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Garden progress

014After 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!

Dahlia Willie Willie

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!

Twisted Willow Dark Snake

Twisted Willow Dark Snake

Hebe Green Globe

Hebe Green Globe

Contorted Hazel

Contorted Hazel


Hebe Pink Elephant


Changes afoot……

Sometimes you find yourself in a rut. Doing the same things at the same time and limiting your horizons by long-standing expectations. Sometimes however it does you good to break out of this reverie and challenge your “norm”.  Only then will you realise that things don’t have to be the same year in year out and changes can be made if  you free your mind of its rusting shackles and have the courage to do something different.

My “norm” is looking forward to a spring and summer in a garden full of surfinia hanging baskets, traditional bright annual bedding plants and the ever reliable perennials annuals dotted around the borders. I love my garden and get great pleasure from nurturing these young plants from seedlings to full-blown blousy glory in the summer months.

But, this weekend it will be welly time and I will be moving my beloved perennials and shrubs from my back garden into my front garden and preparing my back garden to become an eclectic mix of herbs, vegetables, and old fashioned annuals which complement the self-sufficiency. (Hubby doesn’t know yet but I’ve just ordered some railway sleepers to form the retaining walls needed to complete the job)

Hubby too has a patch of garden on which he grows vegetables every year. He does a great job with cultivating bags and bags of potatos, tomatoes, cucumbers etc but he grows everything in rows…..how boring.

My new garden will be far more higgledy-piggledy with a heady mix of bright courgettes-en-fleur, pumpkins, sweetpeas entwined amongst the runner bean wigwams, marigolds to ward off the wee beasties and swathes of lavender, lemon balm and  monarda to encourage the bees and butterflies to swarm and flutter around the teasles and nasturtiums. I am also relying on the numerous frogs and our hedgehog family to complete this idyll by eating all the slugs.

That’s the plan. So let work begin……

High summer

Bees balm
Tri-colour sage
Fragrant lavender scent
Purple pom-pom chives
Herb patch 

Bird bath
Climbing-rose arch
Sundial shadows slowly creeping
Ivy-covered trellis
Wind chimes 

Black dots
Ladybirds roam
Shiny red shells, polished
Weaving between long blades of grass
Fly home 

Frogs leap
Welcome water
Lush damp leaves, undergrowth
Heavy showers bounce off paving

Ripe fruit
Blood-red beetroot
Tomato tendrils hang
Giant pumpkins trail, juicy figs
Bees gorge    

Gentle rays shine
Green grapes bask and ripen
Bountiful bunches plump sweet flesh

Dew drops
Silk spun lace web
Delicate, fine, perfect
Woven thread, elegant patterns

Tall spikes
Sunflowers dance
Hollyhock double blooms
Foxglove spires, iris stems arise


My garden

What does my garden say about me?

If not exactly an autobiography, my garden does reflect my upbringing. My mother preferring the hard-working, low-maintenance shrubs and perennials, whilst my father preferred the showy and flamboyant blooms of annuals, daturas, geraniums and roses.  Very interesting and on reflection I must conclude  that any garden is a fusion of personal choice and sentiment and it is a perfect way to express yourself.

Yes, there is a certain amount of snobbery involved in gardening but I suggest that you ignore this and create your own piece of Eden regardless. This is what I have done and I am never more at peace and at home than in my garden.

My garden is neither big nor small, not that it matters. What does matter to me is that it has meaning. My plants are chosen, not just for their visual impact. It is this that makes a garden special. I don’t get hung up by fancy colour schemes or rare species. I don’t spend a huge amount of time in my garden. But because everything I do is with meaning and purpose, the results are perfect for me.

I love the quote by H E Bates who said that “gardens should be like lovely, well-shaped girls; all curves,secret corners,unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves”. I certainly haven’t nurtured my garden with these words in mind, but I know exactly what he means.

I love my garden; I love the calm and fulfilment it brings. I watch and wait in January for the first glimpse of snowdrops and crocus indicating that spring is on its way. Hyacinths of all colours in March; traditionally used to celebrate Iranian “Nowruz” New Year. The magnificent dicentra in April which throws up swathes of delicate heart-shaped blooms like strings of pink pearls. I love the bees that hum away on the spring blossom; I love the butterflies that visit to suck on the juicy nectar provided by the budleias. I love sitting next to the pond listening to the gentle splash of the fountain. I love the grape vine as it grows and spreads along the garden wall and covers everything in its path, eventually producing large succulent, sweet grapes in abundance.

And when the autumn mists finally arrive, I’m happy that I have had yet another year of pleasure out of my garden and rather then regret the turning of the seasons, I look forward to another magnificent display of nature next year.

This is my haven; my oasis.

How lucky am I?