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!!!!!
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).
Almost thirty years ago my father brought back home a small ornamental apple that he had picked up while travelling for his job. I extracted the seeds and sowed them. I kept four seedlings, eventually planting three in my parents front garden. When the resulting trees finally flowered and set fruit one had fruit like an ordinary crab apple (similar in appearance to an ordinary dessert apple but much smaller), another had very small bright yellow fruit and the final one had very small bright red fruit. This was the biggest variability (considering it was such a small sample!) I have ever come across.
Since then my mother has passed away and my father has moved. However at least one of the trees was still there a few years ago – sadly probably not now though.
Below is an old photo of the red variety.
I took this photo moments before the image of cornfield poppies in my previous post. It is called Windmill Hill. I have always assumed that the ring of trees on the mound at the top indicate the place where the actual windmill stood but I have never delved into the history of the place. It is patently long gone.
One of the botanical groups I used to belong to when living in Wiltshire organised several field trips to the site but sadly I never attended. The flora is apparently quite interesting.
For those familiar with my landscape paintings I have portrayed Windmill Hill a number of times (albeit in a modern art idiom) but always from the Collingbourne Road on the other side. I have also painted the hill on the opposite side of the valley (Sidbury Hill) which has an iron age hill fort on top. I have managed to attend field trips on this latter site (including a none too successful one listening to nightingales – or not listening to nightingales as it turned out!) plus worked there on many occasions clearing scrub. It is extremely evocative as you stand on the crest waiting for the bonfires to burn down and watching the dusk descend across the plain below.
Anyway that is enough of that; hopefully there will be a horticultural post next time!