Saturday, 21 May 2016


Early in May we went to see the Bluebells in White Down near Abinger Surrey

The camera doesn't do justice to the huge array of Bluebells.

Meg of course was in her element.

Out onto the open hillside of Blatchford Down where you have a stunning view of the valley below and to the Greensand hills beyond. Leith Hill is to the left of the dip and the Hurt Wood to the right

Monday, 18 April 2016


The start of my gardening year has not been easy.
This area was over run with wild garlic which although rather a nice plant in a small clump, it does rapidly take over.
Fortunately because I like potting up plants, dividing and taking cuttings, I had a number of primroses to fill the gaps.


The compost heap ugh! what a hard job that was digging out and spreading on some of the vegetable beds and roses. This is usually Mike's job, as is the vegetable growing but as he is just getting over an operation it has been all down to me.

Finished with last years compost turned and ready for courgettes later. 

This little bed of mainly hostas was weeded not many weeks back but already could do with another weed but will have to take it's turn as I am far from having weeded much of the garden even once.

Onions just beginning to shoot.
What are those bamboo canes for you might ask?
It's to keep all the cats in the neighbourhood from soiling my vegetables and it works well and deters the pigeons too.

Broad beans which were started in pots in the greenhouse and transferred out a few days ago.

Hmm growing plastic sheets! well no but they work well to protect the seedlings from late frosts and torrential rain. We have a problem with mice at present hence the box but nevertheless I seem to have had little success with the peas and will need to re sew.
Note the clean paths between the box another job well done.

The last three days I have been busy digging out ground elder - the bain of my life.

As you can see it has taken over in all these box boxes smothering the geranium which I think is Marginata.
These boxes of box used to be full of daffodils  but very few remain and I am not sure why. This year has  been a disaster for daffodils in my garden, maybe the dry winter didn't help.

The box were all grown from cuttings some years ago.

Over the years I have realised that most things grow towards the sun and ground elder is no exception. 
This bed was full of ground elder and although there are a few bits in there among the weeds it has mostly crept under the path and into the above boxes. So one of my next tasks in hand is to clear the weeds out of this bed.

These beds across the other side of the garden a bit more shaded have had some tidying up but need finishing. As you can see there are plenty of daffodil leaves here but there were not many flowers.

Obsessed with plastic! you might say. but these old water bottles and the odd lamp shade make great cloches for my delphiniums. They have been slow growing to start this year and this bed has been weeded twice already - unusual for me with so many more waiting to be weeded but once the delphiniums grow it isn't so easy to weed without damaging them. 

A shady border waiting attention but not too bad.

I am making a conscious effort this year to reduce garden jobs, hah! it doesn't feel like it. But I am trying not to propagate for the fun of it as it can be so time consuming, it is fairly easy going standing at a bench but it doesn't exactly get the garden weeded and it's extra work planting out and watering.

I over winter my agapanthus and lilies in the green house and these two Jacaranda trees which seem to have survived the winter in a cold greenhouse although we have had an exceptionally mild winter this year. 
The sweet peas are one of my few things I am growing from seed - the mice have already been in the greenhouse and eaten some of them but I think I have stopped that now.

Pots with runner and climbing beans, hope they germinate ok. The buckets have leeks growing in them.

Just a few bits and bobs plus a number of baby box in the cold frames for my daughter's garden.

Don't you love Amelanchier it really is one of my favourite small trees/bushes, I have to remind myself to look up and enjoy it.

This is usually what I would be doing this time of year. One of my first jobs would have been weeding either side of this path and the box boxes either side, unfortunately I have had more pressing jobs but will get to this soon I hope.

When the work seems overpowering I remind myself of what it will be like in a few months time

and so much more.

Not bad for someone dealing with Lyme Disease or Lyme Arthritis, who could barely walk a few years ago.

Thursday, 24 December 2015


Wishing all my friends a Happy Christmas and a healthy year to come.

The above photo was taken in my local woods in 2010 just a couple of minutes walk away. So far this year we have not seen any snow in fact it is the mildest December on record.

