year were so mild that they were more like extensions of Summer.

On October 21st I set out to photograph many the flowers that were in bloom as the garden was remarkably colourful due to the mild Autumn weather. There were a mixture of flowers you expect in Autumn and others that should have been long gone


These were surprisingly rather late to flower this year but were putting on  a great display





Another very reliable set of plants for late summer and autumn flowers. much loved by bees







A selection of yellows and oranges


A selection of pinks


A selection of blues and purples


A selection of whites and creams



And then there were the berries and colourful leaves too


New Developments in the Circle Garden

Removing the Amelanchier

Once the Open Garden was over, it was time to deal with the Amelanchier that had succumbed to Honey Fungus having been a lovely feature of the garden for over 30 years

Below are some of the picture taken over the last couple of years


But sadly it had to go. We decided that we had to see it as a new opportunity rather then just a loss and are very pleased with the new area we have created.We dug out as much root as we could find and have gravelled a lot of the area as we cannot replant with anything susceptible. We also took out the arc of box hedging that had defined that end of the garden for many  years. We really didn’t know what to do with the space and tried several ideas out before settling on the current design. We have created  a small terraced area with a wooden step which adds interest.

There are other shrubs in the area and we will feed them, try to keep them as healthy as we can and hope for the best. We think it cannot be a virulent form as there are other plants nearby like camellias and dogwoods which are said too be more susceptible than amelanchier and it maybe that the honey fungus took hold because the plant’s health had deteriorated anyway. We have put plenty of bulbs in for Spring and will have plenty of pots in the gravelled area in the summer

Unfortunately we were so busy with the work we forgot to make a photographic record so below is a picture from 2016 and the finished area now

Before and After


New Seating area

in the summer when it was so hot and sunny we needed to create more shade to sit under and so bought a cheap gazebo to put the table an chairs under. The only place that it fitted was in the middle of the gravelled area


gazebo in the circle garden

We were surprised to find that this worked well and so decided to create a permeant , more attractive version. This has been done in wood to match the pergola that runs from the circle garden to the lawn that can be seen in the picture below and attached to the wooden divider we had put across last winter


Rosa “Etoille de Hollande” (red) with paeonies



As usual it was a bit trial and error but now we are very pleased with the effect. There were already some climbers planted – an evergreen trachelospermum and a clematis and we have also now planted a grapevine ” Phoenix as well. This should both give shade and a good crop of grapes. The plan is to buy a alai that can be put over the top if we need additional shade again another year


new seating area

Fruit and Vegetables

we continued to crop beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce throughout the months. We have planted purple sprouting broccoli, kale, spring cabbage, turnip greens, kohl rabi and cime di raps to eat through the winter and early spring along with shallots. These raspberries were picked on 10th November!



August 2018- retrospective

Open Garden

Our final opening of the year was on the Bank Holiday Monday and was another very successful day. The forecast for the day had not been too good but then the sun came out as did the visitors. We had 146 people come to see our garden and the one across the road and made £700 on entrance tickets and a further £380 on teas,  a total for that day of £1080 for the National Garden Scheme charities. Overall with the June opening and two club visits the total for this year was £2079 – a new record for us.

We also made more money on plants sales this year with a total of £340 given to Notts Wildlife Trust to help with their vaccination scheme for badgers in the Vale of Belvoir to reduce the risk that the dreadful badger cull will be extended to out area


The weather in August cooled down so that the plants that had flowered unseasonably early were able to keep going much better than we had feared. It was still pretty dry and we had to do a lot of watering but the garden remained very colourful

Pot plants

Despite each year vowing to have fewer pot plants due to the watering they need, we always seem to get more. We were really pleased to get a Brugmansia arborea from East Ruston Gardens this year having always admired their very large specimens. It flowered in early August but sadly had no flowers at the time of the open garden. The Albrizia we bought last year came through the Winter well and looked lovely again though had very few flowers this year. The succulents and cacti were a feature near the summerhouse and  it did not matter if they did not get watered

The shrubs in pots at the top of the drive grew well


Cercis “forest pansy”


Pollarded Paulownia


New Developments

The back of the garden around the apple tree is always left rather wild and is a good habitat but it had become extremely overgrown and some shrubs had outgrown their space. So we did a revamp of the area and created a pathways running around the apple tree which means that there is now access to enable us to keep better control over the area

We continued to develop the circle garden more. This water feature was developed from a fire pit that one of our sons no longer used and we bought a solar fountain to go in it. A real success


Vegetable Garden

It was a fantastic year for tomatoes indoor and out and we had basil plants that reached 2 feet tall in the greenhouse

The leeks started off well but unfortunately were later attacked by leaf moth and most had to be thrown away


leeks and sweetcorn

We planted up an old barrel with herbs


herb barrel with sage, marjoram, oregano and thyme

The tall raised bed on the drive has been a real success. We have mainly used it to grow salads but carrots and beetroot also grew well. It is so much easier to both tend and to pick the crops and we are planning to make some more for next year


waist high raised bed with salad crops

And finally

The last photograph of our 30 year old Amelanchier which has been a much loved tree in the garden. it has been doing less well for the last 3 years and we feared that it could be a disease attacking the roots. We sent some root samples off to the RHS for identification and received the bad news that it is honey fungus. We have to hope that it is one of the less virulent forms that has just attacked the tree as it was in declining health. There are many shrubs nearby that are much more susceptible to honey fungus that seem fine so we are keeping our fingers crossed. So we knew we had to take the tree and as much of its roots as possible out – news of what we did with the area afterwards will be in the next blog


Dying amelanchier