Saturday 20 March 2021

Gardening on the first day of Spring


As you can see, we have odd ground levels here, due to the old mansion house here being modified and dropped where it stood and then a lawn of sorts grown on top of the rubble at the back.  The rubble extends around the house (more than 3 feet deep at the sides and back) with retaining walls, apart from at the very back where it abuts the house (all tanked).  It makes for a gardening challenge as there are lengths of drainage pipe and the power to the Summerhouse all  crossing it too - discovered  when we tried to plant things!

Yesterday was the first day of Spring.  It was a bit grey but it was dry and reasonably warm and after Keith and I had had our walk along by the River Wye and got the Telegraph, we came home and I was out in the garden.  When we did our banking visit to Brecon last Monday I had nipped into Morrisons (just that one gardening corner! which was sadly half-empty, but there was still a good number of Clematis and soft fruit packs.  I bought 3 more clematis, and a Thornless Blackberry and an Erisimum (Bowles Mauve).  I planted the Blackberry by the wooden fence across from the Summerhouse, to the right of the gate through into the top triangle of land.  The Erisimum went in a gravel border just where the right of the vase of daffodils is on my windowsill.  I have had to protect it with an Abergwili plastic tray to keep the perishing Pheasants off it - they are inclined to peck at anything growing and have done for a few Daffodils out there too.

This is the main garden area here, planted up for low maintenance gardening with shrubs.  Except it isn't really that low maintenance.  LOOK at those two huge hedges - those will be a lot of work to keep in trim.  Tam's best friend E popped in as she was passing on her way past recently (a journey for her job) and, as a professional Horticulturalist with an MA under her belt, gave us her advice - get 'em out!  So we shall, although it will mean a big tidy up in the little paddock behind, which is about to become the Orchard.   There are some hillocky bits just behind the hedge which - on closer inspection - appear to be chunks of masonry, so those will need shifting - rolling across to the quarried hillside on the far side I suspect.

    This is the area I was working on yesterday, as although the previous owner put membrane down everywhere, with some compost on top, this had moved down the slope and left bare areas, and there were a lot of weeds - grass, tiny wild strawberries which had to come out as they were thoroughly mixed in with the layers of moss and Liverworts, esp. the Common sort, which had also colonized it. When Liverwort "leaves" go over, they are not a good look!

    As the racing was on, every now and then I dashed in to watch a race, and then went out and gardened some more.  Tea was an easy affair as it was the 2nd half of a Chicken curry from Gousto.  Keith, not being a curry person, had two roast chicken portions from the butchers, peas and a jacket spud.  He likes plain cooking.

Here you can see much of the side garden, with the differing ground levels.  The roses in green planters are yellow Patio roses left here by the previous owner.  The blue Abergwili fruit box covers David Austin rose The Lark Ascending, and out of sight opposite it is the deep purple Indigo rose.  The seed trays were planted with various heritage tomatoes, chillis and peppers and are growing well on the windowsill in the Hot Pink Bedroom.  The brown planter has Tess of the D'Urbervilles in it, the bright blue planter is one of four left here full of Sage.  I don't need 4 planters of Sage so I have cut them right back and am planning to replant them all elsewhere in the garden (done one so far).  Then I can repurpose those planters.  The same will probably happen to that planter of leggy Lavender and I have a whole BED of Lavender at the back which, unless I am able to establish another border, will have to be dug up and replanted over beyond the pond where there is a blank area (as it is again close-to-the-surface rubble!)

The pond area of the garden, taken in January and this was wet snow falling.  Lots of leaves still to sweep up although I have cleared 2/3 of this now.  The Rhododendrons (probably the common or garden lilac sort) will be cut lower once they have flowered as they are blocking a lovely view.  I am going to grow a clematis each side up over the Summerhouse (in  planters again - Multi Blue and Rooguchi, 2 from Morrisons). The garden edging and half of the crazy paving around the pond is made up from the former flagstones in the house. A shame, but the quarry tile floor in the kitchen is so much easier to mop ( a five minute job) and at the table end of the kitchen, there is a set-in carpet.

    I'll take some more photos as I progress, and plant more things.  I have two different packs of Cosmos to start off for putting in planters in the yard and will get more annuals to add colour.  I got the two big Clematis from the Nursery in planters this week - one by the French doors end of the stable yard, and the other in a planter against the end of the Stables.  Another (Lady Diana, a hot pink one) from Morrisons, is in a planter in the middle of the stable walls.  

    I am full of plans, and about to order my heritage apples for the orchard, so there will be a post about that.  I will buy more roses too and may plant a couple of ramblers out the front - nothing too rampant as we need to get behind them to keep the holly hedge trimmed.

    Well, it is the middle of the night again, but I have had a 5 day run of steroids now and am pretty well back to normal (thank Heavens - I felt like death from lack of sleep by Thursday night, with just 4 hours each night).  I shall read a bit of my book and then hopefully be able to nod off again.


  1. What a joy to catch up with you and your gardening plans. I love this time of year with so many plans in place and high hopes of a garden paradise.

  2. Ah, the devil is in the detail. The planning is easy, but when it comes to shifting soil and weeds, things slow down a bit! I am SO excited about my new garden though, despite the rubble and random pipework where I don't want it!

  3. Your plans for your garden sound wonderful. I can just imagine how excited you are.

    God bless.

    1. Definitely on a high Jackie! For once I read all the gardening bits in the weekend paper and watched Gardener's World on Friday (normally miss that as Keith NOT a gardener!) I am going to be busy this summer.

  4. Love all your plans and it is wonderful to read the joy in your voice as you write about it all. Can't believe you have a summer house... so posh.
    I have been planing what to do with the small area of my yard but living in the desert with wildfires I am always planting native, and water conserving plants. Most of my land is wild for all the animals. Having the tree doctors coming in for some work.
    Can't wait to see more photos. I think you are happy with the move.

    1. Yup, thoroughly excited and delighted to be here parsnip, and am still pinching myself! The summer house will be lovely later on - has a window at the back with a view across to the hills.

      Your garden sounds such a different work in progress to mine - must be worrying living with the risks of wildfires.

      We are so pleased to be here - it suits us down to the ground.

  5. The garden looks smashing and the different levels make it interesting. I shall enjoy seeing your plans unfold over the year. It must be smashing to plan now, knowing you are staying there. Best Wishes. Bev

  6. It will be nice to see what grows but I think the last lady had most of her plantings in pots. The shrubs will be slightly more of a surprise though I recognize several of them. NO fruit here at all though, which I intend to put to rights straight away. Knowing we are staying makes ALL the difference.