Gardening diary

(Newest entry at the top)

27/05 :
– Bought two small purple dianthus and a Leuchanthemum Snow Lady, put together in a container (black plastic unfortunately)
– Dug some iris out and gave them to the neighbour. Moved the Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue in its place.
– Inherited a bucket of tadpoles from a nearby pond in which the water was getting dangerously low. Now I need to make a small pond happen…

22/05 :
– On 15/05, went to Goodnestone Park with my in-laws. Wonderful garden. Had a long chat with Paul, the lovely headgardener. Bought a Phlomis russeliana, a rudbeckia and an echinacea of some sort.
– Moved an unforeseen hellebore in the shady bed to make more space for the heuchera Berry Smoothie.
– Planted a few plants given by Father-in-law (forget-me-nots, fox-and-cubs, cowslips).
– Tried to plant some of the very numerous stock seedlings in pots and around the rotary airer, got rid of the tulip bulbs which were there.
– Potted a little rose (badly affected by black spot) which was about to flower and planted the coreopsis in its place. Planted a little echinops ritro where the coreopsis was.
– Tried to get rid of some of the spent wisteria flowers and removed dead branches.
– Potted a little wild rose seedling.
– Admire the big blue lupin with its 14 flower spikes.

09/05 :
– I have spent these last days in the garden, taking advantage of the glorious sunshine. I can’t recall everything I did. Mainly moved plants around, for example a bit of tradescantia Sweet Kate back into the sunny bed, the chiastophyllum / umbilicus oppositifolium (goutte d’or) from under the hellebore into a more visible place, the campanula from the shade into the sun, etc.
– The garden is all wonderful scent : the wisteria is blooming, the choisiya has been flowering for some time, the honeysuckle is about to come out too. Delightful.
– On 03/05, the robin chicks left the nest. I saw one today twice (or two of them, who were five chicks). They make me happy !

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Meanwhile, the blackbirds are still feeding an enormous fluffy baby.
– On 05/05, went to see the bluebells in the woods.
– On 06/05, daughter helped me sow foxgloves and stock.
– On 07/05 (bank holiday), we went to Broadstairs. From there I brought back a piece of red valerian. I am hoping to God it survives. Also gathered something which looks like centranthus ruber too, but smaller and with yellow-white flowers, and a bit of yellow wallflower (?).
– Took pictures of a common blue butterfly today.

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– Am still waiting for the delivery of 6 salvia Armistad plug plants, but had the lovely surprise to find that the two crocosmia Lucifer corms had produced a leaf (tiny) ! The bearded irises are about to flower. And I am very pleased with the veronica gentianoides bought in Poundland last autumn.

Photo 09-05-2018 15 28 14

01/05 :
– Sunshine today. I feel very tired (lack of sleep). Moved the santolina again, split in two and replanted on the sunny side, somewhere where it can lean towards sunlight without crushing anything else. There’s no point having a sickly plant in the wrong place. Planted the new cordyline where I am hoping it will pick up the red colour of astrantia Hadspen Blood and cocosmia Lucifer. The alchemilla are in the middle to break the red with their acid green flowers.
– Moved the “English lavender” (more probably lavendula stoechas ?), the chives, the Jacob’s ladder in a game of musical chairs, trying to fit everybody in a suitable spot.
– Planted the lilies of the valley (not sure they are still alive, came in one of those Wilko bags). Displaced a Welsh poppy to do that – yes I must be the only person on this island trying to transplant something that comes up everywhere anyway.
– Planted a raspberry Autumn Bliss. Also planted a blackcurrant from Poundland the other day, which looks quite healthy… Wait (maybe very long) and see.
– Husband and neighbour fixed a new treillis on top of the brick wall between our houses. I think the old powerful ivy’s days are numbered… The clematis montana about to flower and the robin’s nest are the last things standing between the saw and him…
– And there is the nest !

