Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Merry Christmas

I am extremely busy with work right now and am finding little time to write or catch up with all your blogs.  Normal service will resume in the New Year but I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones harmony, happiness and much festive fun!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  See you all next year!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

End of month view November 2015

A calm descended over us on Monday when I took these pictures.  We've had a deluge of wintery storms over the weekend.  What a real mixed bag it has been.
End of October 2015

This post is the penultimate End of Month view for the year.  And I must say that this meme hosted by Helen - The Patient Gardener is an extremely useful tool.  It encourages me/us to concentrate on our vision,  To focus on a particular area throughout the year and because this particular spot is highlighted each month, I am motivated to keep on top of things.  As gardeners it's almost impossible to get it 100% correct first time. Having a year worth of posts to refer to over winter, to ponder over what worked, what didn't and what may or may not in future is I think an invaluable reference to have.

The jobs I set out to do since last month are I am pleased to say all completed.  The front garden is a far emptier looking than it has been for months.  I edged the lawn in anticipation of perhaps getting a couple of clear dry days and giving it a final cut.  That was not to be however.  Looking at the latest pictures the grass doesn't look too bad but it is longer than I would prefer.

Looking west End of November 2015
As well as weeding and a good tidy up of some of the perennials, the whole are has received a mulch.  I don't like leaving too much winter debris lying around.  To me it harbours more garden nasties than I can bear.  The last of the taller roses have also received a prune back by half to prevent possible wind rock.  The others that remain untouched don't need it, I think.  They will all be pruned accordingly in springtime. The winter flowering Jasmine is blooming against the fence and has now reached to bottom rung of the trellis.  I will be able to remove the canes that support it now and begin tying it so it spreads out.  It is not my favourite plant, I've said this many times but am willing to give it time to grow on me.  I suspect that as soon as I come across an alternative I won't hesitate to replace it.
Towards the house

Mulching the entire garden at this time of the year is not something I've done before so this is a bit experimental really.  Whether or not all the plants will appreciate this treatment might well be another matter that I will have to address come spring but the roses, I am assured by my friend (a keen rose grower) will benefit.   I keep in mind that this garden was primarily all lawn a little more than a year ago and has in all honesty had little improvement done since planting out other than some compost added in planting holes and the privet hedge mulched with manure last spring.  So I think any improvement to the soil I can provide must be a benefit.
Towards the street

The Liriope muscari Royal Purple had some good intentions, but sadly the cold has stopped it dead in it's tracks.  There are masses of unopened buds under all that foliage.  

Liriope muscari Royal Purple
I can't sing the praises of Salvia Amistad enough, it has bloomed since around the end of July and is presently continuing to do so.  The downside to this wonderful plant is the fact that it is not hardy here.  We can't have it all can we?

Salvia Amistad
Rosa Teasing Georgia is a plant that I have been guilty of a slating in the past but she seems to be coming good now.  The stems are still a bit weak in my opinion.  Many of you expressed that often DA Roses can be a bit weak in their first years.  Of course, I bow to your superior knowledge and give it at least half a chance.     
Rosa Teasing Georgie

Lastly, a battered and bruised late bloom from R. Fighting Temeraire is just about hanging on in there.  

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 2015

The winds may have decreased but the rain persists.  It was more of a squelch around the garden than a stroll to get some shots of just what is blooming for this month's Bloom Day Post.

We've been spoiled with far warmer temperatures than we would normally experience here lately but this last couple of days have seen us come back down to earth with a bang!  At the beginning of the week the thermometer was reading an all time November high of 16°C.  That's warmer than some of the days we had back in summer this year.

The November Garden can be rather lean on blooms yet had it not been for the aforementioned storm some of the roses would have been looking particularly good this month.  The blooms that were open are now rather worse for wear.

Rosa Teasing Georgia

Still holding on in there, Rudbeckia summerina Orange.

Rudbeckia summerina Orange

Laden with rain, almost listing from the weight, is the magnificent Salvia Amistad.

Salvia Amistad

Against the fence, the winter Jasmine is now blooming.

Jasminum nudiflorum
Far from perfect Alstroemeria blooms.

