End of the month view – June 2011


I’m willing to bet that most EOMVs this month will be full of flowers. Not mine, though the veg patch is beginning to add a contribution in the form of courgette flowers, and I’m starting to harvest (yum – baby broad beans).

But there is a general lack of much colour, and that’s made me do some thinking about one or two problem areas. A couple of which I’ve really been ignoring. Hm.

One is here. In the left background there’s a yellowish heap. It’s an enormous, overgrown sage, and it has a darker friend just behind it. They are spectacular, but they have taken over and swamped the garlic chives. I shall take cuttings, and try some layering, and clear this patch. It will make a really useful addition to the area available for veg, and the sages and garlic chives – should any still exist – can go elsewhere.

Hasn’t it been a great year for slugs? My poor, poor beans have been decimated in the classic definition of the term – I’ve lost about one in ten. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but they’ve been wiped out in clumps. I’m thinking of taking out a contract on slugs, should anyone know a hired killer. And I’ve got blight. But, but, but – the fruit trees are laden:

So much so that we’ve had to support one branch of the Victoria plum. In its first year, it produced four plums; last year, two – this year something tells me I’ll be making lots of jam. Hopefully!

I’ve also made a decision. I need a pond. There’s only one possible place, really, and this is it:

It’s not going to be very big, and it will happen in the winter (there’s too much to do right now), and there’ll be a problem with roots, but at least it will get some sunlight and the land is almost flat, so no need for anything which would look out of place up at the top of the meadow.

The bottom garden is lovely at this time of year – it really bakes when it’s sunny – but it needs work. When you look in one direction, it’s not too bad. Well, except for the tall cherry at the right, which has so many things wrong with it that it can’t last much longer. It’s quite old, and they don’t have very long lives, so it’s probably inevitable that it will go soon. But it flowers wonderfully at Christmas…

However, there’s not a lot of colour, unlike a month ago. I’m beginning to make changes which will help, adding plants here and there, and soon the croscosmia will be out, which makes a big difference. For the moment, though, the valerian has been cut back, the rose needs a prune, the hardy geraniums have mostly done their thing, I lost most of an enormous orange potentilla in the winter, and just now there’s a lot of green. I don’t mind, but it could do with a little lift.

(The beans help too – there’ll be borlottis and cose violettes clambering up the frame in the background soon:

Slugs permitting, that is. Plus note the potentilla debris in the foreground – first time I’ve seen this wall since I moved in, and it clearly needs attention. Or covering up again.)

The greenhouse is going well, though. I think (as long as I can keep the blight at bay) that I’ll have a good tomato crop this year. The Black Russians have set lots already, and one of the Cuor di Bue tomatoes has turned out to be another Black Russian.

And when I leave the greenhouse I can’t avoid my other problem area. It’s a pig to photograph, but it’s in the background here.

By the wall, there’s a big hydrangea. It’s very old and has huge twisted stems. It’s pruned regularly, and properly, but it just doesn’t flower very much – there are signs of two mopheads this year. There’s a lilac, part of which went in the winter, plus an enormous amount of snowberry and an apparently infinite amount of miscellaneous weed cover. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve used this area for dumping turf when creating and reshaping beds. It’s shaded by the ancient pear, which I love, and the poor ailing cherry. I’m thinking Itea ilicifolia. Perhaps.

There’s a sign of what’s to come in the rather more predictable (and closer) future. The rose hedges are filling with hips.

Every year this happens about now, and every year it takes me by surprise. But I’ve also noticed the rowans filling up…


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Mo says:

    Thank you for the walk around your garden 🙂 So many plans! I like the pond idea and look forward to seeing how you go about it.

    1. kate says:

      Glad you enjoyed it – and I’m great at plans. It’s the execution – ahem. But now they’re enshrined in cyberspace, they’d better happen!

      The more I think about the logistics of the pond, the more I think small. Tiny. Minute. Miniscule. And since I don’t want fish, it doesn’t have to be very deep. Shovels will be fine, we don’t need a JCB. No, we don’t. Really. Despite what my male friends tell me.
      What is it with blokes and diggers? They start when they’re about two (when you have to loiter around building sites with your mini-bloke in his pushchair) and never grow out of it….

      1. Never mind the blokes, I was extremely upset when I realised that we couldn’t quite squeeze a mini digger down the side of our house to dig our pond – by 2cm would you believe! Maybe next time… Oh, and you want the pond to be at least a foot deep at the deepest part to make sure there is somewhere for frogs and newts to hibernate without freezing. Go on, get a digger, you know it makes sense…

        1. kate says:

          You’ve obviously spent too long hanging around building sites yourself!

          I’m in the same position – no digger large enough to do anything useful could actually reach the site of the pond unless it was broken down into bits, thrown over the wall and reassembled. But why should reality intrude on the digger scenario?

  2. So sorry about the slugs Kate – though the pond, and the attendant frog population, will help. Mind you, then you might wind up like me, cursing snails instead! Tomato plants look great. Re colour, can thoroughly recommend Rudbekia “Rustic Dwarf”, really easy to grow and stacks of lovely burnt orange and yellow flowers. Cosmos and phacelia could add busts of colour to the veg garden and bring in loads of pollinators? But I think your garden looks lovely, and with all those plums to eat… So cover up the wall again so that you can forget about it, plant a new fruit tree to replace the ailing plum, and sit back and enjoy your wonderful meadow! That’s my prescription 😉

    1. kate says:

      I’m definitely taking up your prescription!

      I can curse snails too, mind – I’ve just been picking them off the broad beans and throwing them into the lane (last year I hit a passing mountain walker; this time I checked first). The Rudbeckia’s an interesting idea – the colour would work, too. My brother gave me a couple of cosmos seedlings, and they’ve done well, so I’ll add more next year – they seem to cope with the wind. They look so fragile, but they’re quite tough really.

  3. Bridgetidget says:

    I love planning new projects, keeps the interest strong, not that it ever weans.

    1. kate says:

      It’s great, isn’t it? But then reality hits (she says, pulling chunks of snowberry out of her clothing) and the garden looks like a disaster zone. Hum.

  4. Joan says:

    Enjoying seeing so much happening in your garden – such a variety. And hips already! When we had a plum glut tow years we made very (and surprisingly) nice wine, and have just drunk the last bottle. Our current wines are also from free fruits – raspberries and blueberries. I guess it makes sense when in Norway, and a glass of wine costs £10. Seriously.
    Memo to self: must try rosehip wine.

    1. kate says:

      I’m not so sure about rosehip wine – mind you, I don’t do home-made wine really (whine, yes – see next post)… I’ll drink it, of course!

      Do you remember rosehip syrup at all? I seem to have a vague memory of something deep pink, very sticky when applied to the hair and which tasted of sugar and little else.

      1. Joan says:

        Gosh yes, I remember rose hip syrup. (Though not applying it to the hair…) And the sugary orange juice specially for children – I think it was a post war thing. That makes us sound very old doesn’t it.

        1. kate says:

          Well, it was definitely around in the sixties – and my friend (the reason why I know about the effect of the syrup on the head, for which I got into trouble) used to call it ‘blue may-may’ – she was about four, I think… It does sound like an ‘improving the wartime health of the nation’ hangover, doesn’t it?

  5. Hanni says:

    I agree, that seems to be the perfect place for a pond. Your commentary on the slugs was cracking me up! Funny! I’m having slugs like mad over here too…boo!

    1. kate says:

      Thanks for the confirmation – I keep having doubts… but it’s practically all the choice there is, really…

      (Slugs and blight, in my case – hope you’re only on the slugs…)

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