Crab Apple 003 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=


Crab Apple


At least, I think that’s what it is. Tiny apples do form later in the season but never last to maturity. Maybe the birds have them or they drop off but either way they never colour up, making it difficult to identify the variety.

The little tree emerged from the centre of the group of 30 or so tall conifers that we had removed from the bank shortly after coming here. It’s a miracle that it survived, in almost total shade. We hammered a steel hook into one of the old conifer stumps and attached a rope to the poor bent crab apple trunk. Maybe after another year or so the support can be removed and the tree will continue to grow in the vertical.


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The bank 012 Wm[2]




This month has seen an explosion of green growth on the Precipitous Bank and it’s now ready for an injection of colour. New planting will be the main focus of my gardening effort over the season ahead with all the excitement (or not!) of seeing how it evolves.

I’ve got some perennials on order, my first excursion into online plant shopping. Nail biting stuff. And the greenhouse is packed full of seedlings: annuals and more perennials which will help to fill the gaps at a realistic cost.

There have been a couple more fundamental changes on the bank too. Two trees have gone. They were leafless in March and therefore quite difficult to spot on the usual view.


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This angle shows them more clearly.


The right hand arrow points to another survivor from the old conifer plantation. It too had to be pulled back with a rope for a couple of years but although now straight we’ve had a bit of a rethink. It was an oak and growing too close to the house for the size of tree it would have ultimately become. Best to get it out while it was still at a manageable size. Even so, watching your Other Half try to retain balance on that near vertical part of the slope, chainsaw in hand, is not for the faint hearted. Tempers got a bit frayed. My job, at the pointy end of the chainsaw note, was to hold on to sections of the trunk as they were severed and try to prevent them careering off down the hill.. Not least as my latest hellebore acquisitions are located directly below. And remember oak is a hardwood. A tad on the heavy side.

The other tree, indicated by the arrow on the left, was an old beech tree which had responded to the shade from the conifers by growing broader rather than taller. It’s a habit it refused to break out of, threatening to overwhelm my handkerchief tree. The Davidia has won out. No contest.


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The same view without the two trees.


Mike has also made more progress on ‘The Heap’. Will it be clear by next month? Maybe..


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Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’


Aside from the Davidia, the dominant tree on the bank will now be this one. I love the way the leaves open, tipped in red. It is packed with flower buds too and should be a picture in June. The red tints on the leaves will then return with interest in autumn.


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Hellebore ‘Penny’s Pink’

In spite of our tree felling escapades, intact and fading to a lovely dusky purple.


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Ferns continue to unfurl


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Mahonia aquifolium


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Making a beeline..


The pulmonaria have been flowering for months. They are tailing off now but still literally alive with bees and other flying insects. It’s the plant that cuts the large swathe down the hill from right to left in the centre of the monthly shot. The flowers are just too small though to show up from that distance. The plants suddenly burst into life when the conifers came down and have been flourishing there ever since.


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Lily of the Valley


As promised last month, I’ve started transferring the Lily of the Valley from the terraces and it’s going well so far. I hope it will do the job of stabilising the soil. It needs to. Large sections of the chicken wire have now gone, laboriously clipped away and disentangled from the ivy and weeds that had been growing underneath. In an ideal world the task would have been completed by now but, on the plus side, what could be nicer than a day spent nose down amidst these powerfully fragranced blooms?


There’s just so much more to do..


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