Saturday, 12 June 2010

Safari: bugs and blooms

It is funny how things turn out. The problems caused by the rabbits during the winter months really got me down. At one point I did not know how to cope with the continuous damage to plants, shrubs and trees.
A few days ago, I realised I was taking gardening far too seriously.

It is supposed to be enjoyable.....
I am back on track.....why did I seek perfection, when in reality, I am not a perfectionist.
I had lost sight of the little things, that have always given me so much pleasure.
Walking the garden today was a joy. There is so much that is new to me.
On reflection, the rabbits did me a huge favour.
I was in a rut.
My journey with the garden and wildlife has turned another corner.
There are still rabbits in the garden every night but most of the plantings are surviving. I am learning, I am growing with the garden.

The garden is teaming with wildlife....the best year yet, especially bees.
That makes me happy, it truly does.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

All things bright and beautiful

I am pleased with the changes in the garden. There are mistakes, plenty in fact, but the garden is full of flowers and insects.
Some of my all time favourites are still cerinthe major purpurea.

Native ragged robin is doing well....planted amongst red campion, she is now a survivor.

Oriental poppies are a feature in one of the island beds. Not my favourite, but I must say she cheers me. Bold and loud, she makes a statement I have learnt to like. I did not plant them.....the garden was full when we moved here. I removed all but a group in the island bed.

The lacy blooms of elder......I really love the flowers. The fragrance is intense in the garden as she frequents every boundary here. Lovely.
Honeysuckle, so elegant, so timeless.
Marsh frogs breed in May/June. The biggest frog in Europe and a fairly recent import to Britain. A small number of marsh frogs were released in a garden on the edge of Romney Marsh in 1935. They have since spread to other parts of the South East. I am a thirty minute drive away from the marshes.
This chap arrived eight days ago. He croaks all day, he croaks all night, all day, all night. Is there anyone out there with a lady marsh frog, pleeeeeeeease?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Safari and garden update.

Our native Maiden Pink grows in the southern half of England and is now on the Red Data list. A few years ago I managed to source some plants from a wildflower supplier. They are now thriving in the garden. These dainty little flowers attract many insects including butterflies.
Common valerian, another UK native, has the most wonderful scent. I bought a plant several years has self seeded all around the garden.

Persicaria amplexicaulis Firetail.........a new plant to the garden. It spreads rapidly, and the pretty flowers dance around in the breeze. It is also a great support for other blooms in the borders.

This is Riley's favourite flower........iris germanica.......he loves the colour and the beard.......
This is one of my favourites at the moment. Another cheap purchase from the supermaket......
Paeonia lactiflora 'Shirley Temple'..........what can I say.....she is absolutely beautiful.
Sisyrinchium.......I really do like the pretty buttery blooms. Whilst they only last one season, they are great at self seeding, so you never lose them.
I do not have a name tag for the clematis.....she has reached the top of the pear tree and is in full bloom.......
It is hot and humid today....a little too hot for me. The swallows are enjoying the heat and visit the garden frequently. They arrived from Africa around six weeks ago......always a joy to know they have returned to our part of the world.
It is a good year, so far, for bees.......
the gardens are positively buzzzzzing......
I am thrilled that the plantings are attracting more and more of these important creatures......where would we be without them??
Also lots of caterpillars.....if anyone can help with the id of this one, I would be more than grateful.
And finally the speckled yellow, a familiar sight along woodland paths during June and July. This pretty moth is found mostly in SE and SW England. I believe also north Wales (but I am not absolutely certain). They lay their eggs on wood sage, and dead-nettles...........I have both in the garden, so fingers crossed.

Enjoy your weekend and happy gardening...........

Monday, 31 May 2010

Garden tour.......

There has been a garden here for hundreds of years. We recently hired a local historian to look at the house and date it. To our amazement parts of the property date back to the medieval period. During the last few months I have added plants that would have been around during that time. This is one of them, borage.
Bearded iris 'Jane Phillips'. I decided on this variety as it was one of the oldest. I am not disappointed it looks perfect in the border.

Stocks are an old cottage garden plant.

The fragrance is beautiful.

Meadow cranesbill..........what's not to like?
Angelica, just beginning to burst.....can't wait to see her in all her glory. This is a plant that really makes a statement.
Milk thistle .......rabbits adore this plant. Some have survived, many have been cropped. I am hoping they will keep the rabbits away from other plantings. I have to say though, I love thistles, so will be quite happy to see a few more around.
Aquilegia dragonfly....planted for a friend.
There is so much to do in the garden at the moment. I must say I cannot keep up with it. As soon as one job is done, another needs doing.
This border has done very well. There is much waiting in the wings........
'George' the owl is a beautiful feature. A gift from my late father in law. Carved from a felled oak. The young artist that carved George has permission to fell trees that are a danger to the public.
The troughs on the deck are full of tiny blooms. Mr P made the planters so that I could grow alpines etc..........and keep them away from the rabbits.

The obelisks are slowly being covered in foliage. Another month and you will barely see them.

Planting around the pond is slightly (actually more than slightly) out of control but I like it. It is growing on me.

My chair is also carved from a felled oak. Imagine the chair upside down. The legs are carved from the trunk and the back of the chair is the root system. Again the tree was a danger to the public. Sad that it should be cut down, but sometimes there is no other answer.

Salix integra are supposed to stay quite small. Despite regular pruning they are just becoming too big. There here to stay (I think) just hope they don't put on another rush of growth. I now need steps to cut back the tops.......

This is a natural bog garden. When we moved here....I removed the turf, added heaps of compost and sand. The plantings are beautiful.....marsh mallow, large leaf hosta, native sedge, arums.......and dogwoods.
In the centre, a beautiful Gunnera. I thought I had lost this during our harsh winter. Whilst it is a shadow of it's former is alive. Hopefully as summer progresses it will put on good growth.

Nella patrols this area regularly. This is where the rabbits enter the garden.

The beech hedge is now in full leaf.........

The copse is filling out.......

blue tits, wren, and blackbirds are nesting here.

There are also several bumble bee nests.

The view to the house is slowly disappearing.
And finally this is what greets me when I leave the copse. Excuse any netting, cloches, etc in these photographs but when you have a rabbit problem, needs must and all that.

Hope you have all enjoyed the long weekend........I have.