Monday, 29 June 2015


I adore Delphiniums years ago I had an allotment next to someone who grew Delphiniums for show - can you imagine an allotment of Delphiniums it was like being in heaven when they were in flower.
One thing I learnt was that it is very difficult to cater for the needs of a Delphinium in a mixed border because they need so much protection from slugs and snails. So I find by giving them a bed to themsleves is by far the easiest way to grow them and enjoy their beauty.

Of course they don't actually have a bed to themselves - various plants have crept in, box edging grown from cuttings, a Sanders White rose from a cutting and several clematis crawl up the trellis behind the Delphiniums but then what would you expect in my garden

All have been grown from seed why wouldn't you when it is so easy and such lovely colours develop.

Sorry about the bindweed in my unkempt garden - I have since pulled it out but it will grow again in no time.

An old cooking apple tree to one side.

And to the other side a lovely Gleditsia one of a pair that arch over the path.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


Sophy's Rose under the front window such a joy to see from inside and in the garden.

Sophy's Rose has a delightful fragrance.

Jayne Austin by the front wall flowers profusely and frequently passers by stop to enjoy the scent.

Pity the Internet doesn't have a scent button.

Charles Renee Mackintosh

Rather crushed by the Viburnum which needs pruning back although the Pink looks lovely against the purple of the Viburnum.

Winchester Cathedral which hasn't been in many years and lacks light as it is near the Laburnum tree.

Rambler Goldfinch on the fence just outside the back door.

Veilchenblau Rambler such an unusual and interesting purple and white rose. In the foreground Carpenteria Californica shrub.

This was a present and I seem to have lost the name.

New Dawn climber a cutting from one in the front garden that may have been from David Austin roses.

Rosa Gallica Officinalis suckers from my Dad's garden

Sir Edward Elgar was a David Austin buy but is no longer on their website.

On the left tripod Cornelia Rose from a cutting on the right Francine Austin 
In the background Francis E Lester

Francine Austin grown up a tripod.


Mayor of Casterbridge bought through David Austin roses but no longer in their catalogue but such a prolific rose in growth and flower.

Noble Anthony

Francis E Lester

A closer look at Francis E Lester

Charles de Mills from a sucker from my Dad's rose.

Sweet Juliet

Sweet Juliet grows strongly and flowers profusely.

Crocus Rose  which has the most delightful reddish stems in early seasons growth looking very attractive as are the lovely perfumed flowers.

Rosa Mundi another sucker from my Dad's garden.


Cottage Rose one of my favourites although it took some years to find the right position for it and a rooted section was passed along to my daughter and is also growing and flowering very well.

A view up the garden with Cottage Rose in the foreground. The Box encloses the vegetable beds as well as providing a Box box at each end giving me an opportunity to grow a rose in each one 20 in total.

Rambling Rector a prolific grower and flowerer which needs more room than the trellis I grow it on but nevertheless gives lots of enjoyment.

Another view across the vegetable area although at this time of year it is more of a rose garden. Most of my roses are grown in this section of the garden. Amusing to think that gardeners used to try and persuade people to grow vegetables in their flower borders. I prefer to grow roses and other flowers in my vegetable beds. The borrowed landscape of the trees not only provides a good view and shelter from winds but also means our garden has a large number of birds and butterflies some of which are encouraged by the proximity of the copse.

Aviateur Bleriot is a delightful Rambler. Another David Austin rose which is no longer on their list.

Most of the 15 Ramblers in the garden and many of the 40+ shrub roses were bought through David Austin Roses, mostly over 30 years ago. Many of the Ramblers take very well from cuttings in late July, I put them in tall pots around the side and overwinter in a cold frame or the green house. Some of these cuttings I have shared with family and friends but several have been added to my own garden. It's surprising what grows from a cutting, provided you don't mind losing some and by then the disappointment of losing them is less, as there are other things to get excited about.

As you can see I have a lot to thank David Austin roses for and love looking through their catalogue and making a beeline for their stand at any of the flower shows, but nothing can beat the joy of growing roses in your own garden and walking through them every day especially in June enjoying their delicious perfume. I think maybe only 4 don't have a perfume such a shame blogger can't share that smell.