My garden diary.


Well 1999 has arrived and a new gardening year stretches ahead.This seems a good time to look back on the past year and see what changes took place in my garden.

It amazes me that so much can happen in such a small space.It is hard to imagine a time when I will sit back and say "Well that is it"!!

There are two major changes; one is the new pond on my patio where so far the goldfish have survived and fingers are crossed that the Heron will decide not to investigate.The second change is tinged with sadness because it meant cutting down a healthy conifer.This was one I bought over twenty years ago as a miniature...not.Its removal has given me more valuable space .

This is my new pond though not a very good picture.

As you see the pond has a nice seat all around so I look forward to relaxing with a nice cuppa and watching the fish.

Looking back at my entry for January 1998 it seems that the garden is at much the same stage with daffodils , crocus and iris all showing above ground.However this January I have several new grasses which still look good waving in the wind.
January 12th
What weird weather has heralded the start of the new year. Many plants whose fresh growth was apparent have been hit by two nights of frost..a very hard frost . Time will tell what damage has been done, if any. The Japanese quince seems to ignore these extremes of temperature and the red/pink flowers make a cheerful pattern on the wall.I am watching the buds on the Daphnes and looking forward to when they open and I can enjoy their special fragrance.It will be interesting to see what the weather throws at us in the next week...keep reading!!
January 25th
Well the weather has not yet decided what season to choose.As I type the rain cometh down and it is quite chilly.Despite this a lot of growth is taking place; the daffodils are making good progress and I noticed a blue iris reticulata about to bloom.

I have had fun watching the birds discover the mirror in my garden( see index to contents) which had been hidden by the conifer. They love to admire themselves and it means they come much closer to my house now.The regular visitors include , robins, blackbirds, thrushes, tits, finches and sparrows.Blackbirds just love the berries on Pyracantha and make short work of clearing them.It is noticable that the days are getting longer , always a point of cheer.

February 5th
Signs of Spring at last...crocuses in bloom, miniature daffodils should open in the next day or so and the irises are all in flower...The Japanese quince seems to be producing a lot of flowers. I visited the garden centre and found a Daphne collina so I have another plant with a lovely scent. I so love to see buds appearing and the early flowering Clematis have nice juicy ones by now. Pulmonaria is in blossom and the blackbirds have almost finished the Pyracantha berries.

February 15th
Real signs of spring here now. Lots of daffodils flowering as well as crocus. Buds on so many plants and I cant wait for the early Clematis to bloom. I had to cut the grass last week. Now this was rather a muddy operation but it had to be done. I did a lot of cutting back yesterday. Had to take lots of branches off a Pyracantha ..very prickly job it was! The winter heathers are making a great show in the front garden aided by the daffodils planted amongst them.