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MAY 2018

30/04 :
– Lots of rain.
– The wind blew the greenhouse over. Probably lost my cosmos and other seedlings.
– Looked at pictures of the garden in 2015, before we left for Paris. It was very nice. I don’t think we will manage such a floriferous garden this year, but hey, this is our first year back. I also feel bad for pulling the dutch irises out, now, when I see how beautiful they were (but in all honesty, they were probably not going to flower, and I will have more bearded irises).

29/04 :
– Decided to move the Santolina out of the sunny bed, to be replaced by Calamagrostis brachytricha. I am not quite sure it was a good idea to swap them. Santolina won’t like it to have less sun, and the grass will resent being to dry.
– Bought another cordyline (probably Red Star) and another small dark grass (probably black mondo, ophiododon planiscapus). Not quite sure where to plant them. Also bought lilly of the valley bulb, don’t know quite why.
– Pulled two alliums from the shady bed, as they didn’t look like they were going to flower, but now feel bad, they might have been late.
– Rain has arrived.

26/04 :
– Rearranged the plants in the reorganised “summer bed”.
– Replanted the ranunculus which failed to flower (the buds having been strangely excavated and eaten from inside) in the sunny bed.
– In the terracota pot thus freed, planted the dahlia which seems to have survived the harsh winter easy peasy. I find plants are often tougher than what books tell us.
– Dug up, or rather pulled up Yoshiki’s rhododendron which is very probably dead (I did scratch the bark). I am going to keep it for the moment, as I like the shape. Might be included in some art project.
– In its place, planted the little pink azalea.
– Waiting for some rain…

19, 23 et 25/04 :
– See here, here and here.

16/04 :
– Alas, today, a baby blackbird was killed. Found it on the “lawn”. It hadn’t been eaten. I don’t think it’s the cat. The magpie has been seen swooping around, chased by Mrs Black. Since then, I haven’t seen her go to her nest to feed her babies anymore.
– Planted the buddleia found in a crack last autumn.

15/04 :
– Had lunch on the bench with the kids.
– Took a cutting from a neighbour’s flowering current…
– Planted the little plants of Smyrnium olusatrum out, here and there, knowing I will have to get rid of some of them if they all take.
– Moved a Brunnera under the yellow euonymus, and planted an Ajuga reptans (bugleweed) on each side. Replanted Silene uniflora Druett’s variegated which at the moment is rootless.
– Sowed what I think is yarrow seeds on dry patches.
– Planted the little matricaria and the other plant (not doing well, this one) taken from Reculver in november in the sandy dry bit against the fence in the sunny bed.
– Gave a Geum Totally Tangerine to neighbour.
– Enjoyed the birds immensely : Mrs Black feeding her babies in the ivy, Mrs Little Red in Grandma’s pouch nest, various others. Now that we have a peanut feeder on our new feeding station, blue tits and great tits are back. Aidan saw the goldfinch again.

14/04 :
– Sat on the bench in the sun. Observed Mrs Back feeding her babies in the ivy. The fritillaries are very good this year.
– New plants for the garden : rhubarb Timperley Early, fig tree Brown Turkey, one purple azalea, one sweet pea.
– Planted an agapanthus Donau
– Installed a bird feeding station with new seed and peanut feeders.
– New houseplant : crassula ovata Gollum. Very funny-looking !

13/04 :
– New encounter with the robin in the pouch nest ! May she / he stay long !

12/04 :
– Saw a goldfinch for the first time in our garden !

11/04 :
– Back from the North. The garden has really come on during our week away ! Fritillaries, primulas, brunnera flowers ! Tulips and daffs not quite yet. The pulsatilla bloomed in our absence. Stuff growing everywhere, weeds too.
Photo 11-04-2018 17 08 45
– The epimedium is not dead !!!