Alstroemeria Inca Ice
Some of you may remember I attempted to over winter last year's Fuchsia as dormant specimens in the dark and by all accounts this was a massive fail or was it?  I left the pots to their own devices and for pretty much most of the summer they did nothing - a few weeks ago one of the pots suddenly sprung to life and is now flowering.  Now there's a turn up for the books!

Unknown Fuchsia

  Another Fuchsia, a hardy variety this time, shows few signs of just how late in the year it is.

Fuchsia magellanica Alba

The obligatory Mahonia in bloom.

Mahonia x media Charity

The first Hellebore of the winter also in bloom.  These green blooms eventually fade to a pale lemon.

Helleborus x hybridus Yellow Lady

Lastly, some surprises, we all like surprises do we not?

The most elusive plant in my garden.  Clematis Elsa Spath.  Last seen autumn 2013 but has never bloomed since around 2011.  I was surprised to find a single bloom entwined amongst one of the Clematis montana.

Clematis Elsa Spath

Candelabra Primula and Cowslips - Primula veris
Primula japonica Millers Crimson and Primula veris Sunset Shades 

I wonder, are there any surprises in your garden this November?

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Tree Following November 2015 - Sorbus Autumn Spire

Standing erect and almost naked, my wee Rowan tree has every reason to be proud of itself.   

Silhouetted against the gloomy autumn sky. There are no berries left.  Not that there was many to begin with!  I counted a total of 23.

It may be small but it certainly packed a punch!  

At it's peak, the colours were astounding.  Rich shades of red and orange.

They now lie manky brown on the ground below

Lastly, the wider view.

If you are a regular Tree Follower you will know that Lucy is now passing the baton over to Pat at The Squirrel Basket.  Same rules apply and you can join or read November's post here.  Hopefully Lucy's laptop problem are resolved sooner rather than later and I'm sure you'll all want to join me in wishing Pat all the very best at taking over at the helm!  Pop over now to show your support. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

End of Month View October 2015

I made few inroads with the jobs I was planning to do since I my last end of month post but not quite completed all the jobs I had hoped to have done by the end of the month.  DIY
Looking west
End of September 2015
projects, both here and at my brother's house saw my weekends occupied.  It can be tough being the family 'DIY go to gal' at times. Like buses, DIY jobs tend to come all at once!

As you can see there is still a fair bit of colour out in the front garden.  The trees that line the river bank tell their own autumn tale.  I think without seeing these trees you'd be hard pushed to guess we are now in the last throes of the year.  Thankfully the lawn has needed no mowing since my last post.

Looking west
End of October 2015

I have removed and binned the annuals.  I had originally toyed with the idea of attempting to bring Begonia Burning Embers through winter but the fact that the plugs were quite cheap last spring means it is probably not worth the time and effort involved.  The two roses I needed to move have been cut back by half and moved into better positions.  It broke my heart to cut of all those buds and blooms from R. The Lark Ascending but needs must and all that.  R. Lady Emma Hamilton has many buds lower down on the bush which might yet open and  two out of the three Salvia Amistad needed removing in order to do this.  This corner now feels much more balanced and each rose didn't even flinch!  Salvia cuttings have been taken and are now rooting away nicely on the kitchen windowsill.   I went a tad over the score last year by successfully striking no less than 18 cuttings and had a job finding homes for those I didn't want.  I've been a bit more cautious this year and have taken 6.  I had no idea just how readily they root.  Not having a greenhouse, I toil for valuable windowsill space in winter, the other reason I did not bother with the Begonia cuttings. 

The view toward the street shows the gaps left by the removal of the annuals and Dahlias.  I lifted the Cosmos atrosanguineus Chocamocha plants shortly after taking these pictures.  I will go into more detail at the end of my post on my plans for these expensive plants.  At a tenner a pop I can't afford to throw money like that away each year.  Cotinus Grace, in the foreground, now in full autumn mode.  Along the fence line, I have added some tall species lilies.  Lilium leichtlinii, which I bought last spring and never did get round to getting them in the ground.  They did beautifully in their pot though.  I picked up a couple of packs of martagon Lilies, L. martagon Arabian Nights, the other week in the GC.  I would have bought more but these two packs were the last on shelf.  I think their colours should blend right in.  They look rather impressive don't you think?

