Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Some of the bluebells on the top banking are looking suspiciously like crosses between the Spanish and common bluebell. The previous owner did have a clump near the gate. I will have to go a digging but hope that it is not too late.
Common bluebells have the smaller delicate scented flowers up one side of the stem, the others are more robust and the flower spread around the central stem.
To make things worse there are some very attractive white Spanish bluebells that will have to go.
These are good old bluebell flowers mixing well with the red campion in the wood.

We go away and come back to hear bird tapping on one of the back windows - again - that B. blackbird. I creep up and open the door to find - not a blackbird, not a chaffinch but a red-legged partridge on the window sill!

Weeds have grown well after a week or so away (minding the grandchildren) especially the bindweed and ground elder. The white campanula had been smothered by common vetch. I have some elsewhere (the campanula) so a mass removal is probably the only solution.

Most of the drainage done - well all we asked - and somehow we have a huge length of pipe left over - will come in useful one day. The only failure is by the Wendy House where I will need to extend the existing drain - but nothing unsolvable.
R has hand weeded the asparagus and I have weeded the strawberries and put down the straw. I was wondering what to do for a hand hoe as I do not have one and found that a small mason's trowel works well.

One of the joys of going away is to visit other gardens. In Wales we visited the magnificent gardens at Bodnant in the Conwy Valley with the azaleas in full bloom. Unfortunately we were a week or two early for the laburnum tunnel.

We also visited Hampton Court Gardens in Herefordshire and after getting lost in the maze came across this magnificent Exocorda macrantha, The Bride.

The garden also had wonderful tulip trees and a walled area that had undergone transformation since our last visit some years ago. Then there are the real tulips planted here in a colourful swathe around the edge of a lawn.
Not everything in a garden has to be plants to work. The stark geometry of this rill with pots, presumably planted but not yet showing growth, is very effective - again at Hampton Court Gardens. They have quite a lot of hard structure in the more formal areas.

 At home the "Easter" cactus - as my mother called it - and this is the same plant, well an offspring of it - is flowering abundantly.
We have another in the other room that has no flowers and badly needs repotting as it is shedding leaves.

Down at the pond trouble is brewing with increasing algae so I have cast two bundles of straw into the water. How it works is complicated and not completely understood so if you want to find out search on the web for - algae straw pond - and you will find a site that will give you the details far better than I can.

So not far, a few weeks, to the longest day and we still have the heating on, the ash trees are struggling into leaf - oak first so a splash this summer. (Oak before ash - splash, ash before oak - soak).
And swallows and martins are finally here but not in great numbers and NOT HERE, just in the locality.

Finally something that has nothing to do with gardening. Went to Liverpool to see Don MacLean at the Phil. and took this picky of Paddy's Wigwam - a bit of proper architecture.

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