Garden at the end of November

This weekend I did a bit more of the Autumn clearing work.  I’m pretty much finished, except that my hydrangeas still have their brown flowerhead on.  I think Kim once said that the flowerhead help to protect the plant so I might leave them there until February.

Herb garden

The herb garden is looking a bit sparse but I hope that it will perk up once we get back into Spring.  I need to put a load of wood chip down, which I’ll do next time.

The slugs have eaten this pelargonium
This is still pretty (and there are still some bees around to enjoy it)
Rose garden

I spent ages clearing out the weeds from the rose garden.  It’s the sort of job that I always think is going to take about twenty minutes and then I ended up filling a builder’s sack (which is yet to go to the dump).

The foxgloves are doing quite well
Lawn is covered in mushrooms
The Japanese garden is looking quite bare but I like it
Sweet violets. I tried to grow these from seed but it didn’t work. My gardener brought me a tray of them (he’d had more success in his garden). I’d assumed they wouldn’t survive but they are doing really well

New plants for my birthday

Sorry it’s been a while.  We are on half term and yesterday was my birthday.

We did a few things yesterday and one of them was to go round a garden centre – I needed some more coriander and dill (both had bolted) and while I was there, I also picked up some hyssop, chervil and basil (Greek, Genovese and Black).

I also wanted to tackle the bed nearest the kitchen door, which has a hideous slug / creeping yellow buttercup problem.  I ended up getting another sea holly, six marigolds, two petunias (one black, one purple and white) and some thing I can’t remember the name of.  It is quite possible the slugs will eat the petunias but maybe they won’t.

Before I planted all that out, I sprayed the creeping yellow buttercup with some noxious weedkiller.  Then I had an attack of guilt and became I had killed the entire bed.  So I got the hose out and watered the whole bed down.  Then I did what I did last time and dug the yellow buttercup out with my hand fork.

Flowerbed with new plants and without the yellow buttercup (for now)

One thing I did notice when I was planting the new sea holly is that there seemed to be three little sea holly plants already in the bed.  I will be amazed if they are actually sea holly plants (because plants I like don’t tend to reproduce, only ones I hate – like the yellow buttercup).  However, I have moved them (one to the middle of this bed and two to another bed) and will see how they do.

I love marigolds but was always convinced that they would clash with all my other flowers.  However, I am past caring.  As long as the bastard slugs don’t eat them, I will be happy enough.  The pelargoniums have only just started to recover.

My kind husband also got me another cold frame (because, once I repotted my foxglove seedlings, I didn’t have room for them all.  Then the slugs ate most of the ones outside the cold frame).  I got some yellow foxglove seeds and sowed them in a tray with normal compost.  I’m not sure how they’ll do – there were only about 65 seeds in the packet (the packets of ordinary foxglove seeds have about 1,500 in there) but I hope that two or three will come through.  I’ve never seen a yellow foxglove.

Flowers from my husband’s mum

Herb garden

My herb garden (version 2) is looking okay, if not spectacular.  The chervil is Done, the coriander is Nearly Done and it all needed a bit of weeding.

I weeded after taking this picture
I weeded after taking this picture

The basil is in flower and is still in good nick, probably because I planted it right next to the drip line.  The mace has got rather leggy and I’ve threaded it between some railings next to the herb garden so it doesn’t block all light to the common thyme.  The parsley and oregano are in good shape (but oregano nearly always does) and the sage looks woeful (it doesn’t seem to like this spot).  The rosemary is pretty much at the stage where I can start taking sprigs for cooking.

In another spot, I have some lemon thyme which hasn’t been doing all that well.  I find this surprising – thyme is a mediterranean plant that doesn’t much like water and July was the driest month EVER in the Isle of Wight.

Lemon thyme after I cut back most of the brown stuff
Lemon thyme after I cut back most of the brown stuff


The chives in the bed in the front garden have become rather rampant.  I ended up chopping them as they’d fallen over, crushing my new rosemary, and the flowers had gone over.  They have some new flowers on the way so I didn’t chop those stems.

Pruned chives
Pruned chives

I was thinking of getting some chives for my herb garden but wondered whether I can divide this bunch instead?  If this would work, how would I go about doing it?

I ended up putting the chopped chives in the compost bin.  They don’t keep and I still have loads in the rose garden.

Chives in the compost bin
Chives in the compost bin

Herb garden progress

There isn’t all that much to say about the herb garden.  It isn’t dead and it has grown a little bit.  The chervil is in flower so if I want to use that for anything, I’d better get a move on.

New herb garden
New herb garden

You won’t be able to see from the picture but our carrots have started germinating.  Perhaps we’ll be able to pull them up in August or September?

Herb haul

After a bit of umming and ahhing, I decided that, no, the rosemary was not going to survive.  Particularly as I am not in the IoW all the time and so don’t have time to tend it carefully.  I cut off what I could and put the springs in a freezer bag in the fridge.  I hope they don’t go mouldy.

An upside (as pointed out by Kal) is that I get to start again.  So here it is.

Herb haul
Herb haul

You are looking at:

  • Parsley (curly);
  • Garlic chives (sometimes called Chinese chives);
  • Coriander;
  • Rosemary;
  • Oregano (Aureum and Hot&Spicy);
  • Sage (Tricolor);
  • Thyme (Common – looks a bit messy – and Golden);
  • French tarragon;
  • Chervil;
  • English mace; and
  • Basil.

Some of these, I know what to do with.  Some I don’t.  I’ve never used chervil but it seems to be one of the few herbs that survives in shade.  And it has pretty leaves.  I’m a bit short of thyme generally so I really hope that the thyme survives in the herb garden.  English mace is a different thing from the outer husk of nutmeg – although the sign said it could be used instead of nutmeg – and is meant to be quite strong tasting.

New herb garden
New herb garden

At the same time, I bought some more rosemary to go in a sunny, dry bit at the back of the rose garden, hyssop to replace some that died in one of my flowerbeds and a lavender (Edelweiss) to go in the spot where the builders stood on my rosemary.

Will my rosemary survive?

Here is the only plant now in my herb garden.  The rest looked so terrible, I composted them all.  However, this didn’t look entirely dead so I am having a go at reviving it.  I’ve dug a 25kg bag of compost into the herb garden soil and have given it a nice spot and loads of water.

Do you think this will survive? Or should I just move on?
Do you think this will survive? Or should I just move on?

What makes me think it won’t survive is that the builders stood on one of my other rosemary plants (a much smaller one) and, when I pulled the remains up, it had a really long root.  This large, droopy rosemary had hardly any roots so it may be that they got chopped off by a spade.

So – should I keep going with this and hope it doesn’t turn brown and shrivel up?  Or do I just get a new one from the garden centre?  You decide.  I’m too bad tempered.