Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Desks, peonies and garden nonsense.

New desk, almost the size of a small car.
 I guess I should confess to a couple of things. I bought a desk. Well, that is to say, I was gifted a desk. And very bonnie it is too. We're now broadcasting from here looking over the bird table to my left, as lets face it this desk is so large, I can't currently see over it. And, barely when I'm standing.
Some of the 26 drawers.
It has loads of crazy drawers, which will I'm sure contain crazy things. I just counted. 26 drawers and various crazy cupboards of all shapes and sizes. It's officially awesome. Even if it is the size of a small country. I swear it grows before my very eyes. 

I've also been dividing up the garden and discovering surprises. I know you were wondering about that.  And its just as well, as lots of things I was given when we moved in still keep growing and some of them have flowered too. 
Striking tree peony opened this week, a gift from a friend and what a beauty.
Which means I'm not as bad a gardener as I thought. I'm great at propagating, its true, keeping things alive.....often not so much.
Tree peony - fabulous and the colour of deepest red.
Isn't this possibly the most bonnie tree peony you've ever seen? My friend collected it and gave me a baby plant when we moved in. It's stupendous and clearly quite robust. I really like that it was kind enough to compliment the Acer that was here already. And, no I didn't tidy up for you coming. This is a 'warts and all' garden.
The lasses border with all the donated plants and the Acer.
The bird table lives at the end of this border, it is filled with lots of visitors now. We've all sorts of things from green finches to blue, coal and great tits. I did make the mistake of sending himself a link to the latter at work. Who knew a wee passerine could block the work server........
The sittery-ootery bit. Cephalaria giganteaCardiocrinum giganteum, that crazy tree peony, and various perennials in pots. I never said it would be colour co-ordinated. We're going for 'yes you'll need your sunglasses' here.
Back to this garden dividing. We've now got two areas on the terrace. One for eating and one for sitting (and eating). So I guess we're focussed on eating down there. Beds are stuffed to bursting with a hotch-potch of donations from friends.  Lush is what we were going for.
Perrenial cornflower Centura montana - common as much but I love it and I think it compliments the blue hose nicely.
And, lush it is.
Trusty hammock and the lazy apple tree.
The apple tree dominates (even though its not quite flowering yet) the next area with a nice babbapapa shaped lawn and a skinny bed to the left (which turns out is pretty shady).  You'll remember that I dug up all the grass except this bit. Whoops. This is more than enough grass for me.  
Shady border - thinking this might eventually just be shrubs. Dicentra spectablis 'Alba' - hardier than it looks, another donation.
This skinny shrub bed opens up to divide the lawn from the veg patch. A larger bed here had alliums and verbena last year. The wind really hammered the verbena so we'll see if a wee hedge might work behind here, verbena won't work. Its too much of a lightweight to cope with the wind. I'm trying it on the terrace this year, tucked in. The Orkney rhubarb, sent down in a carrier bag from a chum (Thank you James!) is beginning to wake up. Lazy thing.
Orkney rhubarb sent by a friend and alliums. I counted 22 (alliums not rhubarb plants)
We've a second kidney shaped bed to the right which links to 'Tracey Island'. I painted the fence and planted more climbers. 
Scruffy perennials and the honeysuckle lives.
Tracey Island itself is dominated by a rowan underplanted with snowdrops, wild garlic and fox gloves. A few perennials also pop up to fill up the space.
Veg patch with autumn rasps looking very scruffy but hoping for an early crop before the main one.
                                           Veg patch with sleepers, still looks a bit bare. 
Work in progress for sure. The veg patch.
There's a gazebo to go in there, one day. Edges are bursting with fruit. Alpine strawberries, autumn raspberries on one side with a bit of a 'wedgy' in fence post until the re-concreted posts set. Its too windy for this kind of fence here. Roses, currants and holly dominate the other.
Breakfast bench. Sweetpeas will touch the roof by the end of summer.
Sheds are now nicely painted and the sweetpeas are planted to clothe the side that gets the morning sun. The perfect breakfast spot complete with bunting. Window boxes flank the bench with violas offering some early spring cheer.
A throw out viola - weeded seedlings saved from work.
Woodstacks and stores have been built. Largely from pallets, filled with pallet and scrap wood. I think we need more.
Perpetual spinach in its second year of being destroyed by chickens. Its tough that's for sure.

