And The Azaleas March On..







…the future’s orange.


I may have picked the wrong angle for the monthly snapshot of the terraces. They are filling out nicely but this view doesn’t really show the colour that’s there. Apart from the obvious. But somehow the orange azalea seems more in context than the red aberration from the April scene. It’s making me think that I should perhaps move the red, now that it’s finished flowering, to the far end of the bottom bed. As it happens there’s a convenient gap. And in that position it might draw the eye gently rather than punching one in the face.

As long as it and the orange never open together.. now that would set my teeth on edge.



Sissyrinchium ‘Aunt May’, Astrantia ‘Roma’, Hakonechloa macra Aureola, Papaver ‘Checkers’

 At the moment it is a poppy occupying the centre of the stage and I can live with that.



Papaver ‘Checkers’

The purple poppy ‘Patty’s Plum’ should be just behind it. But I moved it this year and it’s holding a grudge. I’ve had one flower but now it’s given up. I may need to replace it.



 Astrantia ‘Ruby Wedding’, Campanula and Rose ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’

 The terraces have to work from both sides. This is a view from the top. It’s nice to get different perspectives but it makes the design doubly hard.




 The wall has taken on a purple hue.



Sempervivum ‘Pacific Hazy Embers’


 But there are plans afoot.

The crevices in the wall clearly support growth. I bought the Sempervivum with the intention of putting it in a trough, but could it work here? Mike set about one of the gaps in the mortar with a cold chisel and mallet to make it slightly wider and we nestled the plant in. It could be the perfect environment for succulents and other alpines.



Digitalis parviflora

There is plenty more to come in the terraced borders.



But after a hard day’s work what could be better than a west facing bench.

By the end of May it is surrounded by a canopy of Philadelphus in bloom. I wish you could smell it.


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.


2018-04-01T18:59:33+00:00May 31st, 2014|Tags: |


  1. islandthreads May 31, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Jessica I think you have a lovely view from both angles and I can understand the desire to sit on the bench, I like your campanular and fern wall, I read some years ago now, to get plants in crevices mix seed with a little damp compost and roll into a ball then push the ball into the crevice, I think the white poppy is lovely and delicate, love that dark astrantia ruby wedding too, Frances

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      I will try that trick with the seed and soil Frances, thank you. It saves having to make bigger holes in the wall! And obviously it works in nature because the ferns and campanula have colonised.

  2. Jane and Lance Hattatt May 31, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Hello Jessica:

    You are so clearly a plantswoman with an eye for the unusual. So many of the perennials you are growing in your garden are particularly good forms. Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ we grew in Herefordshire but it was always inclined to sulk with us. We concluded that it was probably not particularly robust. Your orange azalea would look very effective teamed with indigo blue, a surprising combination but one which works rather well.

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I do have Iris sibirica growing in front of the azalea but it doesn’t really show up in the photos. I’ve pretty well cleared these beds over the last couple of years, we inherited a jungle full of weeds (and way too much crocosmia). A lot of plants are reestablishing themselves. When the Irises form a decent clump they should do the job admirably.

  3. Sue@GLAllotments May 31, 2014 at 10:33 am - Reply

    I love the plants embedded into the wall.

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      It’s an area I want to make more of, especially as so many alpines and succulents can exist with very little water. I’ve tried growing them in troughs but they never really do well however much grit I add.

  4. bushbernie May 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Absolutely brilliant. You’ve got fabulous colour wherever you look at the moment. I think I could easily spend a few hours sitting on that bench. Great views.

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks Bernie. The bench is very tempting and we should use it more often!

  5. Pauline May 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Your slope is looking wonderful, so colourful and interesting. Your wall will be just the place for alpines that need really good drainage. I once moved (I thought) Patty’s Plum which then sulked and vanished, obviously I had left some roots behind because up it came again in the original place, 2 or 3 years later,even stronger and is now a wonderful plant. Just a couple of weeks ago I saw Oriental poppy foliage where I had moved it to, so it hasn’t died, just taken about 5 years to decide that it wants to live there, I now have two plants!!

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      Waiting for five years to return is certainly sulking. Well she can’t come back in the original spot because I have already filled it with something else. But I am happy with where I have moved her to so if she does turn up her roots I will replace her with another. That way if she chooses to return I’ll just get a bigger clump.

  6. Rosie May 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Philadelphus – one of my favourites, how lovely to sit almost under it! I love the blue campanula against the grey stone wall and your orange azalia is delightful:)

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      The Philadelphus hedge stretches down one side of the garden. I want to remove some of it, although it will pain me to do it, because it blocks a view down to the river.

  7. Alison May 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Your wall looks so stunning with so many plants growing in it and cascading over it. I love your orange Azalea.

