Are you sitting comfortably? No 14 in an occasional series.

Back for the 14th time for another selection of garden seating for you to enjoy, to look at and imagine the comfort or lack of it! The first photo is of a new pair of seats from our own garden situated in a new border called “Arabella’s Garden”.

The following set of four photos were shot in the beautiful village garden of our friend Von, although we doubt she has much time to use her seats. Von gardens in the countryside to the East of Shrewsbury where she has amazing countryside views.

Another village garden but this time a much larger affair is Cruckfield House south of Shrewsbury, and this garden to has a selection of seats to enjoy.

So there we have it a selection of garden seats from two very different sized village gardens. We shall be back before too long with another set of garden seats, the 15th set, for you to enjoy.

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A little village garden – Von’s garden.

We have lots of gardening friends with gardens of all types and sizes and in all sorts of locations. One of our most enjoyable garden related activities is to visit a garden belonging to a friend. On a wet dull day in mid-June we visited the village garden of friend Yvonne, more often called Von. It is a garden with a beautiful view across the Shropshire countryside and a garden that happily sits in its environment.

I hope you enjoy my photographs taken in poor light and drizzling rain but the plants shone through. A gravel path leads us alongside a delicately planted border with softly curved shapes. The spires of tall-growing foxgloves and delphiniums shine through the gloom matching the colours of geraniums that soften the path edges.

  

Centrally placed in the garden is a softly shaped pool surrounded by beautiful planting.

 

There are well-placed seats throughout the garden each with special views including some that look out of the garden across the surrounding countryside.

 

These seats are situated on a gravel patch which boasts a large boulder with a smaller partner, a terracotta pot housing a saxifrage alongside an alpine sink.

 

Von loves plants so much that every vertical surface is covered with plants, ceanothus, honeysuckle and ivy.

 

Reaching the bottom of the garden there is a native hedge decorated with soft pink dog roses. Looking back up towards the house we get a different view of the garden and notice a very productive veg patch with neat raised beds.

  

As with any garden the stars are the plants and here there are many of interesting specimen deserving of more than a glance.

  

  

Wildlife enjoys this garden too. While taking a shot of this white and purple-spotted foxglove a bee arrived and set about exploring each little glove. A great finish to our visit, which will definitely not be the last.

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Whites in a May hedge.

I love the frothiness of a May hedge when Hawthorn comes into flower, providing explosions of white blossom, while in front the white of Cow Parsley is a matching partner to it. The white of the Cow Parsley has a hint of green to it and it has open umbels of flowers atop wiry stems. A third white flowers joins them but looks less significant, the Greater Stitchwort, a neat little plant covered in white starlike blooms.

I want to share my set of photos with you, all taken within a few minutes on a short 10 metres stretch of lane.

          

While photographing the hedgerow plants, we noticed this old hedgeline with a few old Hawthorns remaining still flowering profusely alongside the ruins of farm buildings.

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My Garden Journal 2018 – May

Here we are with the fifth visit to my garden journal for 2018, where I report on what is happening in our Avocet garden in Shropshire. Does it show that spring may eventually have arrived?

On my first page for May I wrote, “May began wet with continued patches of cold winds from the East. We continued to garden whenever the rain was not torrential but through it all the garden burgeoned. Fresh greens of every shade brightened our patch and contrasted beautifully with the colours of flowers.”

“The brightest leaves of all are those of ferns, hostas, Jacob’s Ladder and Euphorbia.”

  

Turning over the page I looked at a job that Ian our gardener completed in May, plus a look at our wildlife in the garden.

“We decided as the first week ended, to clear the greenhouse out and change two soil borders for gravel. Ian, our gardener did the hard work and enjoyed working under cover. The day he did there were intermittent heavy showers and periods of humid sunshine. His waterproof coat was constantly on and off, one minute hanging on his back, the next hanging on a hook in the greenhouse. The soil from the borders became a useful mulch material for nearby borders.”

 

“Ian cleared the soil away and put membrane down. We covered this in grit.”

“By the end of the first week of May temperatures soared and the rain faded away. Daytime temperatures doubled. The garden has filled with life and as flowers abound, bees, hoverflies and our first butterflies, Orange Tips and Brimstones take to the wing. We garden every day with the constant knocking sound as a Great Spotted Woodpecker bangs away at the finial on top of the wooden telegraph pole opposite our front garden. He hits his own notes!

A woodpecker family nests every year in the old Oak tree in the paddock behind our garden. During the winter several of them visit the feeding stations but once the female is laying and incubating the male makes more frequent visits to our garden feeding himself as well as his partner and the youngsters. 

There seem so few Swallows and House Martins wheeling around overhead this year, further signs of a terrible downward trend in population figures. Our Swifts have only just arrived back from their migration so we can look forward to a few months of their squeals overhead.”

