dear diary :: all about the garden

Back to rain and dull skies at the end of last week, but my lawns are loving it and have perked up a lot since that very dry spell we had a while ago; the ground had become quite hard in places and a drought on top of everything else is the last thing we need at the moment.

Thank you for all the comments and suggestions on my last post it is always interesting to hear how other people think and deal with life. Apologies for not answering each one individually. I will check out the Adriene yoga Jayne – it will be a while yet before my class begins again, so thanks.

It appears the world is in a big mess at the moment but then it always has been in one way or another – life is just messy and no matter how hard we work at trying to sort out the mess, more comes along.

I feel I had a very lazy week again last week and very little housework has been done, intended, but not done. A few hours in the garden, a lot of exercising and phone chats and a little time in the kitchen making a quiche is the sum total of my activity. I feel quite worn out – not by hard work but by the emotional turmoil we find ourselves in daily after watching the news – I don’t know about you but as the easing of lockdown and the relaxing of rules continues I feel as if I have been left stranded and need to find my way home – what is our new normal? – I need to know what I am doing and where I am going.

By last Friday we felt a change of scene was in order so we packed up a light lunch, put the sketchbooks in the car and set off over the Strines, part of the Peak district, that lies to the south of Holmfirth and the north west of Sheffield; a beautiful stretch of moorland, farmland and a collection of resevoirs – a haven for both wildlife and walkers. It was drizzling but we didn’t care it was just good to get out once in a while.

We sat in the car with our picnic admiring the view over Bradfield and then decided to check out the garden centre we once visited down the road at Loxley. We were in luck – the rain had kept people away and only four cars in the car park.

So we had a good hour wandering round ( following the one way system of course and distancing where necessary). They did not have the plants I wanted but I did buy some terracotta saucers, a plant pot, 2 bags of large cobbles and some seeds (White aquilegia, I keep losing my plants in the winter, and some basil). We were also given a free packet of lily bulbs that were going to be thrown away at close of day.

After a short walk to the village on Saturday morning to catch the post and a visit from the person who came to take our throat swabs, for the government Covid survey we have been asked to take part in, I went out in the garden. There was plenty to do; not much weeding but a lot of dead heading as the heavy rain had caught many of the flowers in the pots leaving them soggy and rotting before they had chance to open.

I played around with a few of the cobbles laying them out in different places – I am not 100% sure where they are going – it is just an idea at the moment and may not work out – luckily they are large enough to lay and then move, unlike the smaller gravel stones. I will keep you posted on this one.

The peonies in the sunny border have been gorgeous this year – the tight little buds unfold slowly to reveal such an expanse of froth and frills – sheer delight – though they continue to be at the mercy of the weather – the wind and rain are not helping them to bloom for very long but whilst they are still hanging on there I will savour every moment.

Yet more frills on the patio…..this is the clematis I bought last year with a token I had for my birthday, I planted it this year in a deep terracotta pot. Called Tranquilité it is a very compact plant only reaching about five feet making it very suitable for the patio. It does well in shady positions too so I can move it around the garden when I need to brighten up a dull spot.

As the honeysuckle flowers on the obelisk by the fence are beginning to fade and die, and before long the towering foxgloves will drop their petals leaving seedpods behind, this is one little corner that will need a new focal point. I found this old wicker hanging basket in the shed and planted it with the last of the Tom Thumb nasturtiums I grew. DH then made me a wooden bracket to attach to the fence so I could hang it up and let the nasturtiums tumble over the sides so that when the flowers come out (and I hope there will be a mass of them) there will be a lovely burst of orange hovering above the green foliage below, and if I am really lucky they will bloom whilst there is still the purple of the foxgloves to clash with.

There has also been a little maintenance required in the garden – reseeding in areas where the shrubs had overhung the grass; since March we have been doing some major pruning of the large shrubs in the shady corner, leaving us a bit exposed and overlooked now by the occupants of the house behind us but the viburnum and escallonia are both very vigorous so by next year we should be quite private once again. This is how it was before on the left – a very lush corner and now on the right with a bit of a big hole!

There is a conifer hedge beyond the shrubs that runs across the length of the bottom of our garden. You can just see a bit of it in the photo on the right – it belongs to the neighbour behind us and runs down the side of their garden as our two gardens meet. The face of the hedge on our side died years ago after a bad frost and not much of it remains in this corner – our shrubs always covered up the fact that the hedge is brown and quite dead leaving an unsightly hole in this corner. Unfortunatley, conifers don’t regenerate and as they have overgrown the boundary line we cannot put a fence there ourselves but once our shrubs regrow the unsightly mess will be hidden from view. I keep hoping one day our neighbour will have it removed and put up some fencing – at least a fence does not die.