01/04 :
– Easter ! And April ! But the garden seems late this year. The maples are preparing to leaf out, as are the other trees and shrubs, but there is not a daffodil in flower, and the muscari are only starting.
– Cut back the mildew-prone euonymus which had taken advantage of our two years of absence to try to grow back. I need to find a way to get rid of the stump and the roots. I think that, in time, the new physocarpus will take its place. For the moment, I repotted it. I am also hoping some of the dogwood canes I stuck in the soil will take, so I can get more of that lovely luminous foliage.
– It seems a teeny tiny something is growing from what is supposed to be an epimedium.
– Not much is happening in the seeds section… I struggle to believe that something as vigorous as borage can start as those tiny strings which have appeared. Still better than nothing…

APRIL 2018

30/03 :
– In Wilko again. Bought two small tomato plants Super Shirley, a reddish azalea and a physocarpus Red Baron (hoping the label doesn’t lie).

26/03 :
– Put a big saucer out as a bird bath. Mr Black and Little Red used it.
– Fell nose to beak with a robin in the little nest offered by Grandma ! He flew away, hope he will come back.

25/03 :
– Bought and built a mini greenhouse with four shelves. Moved the seedlings which had invaded the windowsills into it. Felt very pleased.

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– Planted a paeony Sarah Bernhardt (let’s hope this time it is what the label says), two purple lupins (one in the shady bed, the other to counterbalance the only surviving lupin from before our Parisian years), 5 crocosmia Lucifer corms to keep company to the plant bought from Crocus, one Dicentra Alba (the other one bought the other day, a pink bleeding heart, seemed not to be able to make it – but I still transfered it near the redwine maple, who knows).
– Amongst bulbs poking up, I can already see fritillaries flower heads (still closed, of course) ! Many other plants are just appearing, like the dark leaved geranium Black’n White Army (which was replanted at some point in front of the arching fuchsia), the phlox paniculata, etc, and maybe, maybe even the Salvia guaranitica (fingers crossed).

14/03 :
See this post.

MARCH 2018

25/01 :
– After a sewer disaster last week preceded and followed by rain and more rain, I have finally ventured out in the garden, and this is my first flower of the year.

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JANUARY 2018

13/12 :
– Saw two thrushes in the garden for the first time. Other usual birds : robin, blackbirds, tits, collared doves, dunnock, house sparrows, magpies, jackdaws, wood pigeons.

DECEMBER

12/11 :
– In a bitter cold wind, planted Tulips Spring Green and Groenland (both viridiflora) and Alliums Christophii in the new green container.
– Mulched with manure.

11/11 :
– Went to Homebase and brought back a water butt, a large green glazed terracota pot, multipurpose and ericaceous compost, alpine white stones (could not find horticultural grit), a small crassula in memory of an old one I saw every summer and winter at my uncle’s house for years and a Venus flytrap for my son – it’s like a new pet.

03/11 : Long day in the garden !
– Moved the rosemary (again, final place I hope), lifted and potted the thyme and gave it a trim. Held the cut stems in my hand in a moment of fullness.
– Moved the tiny Verbena bonariensis (a seedling retrieved from a crack in the concrete slab in front of the shed).
– Finally got rid of the big pink begonia even though it is in flowers. Can’t say it hasn’t been performing, but I don’t like it : floppy fleshy stems, bright pink flowers which don’t suit the surrounding plants (what a unpalatable clash with Acer Osakazuki when it turns red !). Among begonias, I can only stand the small long flowered types, like the Million Kisses series. Actually, they could almost convert me to hanging baskets.
– Decided to give Yoshiki’s dwarf rhododendron (an azalea according to mother-in-law) one last chance. Put it in the ground with ericaceous compost obviously. Moved the sorry looking bit supposed to be Epidemium rubrum in a pot.
– Repotted Camellia sasanqua Rainbow and placed it where the begonia was. In order to use the nice pot, had to rehouse Miscanthus sinensis.
– Repotted Dracaena marginata bought on the High Street the other day. Can barely lift the damn thing now.
– Hung the little RSPB nest Granma gave to my son. Hope the robin will like it.
– Divided the variegated grass (Carex oshimensis Evergold ?) and used the bits to underplant the boxwood and ponctuate another bed. Moved the campanula again (that thing is tough if it recovers !). Total darkness meant I had to retreat.

