Monday, 1 February 2016

End of Month View January 2016

I had already made up my mind near the tail end of last year on which part of the garden to focus on for my End of Month View post.  In case you are unfamiliar with this popular meme let me tell you a bit about it.  Hotsted by Helen at The Patient Gardener on the last day (or thereabouts as is often in my case) of each month. Helen supplies us with the title, the subject is entirely of your choosing.  It can be your entire garden, individual borders or even specimen plants if you so choose.  All she asks is that you link back to her site in your post.  This will the third year I have joined in with this meme and on a personal level have found it very useful.  I am easily distracted, even my primary school teachers noticed this at an early age. Talks too much, easily distracted and needs to pay more attention, these were comments I received on just about every school report I ever brought home.  Do these kind of  comments resonate with anyone else?  Anyway, as I was saying, easily distracted. my gardening at times can be a bit like that.  Joining in with this meme has truly helped focus my attention.  Previously I've used this post to share with you newly planted areas of my garden but for 2016 I am doing something different.  I have chose an area that I know needs some work but the planting is a bit more mature.  Please bear in mind that mature in my garden is far from mature in the true sense of the word.  In my garden what it really means is that some things have been planted and growing for no more than 4 or 5 years.  Things are getting there, albeit slowly.

This bed has gone through many a reinvention over the past 5 years.  I suppose you could say it has had a bit of an identity crisis.  At one point there was a pond in here, it's humble beginning was small rockery - I learned fast that plants suitable for rock gardens really do prefer much more sun than this bed offers.  It doesn't even have a exciting name!  I call it the 'shady bed in the gravel area'.  This area used to be home to a rather large kiddies trampoline in the dim and distant past.   I am hoping over the coming months I can get a bit more creative and give it a more becoming name.
Shady bed in gravel area
As I mull over the positives, there is plenty of evergreen interest for winter.  The soil in this bed is just incredible to work with.  It retains just the right amount of moisture for the plants that now grow here and there are some nice plants mingling in there when it finally gets going.  No plants that grow here now struggles.  I like to think I am winning that right plant/right place battle.

So why am I focusing on this area?  The answer to that is two fold.  Firstly, after paying slightly more than passing attention to this border last year it became apparent that the colour scheme here leaves a lot to be desired.  At certain times throughout the year there are a bit too many pinks clashing with yellows. Secodly, planting too is a bit mish mash.  There are too many single specimens, although they are pretty in their individual rights, they are too small to make much of an impact.  By observing this area over the coming months, I hope that by autumn or at the latest next spring I will know where I want to go with it all.

Sideways back step this is the view you get as you walk immediately out the back door. This border at it's widest is about 3m deep.  At both ends the planting areas jut out far enough to catch plenty of sun.  This corner is an extremely wind spot, the wind batters up the side of the building.  

The shade comes by way of the fence on this side of the garden.  In summer it is sunny for a good few hours in the afternoon.  Evergreens at the fence are a bit run of the mill I suppose you could say. Euonymus japonica Ovatus Aureus and Mahonia Charity. Both said to do well and have done so here in shade.  They don't exactly excite me.  A purple leafed Cotinus, C x coggygria Dusky Maiden will eventually fill out the other corner.  Although shady, the Cotinus does receive enough sun to retain those dark leaves.  In fact they haven't all fallen off yet.  You can see them just behind the large fern.  

More individual plants will be highlighted in future posts but for this month the stars of the show are/will be my special snowdrops.  There are 12 of my specials growing in this bed.  All except 4 of those 12 were new to the garden last year.  I am happy to grow them here so I can keep my eye on them until they all make good sized clumps and I can be confident to try them elsewhere in the garden.  Update:  There are now only 11 specials.  Galanthus Jonathan has failed to show and on rooting around in the soil, I find that there is no sign of a bulb in the planting basket.

Blooming or about to bloom are G. Mrs Macnamara, Trumps, Augustus, Jaquenetta and S. Arnot. Others are only just showing foliage and one or two are only just poking their noses up.  I have inadvertently selected early, mid and late varieties so the snowdrop season should be quite extended here.  Another positive.
Flower bud - Galanthus Trumps
Left over from the rock garden era - Iris reticulata Pauline.  There was once a good size clump of these bulbs but obviously over time they have either rotted or been inadvertently dug out.

Iris reticulata Pauline

Lastly, I'd like to include the section of border on the other side of the trellising.  This was at one time a continuation of the same bed but was divided when I put in the trellising 2 years ago.  This area also needs a bit of attention.  There are way too many plants growing in here.  It is not so obvious at the moment but later in the year it gets rather cramped.  Common snowdrops, G. nivalis line the stone edging and other than that small clump bottom left there is little else of interest other than varying shades of green right now.

Camellia/Enkianthus bed

I hadn't realised I had prattled on so much, I hope I haven't bored you all to tears.  Perhaps the teacher was right - I do talk too much!  Thanks for reading and I hope the coming week is a good one whether you are in the garden or out.  Storm Henry is raging outside right now - not pleasant at all!


