Update on the Garden…

Work on the garden is, as they say, on-going. It’s mostly the patios and paths that are yet to be done. Strictly speaking, these form the main structure of the garden, and should be put in first. But as I’m doing these myself, in my spare time, and I’m no builder, they’re going to take some time. So my strategy has been to put in the living structure of the garden first, so that it can be growing, and enjoyed, while I gradually work on the hard landscaping. This, for instance, is Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’, a very pretty shrub with a layered structure and masses of white flowers in early summer, as well as good autumn colour. It’s one of the earliest of the shrubs in our garden to come into leaf…

You can see the flower buds that are forming, among the fresh green new leaves. This specimen is spreading well, and will hopefully put on some height this year.

There are still some beds unmade too. This one, close to the house, needs the edges to be built up and concreted in before it can be fully planted up. But I have managed to get enough of it done to plant the shrubs against the fence between the garden and the driveway…

In the foreground is a Viburnum x. Burkwoodii; the large flower clusters are sweetly, and strongly scented, so it’s a good plant to have by a path. Here, it’s close to the house too. Beyond that are two Pyracanthas (firethorns); good shrubs to train against a wall or a fence in shade. Last in line, and smallest, is a Chimonanthus (Winter Sweet). Once it’s grown up a bit it should have scented yellow flowers on bare branches in the winter. This bed will incorporate a semi-raised pond, with a fountain to distract from the neighbours who annoyingly make all their phone calls outside their side door (the popular expression ‘get a room’ comes to mind here). Hopefully the foliage will muffle the sound somewhat too, once these shrubs have grown up.

Elsewhere, the broom (Cytisus) by the pergola under the birch tree is in full bloom now. Broom seems to like our soil; there were several here when we arrived, and it self-seeds freely. You can’t see them, but there are pigeons nesting in this one. I’m not sure it’s a great location. The tree above them is frequented by crows and ravens, who are already giving the pigeons some harassment. I just hope they don’t take their young.

The small tree in front, yet to come out, is a Clerodendron trichotomum, bought from the lovely Burrows Gardens in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

We planted some tulips in the beds, but also, we tend to plant the new bulbs in pots for a good show in their first year, and then move them into the beds when they’ve finished flowering. We’ve done this with tulipa ‘Balerina’ (orange), ‘Purissima’ (white), and ‘Konigen der nacht’ (purple), and Narcissi including ‘Thalia’, and most seem to be naturalising well (it helps that the soil is light and sandy)…

Spring annuals and biennials include Myosotis (forget-me nots – self-seeded, but positioned) and Lunaria (honesty) from seeds sowed by us…

I finally built a second compost bin, from re-claimed pallets, so I’ve closed off the existing one. The plan is to transfer the top layer from the old to the new bin so I can use the composted material at the bottom as a mulch. It’s on my list of jobs to do…

You can see I’ve put in a support structure for the raspberries, and tied them in. These are actually an autumn-fruiting variety, which should be cut to the ground in spring. But the summer-fruiting raspberries we put in didn’t grow. As the autumn-fruiting ones are reproducing like rabbits, I thought I’d stick with them, but try an experiment. Half have been cut to ground level, as normal, and the new shoots that should produce fruit in autumn are already coming through. The other half, I haven’t cut back, but have instead tied in. They already have flowers forming, and should fruit early. If this works, it will show that a raspberry is a raspberry, and whether it fruits early or late, depends upon the pruning regime.

The re-built raised bed at the end is looking quite good at the moment. Most of these plants were there when we arrived, though they have been moved around. I’ve added a Callistemon (bottlebrush) which is one of a few cuttings brought with us from our last place. There’s a rather nice alpine phlox in this bed…

At the weekend, I cut the grass for the second time this year, but this time I cut paths through the main area, and will let the rest grow longer for wildlife, and wildflowers, such as this speedwell…

…to which this photo doesn’t do justice. The flowers are closed, because it was raining. They’re small, but very pretty, in a striking mid-blue. The leaves are small, and a rich, mid-green, so a very good addition to a lawn – much better than grass, in fact.

The hedgerows around the garden are just coming into leaf now; mostly hawthorn, but with some holly, crab apple and wild cherry too. And at last the weather is warming up a little. So things should really get going in the next few weeks…

text & images © graham wright 2022

2 thoughts on “Update on the Garden…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.