Monthly Archives: December 2015

“My” Temporary Garden for Christmas.

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We have been spending the Festive season, renting a house in Bath – my birthday treat! (Not divulging which number birthday!!) The house is a beautifully renovated terraced house, from, at least the 1920's, with lots of quirky ceilings, corners and cupboards. Oh, and lovely old, original fireplaces. Very central, just a 15 min stroll from the centre.

And a lovely, well tended back garden.

The owner obviously has greenfingers and a love of growing produce. The garden has been laid out to concentrate on growing fruit, with currants and berries lining the fence panels, a top fruit espalier against the house wall, and several well trained vines – one growing against a fence panel and several more, creating an allee across the garden. There’s strawberries and herbs growing away happily alongside some bright, cheerful pelargoniums, left over from summer, still blooming away at this late time of year, thanks to our unseasonably mild weather just now. And a magnificent fig tree, in a huge pot on the patio.

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All the necessary paraphernalia for successful growing, is there at the bottom of the garden – water butt and a couple of large compost bins – adjacent to the shed, festively strewn with lights! A stumpery nestles beside the shed, in the corner, at the bottom.

I can sense a “grand plan” emerging, with the use of pairs of yews, butting up to some new box hedging, repeated down the garden. Maybe he is creating a vista down the garden?

The fruit is all perfectly pruned and all the box and hedges are immaculately trimmed. Not bad for a rented property!

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Oh, Dear! Never Mind!

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This just sums it up!

I must confess I have been struggling for inspiration both in gardening and blogging. I could blame a late holiday. I could blame six weeks of world class rugby for taking my interest. And I could blame decorating for taking my time. But that was many weeks ago. I don’t even think I can blame the usual Christmas panic. All is in hand for once. After deliberating this strange situation, I realise I must blame the weather. It has truly dampened my spirits – not to mention the garden.

I hate wind! More than any other weather episode! Apart from the arch, it has also blown down a fence panel and countless pots have been blown over and debris been scattered around the garden. Climbers have been torn from their supports. Everything is sodden. The garden is in a sorry state. And the truth of the matter is, that the newly decorated indoors is, just now, more appealing!😩

Don’t panic, though! This illness is acute, not chronic! And time is a healer!

Despite the minor destruction, there is still much of interest in the garden. My all important scent is still present, in the form of Mahonia japonica, Lonicera purpusii and Coronilla Citrina, with many more perfumed buds waiting in the wings – complete with new shoots! I’m already seeing signs of bulbs coming through, and hellebore flowers pushing their way through the damp soil. Festive red skimmia berries are so welcome! Even roses are still managing to bloom, as my last vase shows.

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This is when foliage plays its part. Especially grasses. They are not just for summer!

Hakonechloa macra

Hakonechloa macra

 

What a beautiful bright gold to brighten the gloom!

That said, I feel there is much room for improvement. Many of our shrubs are either overgrown, or underperforming. The domineering ash tree is, I’m sure, now having a detrimental effect. So a rethink is on the cards for the New year.

The tree must go, the surgeon has been appointed, and we are awaiting a date.
That will let in so much more light. I want to add loads of soil improver to the shrub borders, to improve the quality of the soil, probably quite malnourished. I want to look closely at the flower borders, and ruthlessly dispatch those that are not performing well. I’m well aware of the growing number of scented shrubs dotted around the garden, still in their original containers (if they haven’t been blown over!). I think I must follow my passion in redesigning these borders, shifting the emphasis towards these shrubs. Many, which are struggling planted on the shady side, may appreciate a move from the dark side. I must keep myself in check, though, and not be too hasty. Who knows what a difference a tree makes – or lack of it!

So, despite the grey skies and gloomy weather forecasts, there is much to look forward to next year. It’s quite exciting, really!

That’s what gardening does! 😀