  1. Dear Angie, I was hoping that you would take part in the End of Month View meme this year, since I enjoyed your posts so much in 2015. The area that you have chosen looks good to me as it is, but I see your points and I am sure when your focus is on this bed, you will improve it even more.
    I love the iris reticulata 'Pauline', such an intense and saturated color. Do you intend stock up with this beautiful bulb, again?
    I really enjoy when you are rambling on in your writing. It is quite entertaining. So don't listen to your school teacher ;-)!
    Last year, when I was reporting about my White Garden Bed, I dropped the ball in participating in the meme in the middle of the year. This year I decided to try again and focus on a bed in the front yard, hopefully this time I will follow through...
    Warm regards,

  2. The Cotinus ´Dusky Maiden´ is wonderful and I hope it has the most sunny spot in your shady bed. Love all the different snowdrops and you all still know them by name. Last year I bought some new ones too, but oooh so stupid I have to find out where I have written down their names, I am sometimes so chaotic. I love your writing, not at all boring, it is just fun because you are a real enthusiastic gardener.
    regards, Janneke

  3. I am looking forward to seeing you develop this bed, Angie, it has real potential. At least you have some nice winter structure with those evergreens, bergenias and ferns. On a gardening course recently we were advised that in a small garden, life is just too short to tolerate any plant that is just 'ok' or 'not a favourite', so if you are bored by those perennials, maybe you should start by replacing them with something you absolutely love, unless you can find a companion plant that brings them a new lease. Anyway, I know what you mean about the mish-mash of small clumps rather than statement groups of plants. I have the same problem, although the benefit of that is not having bought five of the same plant that then turns out to hate the place you put it in! One of the things I'm going to do this year is increase in number/size anything that did well last year (and that I liked, obviously) so that I do start to form some statement planting. I'll definitely be following your progress here - a new project is good fun!

  4. I am excited to see how 2016 unfolds for this area which will undergo development and a name change. It certainly has its challenges being a windy corner. I am pleased that the soil is good. Thank you for explaining the meme. It sounds interesting - I will take a look at joining next month.

  5. Your garden looks really good - thanks for the tour around. Rehabilitating gardens after childrens' trampolines/climbing frames can be very liberating.

  6. Not paying attention and daydreaming were the two main comments on my school reports. ( I was thinking of more important things!) I will follow the development of the bed at the EOMV.

  7. It is already looking very good. It will be quite impressive when the snowdrops have increased.

  8. How lovely to have such great soil to play with, I'm sure you will enjoy the process of editing and improving the area, I shall enjoy seeing what you do.

  9. 'Pauline' is beautiful! And your soil looks incredibly healthy, indeed. My soil here is great, too--a fertile silt/loam. But I have to wait until at least March to see anything bloom. Another snowstorm on the way ... ;-)

  10. Prattling is fine by me, I'm doing it all the time! So glad that Pauline likes it in your garden, it sounds as though you have some beautiful soil for her. You have a good structure to your border and I'm sure it will look beautiful in the summer when you have the colours of flowers that you want.

  11. I look forward to seeing the progress of this area. I think it is important to have a foliage background like this. Mahonia is useful as it is evergreen and very sculptural. Your snowdrops are exciting, I love Trumps.

  12. Look forward to seeing what you do Angie, though if the last two years are anything to go by I already know it will look fab. This meme is so good for our gardens!

  13. It's strange how gardens evolve - our garden pond was originally intended to be the size of a large bird bath but it grew. We become dissatisfied with ideas that once were thought to be perfect . That's gardens for you never finished.

  14. You talk too much? Noooooooooooooooo!;)
    Your shady boarder is looking very well. I want to see all your snowdrops in future - in our garden some are blooming. The voles are killing some of them. I do not buy very often new one, I wait, sometimes I get one as a present from a friend.


  15. Look forward to see what you do with the border. Our garden was forever changing but I think I'm happy with the design of it now.. well that is until the next Although I do have to change some planting around and add more but the design of it I really like. But that is all the part and joy of gardening :o)

  16. Hi Angie, look forward to developments, your evergreens may be "run of the mill" but after all they are tried and tested plants for that kind of situation, the only thing with the Euonymus is that you will have to keep an eye out for reversion. Spent a great deal of my school life looking out of the window, wishing I was outside, that's how I finished up at horticultural college.

  17. I received similar comments at school Angie with my attention span being likened to that of a butterfly. I thought that was quite a nice comparison though. Your shady bed in the gravel looks a most spot to develop and the year is getting off to the best start with snowdrops. No doubt you will reveal the identities of the others at the end of this month :)

  18. I was obviously not paying enough attention - the missing word in my third sentence is interesting :)

  19. "Rona would do better if she stopped staring out the window all the time" lol, a precursor of a career to come, preferring to be outdoors! I'm looking forward to see how you develop this border, sometimes it's good to step back and re evaluate, I did that with a few older borders before I left my last garden, it lead to some new and interesting plantings :) Have a great weekend.

  20. Your 'shady bed by the gravel area' looks like it will become a great feature. I showed my wife the photograph as we have a similar area in our garden by the fence, and we can not decide what to do with it. I think I might take a leaf from your book and use your ideas for my own border.

    Bert Aguilar @ Rainfill Tanks and Curved Roofing Supplies


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