Geum 'Totally Tangerine' 004 Wm


Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’


It’s astonishing the difference a few degrees rise in temperature makes. Seeds in the greenhouse are germinating left right and centre, after several fruitless attempts earlier on in the season. The garden has shifted from second gear into third. Buds pop open almost as I watch. The gardener, under pressure from all sides, has had her feet up. Well.. mostly.


Outhouses 002 Wm


I give you Exhibit A: a small and, so we thought, self contained little project on a flat(ish) bit of ground. Perfect for getting back into the swing of things?


This area has looked a mess for all the time we’ve been here. It’s not as if it’s a hidden away little corner either. No, it’s the view from one of the kitchen windows, not to mention the part of the garden we pass through on each and every trip up the 84 steps and into the outside world. It used to contain two very large hydrangeas which encroached so far onto the path in front of the border as to render the route virtually impassable. As an adjunct to the Great Rhododendron Shifting Project back in March the winch became attached to each of the hydrangeas and they too were hauled off up the hill.


Outhouses 003 Wm


Over the last couple of weeks we’ve cleared the worst of the remaining vegetation and given the honeysuckle over the ‘rustic’ leaning pergola a much needed trim. Mike has removed the dilapidated trellis from the outhouse wall, patiently scraped away at the old, flaking white paint on the stonework and spruced up the pointing.


Outhouses 005 Wm


After much deliberation, it must have been all of a nanosecond, I was persuaded that a trip to the garden centre would be necessary for the purchase of plants. The border will have a basically bronze theme with highlights of blue and a splash of white to lift it. Except that the white, I now discover, may inadvertently also bear a splash of pink (note to self: reading glasses are now mandatory for garden centre trips). Still, Rose ‘Desdemona’ comes bearing buds so it shouldn’t be too long a wait to see just how much she jars.

The climber on the smart new trellis is Clematis alpina ‘Frances Rivis’, looking and no doubt feeling a tad bruised after my tortuous attempt to disentangle her stems. I’ve decided to add a second to provide a more generous covering of green. Next May, once mature, they should bear delicate blue blooms, the highlight of the border before the perennials and the roses take over later in the season.  To the left the exotic lush leaves belong to the Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae. They’ve been grown from seed and must now be about four years old. Too young to bloom just yet, but a spell in the garden over summer will no doubt help the cause. They’re planted in their pots. In autumn I’ll just lift them out and return them to the greenhouse for the winter.


Clematis alpina 'Frances Rivis' 001 Wm


Clematis alpina ‘Frances Rivis’


Iris 'Gerald Darby' 001 Wm


Iris ‘Gerald Darby’


Also in there, another rose, ‘Hot Chocolate’, first discovered on Helen’s blog The Patient Gardener a week or so back and prompting an immediate search. Plus a couple of grasses: Chasmanthium latifolium, Northern Sea Oats, the seed heads turning bronze as they mature and Uncinia rubra, divided into three from an existing large clump.




So was it the easy, self contained job that we thought it would be? Are they ever? Such a joy to observe the newly planted border from the kitchen window with all of the bounty to come. Less than pleasing to find that we have also opened up a splendid view of the dustbins.

There is a plan. Of course there is. Another job to add to the list. Doh.