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Sheila May's Blog

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! 

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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.  

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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).

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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