horty culture!

11 July 2014

I just spent the last two days in the garden and at the garden centre, my arms feel like they have been wrenched out of their sockets and I am covered in mosquito bites. BUT I have created a garden!

I have been mainly working on the part of the garden nearest the house where previous owners had made a kind of plant bed. It was home to a HUGEMUNGOUS shrub called Spiraea Nipponica
whilst it is not too offensive somewhere else, it took up most of the garden, and looked like an exploded white firework, in a kind of 1970s suburban garden type feel. Hmmm, not my taste, and that planted next to a pinky red modern rose, I kept thinking I would see Jerry and Barbara appear, cocktail glasses in hand!
I nearly killed myself trying to chop down that 6ft x 6ft shrub, and then stuffing the remains into 8 sacks! I started to worry what I had done.
After digging up and removing other bits of ugly plants and raking in 8 sacks of compost to the crappy soil that was there, I then had a big splurge in the garden centre, pretty much grabbing any plant I saw that took my fancy.
Now that big crazy plant has gone, the area of the garden is very sunny, but also very sheltered from wind. I wanted tall airy plants, that would give a wild natural feel.
I also ordered some willow hurdles to help contain them.

Its very hard to see, but amongst the flowers we planted an apricot tree, you can just see the trunk of it below...

We found some lovely irises growing out of the bottom of the fence in the side alley of our house, which were always getting bashed by wheelie bins and such. There were also some nice crimson coloured lily type things and some red hot pokers! I dug them up and divide them and planted them at the back of the bed (as they are really tall). I hope they survive. They will be much more appreciated there.

The grass is the next issue, as you can see it has gone a bit dry, and I would like it to grow a bit longer  and less formal looking. I have cut it short and given it some feed and water, fingers crossed!

My mister managed to put in a metal archway frame for me, and I tied some twigs around it to help disguise it, and also create extra climbing facility for the Jasmine and Honeysuckle that I planted next to it. Can't wait for those warm evenings, with the scent of Jasmine wafting as I meander through the arch, glass of prosecco in hand!

I will see what grows best and tallest out of these plants, and I may re-arrange them later. For instance this fennel I planted can grow really big although I'd be really happy if things grew so much I had to cut them.

I love these deep purple bell shaped flowers, they have really delicate stalk, like they are just floating in the air. I forget the name right now! (written down somewhere ; )

this hydrangea I bought in the spring via mail order, it arrived as a twig with a few roots, it has produced just one MASSIVE flower head. I love its delicate 'almost going to flop over' look.

I planted a little mimosa tree in the lawn to sit under (when its a bit bigger!) I love the way the light comes through the leaves.

we also inherited four HUGE pink hydrangea bushes, which, although I like some varieties, this is not one of them. It kind of clashes with every thing else. I have bought some liquid that helps to turn them blue which I will try, otherwise, they maybe going the same way as that Spirea.

I have moved my magnolia tree to a better position now that we have more room, its looking much better now.

Our garden is really long, and is separated into three sections by bay hedge. In the middle garden we have four fruit trees, this peach tree is one we planted, the rest were already there when we moved in.

ickle fuzzy peach babies.

rosy apples...

and pears.

 (I'll have to get some bird netting, to protect the fruit from toddlers)

at the bottom garden are three much bigger trees, a plum tree that is LADEN with fruit (CAN'T . WAIT) and eating apple tree and a cooking apple tree (which I made a nice apple crumble last autumn).

I'm afraid that you may see this garden a lot now that I have started working on it. My blog is a great way for me to remember what I planted where, and comparing year on year. I'm no gardener, but I do know how I want our garden to look at least! I find it is mostly trial and error, ...and watching Monty Don.
By the way, I know its not ideal to plant plants when they are in flower, but when designing a garden, it find it helps to see the flowers and the heights, what flowers when and what looks best next to what etc...just saying. I think I need a soak in a hot bath now!

p.s. Slugs and snails ate most of the plants I planted in spring, so I have just ordered two bottles of this. (which is natural and non toxic by the way!). I'll let you know how it goes...


  1. All the hard work has paid off, your garden is beautiful. Eradicating the spiraea sounds a mammoth task although I see you still have some in your garden...maybe another variety? The purple bell shaped flowers are penstemon, great value as they go on all summer. Love your white hydrangea and I don't mind the pink ones either. I grew fennel once, it must have been 7 ft tall. The bloody slugs ate my cosmos so will be interested to know how your nemaslug goes.

  2. ah thank you! yes the penstemon are either 'Raven' or 'just jayne' I think, can't remember. The other spirea (gold mound) has also had the chop but still there, although its much less dense than the 'snowbound' variety, so it has a reprieve. That too is quite ugly but I will let it flower, then think again. I'm also using a slug pellet made of wool for my cosmos. It seems to have worked so far, but its not cheap as you need a lot of it. Thats why I'm going for nemaslug next.