Over the page I moved on to look at Dan Pearson’s thoughts on the sudden growth seen in May.

 

I wrote, “Reading Dan Pearson’s “Natural Selections”, I enjoyed his reference to the noticeably rapid growth in gardens in May.

“The growth is a remarkable thing during these weeks between spring and summer. If you could hear it there would be a tangible hum, made from a million buds breaking and stems flexing. The tide of green sweeps up and over bare earth, cloaking it as fast as the leaves fill out above us.”

For us May is also the month when the first of our visiting garden groups come to share our patch with us. They enjoy wandering around our many paths, taking photographs, asking questions and finishing with tea, coffee and Jude’s home baked cakes.”

I then move on to look at some of our flowering trees and shrubs that are features of our May garden, about which I wrote, “Flowering trees and shrubs add colour and often scent at a higher level than the spring bulbs and early perennials.”

Viburnum farreri

Weigela middendorfiana

  Cercis siliquastrum 

Eriostemon Flower Girl White

  Calycanthus floridus        Buddleia salvifolia

Over the page we look at our Japanese Garden and alpine plants. “We spent more time in mid-May working in the Japanese Garden, where a month ago we added a new step into the lower slope. We planted a miniature Rhododendron at each end of the step. These are now in full flower. Beneath our Prunus subhirtella autumnalis which we have pruned in a Japanese style, we have planted a group of “moss plants”. 

 

On the page opposite are photos of some of our alpines and I wrote, “May is the month when alpine Saxifrages peak.”

   

“Miniature alpine shrubs, Pinus mugo “Mumpitz” and an alpine Daphne.”

 “Alpine Silene”

Turning over the page we find the final double page spread, which featured the first Hemerocallis and the first of our roses to flower. On the opposite page blossom was the star.

“The end of May sees the first Hemerocallis coming into flower, and the first of our roses which is a very late start.”

  

On the final page of my journal for May I featured photos of the fruit blossom which was looking so good and promising a healthy harvest later in the year.

“Fruit blossom this May was the best we can ever remember with apples, pears and quince flowering heavily. We await a great fruit crop!

“Bunches of apples will need thinning out more than ever before!”

So that is the end of my May journal, finishing off on a positive note as the garden feels so full of life.

 

Posted in birds, fruit and veg, garden design, garden photography, garden wildlife, gardening, gardens, grow your own, hardy perennials, ornamental grasses, ornamental trees and shrubs, roses, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, shrubs, trees, village gardens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visiting Bodnant Gardens in Early September

We dropped off at Bodnant Gardens two thirds of the way along our journey to our holiday home on Anglesey, a garden we visit often as it is a solid favourite at all times of the year.

I hope you enjoy my photos below taken at Bodnant in early September.

          

We will without doubt return some time soon as we return to this wonderful garden several times every year to see it in each month’s glory.

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The Dingle Garden in May

We planned our fifth visit to the Dingle Gardens near Welshpool for the 23rd May and intended to go whatever the weather. Our April visit was on a day more typical of November than April so the photos I took were rather unusual for a garden in spring.

However for our May visit the sun shone, the sky was clear blue and the warmth allowed us to have a very leisurely stroll around the garden. We had so far this year seen little change from month to month as spring was on hold but this May visit was a strong contrast. We found the garden rich in flowering shrubs and strong fresh growth everywhere.

My first set of pics show paths we followed and the views from them.

  

A real surprise was the explosion of colour provided by the Rhododendrons whose buds we have featured over the first few months of the year. The brightest of reds, oranges, pinks plus cerise hues and shades of white sat together sometimes in harmony but often clashing!

Contrasting and strong coloured foliage provides as much interest as flowers at this time of year as all deciduous foliage is fresh and lively.

        

Ferns are an exciting element in the woodland or shade garden in May as fresh fronds unfurl and open to reveal strongly textured and patterned foliage.

    

I shall finish this visit report for our May wanderings around the Dingle Garden with a few general shots taken near the lake at the bottom of the sloping garden, showing the variation in foliage apparent in the trees and shrubs. We can now look forward to what June at the Dingle will have to offer.

 

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Simply beautiful blossom

We grow many fruit trees here at our Avocet patch, mostly trained as cordons, ballerinas or stepovers, plus one freely grown tree a Quince “Vranga”. In mid-May these apples and  pears are in full blousy blossom.

I went out into the garden on a bright sunny day with deep shadows with camera in hand to record their beauty. I hope you enjoy my pictures.

Fruit will follow in the late summer and into the autumn. We will start harvesting in August and continue until the end of October, some apples we will eat fresh others we will store and enjoy through to the end of March. The pears we will pick off the tree and relish them while they are still warm, dripping with juices and full of flavour.

 

Posted in fruit and veg, garden photography, gardening, grow your own, ornamental trees and shrubs, Shrewsbury, Shropshire | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment