I have finally settled on placing the new greenhouse towards the end of the mixed border quite near the large wooden greenhouse (putting it here means I can align it north south which is preferable to east west). However before reaching this decision I weighed up a large number of possible sites, all of which are illustrated below – apologies in advance for the weeds!
Further to yesterday’s post here are a couple of photographs of the garden around 2004/2005 -they are very similar but I thought I might as well include both. As you see I had dug up the lawn (although my wife eventually got tired of the gravel and I had to replace it!).
I changed this design about a year after this photo was taken and got rid of the centre path and then planted a large mixed border sweeping right round from the bottom greenhouse (by then I had erected four) effectively cutting the garden in half – however I soon found that the dog went straight through this border, breaking all and sundry in the process – in the end I had to put in a path just for her which completely ruined the design!
I fear I will have to redesign the garden yet again as I want to fit in the new greenhouse – I have lost count how many times I have changed it. My real love is greenhouse plants and greenhouse management so the inevitable upheaval may be worth it. If and when I get the greenhouse erected I may not heat it initially but rather use it for tomatoes et al in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn followed by lettuce through the winter and bulbs in the spring – this was the regime I adopted in my first greenhouse over forty years ago.
By coincidence my wife has just found out some old photographs of the garden at the end of the Century when we had the first avatar of the lawn and there was only one, admittedly large, greenhouse and a tiny lean-to. All the shrubs had either not been planted or had not grown very big and there was actually flowers in the borders!!!!!
I was walking the dog along a sheltered path by the railway line on Sunday and saw quite a few Brimstone butterflies. I think this means Spring has finally arrived folks! Having said that in a normal year you can often see an occasional Brimstone on the wing in late February or early March in Southern England – however this is not a normal year and the sight of so many on the wing cheered me up no end. Typically I never had my smartphone with me – although I didn’t really feel energetic enough to run after them for a good shot anyway! They appeared to be all males: the males have yellow wings, hence the name, while the females are off white. It is believed, realistically I think, that the word butterfly is derived from the males of this species
Our Forsythia bush began to open its buds over a week ago and I notice plants all over town are well out now. Although it is depressing in a way I quite like it when the flowers begin to fade as by then the leaves are showing and the combination of pale green and warm yellow is very attractive.
Incidentally, my wife’s front border which I photographed a bit earlier is looking even prettier now after the rain at the weekend. However in our large garden at the back of the house the weeds are growing alarmingly fast for the same reason. I am not sure when I will get round to attending to them as I have to clean out the fish pond over the weekend and I really must start potting. The turtles do eat the dandelions but unfortunately not in suitable quantities! The rabbit only eats the flowers – we have the fussiest rabbit on the planet!
My wife June looks after the tiny front garden of our rented property. It really is small with a large cherry laurel hedge at the front and our neighbour’s shrubs to the side. The soil is extremely poor but we are doing our best to improve it. The borders in front of the bay window and in front of the hedge tend to be a bit dry particularly in the summer months, however there is a nice show of spring flowers at the moment despite the bad weather – hopefully it will be even better next year.
Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) is usually the first cherry to come into bloom in Southern England. It starts flowering at the beginning of March and in a normal year indicates the imminent arrival of nicer weather. Not this year however! It is still desperately cold at the beginning of April with light snow again today and a bitter wind which would feel almost too chilly in January. For two weeks running the UK met office has forecast milder weather for the approaching weekend and both times they have subsequently amended the information. They are now saying it may get slightly milder during next week – the phrase believe it when you see it comes to mind!
Anyway the cherries remain in bloom. this one is just down the road.
There wasn’t a huge variety of plants at the garden centre we visited last week (still a bit early) but I was struck by these Acacia. They were in large pots presumably ready to be planted but I suspect they would have survived only one of the last five winters even here in Southern England.
They also got me thinking about names. The English call these plants Mimosa despite the fact that this is a totally separate genus. We call Philadelphus (Mock Orange) by the name Syringa even though this is more correctly lilacs. We also muddle up heather and heath with most heathland round here more correctly heatherland and all the heather in local gardens more correctly heaths. I am sure there are many more examples.
I do like our capacity to invent evocative common names for native plants though. Possibly my favourite is Hieracium aurantiacum which I think is called Foxes And Cubs down South and the marvellous Grim The Collier up North. I must admit I also have a soft spot for the Animated Oat! (Avena sterilis).