dear diary :: a productive day

With the warm sunshine, high humidity and fleeting showers everything is growing at a rate of knots and as other bloggers are saying some of the flowering plants are almost over before they begin with the heat.

The free tray of the long flowering valerian plants given to me by Elizabeth McGregor at her nursery in Kirkudbright a few years back is now well installed and flourishing in the seaside garden (top photo). I love the wispiness and I am hoping they don’t go under too quickly in the heat.

Further along the border there is no sign that the clematis Montana Reubens will stop flowering anytime soon it is still dripping in flowers this year even though we hacked it back with no precision at all – it must like a good hair cut.

Yesterday I cleaned. I was waiting for the heating engineer to service the gas boiler in the caravan. He didn’t show….again…. but that is typical for this area. As usual we rang him to arrange another day, no explanation was offered as to why he didn’t come and now we will wait for him to come on Friday….or not as the case might be!

But the caravan is spick and span… seating hoovered, bed changed, bathroom sparkling, windows washed and everywhere had a good hoover. If there is a spider left in here I would be surprised.

Meanwhile DH hung some cheap net curtains at the cottage windows. It was looking rather forlorn so earlier this week we cleaned down all the gutters and drainpipes, then the windows inside and out and it has made it look less of a ruin. The curtains will stop anyone looking inside and give it a more lived in look to passers by.

After lunch the cleaning continued and I washed pots. Remember the free pots….everyone in the village has them, every house you pass it is like spot the pots. They are extremely useful and I have turned them into quite few gifts for people adding herbs and bulbs. The lady who is giving them away is now onto her very last crate full – so I might just go and take a few more.

Meanwhile DH did a tip run with umpteen bags of garden waste in the trailer and on his return he continued with our new project….the banking that runs down beside the lane. We thought it was quite steep until we saw the open garden at the weekend where it was almost vertical in places; ours is not quite as bad as that. A while ago we had the idea to terrace it just using planks of treated timber – this will give the plants a more stable pocket of soil to grow in and prevent them from toppling over in the wind as well as making it easier to weed. Many a time I have been balancing at the top of the slope and lost my footing only to end up sliding all the way down.

The large conifer that overshadowed a lot of this patch came down last year as it had grown through the power line and with all the extra light that flooded in a lot of everything suddenly wanted to grow here. We put in a chicken wire fence at the top because with the conifer gone it was feeling a bit exposed.

As you can see from the photo ferns love to grow here – they are all self seeded but it would be nice to have other plants here as well – the jury is out on what the planting might be but I have some ideas churning around. We have been building the banking up over time with rotted compost from our bins and it is extremely fertile. Rather than have the planks in straight lines we are running them at angles to form wider and narrower beds for more interest and some of the boards will be single height and some double.

This is the view from on top of the banking looking down.

Today we shall be doing more in the garden and hopefully get the first stretch of the terracing completed before we go home next week.

I still have the stone path to complete and the border above in front of the Olearias which really needs a complete overhaul and reshaping. originally it was quite a large bed with 3 fairly modest Olearia plants. Now the Olearias have grown the border has shrunk considerably and some plants have been lost altogether beneath the shrubs.

It may be my imagination but my list does not seem to be getting any shorter even though we have both been working hard and ticking the jobs off as we go.

16 thoughts on “dear diary :: a productive day

  1. You look as though you are making inroads with the garden.
    It must have been worrying not being able to get there until recently.
    We have the same difficulty with banking as we live beside a sea cliff.
    My OH has built meandering paths of local stone which saves my calf muscles.
    There is a 6 foot drop if I fall off on to hard core so not to be encouraged!
    I hope that your cottage renovation can start soon.
    It must be very frustrating.
    Sue

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    1. Your banking sounds lovely with the stone. We did consider stone at the time but that would take a lot more time than we have to spend on this area. We will have some hidden paths through the planting so I can weed easily and stay on top without sliding down. The soil in places here is pure sand and dust which the water runs off and is eroding away near the top. More planting will help ‘fix’ it in place I hope.

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  2. Lists in gardens never seen to end! The joy and the frustration!!!

    Which one are the Olearias? Purple flowers? White? Not flowering? I’ve never been good remembering plants names but as your plants are different from our, there’s many I can’t grow and don’t recognise.

    I like the non straight planks in the bank. They do add interest. Also more organic looking.

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    1. The planks look a bit bleak now but will fade down into a nice natural grey and will mostly be ‘hidden’ by the planting but will add some structure too.
      The Olearias are the mass of white flowering shrubs in the picture with dark green evergreen leaves that are like a very soft holly (not prickly) – it is also known as the Daisy Bush here. It is a brilliant protector against the wind and seaside tolerant against sea spray which comes over our cottage roof into the woodside garden in the winter and scorches a lot of the plants.

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  3. It is all looking lovely. I certainly know what you mean about garden lists … every job completed seems to lead onto another one … and just when you think you are done the season changes and you start all over again. A garden is most definitely never finished 😃

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    1. We must have done heaps of weeding already this visit as DH has done two tip runs with the weeds we don’t compost – thats about 30 bags full (we are selective with what we compost so we don’t scatter lots of ‘unwanteds’ around the garden when we dig the rotted compost back in) and our bins are filling up rapidly too.

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  4. Clearing and revamping gardens is a lot like trying to sort clothing in a charity shop–need to figure out what is still useful and get rid of the rest. Meanwhile the ‘donations’ (in this case–the re-seeders, the multipliers, and weeds) keep showing up despite your best efforts to contain them.

    Love the foxglove–always makes me think of tiny, inverted teacups with little paintings on the inside. Your angled terracing looks great. Anything that keeps the plants in place and you from rolling down the embankment is definitely a winner.

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    1. Love the charity shop comparisons. I do love self seeders – just not an army of them in the wrong place. DH is now onto the 2nd tier – getting levels and lines is quite hard but will be worth it when finished.

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  5. The clematis is stunning and your garden is lovely. One of my dreams is to have an established garden that I can wander around – and a gardener to go with it! I’ve missed the story of the pots but the lady must have had a lot if the whole village has them and there are still more going spare. Enjoy the rest of your time at your lovely cottage. xx

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    1. The lady in the village bought the old mill to renovate and it came with umpteen large crates of the green pots. It was going to cost her a huge amount of money to get rid of them in numerous skips so she has been giving them away for free! She is now on her last crate or two.

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  6. You really are winning with the garden now, it’s looking gorgeous. I have to admit to not missing growing and digging on a hillside any more. It makes simple jobs that much harder when everything wants to tumble down the slope.

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