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alison. There are many walls here, a necessity living on a steep slope, and I’m discovering their uses. It’s lovely to be on eye level with plants.

  8. Jennifer May 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Oh, how beautiful. Your house and garden are like something from a picture book. The colors are really stunning. I especially love the wall becoming covered in purple from the campanulas, it’s really pretty.

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Thank you Jennifer. It’s a work in progress. Both house and garden need an awful lot of attention!

  9. Nell Jean May 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Your terraces are spectacular. Living in a place that is mostly flat, I treasure any change in grade.

    Capitalize on the change from April’s red to May’s orange. The suggestion about using blue is a good one, complimentary colors. I like deepest purple, palest yellow, chartreuse and all shades of orange in the manner of Valerie Easton’s palette. It looks as if you are already using most of those.

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      The borders are evolving as they go along. I started off with a fairly predictable cottage blue/white/pink, but increasingly I’ve fallen in love with orange and the colour scheme has changed accordingly. So far at one end.. but it’s spreading!

  10. Freda May 31, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Your garden looks wonderful – I like the variety of form as well as colour (hakonechloa especially). We have the yellow azalea lutea which scents the whole garden just now, but I can’t get my philadelphus aureus to flower! Win some, lost some…

    • Jessica May 31, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Azalea lutea is a lovely shrub. I have a baby one, but no flowers this year. It’s so frustrating isn’t it. I’d love to have bearded irises but they just don’t seem to work here. A combination of too shady and too many slugs perhaps.

  11. Helen Johnstone May 31, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    I have the same problem as you with beds that are seen from both sides and it challenged me for years. I cheated with one by added step over apples along the top of the wall to give me an see through back to the border from the other side. Thanks for joining in again this month, am now considering semps in my dry stone wall

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Beds that are seen from both sides and on a slope must be the most challenging of all, as we both know!

  12. snowbird May 31, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Wow, how very lush and colourful the terraces look, and in such a short time too. I absolutely love to see things growing in cracks and crevices, look forward to seeing how they get

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Moving around some established plants has helped to fill it out, but most of all it’s the rain. The astilbes, not yet in flower, have grown to never previously seen heights. I will be splitting and moving some of those next year.

  13. angiesgardendiaries May 31, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    A vertical crevice garden – what a marvellous idea. I do hope it works for your Jessica. I love the campanula and asplenium growing there now but with others…wow!
    I seem to be seeing Orange Azaleas where ever I go right now, I’m trying not to take it as a sign that I need one! I do like them, just don’t know where I’d put one! I’m working on my brother, he has around 5 Rhododendron Lutea in his garden and I’m sure he can cope with 4 😉
    Your May view is spectacular and I do look forward to seeing how your terrace changes each month.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Thanks Angie. The campanula is looking particularly good this year as it’s been so wet. In other years it hasn’t coped so well and looked a bit straggly. I’m hoping the sempervivums will fare better even in a dry year.

  14. Helene June 1, 2014 at 3:38 am - Reply

    I agree about moving the Azalea, it is a bit in your face 🙂 Azaleas are easy to move, and usually recovers well so shouldn’t be a problem, mine has been having walkabouts in my garden several times the last 12 years as my garden has evolved and I think it will have to take a walk again – if I could just find where to. I love your terrace beds – and the SPACE you have. These beds alone can’t be far from the total space I have in the beds in my garden Sigh…
    And your campanula wall is gorgeous, I hope the sempervivums will grow well, I have seen them grow vertically before.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:32 am - Reply

      It’s encouraging to know that azaleas move well, thanks Helene. I think my red had better get its bags packed! It is good to have space, but then it needs filling if I am not to be inundated with weeds. It takes an awful lot of work to keep up with it. I am a slave to the garden at this time of year.

  15. Mark and Gaz June 1, 2014 at 5:39 am - Reply

    The orange azalea looks good where it is now, moving the other one might be a good idea for a succession of colour punch. Your terraced border looks great! I can imagine that sempervivum will do well and should spread out nicely. A plug and watch plant!

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

      I do like things that I can plant and forget about. The wall should be the ultimate in low maintenance gardening!

  16. CJ June 1, 2014 at 7:00 am - Reply

    I love the colour of that ruby astrantia, especially with the white rose, those colours really speak to me. It’s all looking really beautiful now, I do so love this time of year. The stone wall is fantastic, with the ferns growing out of it, and your metal table and chairs are lovely, and a perfect place to sit back and enjoy it all. CJ xx

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

      It’s the colour scheme I started out with, before the oranges wheedled their way in, and I do still like it. I’m now thinking the border will have a ‘hot’ end, where the azalea is, moving through to cooler colours at the nearer end.

