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garden photography gardening ornamental trees and shrubs shrubs winter gardens wise watering

Simply Beautiful – no 29 – winter yellow

At the beginning of every year we are treated to the amazing display of flowers on our Cornus mas. The shrub gets covered in its citr us yellow unusual flowers. The flowers have to be looked at very close up to appreciate the details of its structure. The bees love it as an early food source.

I hope you enjoy sharing ours through my photos.

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garden wildlife gardening gardens log piles natural pest control recycling wise watering

A bit of work on our shade border.

Today we spent a few hours improving the moisture content in the soil in our “Shade Border”. This is the only fully shaded part of our garden so it where we can grow plants that would not appreciate the brightness or warmth of the other sunnier borders. Here we have several Meconopsis Poppies in blue, white and cream, several varieties of Corydalis, some ferns and anemones. The first flowers appear on our  Pulmonarias in blue, pink, red and white soon followed by the tiny blue flowers of Brunnera and the whites and pinks of the uniquely shaped Dicentras. The beautifully cut lace like foliage of various Corydalis provide a perfect foil for their nodding little flowers. These all flower when the deciduous shrubs along the fence are still skeletal. Once the leaves give extra shade overhead the Ferns, Anemones and my favourite nettle the Giant Red Deadnettle, Lamium orvala.

Our worry is that in periods of dry weather the bed gets too dry for these plants and they begin to suffer. We decided the only answer was to use seep hose. It took just an hour to perform this important task which we hope will make these shade-loving plants much happier in the warmer summer months.

Firstly we cut some tough galvanised wire into 12 inch lengths and bent them into pegs like giant staples. We laid the pipe across the surface of the border in a serpentine pattern, leaving one end exposed where a hose can be attached when needed.

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We dug out a 3 inch deep trench alongside the hose, placed the hose into the trench and then pegged the hose down with the wire.

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We added a good dose of our “black gold”, rich home made garden compost over the hose and then over the whole area. The compost in the trench will act as a wick for the water from the seep hose which we hope will slowly creep into the compost around the plants.

The final touch was to build a log pile out of rotting wood to attract beetles which are useful predators. They will help look after the plants for us.

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We had to carry this out very carefully as the first sign of flowers had already begun. This red Pulmonaria is the first flower in the shade garden this year.

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garden design garden photography gardening outdoor sculpture recycling Shropshire succulents wise watering

A Ladder Garden

Our garden is too full – we have nowhere left to grow the plants we keep finding and wanting to take under our gardening wings. So we need ideas for more gardens. We are going up!

Take an old rickety wooden ladder, too old and battered to trust. We cut it in half and fixed it against the sides of two of our sheds.

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We found this strange collection of objects at various interesting outlets nearby. Two French wire baskets, a cast iron drain pipe top and a kettle used by gypsies to boil water over open fires.

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And now for the planting! We need plants that require little looking after and won’t be constantly calling out to be watered. Succulents are the answer.

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A little job well done I think! A little bit of garden sculpture. Some recycling and some re-using. Now we can just enjoy them as we pass by or visit the sheds.