March 1st
Yes the host of golden daffodils is there.Almost all the daffs are blooming and I love to see them. Pulmonaria is looking well too and the heathers have got even better. I see plants like Hostas breaking the surface as are many other perennials. Oh I wish there was some kind of good label where the writing would stay put and yet the label be reasonably discrete. I forget where I placed some plants though I did label them at the time using white labels. The magpies seem to like pulling these up and dropping them anywhere thus adding to the confusion. Well it will be exciting to see what grows where!!
March 13th
It is wonderful to see all those buds appear. The Camellias are starting to bloom and how I love those flowers. Clematis alpina is about to flower and I look forward to this as it is such a pretty plant. I have decided to learn more about alpine plants and am preparing a special bed for them. This means buying topsoil which sounds strange..but there is none to spare in my small place. Daphne collina is in bud , what a glorious scent the Daphnes have. Daffodils and Japonica are still flowering and I will be sad when the daffs start to wither.
March 26th
Oh this time of the year is so good. Every day something new appears be it buds or a perennial pushing up through the soil. Clematis macropetala is flowering , so pretty. Pulsatilla vulgaris the Pasque flower is in bud, I just love the Pulsatillas and wish I could find the yellow one . I have tried to grow it from seed but these plants are hard to germinate. I have decided this year to learn more about Alpines. I have quite a few but feel a bit ignorant about them so its out with the books and some study to be done! Saxifrages are lovely in the troughs and the Daphnes will soon be in bloom. Did I mention,,,,I love my garden !!!!!!!
April 9th
The growth gets better and better and there seems to be something new to see each day. It is an exciting time in the garden , no doubt. The Pulsatilla flowered yesterday and furthermore I had the good fortune to be given a white one by a friend. I bought a pink water lily for the new pond..pity they are so expensive. I also put in some barley straw to try and clear the algae; many folk say this method works well. Oh two of my Daphnes, one is collina are in bloom and the scent is magic. And I actually have sweet pea flowering in the conservatory. I sowed the seeds last autumn in deep rooting trays , then put them in a deep pot and off they went.A new clematis called Markhams pink is very pretty . If you can get a Hardy geranium called Bill Wallis , grab it. A great plant early flowers and lasts for ages. Not a big plant but it throws its shoots out amid sorrounding plants and its small blue flowers look so pretty.
April 16th
Had to put an entry in because an amazing thing happened. Early last Tuesday morning like at 1-30am I looked out and the snow was coming down thick and fast. Now snow is unusual here let alone in April.While it looked lovely I fear for all the plants which had poked their heads above ground. It thawed the next day and it was wonderful to see the clematis flowers appearing from under the snow, same for the tulips and other plants that were in flower. We expect bad frost these nights so my fingers are crossed for my dear plants. One just never knows what may happen does one!!I am going away for a week so trust all will be well on my return.
April 30th
Well the weather for the past week has more than made up for our snowy spell. It has been glorious.Each day the perennials seem to have grown a little bit more. Clematis montana is blooming . I am taking particular interest in the Coneflowers I planted this year as I have not grown them before, I saw my N.American friends talk about them so had some seed sent to me. They should flower this year.Many of the hardy geraniums are flowering and as I think I mentioned before "Bill Wallis" is a great addition to any garden so watch out for it.Today I bought annuals for my hanging baskets, nemesia ,bidens and bacopa plus the good ole surfinias make a good show. I only plant up a couple of baskets for the front of the house.Yes things are really moving in the garden...great.
May 11th
Since I last wrote I have been to Wales ,where as well as visiting the wonderful gardens at Bodnant I also went to see two rather special nurseries. One has almost every hardy geranium you could think of and the other specialised in alpines.....I have developed a great interest in alpines and spent quite a lot on some terrific plants. Suffice it to say I bought 33 plants!!However one could not let such an opportunity pass by..but now I have to find space for the newcomers..a hard but enjoyable job.
May 22th
Funny that looking around the garden now it is like the calm before the storm. There is a lot of lush green growth and lots of hardy geraniums are blooming but the only show stopper is the Nelly Moser clematis. I like it this way but wait for another couple of days and the huge red poppies will open , foxgloves are on their way and lots of campanula are in bud. The rose Leaping salmon is opening and looking beautiful. I have found homes for all the new plants I bought...and they seem to have settled in very well. I was lucky to find a sale of clematis that had lost their labels!! I got two and now have the fun of waiting to see what I actually have...the joys of gardening.
June 2nd
Well as I write this the rain is lashing down and has been all day long...ugh. Through the gloom I can see the Meconopsis poppies and what a glorious shade of blue. The Campanula persicifolia has started to flower. I love this but find it spread all over the place; I find it hard to ruthless enough. So many of the hardy geraniums are in flower with all the varying shades of purple to palest pink. I see that the big bush of Johnsons blue has been flattened by the rain, it had been looking marvellous. I am glad that the night scented stock is in bud. There is nothing to beat the scent of that each evening. The nameless clematis are doing well and growing through the border. My pet Texas bluebonnets are also flowering and look just like miniature blue lupins. Roll on summer!!!
June 16th
Not any great improvement in the weather but its not too bad. The garden is storming ahead with the hardy geraniums looking great as many of them are flowering now. Rose , Leaping Salmon is putting on a good show and the macropetala clematis is blooming again, a great bonus. I have a wonderful little campanula in bloom , C.nitida..mine is white though it comes in blue as well. Most unusual and so pretty. One alpine type dianthus is particularily lovely, what a scent . It is called Whatfield Can Can....get it if you see it. Grasses are wonderful and watching them in the breeze is a treat. Another campanula , new this year, is Elizabeth, and it is a lovely creamy colour with red speckles in the *bell*.
Picture of hardy geranium Johnson's blue with Ibericum behind it.
July 5th
Gosh it seems like the other day that I wrote here..where does the time go. Growth and yet more growth. The weather is warm and humid for here so there is a great deal of greenery to be seen. Yes, the hardy geraniums are making a good show and a new clematis I got this year though never had heard of it...Ajoulanth is flowering and it is a beauty. Seems to be a mix between herbaceous and climbing with a lovely pink flushed white bloom. My joy are the sweet pea, what a scent. I bought a clump of everlasting sweet pea at a plant sale and it is wonderful. Strong pink, mauve and red flowers with that heady scent. I had not realised the everlasting sweetpea were so scented. I still think Clematis Comtesse de Bouchaud is one of the very best ...spreads well, will climb or grow through adjoining plants and flowers profusely. Slugs are awful and some hostas look like net curtains but others , with the tougher leaves, seem to have escaped damage.
