Walk Around My Garden Saturday 30 May 2020 #SixOnSaturday

Rose Constance Spry. Planted when my youngest daughter was born. Roses speak of celebration, and this one really shouts a welcome -to-the-world for Rachel. It flowers for three weeks in early June and fills the garden with a glorious fruit-salad perfume.

Where I am today. Up a ladder. Trying to control the tangle of clematis, jasmine and ivy. This has been allowed to run wild for four years. Little and often might be my approach to tackling the problem. Otherwise, it seems an impossible task. The pergola runs from the back garden to the front drive. A shady walkway in the heat. I’m not going to rush the task. Luckily I’ve got a new Henchman ladder to help with the task. No more wobbling on unstable step ladders.

Alongside the pergola there’s a wedding cake tree, Cornus controversa variegata. Some of the layers have deteriorated. I need to take advice on pruning to try to get it back in shape. Pruning the pergola will give it more light. Behind, climbing to the top of a mature ash tree is Rosa Cerise Bouquet which flowers on and off right through the summer into October.

Another rose looking lovely at the moment is Rhapsody in Blue which has been moved three times. Just goes to show, you can move roses, despite what it says in the books. Highly recommended. Disease resistant and free flowering. Lovely scent and unusual colour.

My grandfather’s rose, Zephirine Drouhin. He gave me this before he died. It’s wonderful to have something from his garden to remember him by. I know it was a favourite of his. I’m sure he knew it would give years of joy. And especially at the moment when everything seems uncertain and Covid has caused so much stress. It is as if he is still helping me, through all the plants coming into flower now. A reminder that life goes on, the seasons keep going. So must we.

My grandfather grew all his fruit and vegetables. People did in those days. Luckily, I watched, followed like a shadow and learned. And he gave me some of his garden tools, so when I’m hoeing the garden, I think of him, working his veg plot and feeding his family. I wonder what he was thinking while he was hoeing his garden. Did he find the peace that I’m finding right now. Was it a comfort to him, as it is to me, through all the trials and tribulations life throws at you.

Foxgloves have seeded in one of the veg plot beds. I’m digging these up and putting them in the wild garden, to make room for winter greens, Brussels sprouts and kale. Flowers will be picked for jam jar posies. I’m putting flowers on the village green again this summer to raise money for Rainbows Hospice for children. There will be an honesty box for donations.

The first sweet peas. Always popular in my jam jar posies. These were sown in root trainers in October. I’ve just sown some more for late flowering through to November. This one is from a packet of seed called Wiltshire Ripple Mixed. All have speckled flowers and a picotee edge. The scent is just wonderful.

As usual, when we’ve walked around the garden, there’s a short ramble along the ridgeway path to my ‘hole in the hedge’ porthole. It’s a viewing point I discovered a few years back. I didn’t make it, nature did, and I watch deer, rabbits, foxes, birds, owls, and hares, quietly and unnoticed.

Today, the May blossom has gone over, but there’s beautiful dogwood flowers framing the view. In an ancient hedge, there’s always something of interest. A tapestry of flowers, rosehips, crab apples, and seeds.

It’s just a humble wild dogwood. But it is as beautiful to me as any ornamental and expensive cornus tree.

And finally, after all that walking, sit a while in my 1930s summerhouse -on-a turntable. In the heat, it’s turned to the shade, facing the wood and pond. A perfect place to contemplate life and all the reasons to be grateful. All the things I value are not the things that can be bought. Hopefully my grandfather would be proud of the person I have become. I’d love to tell him how things have turned out. And that I’ve been happy, thanks to his good advice.

Links : I like to read and join in with the hashtag Six on Saturday why not go over and see what other gardens look like today, all over the world. https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/category/six-on-saturday/

Henchman ladders like mine: https://www.henchman.co.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAjwiMj2BRBFEiwAYfTbCgG1JcfaQwtYjZ_lj7F3XBMAvXjIpri5d5vqMGjRlDY0i6E414m6RBoCRQMQAvD_BwE

Roses : https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/?gclid=CjwKCAjwiMj2BRBFEiwAYfTbCtnJOqLRzmev76pY_7u5maadGtrLFXf09qHEGmx4mHw71JE0ccaxkxoClDQQAvD_BwE

Sweet peas :https://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/Flower-Seed/Sweet-Pea-Seed/#.XtIkQBB4WfA

43 thoughts on “Walk Around My Garden Saturday 30 May 2020 #SixOnSaturday

  1. I always enjoy your posts! They bring such a moment of calm in this crazy world in which we all live! Today’s special love for me was your grandfather’s rose and that stunning opener, the Rose Constance Spry. And your summer house on a turntable…what a neat idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  2. Lovely post Karen, particularly touched by references to your grandad, I’m sure he’d be absolutely made up to see you, like him, growing your own.