  3. You have been busy! I love Penstemons too real givers... So important to have a garden that you love I think... Yep I lost 5 Echinacea plants to the slugs this year... i have learnt to wait until cosmos are quite big before risking them. I've used the nemaslug stuff up at my allotment it worked really well in beds but you'd have to do it regularly if you are getting critters coming in from beyond your fences, which is what I have here at home so it would be too expensive for me. I've heard about the wool pellets if they work I might get some of those.. Cass x

  4. Looks lovely - and that plum tree is laden! Jam and chutney (best get collecting some jars)...

    I love watching Monty Don but do find that on a Friday evening his voice makes me feel very drowsy. Speaking of which, if you're a prosecco fan: I had a go at making elderflower cordial this year and it was wonderful, especially with prosecco. I got a bit squiffy and declared it to be 'what fairies drink' but forget that, try making some next year. It's my new favourite drink. Gorgeous.

    S x

  5. It looks beautiful. There is so much color and variety. The little peaches are adorable!

  6. Such a beautiful garden. It's given me the kick in the right direction I need with my garden. I was so on top of it but with working a lot I've not had as much time as I would like. I'm hoping I can get some more done soon. I have some beautiful cornflowers and gyspohilla I planted. I think I'll pop out and water them now! :)

  7. It's looking lovely! My granddad gave us a cutting of his granddad's hydrangea shrub and we're still waiting to see what colour it will flower…I had no idea you could encourage them to change! Also, I saw this amazing (and amazingly overpriced!) pouf today and it made me think of you...http://www.rowenandwren.co.uk/servlet/the-287/James’-Giant-Pear-Pouffe/Detail xxx

  8. So beautiful! I am not a gardner however, I have a friend that pushed rusty old nails down into the soil near the base of her plant that turned the flowers blue-lavendar over time. It sounds strange but she swears by this. Of course, the nails should be well hidden so you won't accidentally step on them. ;)

  9. Your fledgling garden looks lovely. You would love the Great Dixter garden, it's a great inspiration for planting and colour. Thanks for the slug tip - the slimy blighters ate all my hostas this year despite using egg shells, coffee granules and gravel!
    ps. if using nails to turn hydrangeas the nails need to be iron - it's the iron that turns the pink to blue.

  10. Hello, I am been reading, but not sure if I left a comment before! I just wanted to say that your new garden looks beautiful!! You have done a wonderful job, great colours and combinations. It is amazing when you take out a shrub how much space you have and what a change you can make is it. I look forward to reading more from you and will try and do better with my comments in future! xx

  11. I'm in awe! I manage to kill everything in the garden. did you read up before you started planting? I feel like I need to get the gardening books out to learn a thing or two...

  12. Hi Nath, I find garden mags are good, but generally speaking you just learn from getting on with it. I've had a garden for the last 14 years (all be it rented) so I have picked up a bit of knowledge but I'm not an expert. You can just google plants and it will tell all about each one...simples! I try to stick with plants that are not too fussy about soil types.

  13. Hi, love the willow edging goes well with your plants. Your magnolia would like the feed you got the hydrangea as well, it would help the leaves to green up., its an acid soil lover and as your old hydrangeas are pink i am guessing your soil will be on be on the alkaline side. Good luck with the pesky snails, a wash of garlic infused water is said to keep them off but not tried it yet. Regard Sharon.

  14. I'm a bit late to the party here but wanted to say how much I love your garden. I think you're right about learning gardening as you go along ...... I just wish I'd started a lot earlier! One thing..... I've heard that if you thin crowded plums to , maybe, three to a space, each plum is a lot bigger.

  15. You are making a beautiful space and hope the nematodes work - we find them very effective. This year I bought a wonderful book called The Wildlife Gardener by Kate Bradbury which I would highly recommend to everyone and there's a good section on natural pest control.

  16. I have been browsing through some of your recent posts. Pehr is adorable and growing up so fast! Your garden is charming (I like the pink hydrangea) and beautiful and creative...so you! Thank you for the on-going beauty and inspiration. <3 ~ Leslie

  17. Anonymous17.7.14

    Thanks for the link to the slug killer. I'm ordering it pronto.

  18. If you do decide to get rid of the hydrangea, it might be a good idea to check if any of your neighbors or friends want it. They might even come dig it out for you :)

    All my plants in my old (rental) garden came as "hand-me-downs" from neighbors who had too much or got bored with certain plants. Short on both money and gardening skills, that was much appreciated by me!
    And it just feels so much nicer when you know a plant has a new loving home.

  19. What a sight for winter weary eyes...gorgeous summer blooms and ALL those fruit trees. Just beautiful
    Alexa from Sydney, Australia


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