Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wind - still no rain looks like a bumper harvest

Just thought I'd share a Linda Mills stencil from Apple Bough Cottage as apple crop, potential of scab and the wind are all topics of conversation in Upper Newton at present.  Really need a substantial June drop, really need some rain.  During harvest it's great to live in a rain Shadow of the Black Mountains but not right now - the roads are running with water just a mile away. 
Still going to risk popping some Erigeron into the new herbaceous bed outside the kitchen window.  Spent two hours fighting the ground elder yesterday - all tangled in the Skimmia - which in itself is sulking and needing a dose of Epson salts.  Had a bit of a play with a tidy weed gun yesterday - bit scary with the wind so will leave the big paraffin driven one for another day - the paths are seeding merrily - more efficiently than my asparagus pea, dolcios lablab and nicotiana seeds frustratingly.
Also frustrating is the fact that this gorgeous poppy appears all over the garden but P."Patty's Plum" insists on staying on one side a bed when she is supposed to be mirrored on the other side.  No photos of her - she is looking decidely bad hair dayed because of the wind.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Roses and Poppies - truly May

Sorry about the sideways view of Rosa Ferdinand Pichard - cannot work out how it twisted whilst being uploaded!  Still with gorgeous self-sown pink aquilegia and deep red Persicaria bistorta "Red Dragon"a jolly bunch to welcome Hay Festival of Literature guests to Chess Cottage.
Winchester Cathedral - lovely white rose (with hint of pink on buds) with Geranium "Jolly Bee", Blue centaura and peeping white Allium Nigrum - about to be thinned out but to the eye very pleassing - photos never do blue justice do they?
I always love the evening scent of the Hesperis matronlis - alba died during the snow but the lilac is faithfully drifting through the box ball border.  The other herbs are from The Cottage Herbery - I have forgotten the name of the great blue - looks like a weed - some kind of ... wort.  It's a rare open weekend on 5th and 6th so I'll drop over to Tenbury to reacquaint myself.  Also to see what Maggie and Kim have in the way of dye plants to add to my collection. Another good reason not to wash that fleece ... actually its been pretty chilly and damp so it's still propped ominously in the garage watching the swifts dive in and out.
Ok so I give up, why are photos that are correct in My Documents loading sideways?  This lovely cat applique resides in Chess Cottage - sewn by Anne Bebbington - a real treat.  Do look at her blog her work rate and skill is phenomenal.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chess Cottage - white linen, yellow flag irises yum

Just decided having made bed again I'd take a photo for you.  Actually it was the lovely yellow flag irises with fresh cardoon leaf that did it - photos don't do justice.  I couldn't decide whether to eat blanch and eat the cardoon or flower arrange ...

Quick picture of the downstairs and flowers too as the Circium rivulare atropurpureum looking gorgeous with the pink foxgloves - picked as they were in the white garden - another ..... moment.

People have asked why Chess Cottage, here is the answer - Chess pieces stencilled on the landing!
Final photo for today - a quick shot of downstairs with the foxgloves, just think the bright tangerine of the silk table cloth and pink foxgloves is yummy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Malvern Show Gardens - back to school!

Treated myself to Gold Day Malvern RHS, what a treat - no crowds, time to really talk to enthusiastic nursery folk and take photos of Show Gardens minus bottoms and hats!  Really loved the Chemistry Bias to the Graduate gardens and as usual loved workmanship and finish in the Graduate Garden well deserved Best in Show.  What a funky idea having a decking overlooking a pool surrounded by your veggie patch - lovely.
Having problems uploading small enough files but here is a novel way of willow hedging.  There was a great example of this in the Coppice stand using larch (now beginning to suffer from phytophera, and ash with willow), based in Malvern - really worth a look and they run courses.  Great idea for around my veggie patch  - more picturesque than my recycled pallets! 

This hard landscaping was inspirational too and the aliums looked amazing despite the terrific wind at this end of the site.  I remember helping a friend with a show garden with tulips two years ago - they spent their week almost horizontal.

These photos are not cropped or fiddled with - I'm having problems uploading but it gives you a taste if you live too far away to go yourself.  Ballotta was planted in ribbons behind this blackboard - not often seen but fabulous and thrives on neglect.  Sadly mine succumbed this winter - it had spread into a half barrel size specimen.  Hoping to return to show today to purchase one in the sell off - always good fun!

This doesn't do justice to Graduate Gardeners veggie garden with chalet style "shed" but illustrates great blacksmithing and aesthetically pleasing planting surrounding the pool.  I tend to take snapshops to remind me of ideas I might like to utilise rather than whole gardens - plenty of those photos around by now I am sure!

Loved the simplicity of this and like London Fashion Week - nice on the model but the practicalities of baubles in a farm garden - I don't think so!  Immaculate planting though and lovely subdued hues.

Oh did I buy?  Seeds mostly - oh and a greenhouse - new learning curve - so when you arrive for B&B and are gasping for a cup of tea there will be a new notice on the backdoor - in the garden/orchard/pottingshed/.... greenhouse!  Just trying to work out how to get some electricity and water to it now - not exactly an impulse buy - I've been chatting to the standholder for five years oggling his vents - but still have to get around he who is important to help me level the ground etc.

Happy gardening and show visiting.  Oh nearly forgot I visited a fabulous new NGS garden yesterday Titley Mill, Herefordshire, now here are some gardeners who know how to plant a bog garden and do wild in the orchard set beautifully in the landscape.   Teas are great too - do visit if you can.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Final touches to Self-catering cottages today

Unfortunately photos do not do them justice - gardening hours too precious so took them after the lovely west light had faded - so for now, just a cute corner shot looking out into the herb garden.  Wouldn't it be lovely to still be able to fit into this wee chair?  Guests last week could!
Counting down to Hay Festival now - great excitement but Malvern tomorrow first - real treat going on the RHS day so that the nurserymen/ladies are not shattered and I can have a look for some great quality plug plants - maybe to plant up the labyrinth.  Anyway, more garden photos tomorrow - for now my dark corner shot!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Finally a spot of Rain - well 5 mm so the last of the Bluebells, first of the cuckoos and a busy woodpecker

Ok so not Bluebells, but a lovely hazy morning shot of the rape in full flower overlooking the black mountains.  Everything looks lush but in reality of course the grass is beginning to gain the August drought look.  The veggies are up with great anticipation on the pak choi front and a few other exotic seed packets unearthed from the "bag I stuffed to try to look tidy" - I am intrigued by the asparagus peas and wondering whether to use them in flower arrangements, eat them as micro greens and trendy pea tips or wait - having remembered to water.
Now to the bluebells - the Spanish were going to be added to the compost BUT they are so blue and so great by the ancient red brick wall.  So a compromise - photos of the woodland with true English bluebells.  Spanish moved to a very dry part of the garden where they will not seed or divide so successfully.  That way they are available for vases for the cottages for Easter guests and reminders of the need to walk down the Long Meadow for the first hazy sightings usually a month later and accompanied hopefully by the cuckoo.

While down in my favourite stream bordered part of the farm I looked up to investigate a woodpecker's tapping and found this obviously favourite branch.