Further to my previous post, the birds have now well and truly finished feathering their nests with my pampas grass…..
When I was very young, I absolutely loved the TV programme, The Herbs. My favourite character was Bayleaf, The Gardner and all these years later I often sing his theme tune when digging away in my own patch.
“I’m Bayleaf, I’m the gardener,
I work from early dawn,
you’ll find me sweeping up the leaves and
tidying the lawn” la, la la……
This is all a bit random but there is a connection with a wonderful TV programme of my youth and what I am planning to do next in my garden.
I need a herb garden having dug up my herb plants last year and so the brain is whirring away thinking about form and function!
I have had a few different herb gardens in the past;
None of the photos linked to above are my efforts but they do give you the general idea of how I laid out the herbs in their various guises.
Now, reading my book “The Herb Garden month-by-month by Barbara Segall, I have found what looks like a lovely herb and rose garden which combines old and fragrant Damask roses with the gorgeous colours and aromas of herbs such as lemon balm, ginger mint, lavender and sage growing in the warm sun beneath the free-flowing blooms. I can smell long, lazy-hazy days of summer already and not a spade has been wielded yet.
I have already found a rose which I MUST have in this garden. It is the Damask rose “Ispahan” which originates from my husband’s home city of Esfahan/Isfahan in Iran. I don’t think he knows that such a rose exists so it will be a nice surprise when it arrives.
Now all I need to do is find the space and the energy to start the project.
At least I have a plan!
After last week’s Sunny Sunday at the garden centre, the weather today has been very kind to me and, although there is a strong breeze, it is a warm one and when the sun peeks through the scudding clouds it is perfect for planting.
I have a small garden, but having stripped the borders last year, it’s amazing how many plants you need to start again without them looking sad and isolated. There is nothing worse than eking out a few plants over a large area and I prefer to focus on a small area first and make sure it is planted effectively. I still leave plenty of room in between for future growth but I’m convinced that plants are much happier when they have a leafy neighbour close by to whisper to.
I like to plan my garden so that it contains a high number of evergreen shrubs which not only look good in the winter but also provide a great backdrop in the spring and summer for the more colourful perennials and bedding plants. There are lots of shrubs which make great canvasses and I love adding the splashes of bold colour to complete the picture. I love bright colours and funky shapes and my garden will undoubtedly reflect these preferences.
I also love their names. I have bought many a plant because of its name and I have never been disappointed. My garden is full of “”William’s” which is my son’s name and include the gorgeous fragrant red rose Royal William, the dark purple/cream Aquilegia William Guinness and of course, Sweet Williams. I’ve even found an very unusual Dahlia-Willie Willie!
Some of my latest additions are pictured below and there will be many more to follow. The garden is taking shape again and I just need to find some more poppies to replace those I have lost. It’s a little early yet, especially after all the cold weather we’ve had but it won’t be long now.
Spring has sprung at last!
Today I was left to my own devices at the local garden centre, Wistow Rural Centre, there to browse the new crop of plants and choose some for my revamped garden. The Centre is a perfect way to spend a few hours of “me” time and I made the most of every sunny minute.
After buying some plants and leaving them safe whilst I busied myself with other things, I went to the cafe for my lunch. A nice and healthy baked potato with ham salad went down a treat before I was off across the nearby fields to commune with the new-born lambs and swans. The woods are still carpeted with a mass of snowdrops and looked a picture in the dappled sunshine breaking through the trees.
I walked along the stream into the fields where the sheep and their lambs were mostly snoozing in the warmth of the early afternoon sun and I enjoyed watching the lambs snuggling close to mum and every now and then helping themselves to a little sustenance, little tails wiggling away merrily whilst they fed. Like the apple blossom in May, it’s a favourite sight of mine and a sure sign that Spring is on its way even if it’s taking it’s time this year.
On my way back to the centre I stopped to look at the large bare-earthed field which in just a few months time will be transformed into a Maize-Maze. This is an annual phenomenon with the maze changing shape each year. I remember taking William around the maze when it was in the shape of a pirate ship, trying to find our way out of the 6 feet high maize without cheating. When you enter the maze you are given a flag to wave if you need help and there are number of “spotters” standing on platforms dotted around the maze looking out for anyone who needs help to escape. Children and adults alike have great fun wandering around the passages formed by the maize searching for clues to the quiz that is also part of the experience.
A hot cup of tea and slice of lemon drizzle cake were the perfect end to my afternoon and I managed to fit them in just in time before hubby arrived to bring me home.
How’s that for good timing!
I love my garden, and it has given me great pleasure in the past but last year it was looking a bit tatty and so I decided to ring the changes. I dug out all my plants from the back garden and put them into the front border where they proved to be a huge success. I replanted them just at the right time when the ground was still wet and we had several days of lovely warm sunshine for them to bask and settle in. It was lovely to see them all blossom during the summer and we could enjoy the gorgeous flowers greeting us every time we came home.
As an experiment, and to give the clay soil a bit of a breakdown, we then planted the borders with vegetables. Runner beans, courgettes, herbs and potatoes. They were lovely but it just wasn’t the same as looking out over my beautiful shrubs and flowers and so this year I am going back to the drawing board.
I have started to buy selected shrubs and perennials to plant over the next few weeks when we get a prolonged spell of temperatures above freezing ( I hope!). It’s so exciting but I am determined to wait until I have enough plants before I start to plan the borders and and decide where each one will sit best.
Strangely enough, although I love new and different varieties of traditional plants, I still have my favourites; Californian Lilac (Ceanothus), Hebe’s, azaleas, foxgloves and aquilegias. They are all waiting patiently on the patio ready to move into their their new home. Today I am off to a garden centre for a long look round and in hope that I will be able to add to my collection. Hubby is leaving me to browse for a couple of hours whilst I pick and choose, change my mind, sigh and deliberate over colours, blooms, frost-hardiness and price, so I am up, ready and raring to go.
Of course, poppies are top of my shopping list. The first hairy fronds are usually peeping through the soil by now but I can’t see any sign of my favourite beautiful orange poppy plant that this blog is named after and so I must face up to the fact that the very harsh winter has taken its toll and I have lost my beloved poppy plant. All is not lost however as I will be able to replace it and hopefully the new version will do just as well, if not better, than the original.
It will take several weeks to get organised but it is a work-in-progress and that’s the amazing thing about gardens. They literally grow in front of your eyes.
How satisfying is that.