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My Garden Journal 2019 – June

As we reach the half way point in the year the garden really comes to life with bright green fresh growth and so much colour from flowers, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and  climbers especially roses and clematis. I began by writing, “At the beginning of June we were still worried about how dry the garden still was and longed for some rain. Luckily a few days into June and this is exactly what happened. And luckier still was that the planned group visits to our garden at that time were not interrupted by wet weather. After rain, until the droplets on their flowers and buds dry off, make roses look sad and dejected.”

I then shared a batch of Rose pics.

 

The next double page spread featured wider shots of borders and plant communities.

I wrote, I decided it would be a good idea to go out with my camera in hand to take wide shots of the garden borders to give an impression of the whole garden. But, as the overcast sky and rain didn’t go away, I went out into the heavy rain and took the shots I wanted.”

“Plant-a-Boxes – end of drive”                 “Herbaceous Violas – front door”

Then followed a set of 4 photos of our “Beth Chatto Garden”.

   

Next a set of photos of the Shrub Borders, and the New Garden finishing with a photo of out Hare who guards the lawn daisies.

“The New Garden”

“Our Hare Sculpture who guards the lawn daisies.”

Below are four photos of our Beth Chatto Garden.

“The Beth Chatto Garden”

The last two pics on this page show the Shed Roof Garden and the new Foliage Garden by the shed.

Turning over the page we move into the back garden, where I wrote, “To access the back garden you can go either side of the house. Access to the left and you can enjoy the “Shade Border” featuring ferns. Once in the back there are two paths to choose from both of which will take you the length of the garden.”

“Taking any pathway will present enticing views into the borders.”

 

Onto the next page I wrote, “The new Hot Garden has settled well and already giving pleasure.”

 

   

“Arabella’s Garden is now lush with growth and gives pleasure to her when she visits. She checks on it every time.”

 

Over the page I share my pencil crayon sketches of two of our smaller grasses, both Briza.

The final page for this month shows the Bog garden and the show of Alliums which dominates two borders in Jun. I wrote, “At the very bottom of the central path to its left lies the Bog Garden and the Wildlife Pond. Lush, colourful foliage is the order of the day, the tall reeds and Irises adding height.”

“Various Alliums dominate the Chicken Garden and Secret Garden throughout June and will continue into July.”

So there we have my June entries into my Garden Journal 2019, a great month in our garden.

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My Garden Journal in May

Just as I completed my journal for June I realised that I had not yet posted “My Garden Journal for May”, so here it is now for you to enjoy! The June journal report won’t be far behind!

Summer creeping in can only mean that our May garden is changing by the day. Exuberance in every border with things growing before your eyes. A month of excitement! I began my May entry in my garden journal by writing,

“May means exuberance! It is the month when our garden shows us the ability it has to surprise. It shows off its strength and its artistic talents. Growth is so rapid and colour so exciting, that we are aware of what our garden means to us and also aware of its power that Mother Nature possesses and uses with pride and to excess!”

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I then turn to looking back at my original garden journey recording the first few years that we have lived and gardened at Avocet.

“Looking back in my garden journal that recorded the early years at Avocet, I read a paragraph that shows just how similar May is now. 

“The garden is bursting with life – butterflies including Holly Blues, bees and so many birds. Suddenly the garden is alive with birds giving extra colour, sound and movement. There seems to be so many finches – Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Greenfinches. Swifts, Swallows and House Martins swoop overhead especially in the evening.”

Sadly though there are far fewer Swifts, Swallows and House Martins overhead. So many have not survived their long migrations. What does the future hold for these beautiful acrobats?”

Turning over the page of my journal and we see the next two pages feature Acers and Roses.

“Acers are one of the many stars of the May garden, a month when their foliage and stems are delicate and colourful.”

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“May means Roses and by the middle of the month we have many buds and pioneer blooms. Reds and pinks dominate at the moment. Yellows and oranges are still to come.”

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I moved on to look at one of the climbers we enjoy in our garden and at the grasses that have now started to grow rapidly.

“Think of climbers early in the summer garden and Clematis is the first plant to spring to mind.”

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“Grasses are growing quickly now and the myriad shades of green move skyward in our borders.”

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Turning over again and succulents are discussed. These are a recent interest and I have only been growing them and propagating them for a few years.

Succulent plants are an interest that has grown over the last few years. Beginning with Aeoniums and Echeverias I soon branched out.”

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“Troughs of succulents grace the Rill Garden in May and on into October when the risk of frost mean that they retreat to the warmth of our greenhouse.”

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When we turn over next we see that I talk of Hostas and in particular those growing in our Bog Garden. The bog garden is so full of life at the moment with plants growing appreciably by the day.

