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

The lower garden

I don’t write about the lower garden but it is looking rather nice.  In particular, the acers have lots of leaves this year – far more than last year.

The lower garden
Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’
Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’
Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’

The purple acer is the largest, while the dissectum ( the one at the front) is quite small.  The dissectum is meant to eventually grow to 2m tall but I don’t think that will happen for quite a few years (perhaps 50?).  Acers are quite slow growing.

I have a couple of other things in there as well.  The violets that I had thought would be dead for sure are still going and, surprisingly, haven’t been eaten by slugs.

Sweet violets

The dutch honeysuckle, which I could have sworn was dead, is now looking terrific.  Not in flower but it isn’t meant to flower until quite late in the summer.  There’s a really horrible grass growing right in front of it but I haven’t quite got the will to do anything about it just yet.  It’s growing right next to a pipe so digging it out will be tricky.  Plus my husband says that he doesn’t mind it (it’s only me who hates grass).

Dutch honeysuckle

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.

Rose garden

I planted the rest of the violets in a clump in the rose garden, near the back.

Rose garden
Rose garden

I had quite a delicious time weeding the rose garden – for some reason, it has loads of weeds at the front but few at the back.  Perhaps because it is drier there – I will need to keep this watered.

A while ago, I put down some love in a mist and poached egg plant seeds, along with some compost, and they’ve germinated.  I hope they will keep some of the mint / lemon balm at bay.

My “Japanese” garden

I have a patch of garden that is more or less always in the shade (apart from noon in the middle of summer).  I wasn’t sure what to do with it but planted acers, heucheras, tiarella and heucherella.  I also planted a quince tree but it seems to have died, more or less.

"Japanese" garden
“Japanese” garden

I ended up planting a load of the violets here – they need some light in winter and spring but shade in summer.  As it is under a deciduous tree, this seems as good a place as any to plant them.

While I was working, a cheerful bumblebee buzzed round.  I think it liked the blossom.

One good thing about doing a bit of planting is it gives you a chance / reason to do some weeding.  I know this bed is quite weedy but I don’t like using chemicals in my garden and tend to leave weeds that I find attractive alone. My gardener once suggested that I put white gravel down to surpress the weeds but I know my children would chuck it about and it would drive me crackers.  Plus, having soil gives me a chance to sneak yet more plants in.

Blossom over the "Japanese" garden
Blossom over the “Japanese” garden

Sweet violets

Here we are in the IoW.  I arrived to find that my lovely gardener had given me a tray of sweet violets to console me for my failure in growing them from seed.  He is a very kind man.


I now have rather more than I’d intended but I do like to over plant and I’m sure I can find spots for them all.  Supposedly, Victorian dandies would wear the flowers in their buttonholes.

Overall the garden is looking rather nice (if quite damp).  The bluebells are now out, which are very pretty.  I suspect them of being the invasive Spanish bluebells – if I were a better, more committed, more ecologically sound gardener, I would rip out the lot and burn them.  But I’m not and I won’t.


Fossils and sowing seeds

Our lovely friends have gone home and my husband is scarifying the back lawn so I have a few minutes to post.

The other day, my gardener came round and we had a chat.  He has kindly cut my pyracantha right back (to half the size) and we agreed that the violas (although a bit of a supermarket flower) are doing well.  He also told me that virtually no one can grow sweet violets from seed which made me feel so much better – I’ve just sowed my sea holly in their place and used the violet seed compost in the bed with the lavender.

The other day, we went to Compton Bay.  This has black sand and is super muddy but is also a good spot for finding dinosaur fossils.  We didn’t see any but when the tide is out, you can see dinosaur (Iguandon and a predecessor of Tyrannosaurus Rx, I think) footprints.

Black sand!
Black sand!