July 19th
We have had some nice weather over the past few weeks so there is a lot of growth. This means that some plants like the Sidalcea are finished but others take their place.The pink Phlox is blooming, it comes before the white form in my garden. One of my garden gems, Dierma is flowering in all its glory. Regal Lily is over but Casablanca is about to bloom, it is my firs year growing the latter. Rose Leaping salmon is about to produce a second flowering , a great rose. I am picking Sweet pea every day and the scent is gorgeous. Many hardy geraniums continue to flower...but then they are just the greatest plant!!
July 30th
Well summer has been here for the past week and very wonderful it is. The Casablanca lily referred to above is in bloom but has turned out to be Pink!! I gather there are pink hybrids so this must be one of these; it is a beautiful lily with a lovely scent so I am happy with it. As I intend to re-arrange the very wide border at the bottom of the garden I have started to dig up those plants which have finished flowering and put them in pots. This border has masses of white phlox at the back and it is impossible to tend to all the plants in it; so I am taking out a lot of phlox and making a path at the back. I planted the rose Zepherin drouit there and want to give it light and some space to grow up the wall.Have I got any new plants since I last wrote? Yes , I got a Draba, a bicolored Aconitum and two water hyacinths. The latter are lovely with really delicate flowers. I also have noticed fry in my pond for the first time and am rather excited about that.
August 11th
I returned from a weeks holidays yesterday and it was fun to see what had changed in my garden. Perhaps one of the best sights is the water hyacinths in bloom. These are new to me and the flowers are so pretty. The sweet pea continue to bloom..such good value. I have Francoa for the first time and like the pretty pink flower spikes. Most exciting is that the Azorina has started to flower and the buds are just opening. This is a member of the campanula family and not often seen around here. I shall put in a picture when it is at its best. The plant is not fully frost hardy so I keep in a pot and take it in during the winter. I got a present of a Kangaroo paws plant when I was away..cant wait to see this in flower.
August 22nd
Yes the Azorina is really lovely. Sweet pea are getting rather mildewy but I am still picking them and have had great value. I have done quite a lot of cutting back over the past few days. I plan to change things around so many plants are being put in pots awaiting their new homes. I think the Kaffir lillie will be next to bloom as buds are appearing. This is a real sign of autumn. The Phlox continues to make a good show in the north facing border and rose Leaping salmon is showing a wonderful second flush of flowers.
September 2nd
Gosh it seems so weird to be typing Sept. where has the summer gone. Well actually we have been having lovely weather recently very warm. Its seed sowing time and I have got some really interesting ones from net friends. It is also cutting back and digging up/dividing time. As I am redoing my big border I am digging up a lot of plants and putting them in pots until I decide where to replace them in the spring. That bed needs a good dose of manure and a general dig over. Bulb planting time too and yet again I think what an idiot I was not to put labels in*all* the pots where I stored bulbs...will I never learn LOL.Many hardy geraniums are still blooming as are aster Monch, anemones, some roses, fuchsia and some other plants. There is enought to give quite a lot of colour.
September 26th
I have just returned from two weeks in Portugal and oh the plants and flowers I saw!! Here, Autumn is here and the garden is winding down. There is still good colour from asters , anemones, kaffir lilies and yes the good old hardy geraniums. There is a lot of cutting back to be done. Some of this , like Penstemons, I leave until Spring but as I want to redesign my large north facing border, the secateurs will be very active there. Judging from the grass a lot of growth still goes on and nobody has told the slugs and snails it is time to retire.. they are out in large numbers.
October 13th
I am delighted there is still so much colour in the garden. So what is providing this bonus? Aster Monch goes strong and I have been collecting seeds for friends. Many hardy geraniums are blooming, it is a very good idea to cut them back and get flowers at this time of year. Kaffir lilies are so pretty with their pale pink blooms. I noticed that one of the Alstromerias is in bud....pity that the frost forecast for this evening may put pay to them. Nasturtiums keep growing and flowering but perhaps the best are the Fuchsias, I have several different hardy types. Work on renovating the big border at the end of the garden is in progress. I have dug up loads of white phlox and hope to find homes for it.
Well so much had been going on here. To start with I have changed my server and moving the site was quite an ordeal. Primarily because I did not keep my files tidy enough! Enough of that back to the garden. I am very busy there at present with all the changes. I found homes for the phlox at the plant table at our last garden club problem. Meanwhile I bought an arch, metal, to make a division in the garden. Then I decided that the grass needed a better shape so have started to change it to a figure of 8 form, will look nice I hope. This meant much digging ... The best thing is I will have a little more space for planting. I have been thinking what to plant to cover the arch. At present I have two roses in mind, New Dawn and perhaps Iceberg. I will also have a couple of clematis yet to be decided. The garden is otherwise much as when I last described it. The weather has been mild tho ugh the last few days very windy and wet.
November 14th
Decisions were made about the roses to plant and I choose Etoile de Holland and New Dawn which are now planted. Work has continued on the grass project and my figure of eight is now shaped and a heavy plastic edging installed. Then came the laying of paths, at least the start of it. I have got some sand and slabs and the crazy paving is underway. The kaffir lilies are still looking lovely, what a great value plant this is but the leaves are now falling from trees and shrubs. An Acer looked terrific for several weeks , really dark crimson but a touch of frost has scorched the leaves now. By the way I *met* another lovely rose recently called Aloha what a scent and yes I did buy it!!
November 25th
Since I last wrote I have done a lot of work on the paths. I managed to *recycle* broken slabs got from the skip(dumpster) at the patio centre. Most of them are now done and while not winning a prize for path laying , are fine! These changes mean I have gained a little more room for planting. The weather is still quite mild and the flowers described above are still in bloom.
December 22nd
I see I have left a month since I last wrote. The reason for this is the bad weather. Though nothing drastic it has been impossible to get any work done as the ground is too wet. Despite a few very hard frosts the Kaffir lilies still flower and the Japonica is looking well.The shortest day has passed and I look forward to the Spring. I wish all readers a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2000 .