This is how the garden looks as you walk in the gate.   You can see some of the plants are just not  giving up yet.  There is plenty still on offer for any pollinators that are still visiting the garden.  The plants I added last month,  the Erysimum cuttings and silver edged Lady's Mantle have settled in and are now putting on quite a bit of growth.  Rosa Lady of Shallot will also receive a prune back to prevent wind rock.  This edge takes a mean battering from the winds.  The impressive foliage is that off Erysimum Fragrant Star.  Variegated green with cream edging it has done a grand job whether in bloom or not.

I mentioned last month of my intent to mulch the roses this winter.  My friend swears by giving her roses a good dollop at this time of the year.  I got round to buying the manure but haven't quite got round to spreading it yet.  The roses I have moved have been done and the climbing R. Teasing Georgia by the arch is also done but the remainder have yet to have their share.   They will be done this week come hell or high water.

A couple of you asked me last month on how I intend to keep the Cosmos for winter.  I should have pointed out that this will be the first time I've attempted this, so very much at the experimental stage.  Unlike the annual Cosmos many of us grow,  Cosmos atrosanguineus Chocamocha is in fact a tuberous perennial that in order to keep them for next year will require them to be kept frost free during winter.  I have scoured the web for advice and the first stage is to lift the whole plant, cut back growing stems to a couple of inches and allow the tubers/roots to dry out for a few days in the shed.  The plants lifted very easily and I shook off as much excess soil/compost as I could. Once dried it will, I imagine, be easier to clean of the remaining soil.  To me they look like a mass of roots rather than tubers, or tubers than I am more familiar with that is.   Once dried out I will pot them on into a trough I have with some fresh, dry compost.  I will overwinter them in the cupboard under the stair.  The idea, I am assuming is to treat them pretty much like Begonia or Dahlia tubers.  We shall see.  I am also reading that they can take an age to come back into growth and that I must not be too hasty to discard them next year.  

Thanks for reading and please join me and other garden bloggers over at The Patient Gardener's blog for a nosy around other folks gardens.  Have a good week.

Rosa Port Sunlight


Friday, 23 October 2015

Red and Green......

.....should never been seen, except upon an Irish Colleen.  It seems the words of this ditty I grew up knowing and reciting goodness knows how many times in my life is variable depending on from where we hail. Doing some research on this rhyme for this post, it appears that some of you may well use Blue and Green or even Pink and Green.  There seems to be no definitive answer to which is right and which is wrong.

Blue and Green should never be seen except with something in between.

Pink and Green fit for a queen.

Red and Yellow catch a fellow.

Brown and Blue will never do.

These are just a few I came across. Which, if any, version are you familiar with?  Or perhaps you can shed light on the whole matter.  Please put me out of my misery.

The red and green in my understanding is the red of the Irish Colleen's (girl) flowing red locks and the green of her dress.  My aunt was a red head and always told me that red heads should just not wear pink, ever! Green and autumnal colours pretty much made up her entire wardrobe if I remember rightly.  The red and green connection apparently has it's roots based in maritime history - the lights we can see when its dark in shipping lanes.  Aircraft also use the green and red light system..  A stark warning in the waters or skies if you see them together.

Being Scottish, I of course, have to bring the matter of tartan into the equation - well that just turns the whole colour theory thing on it's head, doesn't it?  Anything goes in so far as that's concerned. Some of those tartans just scream at you and should come with their own colour volume button.

Whether they be deciduous or evergreen - many plants around my garden have something to offer in autumn.  Be it shades of orange, yellow, pink, red, even boring old brown by far my favourite autumn colour is red.  No matter how inspired our flower combinations are or how well thought out our foliage combos are it's at this time of the year the garden can take on a different dimension before our garden retreats til spring.

Reds and greens just happen to be my favourite at this time of the year.  There is plenty of it around right now.  

Red Holly berries and glossy green leaves

Cotoneaster berries are so shiny they look false.  Those leaves will soon turn crimson red.

The twiggy young purple leafed birch, Betula Crimson Frost looks good with a green backdrop.

Blood red stems of the variegated Cornus.

