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.
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).
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!
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.