Other little places are flourishing – this lavender and nemesia are many years old and they sit together like old friends in this vintage bread crock and keep on flowering every year.

This year I moved it from behind the rock rose which was overshadowing the pot; the lack of light had made the lavender a little straggly as it searched for sunlight. Now it sits on the patio in full sun and it must like its new home as the lavender has begun sprouting from the base again so next year I will be able to remove the long straggly older branches.

And this little space where I have the two mini greenhouses working hard this year is soon going to be the new site for…..

…one of these modest sized greenhouses. They are locally made and have real glass not styrene glazing and are quite well made for the price. It will be painted of course, as I want it to be as much a decorative feature in the garden as functional. We decided on a six foot wide / four foot deep (like the one on the right). Only having a small garden I don’t want it to dominate the space, rather merge into it.

So that is all my news of last week and I have no definite plans for the week ahead other than I need to tidy out the shed, order the greenhouse, definitely need to do some housework and sew together the little jumper I knitted. If I manage all that I will be a happy bunny.

Tonight we will venture out and go shopping, strictly the supermarket, we have not wanted or needed to go into the town centre yet – we have all we need and more to get by.

Have a great week everyone and stay safe. x

22 Replies to “dear diary :: all about the garden”

  1. Your garden is sheer delight to wander round – I love your use of pots and the way you have used large pebbles here and there. I am gradually getting my garden how I want it, with the help of a gardener who comes a couple of times a week. But yours is an inspiration.


    1. It is not an easy garden – wider than it is long and goes into a pointed triangle at one side – and it slopes slightly. You are lucky not to have anyone behind you – the bungalow behind us is quite high up off the ground so they overlook us now the shrubs have been pruned back but they had grown straggly and sometimes you just have to do it and put up with the open space for a while.


  2. Love that little floral pitcher you used for a vase, and that greenhouse will be fantastic. Can’t wait to see what color paint you choose.


    1. It will match the shed a soft grey colour – I am not a bright colour person – I leave that to the flowers, though I do like other peoples gardens where they are really bold with the paint pot.


  3. Your garden is looking beautiful. I love the look of your soon to be greenhouse. It will look great in your garden. I’d quite like a wooden greenhouse myself.


  4. Thank you for taking us around your garden, Vivien. So beautiful! The new glass house will have you sprouting seeds. What’s often done here with rocks & pebbles is to create a dry creek bed. But then that suits our dry native plants. Might look silly with the lush greenery.

    It sounds and looks like you’re doing plenty. Go easy on yourself as things open up. No need to rush to find a new normal. An occasional drive with a view and a thermos of tea sounds perfect. (Shared with us online, of course.) interspersed with lots of pottering in the garden.


    1. I love those dry creeks – I have a book on Rock and water gardens with some designs in but sadly this garden here is too small for one. I love the texture and colour of the cobbles especially when it rains and they get wet but have no idea as yet where they are to go – I am just having a play about until something looks right.


  5. Your garden is looking lovely, you have managed to fit so much into a small space. Those greenhouses look lovely, they will be perfect for your garden. I hope you get the things done that you have your list for the week.


    1. I actually like the fact they are quite small – there are more on the market now as people have smaller gardens. I wanted something I could walk into and close the door so I can escape in there in the cooler seasons and potter.


  6. It is so nice to have places to escape from the current situation in the world presently. I am keeping my news time to just enough to stay informed. After that the garden, home routines, reading and inspiring blogs are where I am spending my time. Touring your beautiful garden ranks high on the inspiring blog front. I paused to take in the raindrops on your first photo and felt a calmness settle upon me. I am so weary of reading people tear each other apart on social media over things like mask wearing.


    1. I am spending far more time in the garden than I should be – the house is crying out for some attention!
      As far as the news is concerned I am finding that no matter what the subject or the issues we are a divided country in our thinking. Even with this virus about some people think it is no big deal and are ignoring the rules.
      I must credit DH with the first photo – he captured it – often we end up with identical photos on our camera especially if we go for a walk – we spot the same things! He has a folder on my desktop where he transfers any photos of interest into and this was one of them that was better than mine!


  7. A stunningly beautiful; garden that conceals all the hard work. it just looks natural and perfect. Such a delight.


    1. Thank you Joy – it is not an easy garden when you are hemmed in on all three sides but it is feeling much more private now and will do when the gaping big hole that is left from pruning the Viburnum is filled again. x


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