Rose garden

My roses seem to be doing rather well.  They aren’t fully flowering yet (there are loads of rosebuds yet to blossom) but the flowers that are there are looking very pretty indeed.  They’re also quite fragrant – the rain has done them good.

Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll
Claire Austen
Claire Austen
Munstead Wood
Charlotte – not yet in flower
Anne Boleyn
William Shakespeare
Gertrude Jekyll – this seems the best flowering
Rose garden

The lavender has lots of bracts but isn’t yet flowering.  This is probably a good thing – it tends to be the last thing that flowers and once that is done, that is it (more or less) for the summer.

Thyme is flowering
Giant fennel

I got the roses from David Austen a couple of years ago – I planted them as bare root plants in February / March (it was drizzling at the time).

Found a knife

We found that knife in the end – when we arrived in the IoW, it was sitting on the draining board, all washed up.  I suppose our builders must have borrowed it – I hope for food purposes rather than opening cans of paint.

Here is the knife
Here is the knife

It’s funny but no one seems to make this kind of knife – about a four inch long blade which is rounded at the end.  During our search, my husband bought a set of three Wusthof knifes (they were very reduced) and the middle one was about the same size but had a longer, pointier blade.

At least we'll be able to do some marvellous pumpkin carving this year
At least we’ll be able to do some marvellous pumpkin carving this year

Not a whole lot else to report really.  I’ve done as you suggested, Kal, and split those chives in the front garden – I put some in the herb garden, left some where they were and put some others in another bed.  I’d never realised that chives were separate bulb plants but I suppose it makes sense.

I didn’t take any photos of the garden because it was raining rather hard.

I’ve also done some pruning of my herbs (English mace, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage) and have put the clippings in the compost bin.  I had a go at turning the compost but I don’t know how effective I was.  There seems to be quite a lot of compost from the middle downwards and I have loads of worms.

My Mum says that she is quite worried about the worms in her compost bin.  She has one of those black dalek bins and the worms keep going up into the ridges of the lid.  She thinks it’s because they want a rest but I think that they are too hot.  In summer, they cook and then stink the whole bin out.

The meadow once cleared

So here is a picture of my meadow, now that all the plants have been cleared and taken to the dump (I ended up filling two big builders’ sacks).


It will look like this all Autumn and Winter (basically, terrible) and then will perk up once we get to Spring.  I still have a few foxgloves, which I hope will flower next year.

I’ve also weeded the lower garden (the one with the Acers) and the herb garden and have put the shredded bush clippings on top to try to suppress the weeds somewhat.

Lower garden
Lower garden
Herb garden
Herb garden

I have made one awesome discovery – the violets I’d put in the lower garden have (on the whole) survived!   They were just hiding behind a bunch of weeds.  This is good news, I’d assumed the slugs had got them.

My husband is pleased with the oregano growing in the herb garden (it probably needs a prune soon).  The thyme is also doing well.  For some reason lemon thyme doesn’t do very well in my garden, despite being in a dry, sunny spot.  Do any of you know why this is?

Our lovely friends left this morning and another set of lovely friends are turning up at noon.  I’d better go and check the washing.

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.

Another plant haul

One advantage of having had that tree cut back is that it has revealed a lot more of the garden.  My husband suggested that, as the top is on a steep slope and is full of tree roots, I could plant wild flowers in that spot.  We had a bit of a chat about this – the problem with wild flowers is that they are, well, wild and my husband will be sad if they get into the main bit of the lawn.  Ideally, I would put foxgloves in the spot but they are so poisonous, I am a bit loathe to have them in a spot where the children run around.  In the end, we settled for primroses so I went and bought five, all in different colours.

Yes, I bought ten more plants.  There is always room for more
Yes, I bought ten more plants. There is always room for more

As well as primroses, I bought a golden thyme (as I only have one really good ball of non-lemon thyme), three heathers (to go on the bank) and a French tarragon (because they had it at the garden centre).  I put the tarragon in the rose garden (as it is walled and therefore a bit more protected), the thyme in the flowerbed at the back of the garden (lots of sunlight, not much water) and shoved the heathers in where a load of heucheras had died (probably too much sun and not enough water).

The children helped me plant them, until I picked them each a stem of winter flowering heliotrope and told them to chase each other round the garden.

Plant buying!

I know I’m being a bit useless about posting – we are on holiday for Easter and my laptop in the IoW is the clunkiest, freeziest piece of crap ever.  So I’m doing this on my phone.

The other day I went to the garden centre for a little looky look and found SOME TEUCRIUM.


This is really exciting because I’ve looked and looked for it – so has my gardener – and no one has had it.  But there it was!  So I bought some.

I also got some Californian Lilac, white salvia and lemon thyme (to replace the stuff that died).  I’ve planted the Californian Lilac and the TEUCRIUM at the front where all my Calamintha Nepeta died.  The salvia plugged a gap where some thyme died (I think the bed at the front gets a lot of sea spray).  The lemon thyme replaced some…um…lemon thyme.

The problem with planting new herbs is that my husband, when cooking, tends to ask for massive fistfuls of rosemary / sage / thyme / whatever and that isn’t always possible when the plants are this new.  I am very territorial over the herbs as I am convinced that if anyone else cuts into them, they will die.  However, this seems to happen regardless so perhaps I should chill out.