I’ve been pretty busy this week in the garden, trying to get it tidy for our open garden weekend at the end of the month. We’re trying to raise money for the Soldiers Charity (Army Benevolent Fund), we’re not part of a big group or the Yellow Book scheme (open gardens around the country) we’re just inviting family friends, colleagues, neighbours, anyone who knows us really.
I’m adding a quilt and needlework display to broaden the appeal! I’m hoping it’s sunny and dry so I can hang the quilts on fences around the garden.
I’m tackling one bed at a time, trying to bottom it, weeding, dead heading, adding plants where needed. I started with the autumn bed, which is where the chickens used to be. It’s great soil but as with all freshly dug areas the weeds are coming up by the dozen!It’s filling up quite nicely, it will be interesting to see what it’s like in the autumn as I’ve planted shrubs for their autumn colour.
I’m really pleased with how the Amber & Amethyst garden is looking, considering at the beginning of last year it was a building site! Well, maybe not a building site but the area was pretty much emptied and redesigned. My favourite rose, Lady Emma Hamilton is looking beautiful, I love the coppery-pink colour and it smells wonderful. The purple veronicas are all in flower now and you can just make out an orange alstromeria in the background. I’ve given it a good weed, cleared some foxgloves as they were getting out of hand, I’ve moved the goose to fill the space left when the poppies died back. These wire sculptures are quite useful to slot into gaps, I made them at workshops a few years ago, I’ve a heron, a chicken, a duck and the goose.
Most of the roses are looking beautiful, I say most as Teasing Georgia which goes over the arch is looking very sorry for itself. I think it has blackspot so I need to prune all the affected bits, which is most of it! It’s a fairly old rose, I probably planted it over 15 years ago and it’s gradually declining. I might give it a hard prune this winter, a good feed in the spring and see what happens. You can just see it a couple of photos down next to the bird feeders.
The roses on the top bed are looking great. The creamy white one is called Champagne Moments. I planted them when we got married, it’s not got the strongest perfume but it flowers it’s socks off all summer. The beautiful yellow one is called Buttercup, for obvious reasons! It’s a very simple cupped rose, I love the uncluttered shape of it.
The bird feeders have been taken over by a clematis! There used to be a wooden obelisk here but it finally rotted a couple of years ago and I haven’t got round to making another one yet. It’s mingling beautifully around the bed instead, clambering over roses, geraniums as well as bird feeders. I treated myself to a new hanging bird table last week. I think it’s really pretty and it wasn’t at all expensive, we’re just waiting for the birds to realise there’s food in there! We were delighted at the weekend to see a flock of long tailed tits, I counted about a dozen on the feeders. They’re really pretty birds and one of the smallest we see in the garden. Because they are so small they can be hit hard in bad winters, we’ve hardly seen any for a couple of years, so it was great to find their numbers are back up again.
I had a good sort out of my pots too. This area had the worst soil of the garden, solid silver clay, so I levelled it, covered it in membrane and pebbles and put lots of different pots on it. That was quite a few years ago and it’s been brilliant. I plant up bulbs, shrubs, perennials, I also use it to grow on small plants until I feel they’ll have a chance in my heavy clay soil. The silver leafed seneccio at the front was one such purchase, it was only a £1 at the local nursery, I’ll fatten it up before I plant it out in a couple of years time. I also find that it’s made it’s own little microculture, even in dry conditions I don’t have to water too regularly.
Below is the view from just by the conservatory door, now everything has filled out the two stone walls which dominate over winter have completely disappeared, so it looks like a 10′ high wall of plants. It’s what I envisaged when I first started planning this garden, but it’s taken abut 10 years to get there!
I’m beginning to feel I’ll be about ready for the garden opening, even though I haven’t beaten the weeds like I hoped, at the moment I’m just making it look pretty! I had a good look round too and there’s lots of plants in bud which will hopefully be open by the end of the month, echinacea, crocosmia, day lillies…
…and I can always move a chicken wire sculpture to hide something!