“Hostas are one of the more subtle of our garden favourites both their foliage and later in the year their flowers. The Bog Garden next to our Wildlife Pond and snuggled up to it is a place of rapid growth in May.”

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White is not a colour I particularly appreciate in the garden and as a result I do not use it much.

“White is not my favourite colour in the garden. I particularly do not like white painted garden furniture or white painted fences, trellises or walls. We tend to paint our seats in ivory or cream which are much softer colours particularly on bright sunny days. Our fences we paint in browns and trellis work in gentle shades of green which acts as a great foil for our plants. I think this dislike of white is to do with our weather as it can work so well in other countries. Where flowers are concerned I appreciate them most in May when white can look good with the brightness of fresh foliage. Below are photos of a few particularly good white flowers, Viburnums, Cornus, white Bluebells, Iberis and Camassias. Some of these are the purest of white where others have gentle hints of colour. The Camassia has a green tint to it and the Iberis the gentlest hint of pink.”

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As we leave May behind we can look forward to the longest day, the time when day and night share equal number of hours.

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conservation countryside flowering bulbs hedgerows landscapes light meadows nature reserves spring bulbs Wildlife Trusts

A Fritillary Meadow – North Meadow, Cricklade

We have a book at home where we list places we must go to, gardens we must visit and things we must do. A visit to the Fritillary Meadows in Wiltshire has been on our “Places to Visit” list for a few years now but we have been thwarted by the weather and the effect this has on these lovely flowering bulbs. This year we made it.

We drove down to Cricklade in Wiltshire and with great difficulty due to heavy downpours of rain making it hard to see, we found the first signs of where we were aiming for, The Fritillary Tearooms. The tearooms open each year when the Fritallaries are in full bloom and the proceeds go towards boosting the “Cricklade in Bloom” funds. Naturally we had to support them and so enjoyed a warming cup of coffee and a splendid cake before we embarked on our wet walk around the wet meadow. Apologies for the sloping photo of the tea shop but having one leg shorter than the other does sometimes result in strange sloping pics!

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We entered the reserve, called North Meadow, run jointly by English Nature and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, via a bridge over the River Churn, one of the two rivers that skirt the wet meadow, the other being the Thames. In front of us lay an old, flower-rich hay meadow situated within the glacial flood plains of the two rivers. The meadow covers a vast area of 108 acres. It is designated a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Scientific Interest and is an internationally important reserve.

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We were never far from one or other river as we walked the reserve margins. It was good to see beautiful ancient pollarded willows much in evidence aligning the banks of both. Seeing these brings back memories of my childhood fishing my local brook “The Carrant” whose banks were lined with them. We hid inside them as many were hollow and loved looking up inside them spotting wildlife mostly spiders and beetles but on special occasions a roosting Tawny Owl. The willows were pollarded which involved pruning them hard back to their main trunks every few years to harvest the stems for basket making and hurdle manufacture.

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The reserve was one grand immense flat meadow which is flooded for a few months each year creating an unusual habitat for plants and all sorts of wildlife. At first glance we were amazed at the expanse of the meadow but somewhat disappointed at the relatively few numbers of Fritillaries visible. Seeing just one Fritillary is a treat though as it is such an unusual and beautiful flower. It is now sadly a “nationally scarce” plant.

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Even though the light was very dull we soon spotted more of the little beauties we had waited so long to see and realised that there were far more than we had first thought. We grow Fritillaria meleagris in our spring border at home and in the orchard meadows on the allotment communal gardens but we had never seen them growing in their true wild habitat, the wetland meadows. We wondered just how amazing they must look on a bright day. To begin with we found them in small clumps including the odd white flowers which although lacking the checkerboard patterning have a delicate beauty of their own.

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This wetland meadow habitat was home to other site specific species such as Comfrey and Kingcups, Lady’s Smock and Ragged Robin. Lovely old fashioned names for our native wildflowers. To maintain the special requirements of this collection of damp loving plants it is essential that the meadow is managed properly. It has to be grazed, used for hay and flooded for set periods.

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We were surprised to find one comfrey with yellow and green variegated foliage.

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Along the margins of the meadow we stumbled upon these little carved stones, looking like miniature milestones. We later found out that they marked the plots allotted to individual “commoners” for haymaking.

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As we reached about two-thirds of the way around the meadow the density of the fritillaries increased markedly and tall reeds grew on its margins.

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The last part of our wander around this wet meadow was alongside the river once again where Willow and Blackthorn trees grew happily in the damp soils.

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In a very damp patch we came across a clump of this very unusual looking sedge with its jet black flowers thus finishing off our visit to the field of Fritillaries with a mystery as we had no idea what it was.

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As we left the reserve we just had to stop and admire this old and very unusual toll cottage.

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