02/11 :
– Planted some of the things bought in the garden centre yesterday.
– Baptised the loppers by taking down a beautiful holly growing against the fence in the middle of other plants. Felt bad, leaves were gorgeous.

01/11 :
– Went to the Garden Centre for manure and grit. They didn’t have any grit. Left with 150 litres of manure… but also, well, a few extras : Tradescantia andersoniana Sweet Kate and a Camellia sasanqua Rainbow, which was the plant of our end-of-October wedding (eleven years ago). From the clearance shelf : Daphne mezereum Rubra, Penstemon Phoenix Violet and a barely-alive-looking Clematis Jackmanii Superba. Plus seeds : borage, Lychnis Coronaria, Cosmos Purity, yellow aquilegia. Bought Alliums christophii.
– Was offered a pair of loppers (hurrah !) and tulip bulbs by Mother-In-Law (Spring Green and…)
– By the way, a lot of bulbs are popping up in the garden, and I don’t remember what they are.

NOVEMBER

29/10 :
– Went for an extremely windy walk in Reculver with the kids and the in-laws. Collected a small plant of what looks like matricaria maritima and another one which I don’t know yet. Big wild carrot-like flowers grew on the beach. Potted them.

Don’t remember when :
– Bought and planted Narcissi Sir Winton Churchill in a pot. My first double daffodils ever.

16/10 :
– Planted the Cordyline near the iris in the sunny bed.
– Lifted and divided Campanula muralis (portenschlagiana apparently). Replanted here and there in places challenging for other plants.
– Potted Miscanthus sinensis Kleine Fontäne. Not sure where it belongs yet.
– Tried to rescue tiny bits of Heuchera Beauty Colour which, though planted in the ground, had its roots eaten (at least they are not here anymore). Will probably plant the yellow corydalis in its place if the cutting takes.

10/10 :
– Layered bulbs in two large RHS pots with the kids. Bulbs : tulips Carnaval de Nice and Black Parrot, Narcissi Tazetta Martinette, Dwarf Crocus Sieberi Tricolor, Dwarf Iris Katharine Hodgkins / Injad Sherwood. Fingers crossed, we should get a beautiful display from February to May.
– Finally decided to put Acer palmatum Katsura in the ground

09/10 :
– Lifted and divided Geum Totally Tangerine in a lot of plants (nine ?), potted some to give away, planted the others, trying not to waste. In the process, moved some purple toadflax.
– Cleared more ivy. Maybe the honeysuckle will get a better chance next year.

08/10 :
– Cleared the climbing rose, the honeysuckle and the ivy in the corner where the leylandii was.

07/10 :
– The tree surgeon came to fell the sycamore and the leylandii.

05/10 :
– Received the plants ordered with Auntie S’s birthday present : Salvia guaranitica Black and Blue (oh so gorgeous), Centaurea montana Purple Heart, Sanguisorba obtusa and Miscanthus sinensis Kleine Fontäne. Planted the first two plants.
– Lifted and divided the old poppy (a good occasion to move it – but why do I multiply a plant I didn’t want in the first place ?).
– Moved the only surviving delphinium into the main sunny bed.
– Used slug pellets again, alas, to help some plants get a leaf out, at least. The phlox has been trying for days, only to be shaved clean by the slugs. Cat repellent again, as the damn thing has been at it.
– Collected Verbena bonariensis seedhead from the Miller’s park, and a hop seedhead.

02/10 :
– Cleared the sunny bed (the patch near the ivy trunk). Planted the rosemary. Lifted and divided some iris, replanted some behind the fuchsias. Am considering using slug pellets again as picking the b… up every night is not enough.
– The first ranunculus makes an appearance !

OCTOBER

30/09 :
– Bought a ground feeder (mesh bird table) for the blackbird. Bought a rosemary. Birthday.

25/09 :
– Cut nearly every bit of ivy trunk I could access on the path side.