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    • Thank you Gary. I do hope he would be pleased with how things have worked out. He was a huge influence in my life and one of the reasons I’m so happy now. He, and my Mum, taught me the true meaning of happiness and how to achieve it. For that, I’m extremely lucky and grateful. And, I’m hoping my children will read this back, when they have time, and learn from what I’m saying. Much easier than trying to sit them down and make them listen now, when they are so focussed on going forward, fast. I’m on the same journey as them, only looking backwards, more slowly. We have met in the middle, and I can see them rushing ahead. So this is my gently way of passing all the wisdom I’ve inherited from my family on to them – for when they need it in the future. Thanks again for your kind comments. Much appreciated.

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    • Thank you. There sure is. I’m afraid we’ve got clematis Montana running about 40 metres along….. it looks stunning for three weeks of the year. And the ivy has run riot. I haven’t dared tackle it till now. I may be some time…… thanks for your kind comments 🙂

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  3. Thank you Karen for that lovely walk around your garden. It cheered me up no end. And I love that the plants in our gardens hold such precious memories.

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    • Thank you Fliss. You wouldn’t believe how important my propagator has been this spring. I literally count get out to get any plants of any kind. So I’ve used old seed and sowed like mad. I think about you every time I use it and am so grateful for your kindest. Thanks for reading. Lots of love ( ps. I called to see my mum today, the first time since end of February. We sat 3m apart in the garden and I didn’t touch a thing, wore gloves etc. It was totally heartbreaking. Couldn’t even share a cup of tea. We hugged ourselves and pretended we were hugging each other. This covid is such a terrible thing to separate us from our loved ones and cause us such pain. ) hope to see you soon – social distancing allowing. Much love. Karen 😘 xxx

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  4. Thanks so much, Karen. Looking at your photos, I felt as though I was walking round your garden with you – in the absence, just now, of being able to do so in person! Strangely, my Zephirine Drouhin has suddenly decided to flower spectacularly this year. One of the first plants I bought decades ago for my first garden. When I moved it, it sulked for some time before re-establishing and then was buried and sadly neglected for years under more vigorous climbers until it recently escaped from them! Brings back memories too with its lovely fragrance. xx

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    • Ah, how lovely. Good to hear yours is doing well too. Mine was dug up from my grandad’s garden at least 15 years ago. Each year I cut out one main stem to encourage it to produce more younger growth. It’s along the wires facing the field behind the summerhouse. Do wish you could come and sit in my summerhouse again, like last time and chat. Do come and stand by the gate again soon. I’m thinking of putting a park bench on the other side of my garden gate for visitors. Isn’t it awful to have to do so. Yes, the roses are looking the best they have ever looked. I believe the liked the winter wet, and are enjoying the lack of rain which spreads disease and spoils flowers. Lots of love. Karen xxx

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  5. It’s lovely to have tangible and useful memories of family or friends who are no longer with us – and to share the same deep love for a garden. When I have dropped a posy off at my nearest daughter’s during lockdown her daughter has shown an interest in the flowers (she is not quite 3) so I am hoping this might be the start of something… 😉 I know you won’t be rushing to make up for the time you had to neglect your garden, and that despite the tangle you will enjoy getting intimately acquainted with the neglected parts

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    • Thank you. How lovely to have a three year old! My youngest daughter, although only in her 20s has discussed having children – probably to sound us out about childcare possibilities. I must say, I’d be thrilled to have a grandchild one day. No, I’m just going to take my time and do a bit every day. I’ve left the tangled mess of clematis,roses, ivy, pyracantha because it looks totally impossible to tackle. However, if I don’t set myself a deadline, I’ll get on ok. Have a good week. Karen x

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      • I always told the local daughter not to expect childcare from me when the time came, but with the other grandaughter (now 6) being in Surrey, when it came to it I did offer a day (Grannie Thursday in normal times), not expecting the granddaughter to have a brother quite so soon (but neither did my daughter!). I had to rearrange my busy week to fit it in though! With your tangled mess, might it not be easier/better to cut most of them to the ground, or perhaps to a more manageable height? It would rejuvenate them too.

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      • Thank you Cathy. Yes, we’re having the childcare conversation already and we are considering how many days we can spare. I think we’ve got a couple of years grace (freedom) but then we’ll be on duty! Yes, I’m thinking of just cutting the whole lot down after flowering. Have a great week

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  6. A turning summerhouse! How extraordinary. People were certainly inventive, and I wonder why such things are not still made.
    It’s always a pleasure taking a tour around your garden, and I love the view through the hedgerow portal.

