flowers, photography, Plants, Uncategorized

Witch Hazel

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I take photos of the witch hazel every year when it blooms.  I think it’s because I’m just so glad to see some colour in the garden.  This bush shines like a little beacon in the darkest corner of the garden, close to the compost bin, and I don’t always notice it straight away, but when I do it makes me feel really happy.  Those delicate yellow ribbons are a sign that there’s much more to come…Spring is on her way.

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flowers, Garden design, Grass and lawncare, photography, Plants, Uncategorized

A total redesign

These are scary words!  A TOTAL REDESIGN of the front garden.  This means digging, moving, sowing, replanting, more digging, weeding, propagating… I can’t wait.

We’ve lived here for three years now and I have tweaked the front garden only slightly each year.  It’s been good to wait and live with the garden for a while.  To see what thrives and what doesn’t; what I look forward to seeing each year and what bores me.  I’ve added bulbs for spring colour and a number of roses.  I’ve hauled out a couple of shrubs which did nothing for me or the garden, and experimented with adding a few annuals and perennials.   It’s a very mature ‘shrubby’ garden – there are several rhodedendrons and azaleas, a skimmia and a couple of handsome continus, for example.  And while many of these plants do very well and have their moments throughout the season I want to introduce interest right through from spring to autumn.

Last year saw the biggest change and I chose a section beside the driveway to add more planting than ever – mostly herbaceous perennials and a couple of new roses and shrubs.  And even though I didn’t really plan it properly and added things ad-hoc, perhaps slightly haphazardly and sometimes just to fill gaps…it looked great!  It gave me a vision for how the whole of the garden could look and made me realise that cottage garden style planting is the way forward.  For this particular section of the border I was attracted to echinaceas, lavender, roses, hollyhocks, geums, more roses, salvias and gypsophila.  Soft colour, blousy petals, frothy flowers were held together by showy dahlias and some good old-fashioned roses.  I enjoyed the colour, the scent, the fact that there was always something in flower to enjoy and that the seedheads and stems are there to keep things interesting even now, in the middle of winter.

So – a cottage garden it is.  And the planning is underway…

Now, I am not a designer – I’m not even a particularly good artist so please forgive the slightly scrappy drawings, but I’m loving sketching out plans for what should go where and creating ‘mood boards’ to give me a clear idea of the kinds of plants I want to grow and plant.  I’ve even gone into Full Organisation Mode, using spreadsheets to keep track of what seeds I have, when to sow them and to keep a record of what I’ve grown as I go along this year.

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I’ll be honest – I’m not normally this organised, and you don’t have to do this to be a ‘good gardener’.  Up until now I’ve had a pretty relaxed ‘it’ll grow when it grows’ attitude to what I’ve sown and planted!  But this is such a big project for me – my first proper garden project in fact – that I want to try and document it as much as I can.  I feel like I’ve been my own apprentice up until now, messing about with growing a few veg, sowing some flowers and I’ve been surprised at my own success.  Now I feel like it’s time to graduate up to Assistant Gardener/Trainee Designer!

Work will begin in earnest in a few short weeks but as well as all the indoor planning and a little bit of seed-sowing (sweet peas, delphiniums, astrantia and echinacea are in the propagators as I write) I’ve managed to do a bit of preparation in the garden itself, taking away some of the lawn to widen the borders at each corner, hard pruning of two shrubs (which are either Philadelphus or Deutzia but haven’t flowered for a couple of years so I can’t ID them! Hence the hard pruning…) and I’ve also moved the Monkey Puzzle, as blogged here.  As soon as the weather warms up enough for me to dig a bit more I’ll move some more shrubs into better locations – I want to keep them for structure and because I like most of them, but they need spaced out to make way for interplanting of all those lovely herbaceous perennials and annuals.

A few ‘Before’ photos…

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See – lots of bare soil and potential.  Wish me luck, there’s lots of ground to cover!

And finally some of the stars last year’s trial ‘herbaceous border’…

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flowers, photography, Uncategorized

Catching up

I’m not going to apologise for neglecting my blog.

Because I don’t like it when other bloggers do that – I think blogging should be one of those things you can pick up and put down. There are very few things in my life I have time to keep doing consistently (apart from, like, bathing and dressing and eating and all that….y’know…) including yoga, running, writing, photography…I love all of them and wish I had time every day to practice each and every one, but I don’t.

Sidebar: C’mon retirement!! – only 28 years to go… <despair>

So, I pick these interests up when I can and put them down again when I must. Gardening is the exception – I ALWAYS want to garden.  But I sympathise with other bloggers when I see they’ve gone a bit quiet because I know that Real Life has got in the way.  And I’m amazed and impressed when I see other garden bloggers faithfully typing away year-round, especially during the spring and summer when the urge to be outside with soil on your hands is at its peak.

So here I am, back again.  It’s summer but it’s a rainy day.  And I’m procrastinating doing other boring admin jobs.  And I really miss writing.  And I joined a FB garden bloggers group AGES ago and feel guilty each time I see an update on there, knowing I Don’t Really Belong because I’m not *actively* blogging.

So what have I been up to?  What’s growing?  What’s failed?  How’s the garden?  What does it look like?  Well, it’s not exactly true that I haven’t been updating The Public on my corner of the earth, Alvare, as I’ve been regularly posting pics to my Instagram feed. Micro-blogging, if you will.  I try to post photos there most days of what’s looking good in the garden, or the latest significant changes or successes, what’s growing well and also what the chickens are up to!   If you’re not already following it, please feel free to check it out.  You’ll find me there as @mycorneroftheearth.

If you haven’t been following me there (it’s ok, not everyone loves Instagram) here are a few photos which I hope capture the essence of my garden over the past few months…

 

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When I’m not gardening my garden my next favourite thing is to photograph it.  It’s been such a joy this year not only to watch things grow and flower but also to capture a beautiful image and share it with others.  It’s addictive and I find myself wandering round the garden on evenings when the light is good, trying to pick out my next subject (flowers are very obliging and hardly ever complain that they ‘hate getting their photo taken’).

So there you have it – literally a snapshot of the spring and summer in my corner of the earth.  So much has gone unwritten in the past few months, or unphotographed but I’m working on changing that.   I have a lot of ideas about what I want to do in the garden, how to develop it and myself and I want to continue to write this stuff down, take pretty pictures and share it all with anyone who cares to read it – I don’t care if that’s 2 people or 2000.

I think it might be time to pick up something I have put down for a little while…

 

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flowers, photography, Plants

A few photos

My current faves in the garden are the little patch of snakes head fritillary and the hellebores at the front of the back border, still going strong.  I took my DSLR and 50mm lens out in the evening sunshine tonight and managed to get a few shots of these which I’m really pleased with.

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I think I’ve finally figured out how to get the best from this prime lens!  For photography fans – I stopped it down to f1.8 for this effect – the flower pops right out.

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But this shot is my photo of the day…

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…and it’s my current favourite spring flower in the garden – a delicate little hybrid of the purple fritillary and one of the few whites which are also there.  It looks like it’s made of tissue.

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