More red stems - the coral bark maple, Acer palmatum Eddisbury

Reddening rowan foliage against the blue sky - and a handful of yellow berries.  Well it is autumn!

That was yesterday......and today?  An overnight transformation.  You can see now why is called Autumn Spire.

Not only does this Persicaria bloom over many months and is a valuable plant in my garden- it's gradual change of colour is vivid.  It will soon collapse in the mushy heap though.

Even Clematis montana Marjorie is getting in on the act.

This dying Peony foliage is on fire this year.  Others are not quiet so eyecatching.

The Enkianthus and Gillenia too.  Hints of red creeping in here.

Another Acer, just about to come into it's own - surrounded by a sea of greenery in the side garden.

A closer look

Are your autumn reds doing it for you right now?  Or is something else catching your eye?   

This October I am joining Christina and other garden bloggers rejoicing their autumn colours over at her Hesperides Garden.  Please do join us.   

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day October 2015

As the autumn/winter clear up begins, the garden is looking rather gappy right now.  I've began cutting down those plants that look rather ugly as they die back.  The emptying of our garden waste bins change from fortnightly to monthly lifts at the end of the month and I always try to make each lift count at this time of the year.

Firstly, apologies to Carol over at May Dream Gardens for joining rather late this month.  It's been a busy week at chez Angie!

Just coming into bloom for this month's bloom day post, is the Heptacodium miconioides.  A scented late flowering shrub.  Every year there is a race to see which comes first.  The pretty white flowers or the first frost.  It was a almost a photo finish this year.  The first blooms opened fully the day before our first frost.

Witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena continues to open yet more flowers too.  Little sign of autumn from the leaves though.

The hardy fuchsia, F. magellanica alba, still puts on a good display too.

The shady bed is a bit tired looking if you get up close and personal but from a distance it doesn't look too bad.  The blackened Kirengeshoma in the centre of this bed showing obvious signs of the frost.  Anemone Andrea Atkinson is still blooming though and the Mahonia at the back is just about to come into bloom. My first job when this border has died back, or more correctly, when I get in there with my secateurs, is to do something about that ugly old trellising on the fence.

Beneath the Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky, Anemone trullifolia has come into bloom again.

The pot of Agapanthus africanus Blue draws the eyes from the large gap left when I cut down the Helenium in the top border.  Perennial sunflowers, Persicaria and Geum are still working hard to provide sustenance for the pollinators.

 The view from below is equally floriferous!  These plants are teaming with pollinators.

If you can excuse baby Olli's laundry hanging on the line - this is the view looking to the top of the garden through the arch.

This late flowering Monkshood is another still going strong this month.  The stems from Persicaria Red Dragon mingles up through these plants.

Aconitum carmichaelii wilsonii Spatlese

Making my way down to the side garden, most of the Colchicums have succumb to last week's rain but this small clump of C. agrippinum is still upright.  I enjoyed a solitary bloom last year, this year there are three.  Last year's bedding Primula will flower again this year.  They've obviously enjoyed the cooler summer.

Colchicum agrippinum

Cyclamen around the garden are at various stages, this small clump of white flowering C. hederifolium is happy beneath the purple leafed maple.  I like the contrast between the purple leaf of the maple and the silver and white of the Cyclamen.

silver leafed Cyclamen hederifolium

I don't grow many Asters - they suffer dreadfully from powdery mildew here and I've gradually removed most of them from the garden.  However, the few I have left have done well this year.  The extremely slow growing Acer shirasawanum well into autumnal mode now.

Out to the front garden, there are still many blooms.  In the far corner, the Rudbeckia, Alstromeria and Rosa Graham Thomas bloom.  Ignore the variegated Sedum, it needs removing.  Cotinus Grace, another shrub that is now showing signs of autumn.

Other roses blooming right now in the front garden: R. The Lark Ascending, Teasing Georgia, Port Sunlight, The Lady of Shallot and Fighting Temeraire.

And as you can see, the roses are not the only plants still looking good in the front garden this October.  I really am pleased with just how many plants are still going strong.

 I hope you are enjoying your October blooms as much as I am enjoying mine.  Thanks for reading and have a good week!