24/09 :
– With Neighbour Adam, trimmed down the copper beech and the cornus alba. Husband trimmed the ivy on the passage. Now to think about keeping or getting rid of the ivy… It is growing through the firethorn. Seen Little Red as everyday.

21/09 :
– Bought bird feeder and food for robins and blackbirds.

20/09 :
– Planted bits of Armeria maritima here and there.
– Carried on with the niwaki pruning of the boxwood. Four hours at it.

18/09 :
– Planted 15 Ranunculus corms (2 pots and in the ground). Planted an offspring of Japanese anemone September Charm near Honorine Jobert.
– Put figs in pot.
– Covered the garden in cat repellent. Sigh.

17/09 :
– Planted bulbs : 15 fritillaries, 20 alliums neapolitanum.
– Embarked on an attempt to prune the big barrel-shaped boxwood Niwaki style. Not sure it will work at all. Might have to cut the boxwood in the end.
– Sowed the Greyfriars Garden’s wild carrots.
– Sowed the Smyrnum olusatrum seeds.

15/09 :
– Moved some plants around (geranium, alchemilla, the arching fuchsia).

14/09 :
– On the way to Harbledown, collected Smyrnium olusatrum seeds. Brought by the Romans. Edible. Old veg. Beautiful.

12/09 :
– Battled the ivy on the path side.
– Planted a tiny pulmonaria in the shady bed.

11/09 :
– Hana’s mum’s gerbera is still alive ! Potted it.
– Moved Silene Druett’s variegated in its place.
– Planted what’s left of a Euphorbia myrsinites.

10/09 :
– Planted Eremurus x isabellinus Pinokkio (foxtail lily)
– Planted Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean feather reed grass)
– Uprooted Auntie Shelagh’s rose. Replanted a small bit in the sunny bed. It couldn’t sustain its flowers’ weight.
– In its place, planted Helleborus x hybridus Double Ellen White Spotted
– Planted Epimedium rubrum (bishop’s hat)
– Potted two seedlings of Susan’s wisteria to grow as standards.

09/09 :
– Planted Verbena bonariensis, Astrantia Hadspen Blood, Crocosmia Lucifer and Alchemilla mollis (yes, garden staples) in the bed near the Aucuba. Added a bit of the divided Brunnera.
– Planted Eryngium x Zabelii Neptune’s Gold (again !) and Phlox paniculata Mount Fuji in the sunny bed.
– Potted a sorry-looking begonia. Will see how it fares. Don’t like begonias but don’t like not to give plants a second chance.
– Hatched this crazy project to grow a seedling of Susan’s wisteria in a pot as a standard.

08/09 :
– Received my birthday present to myself :

Photo 08-09-2017 13 35 08

The Korean feathergrass is so beautiful I wish I had ordered more.

06/09 :
– Planted Trollius chinensis Goldkönigin (Poundland) in shady bed.
– Planted Polemonium (Poundland) near the Geum. You’ve got to love a blue-flowered plant named Jacob’s Ladder. I love English plants’ common names anyway.
– Lifted and potted Iris Sibirica Butter and Sugar, which never thrived (barely alive).
– Divided Primula Bellarina Pink Ice in three plants. Replanted in the shady beds.
– Moved Acer palmatum Katsura which has sent roots through its pot’s draining hole. Needs repotting this autumn.

04/09 :
– Trimmed Lavender.
– Found pulmonaria seedlings and potted them.
– Planted Rumex sanguineus near the chive.
– Planted Chiastophyllum oppositifolium in shady bed (near heuchera, won’t have enough space).

September 2017

26/08 :
– Divided Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost. Replanted where I could in shady beds.

25/08 :
– Potted Coreopsis Early Sunrise.
– Planted Geranium pratense Black’n White Army on Adam’s side.

Earlier in August :
– Planted Tricyrtis formosana Pink Freckles, Heuchera Berry Smoothie.

August 2017

Summer 2017 : return to Canterbury. Amongst other plants, we lost Acer Shirawasanum Aureum.

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