End of the Month View -April 2018

We leave cold, wet April behind, and May finally brings some warm, settled weather.

The potting shed window ledge soon has a jug of cow parsley and forget-me-nots from the wild garden.

We’ve waited for this display all winter. Wild cherry trees in the paddock. Alive with bees. An avalanche of white blossom.

Scented narcissi Geranium pop up in the long grass around the pond. I love the egg yolk centres.

Needing some work this summer, the pond is ringed with marsh marigolds and lady’s smock wild flowers- and brambles and stinging nettles! A bit of cutting back and control is planned.

Our front lawn is a blue haze. My Grandfather Ted Foulds brought the first wild violets here, seedlings from his garden. They spread over the whole plot, and I love them.

I’ve planted my sweet peas. The hazel rods are a bit ramshackle, but they’ll soon be covered with flowers. I planted seed in October. I’m growing old favourites: High Scent, Wiltshire Ripple and creamy white Mrs Collier, plus heritage varieties from Easton Walled Gardens .

Suddenly, these dog’s tooth violets pop up through cow parsley in the woodland. I forget I’ve planted them – and then they emerge. Sunshine on a cold, cloudy day. Erythronium Pagoda is the variety growing here.

Shining out from the shade, Tulip Purissima. Reliably comes back every year. Copes with everything the weather throws at it.

I grow Orange Emperor tulips in the daylily bed in front of the greenhouse. Another good do-er. Always comes up every year if planted deeply on a bed of grit for drainage.

Favourite shrubs in flower at the moment are daphne and quince. This one is Japanese quince, Chaenomeles Kinshiden. Double flowers open pale lime green and change to clotted cream as they age.

Pleased to see my plectranthus has survived the winter, tucked up in the greenhouse. A striking plant for summer containers. Easy to grow from cuttings.

There will be plenty of citrus fruit for summer preserves. This plant flowered all winter, filling the greenhouse with such a wonderful scent.

We do quite a bit of owl watching from the top of the garden. Delighted to report the barn owls and tawny owls have survived the freezing winter. We’re hoping they bring their fledglings into our garden again this summer.

Another cause for celebration. The hedgehogs- we think they are last year’s babies- also survived the cold, and have come out of hibernation, ravenous. They are doing a great job of clearing pests in the garden.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slide show of my garden at the end of April and into the first week of May. Enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend. I’m hoping to spend some time just sitting in my favourite garden chair. If I can possibly ignore all the weeds growing rampant in the background!

Thanks to Helen Patient Gardener for hosting the EOMV. Why not go over and see how Helen’s garden looks at the end of April.

What are your plans for the garden over the coming weeks? Get in touch and let me know.

End of Month View – as October closes.

Determined to spend every last minute of good weather outdoors, I piled blankets and cushions on our old garden chairs. It makes a cosy place to read and survey the autumn colours. A place to rest and have a cup of tea after all that apple picking!

Here’s a kind of ‘slide show’ of photos from my garden, taken over the past couple of weeks. I take photos as a record of what’s in flower and looking good at different times of the year. At the end of each month I sit down and make notes of what needs moving, pruning, changing around.

Alongside the drive, in a rubble-filled spot I planted one eucomis bulb a few years ago. These love the well-drained, sunny conditions. This year the bulbs have increased and we have eight flower stems, making a lovely colourful display. The photo shows the top of the plant, which is as beautiful as the flower spike. It’s nice to have something as exotic as this at the tail-end of the growing season.

Next to the drive we have a dogwood called Midwinter Flame, sometimes sold as Midwinter Fire. Just now it is taking centre stage as the leaves turn a beautiful bright yellow and the shrub is smothered in delicate white flowers. Late foraging solitary bees and Red Admiral butterflies are enjoying the plentiful supply of pollen today. The dogwood has bright orange stems all winter. A stunning sight covered in frost and snow. I find this dogwood doesn’t need such a drastic cut-to-the-ground approach that I use for Cornus Westonbirt planted nearby. In fact, I just take out a few stems every year to encourage new growth, and I tip back the ends to stop it encroaching on the driveway.

In the hedgerows surrounding the garden, common wild dogwood, Cornus sanguinea, is literally glowing with deep purple leaves and black berries. In full sun, the stems turn an electric red for winter. But in shade the stems remain a mossy green. Berries provide valuable food for small mammals and birds, as well as floristry material for my cut flower posies and door wreaths.

This door wreath made from my hedgerow foraging has ivy, dogwood, sloe berries, rosehips and crab apples. It cheered up the potting shed door for a week and cost £0 to make. A lovely sight to come home to.

I thought I would share the view from the back fields behind my garden. I took this photo whilst I was collecting materials for the door wreath. The gap is where an elm tree stood, before it succumbed to the dreaded Dutch elm disease. The elm managed to get to about 10 feet tall, and we always hope they will somehow develop a resistance to the disease. But every year another one dies. It’s a favourite gap-in-the-hedge view which changes so much with the seasons.

I garden on a windswept ridgeway. It’s cold and unprotected. But the views are glorious. I particularly love this viewing point, 20 paces from my paddock gate. There’s a woodpecker in that tree, taking no notice of me while I’m taking this photo. And high above us, a family of buzzards are circling and calling to each other with their curious mewing cry. When we first moved here, I spent hours searching for a cat I was sure had been abandoned in the hedgerow. Eventually realising it was a buzzard we could hear. Mind you, over the years, because of where we live in an isolated spot along a country lane, we have had to rescue quite a few sadly abandoned pets. All have found safe refuge here.

This is turning into a bit of a country walk. But I thought you’d like to see what I look at – just across the lane from where I live. We make daily trips to look at these cows. They are so tame and very well cared for. It’s rare to see calves allowed to stay with their mothers nowadays. Further along the lane, the cows can look thorough the fence to see me working in my orchard. They seem as curious about me as I am about them. Good company for me, indeed.

The grass verges here are full of wild flowers and what would be weeds in a garden setting. These rosebay willow herb plants grow in drifts and their colourful pink spikes provide nectar in summer for bees and butterflies. I watched some goldfinches enjoying the seed heads. A thing of beauty, caught in the sunlight.

Back in the garden, these seed heads are looking glorious at the moment. I’ve forgotten the name of them. If anyone knows, please remind me. The leaves look like burnt toffee at the moment. I’ve got a feeling sky rocket is in the name somewhere?

The hamamelis leaves are also turning colour now, and I’m excited to see the tiny flower buds just starting to form. I’m hoping for a colourful display right in the middle of winter when we all need cheering up.

I’m still looking for the name for this fungi. Autumn wouldn’t be the same without this beauty in the mini woodland part of the wild garden. I went back the next day to take some more photos and it had been eaten. We have a thriving colony of short-tailed voles living in the long grass there. Just wondering if they eat mushrooms. There’s so much to learn, isn’t there.

As we started with reading, I’ll leave you with this view of the potting shed. I’m tidying it up to give me somewhere to mooch to over the winter. Much perusing of seed catalogues and plotting and planning will go on in there on cold, wet days. I try to make it as cosy as I can with a kettle and toaster. Anyway, thank you for joining me on a walk around bramble garden.

Thank you to Steve at Glebe House who has taken up the mantle of EOMV from Helen at Patient Gardener who launched the meme eight years ago. Go over and have a look what other gardeners are doing at this time of the year. It’s fascinating to see what everyone is growing around the world.

Leave a comment and let me know what is looking good in your garden right now. I haven’t shown you all the weeds or brambles. There are many, I can promise you.