Green house I have to admit is underused. When lots of plants might need attention I'm busy at peak snowdrop season at work. So we'll find a balance eventually. The chickens use the perpetual spinach patch as a drop in 'salad bar' as you can see when they are out roaming, this is pretty much self service.
 The back of the garden has been worked on a little. I've used the stone that was here and plants heading for the scrap heap at work. The little blighters are the 'hospital cases' at work which were too small for commercial propagation. OK for me though. Its one of the perks of the job the desperate cases get to come home and be saved. New bed has various things I might never have bought, but for now, they're filling a gap nicely.
Cardoons and Ajuga reptans 'Caitlin's Giant' jostle for attention. 
Ajuga reptans 'Caitlin's Giant' 
It's new to me and a beauty. Think of the normal one, seriously on steroids and that's kinda where we are at.
The S bed. S being for 'so-what-if-it-doesn't-match-it-was-free'.
Where once there was acres of weed suppressing fabric, there is now a curvy 'S' bed. The washing doobry hides in there. All the plants here are of the 'robust' nature as the hens are out most days. Spreading bark all over my paths just to be useful.
We started with 8 rescue hens and now have only two. I'm sad they are gone, but happy they had a good two years with us mooching around, free of factory farming. One, Greta has clearly been eating more cake than the other.
The neighbour kindly changed the fence panel at the bottom of the garden and now I have a view out to the fields beyond our village. You'll spot our difference of opinion in paint colour for fences. I just think black sets the plants off better. One day we'll buy a gate.  Maybe even this year.
Isn't that bonnie.
So when we moved in we had only grass and 9/10 of the remaining garden covered in fabric/gravel/bark. Now we have 9/10 of the garden a potential weed fest, still a bit of a holding area for plants, who knows if they'll stay where they've been plonked in.  The odd beauty peeking through were I have bought something. Angelica gigas, the purple Angelica is a firm favourite with me, so I even bought a real baby one, not some scruffy work cast out.
So mostly its fish boxes and 'airport beds' holding plants until I figure out what goes where. Fish boxes are still very much in use to trial things too.
Shatsa daisy - might be X superbum, as yet to be identified, another cast off at work in a fish box until I can see how it behaves.
So its a motley lot of pass them on plants, compost savings from the bin at work and donations from kind friends. Some of them like that Peony clearly gems. One thing is for sure, its a work in progress. Aren't we all? As I sit at my new desk and stare at the bird table, I realise we've all come a long way.  There's finally a bit of life in this garden. Albeit slightly rampant. Its full of donations from friends which makes me feel as if they are here too, which feels nice.

As long as the desk doesn't start growing, we'll be OK.


  1. It all looks and sounds wonderful Day, I'm so happy to see/hear you having such fun in your garden. You've done an amazing amount of work, three cheers for digging up so much grass, I'm still working on mine. Your garden has as much character and as many surprises as that desk. Three and a half years on and I'm still getting to grips with what the soil is like, what b the micro climates are, and what plants work. Look forward to watching yours develop but happy to see fish boxes still in use!!!

    1. Hey Janet thank you I forget sometimes that we inherited grass with grass and about three plants. (Oh and 4 acres of mipex)

      Soil here is good generally. I guess its been fallow for so long.

      I'm a bit perplexed by both wind and shade to contend with. Before we moved in the garden was unceremoniously split down the middle and a giant (not bonnie suburban fence) was erected. Its paid for the kitchen extension I guess (I'm still GRR ish about finding out about it all) its created a rather long wind tunnel though. I feel some 'rooms coming on. I think a mixture of open screening and hedging where I can squeeze it in. Its so narrow though........

      Fishboxes might get 'sniffed' at by the neighbours but essentially they're giant window boxes with character I think.


  2. Looking fab! Love donated plants from friends.....so much more personal than just buying everything in from garden centres!

    1. Maybe I should start calling the Rhubarb James and the alpine strawberries Aunty claire? I love plants as gifts. As for the 'home from work' rescues I'm delighted that they've decided to grow from the tinest scraps destined for the compost heap.

      Gardening should not be expensive if you can find a free way.

  3. Looking fab! Love donated plants from friends.....so much more personal than just buying everything in from garden centres!

  4. Can't believe how much that garden has filled out! Awesome work lovely Stripes- well done you! Oh...you're not going to believe this, but we discovered some of that wild garlic that we didn't manage to kill....waiting to see how it shapes up now we've found it and are giving it some attention! xx

    1. Thank you Robyn - it would survive apocalypses I think. Garden is waking up. been slow this year.

  5. So you lost half your garden lengthwise? Ouch! Though I'm sure kitchen extension is nice. Whatever, your making great progress. Ignore fish box snootiness. My neighbours have had to put up with much more of an eyesore, still a work in progress, my front garden...

  6. So you lost half your garden lengthwise? Ouch! Though I'm sure kitchen extension is nice. Whatever, your making great progress. Ignore fish box snootiness. My neighbours have had to put up with much more of an eyesore, still a work in progress, my front garden...

    1. Gardens tend to be that don't they. I'm not thinking about the south facing brick wall that I also lost for the entire length of the garden, no I'm not. Sniffs. The kitchen is indeed bonnie and we'd have been stuck with a small flat roofed lean too otherwise. So really whilst I moan, I shouldn't. :D