Join the Hardy Plant Society Find out how >

We're sorry, the office will be closed from 26th July until at least 5th August

Sheila May

On a Chalk Hillside July 2019

The new garden area needed to provide some interest all year, but be a follow on from the Rose garden nearer the house which peaked in June, so that sitting on the courtyard in high summer you had a beautiful view up the garden.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside June 2019

Most holidays to various Greek Islands in the 90s in particular were during September and October, and we always encountered Fig trees clinging to cliff tops or beside the roads smothered in ripe and juicy figs which were a delight to pick and eat sun-warmed from the tree.  We determined we were going to have one ourselves.

1 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside May 2019

What does the term Mediterranean Courtyard evoke in your minds’ eye?  Is it something like one from Portmerion Village in Wales?
Or perhaps one or two ideas from within the Temperate Biome at the Eden Project?

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside April 2019

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are members of the sunflower family, and in this garden behave like any hardy perennial, dying back in the winter from their statuesque stems up to 3 meters tall with their tubers sprouting again in March/April.  They have lovely flowers like sunflowers too.  You can grow them as a wind break in the garden to protect more delicate plants.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside March 2019

 Like most gardeners I almost never sit in my garden relaxing - we rest on various benches during our labours for a cup of tea or coffee for a short time, seeing all that needs doing.   Consequently I wanted something to look at all through the year as well as scent and colour.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside February 2019

Generally each year I have two or three concerted efforts to cut back or pull out the brambles down the boundaries, once in the winter, again in later spring, and hopefully during the summer as well, which creates cuttings material (ie the honeysuckles branches snap off as I pull out the brambles) but does not eradicate the brambles, which are growing in and through the roots of the other shrubs and climbers.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside January 2019

I may have mentioned in my earlier pieces about creating the pond how certain plants overwhelm the space allotted (and indeed every other space) and have to be removed completely – I’m thinking Typha minima here particularly – but it is staggering to me how vigorous waterplants are in their growth when you think they are either freefloating in just water, or anchored into very very poor soil in the margins. 

1 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside December 2018

When we created the terrace for the pond, you may remember we also created a space down one side that was to be the bog garden, with a separate Gunnera manicata bed below it, but attached. 

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside November 2018

You saw the berries of the Guelder Rose already red in June this year in my piece last month, and I thought I would look at other berries, hips and haws that are in my garden.  I think of these as autumn colours, but some appear earlier than that, even in years without a drought or heatwave to extra stress the plants, though they don’t usually become noticeable until autumn when there is less colour around them.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside October 2018

The mesh seemed to be effective against the deer as during the evening, after it was tied all the way down the 50m length, they went into our neighbours garden instead and ate all his runner beans that he had been about to harvest.  (He was not pleased at all!)

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside September 2018

I thought this month I would start with some pictures of a few plants that are normally flowering in my garden in August and September.  I say normally, as the drought and heat has altered flowering times enormously. 

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside August 2018

In order to determine how deep to dig the pond we needed to determine what plants we wanted in the pond.  Naturally our first thoughts were of water lilies. 

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside July 2018

Perhaps it’s a good time to talk about a pond.  Let’s start with another look at the plan for the pond I showed you last month:-

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside June 2018

We like ponds.  There was one in the garden when I was a child which was already established when we moved in.  It had a rockery behind it which had two miniature roses in it – ‘Baby Masquerade’- that had been planted when the house was built in the 50’s and had reached their full size of 35cm x 30cm.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside May 2018

What a slow spring – and then a mini heat wave and everything started sprinting – the plum blossom out and over in eight days, and the pear blossom suddenly showing on 18 April, and then almost completely over by 28th April. In that week the garden went from flat, bare and twiggy to lush green mounds everywhere.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside April 2018

Let me turn my thoughts to cowslips and other spring flowers. Just past the pear trees that are at the far end of the rose garden, the hillside slopes away in a steep grassy swathe.  This grass must originally have been “lawn” but had over the years reverted to a rougher sward, speckled with wild flowers, particularly of horticultural note – cowslips (Primula veris).

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside March 2018

 If you have read earlier entries of this blog you may recall one of the first things we did when we moved here was put up a polytunnel, so you may be wondering why I also wanted a greenhouse. 

1 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside February 2018

The original inspiration of my tiny border came after we first visited Margery Fish’s garden at East Lambrook Manor to see the snowdrops shortly after we moved here.  She had planted the winter bulbs through Arum italicum subsp italicum ‘Marmoratum’ and I was hooked.  What a great combination! 

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside January 2018

Last month I discussed the structural and ground cover plants which work in the beds for many months of the year, this month I shall cover some of the plants that I have used in the rose garden to make it floriferous and of interest from spring to autumn.  

1 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside December 2017

As we approach the shortest day it makes me happy to think some more about rose gardens.  Following on from last month’s article about planting the rectangular bed nearest the house, this month I am moving on to the three irregular-shaped beds we created by putting the hoggin paths through (described in the October blog piece).

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside November-2017

What is your idea of a rose garden?  Is it of beds of roses, and only roses, closely planted, maybe dripping in either colour or scent (or both if you are lucky) ? Perhaps a bed of all one hybrid tea rose en masse like at the Southsea rose garden?

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside October 2017

So, how to lay a Hoggin path?  Obviously you need to measure out and peg out the outline of the path first.  Then, you dig out the soil to the depth of 15cm and contain the paths with a wooden edging.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside September 2017

Certain climbers went in as soon as the Pergola was erected, but in the main I was waiting to get the right plant or plants for each downpost.  Initially we expected to have at least one climber on each downpost so that foliage and flower interest was maintained for several seasons.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside August 2017

Why did I want a Pergola?  I was influenced by the Laburnum Walk in Rosemary Verey’s garden at Barnsley House near Cirencester but probably not for the reason you think.  We visited late summer, and what impressed me with it was that it made the garden seem much bigger. 

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside July 2017

How we get to design plans involves many steps.  I should say here that I know many of you are trained garden designers, but neither I nor my husband are - we are enthusiastic amateurs and this post is about the way we approach designing and building our garden.  

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside June 2017

Do you want to design and build your garden yourself, or do you want to hire in professionals to design it and provide you with a planting list, perhaps even get the designer to project manage contractors to deliver that agreed design?   In a garden this big, with a very limited budget our aim was to do it all ourselves, whatever “it” was.

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside May 2017

How hard has it been for you to leave your new-to-you garden for a year to :- a) discover what is growing there; b) orientation/prevailing wind/where the sun falls when; c) what the soil type is everywhere?  I was keen to get going, especially with all those plants in pots that we bought from our old garden to sort out.

4 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside April 2017

What is the picture that comes to your mind when you say English Apple or Plum Orchard? 

0 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside March 2017

The polytunnel was one of the dreams we had for our new garden, and was to be our big present to ourselves when we moved.  We had only had a 60cm by 2m lean to greenhouse against the garage wall in London, which could take two growbags in it.  We wanted something bigger.  It was to be for tomatoes and peppers in the summer, and to have oriental greens in over winter. It was to be ready for our first March there – only 4 months after moving in. 

1 comments on this article - view comments
On a Chalk Hillside February 2017
On a Chalk Hillside - Developing our garden Composting and Weeds – proper gardeners’ talk! Even in a tiny garden in London we had two compost bins.  Admitedly they were little drum-like green plastic ones:– one the local council had subsidised the cost of, which you have to lift off the whole ..
0 comments on this article - view comments
Showing 1 to 30 of 34 (2 Pages)

© Hardy Plant Society 2019. Web design by CWS

This site uses cookies to store some information.

Close