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    • Thank you Jane. We often wonder why they are not made now, the turntable is on railway wheels on a railway track circle. Quite solid and going to last for ever. We turn it to the field to watch the sunset and the barn owls flying in and out with their catch of mice for the fledglings. When it’s very hot, it’s wonderful to turn it to the pond where the breeze is cooling from across the water. Thanks for your kind words. Have a good week. Karen x

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  7. My grandfather was a nurseryman all his working life, but he wasn’t so old when he died, probably younger than I am now and when I was only 12. Having followed in his footsteps I would love to sit down and have a long chat with him now. Now we’d have so much to talk about, back then we probably thought we had nothing in common.

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    • That’s so true, Jim. We’d definitely have so much to talk about. I suppose when I was growing up, I just used to listen. My grandad loved talking and told me all the stories about his childhood and his family. I was fascinated. I didn’t grow any vegetables in my 20s and only a few in my 30s. It’s not until my own children have grown up that I’ve had time to grow more at home. I too wish I could just have one more conversation with him. There’s so much I’d like to ask him now. I just feel fortunate to have had someone who I adored and he loved me too. I’m hoping if I have grandchildren I’ll be their special person too. Enjoy your Sunday, and thanks for reading the blog.

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  8. What a lovely post again Karen! I really enjoy reading about and seeing your garden and hedge. Being able to turn your summerhouse must be so useful. My parents have a summerhouse but it does get too hot in the afternoons. Carry on enjoying the peace and harmony in your garden. 😃

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    • Thank you Cathy. I was thinking of your parents today. Please tell them we have five baby hedgehogs this year. Yes, that summerhouse is very useful. We can swing it round to watch the sunset, or turn the back to the sun to cut out the heat. A wonderful design. I wish they were still made today. Enjoy your Sunday xx

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  9. Zephirine Drouhin is a lovely practically thorn free rose and has a lovely fragrance, if it has one fault it is that during dry periods it does suffer with mildew. Love your steps, but fear that I now cannot use steps due to my broken neck now not being able to look up, or down.

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    • Thank you Derek. Luckily, I’ve put it along a wire fence along side the field boundary, so lots of fresh air whizzes through it and it doesn’t suffer from mildew. Up against a fence or wall, is another matter. All the best to you and vi. Karen x

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  10. Lovely roses and I really loved hearing about your grandpa, he sounds as though he taught you a lot.I’m envious of your ladder, are they as stable as advertised, let us know how you get on with it!

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    • Thank you Pauline. It gets a 9 out of 10 so far. I love the hand grips on the side, the little platform to stand on and somewhere to put tools the top of the ladder. The adjustable feet are fabulous. It loses just one point for not having a rigid brace between the back leg and the steps. There’s just a chain. Apart from that, it’s the best ladder I’ve ever owned, and I can carry it about without asking for help. I feel safe at the top, and don’t need anyone to hold the sides for me. Thanks for reading and getting in touch. All the best. Karen

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  11. Cornus controversa variegata has always been one of my favourite trees because of its shape. Aside from the problem you have now, is it easy to grow? rather slow or fast growing?
    Such a pretty sweet pea you have !… a colour I don’t have.

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    • Thank you. I’ve been putting off the renovations as I haven’t had a safe ladder and it’s a task that’s now become gargantuan. I’m afraid my garden was always a little bit wild and woolly before I was ill 4 years ago..I always only had a tenuous hold on nature. Left to its own devises it’s become a jungle. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments. Enjoy the weekend.

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  12. The ladder really is striking – as striking as the wedding cake tree (have not knowingly come across one before). I’m comparing your garden with what my allotment might be like now. I think your garden is significantly more lush. It’s also inspiring conversations with my helpers in my head. Me – why can we not have more peas sown? One of them – why don’t we have any broad beans? (Cos I don’t like broad beans but black fly do.) Me – have you got all the tomatoes into place yet. Them – er . . . some . . .

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    • Thank you Lucy. The ladder looks almost sculptural. Which is just as well as it’s going to be up on display all summer as I try to get four years of neglect sorted out. Yes, I remember those conversations with helpers. In my case, it was ….have you saved my lemon trees…..watered the pelargoniums, fed the hens, petted the guinney pig, walked the dog…. All survived, just about, until I was up and about again. So frustrating when you just want to do everything yourself, but can’t get out there! I’ve planted fennel with the broad beans to attract predators to eat the black fly. Fingers crossed. Last night I watched a tiny vole pushing up the soil all along the bean rows. It was such a busy thing, working methodically. Luckily the beans have grown well and all the energy from the seeds has gone into stems and flowers. I didn’t begrudge the odd nibble, if it found anything to eat. Reminded myself that he has as much right to be here as me, and I have to outwit him. Which, luckily, I seem to have done this time. Ps. I was up at 4. Isn’t it light at that time. And the air smells bright and clean. Who would ever guess there is so much danger from the very air we breathe. It seems utterly unbelievable at such times of the day. xx

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