Can I borrow the seven dwarfs, please? (End of the month view – July 2011)


I’m not quite sure what’s been happening this last month. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining; I need to do some major shrub shifting this autumn. I’m just a bit surprised.

One minute I have a garden I know and love, but which – admittedly – has some areas that need attention. The next minute I have a man wielding a mattock, and all sorts of cleared areas. Now they need digging.

This is the worst.

This is – or rather, was – Snowberry Mountain which I’d been ignoring, thus giving the dreaded snowberries an opportunity to advance towards the greenhouse. Of course I’m not so niave as to think that the snowberries will stay away just because P has mattocked them so thoroughly, but it’s a start. I can’t put anything which will grow very tall here, as there are power cables above this spot that must be kept clear (or Scottish Power will come and, er, ‘prune’ offenders). I think I’ll move the crinodendron here while it’s still comparatively small and keep it in check myself.

And may I present the middle garden?

Note the bed in the background. It’s been cleared of daffodils, and all that’s left is a white lilac next to the outbuilding and a dicentra, which has died back. This could be a suitable home for my black elder. I’m thinking hardy geraniums underneath – some things are just so predictable – preferably a blue one, like G. wallichianum Buxton’s Variety, or good old Johnson’s Blue.

Up at the top, where the theoretical pond may be, there was more pulling and hoicking out than mattocking going on, but I still need to borrow Sneezy and Friends  (except Grumpy. I can do Grumpy) to help out with the digging. There was a huge extended mound of Herb Robert and brambles at the bottom of the wall, where there should have been a bed. Pulling them out revealed the presence of an osmanthus (and the existence of an eighth dwarf, Shouty):

It is a wee bit tiny at the moment, but then so would I be if I’d spent the last couple of years languishing beneath brambles. I need to put something up here which will look natural and fit in with the meadow, but which will not feature the blackberry or its invasive relatives in any shape or form. Hmm… I’ve just been given a Geranium phaeum, possibly The Widow; it’s dark red, anyway. That might work, and it would certainly spread.

The veg are in full production now (well, except – ironically – for the beans; they’re going to be very late) and I’m even harvesting fruit: the first apples and pears. The pears are cookers, and so far I’ve got eighteen…

I know, but the tree is very old and only does what passes for its thing on alternate years. None the less, the freezer now comes with additional pear purée. And I harvested my first apples, got more courgettes – after four years of cucurbit drought – and have some fab tomatoes.

And a bit of a mystery… Well, not really – if you save your own seed you have to expect some oddities. In the middle is a Black Russian, seeds for which were saved in 2009. Either side of it are what seem to be Costuleto Fiorentinos, only I didn’t plant any. I planted five Black Russian seeds (but guess what was growing in the same greenhouse in 2009?), and two of the five plants definitely aren’t. The tom on the extreme left is another Black Fiorentino, only this one is more BR than the others. Who cares? They all taste wonderful – oh, and In the middle are a small Prince Borghese and a Cuor di Bue. (The Victorian flowerpots are small ones, by the way…)

And after we’ve dug, dug, dug, and dug, dug, dug and dug the whole day through, there are some lovely things to look at, quite apart from any Costuleto Russians inhabiting the greenhouse. The clethras are out:

And yet again I find myself wanting smellovision, because not only do the clethras smell wonderful, the lilies are also contributing their scent:

These flowers are a good 30cm across (the plant is taller than I am, but then I am short). Boy, oh boy.

And on the subject of big things for the garden, I’ve gone mad. I’ve laid my hands on a Macleaya – yes, a plume poppy. In fact, several. I must be out of my mind…


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Well, if you are going to go out of your mind, it might as well be with poppies! I’m exhausted just looking at all that digging, so I hope the dwarves come through for you. Presumably a skilled mattock wielder could also be a skilled digger?! Like the sound of all your plans, and I can definitely hear the Osmanthus saying “The sky! There’s still a sky! I thought it was perpetual night!”…

    Lovely post Kate, look forward to seeing all those geraniums taking over. And, of course, the poppies…

    1. kate says:

      Unfortunately Mattock Man doesn’t really like digging and neither do I… but who does? Just has to be done. It’ll be a pig, too, all rooty and nasty (I think Sweary will turn out to be the ninth dwarf). Guess between us we’ll do the best we can. That poor osmanthus — it was a present, too – only hope the donor doesn’t read this post!

  2. easygardener says:

    Good luck with your shrub moving – heavy digging is no longer my thing thank heavens. I knew having a bad back would have an upside.
    You can never have too many hardy geraniums. You might be interested in ‘Rozanne’, a good blue with a white eye which flowers for a long time. I like Macleaya too but unfortunately it rampaged across my border and we had to dig it out. A pity as it is a lovely plant but needs its elbow room 🙂

    1. kate says:

      Once those shrubs are moved, they are staying moved – got to get it right… Rozanne is a brilliant suggestion – it’s perfect! Many thanks; I knew there was something I was missing, but couldn’t remember what it was. And it’s quite easy to get, too – ideal.

      Now I am very scared about the Macleaya… I shall try it somewhere which might cramp its style a little, maybe quite shady…

  3. Kate, it was very kind of you to share your madness with me and give me plume poppies 🙂 You know that I wanted some, and I have just the spot for them. Thank you.

    Doesn’t your garden look fab with out the snowberry mountain – so much potential there now, what a treat. P has been really busy. I like easygardeners suggestion of Rozanne.

    1. kate says:

      I must remember to pop round with the plume-poppy disclaimer for you to sign! I agree about the spot – they should look good. Before they take over…
      Maybe they need to go on Snowberry Mountai– no, they don’t. Too close to other stuff I value!

  4. Mo says:

    You’ve been busy 🙂 i do like the look of your pears. Our beans have just started cropping in earnest, late this year.

    1. kate says:

      Busy indeed. Need spa week to recover. Shame about that! I’m glad it’s not just me with the late beans – mine kept getting blasted by the winds and I thought maybe I should change te blog name to Beandisaster… but I think we’re getting there. Just late.

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.