  17. Chloris June 1, 2014 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Your garden is looking wonderful Jessica. Beautiful Azalea and I love your Astrantias. I have never seen that lovely Papaver Checkers. Oriental poppies are easy from root cuttings and if you move one you usually leave a bit of root behind which will eventually grow into a new plant.
    Have you considered Erigeron karvinskianus for your wall? It is lovely growing in walls but perhaps it is too invasive?

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:46 am - Reply

      I hadn’t considered the Erigeron and it’s a great idea. Thanks Chloris! The good thing about the wall is that the roots can’t go very deep so it’s easy to get things out. I can always pull away the excess.

  18. starproms June 1, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

    It’s all looking wonderful Jessica. It always makes me smile how plants decide for themselves, in the end, where they want to be.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 9:47 am - Reply

      They do don’t they. Nature can come up with some wonderful combinations on her own as well, often better than I could have dreamt up.

  19. Janet/Plantaliscious June 1, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Hi Jessica, I think planting up your walls will work wonderfully, you can start with semps and move on to other alpines, loads of options. The bench looks wonderfully enticing, I must plant more highly scented things. Moving the azalea – and praying the two don’t flower together – sounds like an excellent plan. Much better than palming it off on someone 😉 I love the view of your terrace from above, it is filling out beautifully, I think you are going to have endless fun playing around with it. I agree, planning borders that are seen from all sides is a particular challenge, I have two myself now, too soon to tell where I have gone wrong. I do like that Sissyrinchium ‘Aunt May’, that goes straight on my plant list… Wonderful astrantias.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Hopefully I am at the playing around stage with the terraces now and I’m looking forward to it. Unlike the rest of the garden which is still hard graft! Azalea moving is best in early autumn apparently, so it can sit where it is for the time being, now that it is fairly innocuous. Palming off? Perish the thought!

  20. Chel @Sweetbriar Dreams June 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    You really make me yearn to be back in my thatched cottage with its cottage garden full of blooms and shrubs. You have such a perfect setting to create such beauty.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks Chel. It’s such high maintenance though, isn’t it? I would like more time for days out and just for the simple pleasure of sitting for an afternoon and reading a book. No chance!

  21. Jo June 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Your terraces are looking fabulous and I love to see plants growing in the crevices of walls. There’s a new poppy, Plum Pudding, which flowers longer than Patty’s Plum apparently, I think I shall look out for that one. I love the Ruby Wedding astrantia, that’s a plant I’ve never grown yet I always like them when I see them, definitely one for my wish list.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Plum Pudding sounds very interesting, I’ll look it up. Thanks Jo.

  22. LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD June 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I love the views from above and below. It must be nice to have plants at eye level instead of always looking down at them as we do with so many things in the garden. Are there any bulbs that would grow with your orange Azaleas; thinking some kind of orange or brown Tulips. You have such a wonderful variety of plants and many effective combinations. Lots of food for garden thought. I grew Astrantia at my old garden but have had no luck with it at this garden. We won’t even talk about Patty’s Plum!

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      Plants that hang their flowers downwards, like hellebores and some geums, work really well on the top of the wall. Bulbs are problematic here (mice), but I’ve started planting them in wire mesh cages buried in the soil, as an experiment. I shall add some tulips in a limited way in the autumn and see what happens!

  23. Anna June 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Oh that bench sounds as if it is in the most perfect position Jessica 🙂

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      It’s a fleeting moment, but absolutely gorgeous when the Philadelphus is in flower. The garden is full of the scent of it at the moment. It’s just a shame the hedge has little of interest for the rest of the year.

  24. andreamynard June 1, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Your terraced garden is so colourful, beautiful from every angle. You definitely deserve a sit on that bench!

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Andrea. It’s getting there. There is more tweaking to do but it’s come a long way from the four foot weeds that used to grace it!

  25. CherryPie June 1, 2014 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    It is all looking very beautiful and colourful. A lovely place to sit and rest a while.

    • Jessica June 1, 2014 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      Thank you. I do hope we get a decent summer.

  26. Sigrun June 2, 2014 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Realy a great long boarder, Jessica. I love the papaver, times ago I had four in our garden.Now we have more shade and no papaver.


    • Jessica June 2, 2014 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      The terraced borders are in the sunniest bit of the garden, about the only place I can put them too.

  27. Simone June 2, 2014 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Your garden is looking good jessica and I LOVE the Orange Azalea. I am not keen on the red one though as I don’t generally like any red plants unless they are an orangy or transparent red. The planting in the wall is a great idea. Do you think a creepingThyme would do well in the cracks? Imagine the frangrance tyu would get from it!

    • Jessica June 2, 2014 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      I’m sure thyme would do well. It will be nice to have a real tapestry of plants there, especially if they are all flowering at different times.

  28. Sarah June 2, 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Wow it’s wonderful to see the changes in your terrace, it’s looks so full this month and full of treasures! Our poppy blooms were damaged by the rain. Sarah x

    • Jessica June 2, 2014 at 11:48 pm - Reply

      Mine too now, it’s been pouring most of the day (and it wasn’t forecast!). It was fortunate we got to take the pictures when we did.

  29. Caroline Taylor June 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Those poppies look so delicate and beautiful.

    • Jessica June 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm - Reply

      They’re lovely aren’t they.. like paper flowers.

  30. Amy at love made my home June 2, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Lovely to see what is blooming in your garden. I hope that you can work out the Azeleas! xx

    • Jessica June 2, 2014 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      I have hopes the red one will look better when moved. If not, I’ll just have to plant something in front of it!

  31. Suzanne June 3, 2014 at 12:49 am - Reply

    It is looking super! I like the planting in the crevices idea. I work in a garden where there are Corydalis cheilanthifolia in the cracks in between the bricks and stones. I tried to buy more of it here, but it was unavailable. I did find that it is sold on your side of the pond however.
    There are so many plants that would work for you. What fun!

    • Jessica June 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      In the process of checking it out I found quite a few photos of it growing in a wall. Looks fab!
      It will be trial and error I think. It is not a dry stone wall, so we are having to carve out niches in mortar. It will only suit plants that don’t need much soil or root penetration.

  32. linda June 3, 2014 at 12:52 am - Reply

    Ok…so now I need to get me some white poppies….those are gorgeous!
    Well…so is everything else too Jessica….a very enchanting place you live in…
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica June 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      They are gorgeous, but they don’t last very long in our rain. And plenty more of that in the forecast too. 🙁

  33. Christina June 3, 2014 at 8:42 am - Reply

    Designing a sloping border that is seen from the top, bottoma nd of course from two sides isn’t easy; your terraces are looking lovely, (I would still like to see the line of the terrace broken in places perhaps by a tall grass or perhaps it already is and just isn’t tall yet).

    • Jessica June 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      I have a pink pennisetum in mind (Karley Rose). It needs moving from somewhere where it doesn’t have enough space.
      The terraces will be in permanent motion I suspect, it is going to take a year or two of tweaking to get it right. But it will be fun.

  34. AnnetteM June 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I wish I could smell your Philadelphus too – their scent in wonderful. We had a large shrub that never flowered so it had to go. Some years later we are trying again with a dwarf variety. I am waiting anxiously to see if it is really a dwarf (been caught out before) and also if it will flower. It may need to be somewhere a bit sunnier, but at least it is small enough to move if need be. Your garden is looking wonderful as ever – does your orange azalea have any scent? I do like them even if they don’t and have plans to replace a rather boring shrub with one.

    • Jessica June 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      I’m not aware of any scent, but I will make a point of having a sniff tomorrow! I’m going to have to give it a haircut when it’s finished flowering, it’s become rather sprawling. Mike is threatening to do it himself if I don’t..

  35. The terraces are coming along really well. It must be such a great place to sit down, have a cuppa and enjoy the space. Some really lovely photos too – reminds me I must get Astrantia ‘ruby wedding’ – it really is stunning. I would like to see a pic of Digitalis Pavifloria when it flowers – it’s not one I’ve seen before – am very curious.

    Putting some alpines etc into the wall is a good idea. It’s something I’ve been experimenting with (i must blog about it some time) and I find it amazing just how well some are doing with so little soil. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.

    My post:

    • Jessica June 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      I’m hoping that the rain and moisture in the air will be enough to sustain the alpines in the wall. The campanulas got there and grow there naturally, so why not?
      D. parviflora is the brown one with quite small flowers, I’ll be sure to get a photo. I grew them from seed and this is the first year they’ve flowered, I hope they come true.

  36. nataliescarberry June 5, 2014 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Wow such beauty EVERYWHERE! Would I love to come and visit with my camera. Hugs, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica June 5, 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

      Thank you! It is not a patch on your garden though Natalie. I think I am my own worst enemy sometimes, I keep moving stuff around. I hope when it settles and matures it will look much better.

  37. Laura June 6, 2014 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Sisyrinchium montanum is native to Manitoba, Canada, and I can’t wait to plant some in my front garden. As usual, thank you for the Latin! You challenge my brain with the differences between our growing zones!

    • Jessica June 6, 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

      I can only provide the latin because I keep the labels 🙂
      It always amazes me how much there is that we can both grow. It amazes me even more that anything can survive your winter temperatures! Sisyrinchium usually rots with me, we’ll see how this one does.

  38. Anne June 6, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Beautiful, beautiful garden. L Anne x

    • Jessica June 7, 2014 at 12:07 am - Reply

      Thanks Anne.

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