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My Garden Journal 2020 – June

Back to my garden journal for 2020 again and we are into the last month of the first half of the year, June, the month that sees the longest day and shortest night.

I began by sharing some of our rose bushes and climbing varieties that we grow throughout our garden in mixed borders and up obelisks and arches. I wrote, “June, the month for roses …………..”

I then featured photos of some of our red roses, writing, “Roses are red!”

Here are the photos of some of our red roses that grace our garden in June.

 

On the following page I continued with roses but those that were not red! “My flowering plant of the month!

Roses are red? Or white, cream peach, yellow ……..”

 

After looking at our flowering rose bushes and climbers, I did something completely different. I collect bark that had been detached from one of our birches by recent strong winds and created a collage, which lets us see the variety in colours and textures.

“In June windy days blow detached bark peelings from our birch, Betula albosinensis ‘Septentronalis’. We find what looks and feels like paper all around the garden. Each piece of peeled bark has its own character.”

We can look over the page now for a complete change as I looked at some wildlife found in our garden, a damselfly and a wasp. “Being a wildlife garden, our patch brings us some beautiful visitors for us to enjoy, to listen to and to watch. They help balance the natural world of our garden.”

“Damsel Flies hatch from our wildlife pond by the dozens, beginning with various ‘Azures’ and later the ‘Reds’.”

This beautiful yellow and black Ichneumon Wasp has appeared in our garden in good numbers for the first time ever this month.”

From wildlife we turn to succulents on the opposite page, where I wrote “Our foliage plants of the month of June are Aeoniums, a very special group of succulents. I have built up a good collection now.”

I then shared photos of a selection of some of our aeoniums……..

Next comes clematis, with two pages of pics. I wrote, “Clematis, herbaceous and climbers are flowering throughout the garden. Some are already on their second flush having flowered in the spring.”

The first of the two pages feature flowers from “Pale blue to deep purple.”

 

The second page showed “Every shade of red.”

The final page for June is all about the bark of Acer rufinerve. I wrote, Plant of the month for bark and stem this month is one of our snake-bark acers, Acer rufinerve also known as the ‘Melon-skin Maple’. These six photos start at the base of the trunk and move upwards.”

So that is my journal entries for June. Next report will be July.

 

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My Garden Journal 2018 – December

Here we are with the final visit to my Garden Journal 2018, as we discover what has been going on at out Avocet patch in December. It has been a year of difficult weather for us gardeners with freezing winds, a wet spring followed by a drought in the summer. It has been a bit of a trial really encouraging things to grow and struggling to get new plants established. But of course none of this spoilt our enjoyment of our garden and gardening itself.

I began my entries for December by writing, “December arrived on the scene feeling milder but certainly not brighter than November. Thankfully the winds were gentle and had turned from the cold air carrying Easterlies to the warmer, wetter Westerlies. The winter sun sends low rays of light that capture the colours and textures of our trees especially Betulas and Prunus serrula.” I then featured photographs of our Prunus serrula and some of our Betulas.

Over the page I moved on to look at our ferns and then small shrubs with many coloured foliage.

I wrote, “Ferns are so useful in the garden mostly in places of shade or partial shade. In December they still look fresh and vibrant. A few though show browning of leaf edges and some die right down turning a rich gingery-brown.” Then I shared a selection of photos of some of our ferns.

On the opposite page it was our small shrubs that sport interesting foliage that featured. We have only recently started using low growing shrubs for their foliage as we are discovering how much interest they can add to a border when flowers are lacking. I wrote, “Winter is the season when evergreen broadleaved shrubs come to the fore, leaf surfaces get glossier, colours darken and extra colour appears especially pinks, creams and rubies. Here is a selection of shrubs we have just bought especially for their foliage, although some will also flower and fruit.”

 

Turning over the page we can see glaucous foliage being featured. I wrote, “As the last leaves fall from our deciduous trees and shrubs, we can appreciate their skeletal shapes. At the same time evergreens come to the centre stage. But I am going to show our evergreys in my December journal entries.”

Here is a selection of photos of some of our many glaucous foliaged plants, a climber, some shrubs and some herbaceous perennials.

One of our recent plant discoveries that we have been absolutely deilghted with is Coronilla glauca Citrina, a wonderful shrub that we grow as a climber on the trellis around our oil tank. In my journal I wrote, “Coronilla glauca Citrina is an underated winter flowering shrub with glaucous foliage and citrous coloured pea-like scented flowers. Grey and lemon together is a beautiful partnership. Equally underated are all the members of the Cotoneaster family.”

 

And here are a few of our many Cotoneasters, a family of shrubs we have grown in every garden we have ever had.

    

Turning over once more we discover two pages concerning our ongoing garden projects whch we started in the autumn.

We were forced by circumstances to rebuild our Seaside Garden when gale force winter winds broke the fence behind it. With our next door neighbours we soon got new ones back up. Seeing every negative happening as an opportunity we saw this new longer fence as a great place for interesting climbers and we decided to start the Seaside Border all over again. So at the end of the month we got started, but there is lots more to keep us occupied through part of January. I wrote, “Strong December winds destroyed a section of fence, the one backing the Seaside Garden. To repair it we had to strip out the area, plants and artefacts, but this did afford us the opportunity of refurbishing it.”

 

Here are some of the new plants waiting to go into the “new” Seaside Garden to join those we saved.

On the opposite page I talk about carrying on with our other editing jobs that we started in the autumn. I wrote, “As December draws to a close and the holiday times approach we take advantage of any dry days to catch up with our projects, new steps for the Chicken Garden, planting hundreds of bulbs and replanting the Hot Garden in its new position.”

      

And so to the last page of my 2018 Garden Journal, when I wrote, “December ended frost free. Sunshine caught special features of plants while raindrops hung on leaves, twigs and sculptures.”

Here is the final selection of photos for 2018, showing winter sunshine working its magic on foliage and droplets of rain caught after a shower.

  

“The end of my 2018 Garden Journal.”

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The Dingle Garden in Welshpool – March

We returned to the Dingle Garden and Nurseries for the third time this year, hoping for signs of spring but having experienced such bad weather recently we were expecting few changes at all. We always enjoy a wander around the nursery anyway so that would make up for any disappointments. In particular we enjoy their collections of trees and shrubs.

We soon spotted shrubs we had looked at in detail on our last visit when buds were fattening but not displaying signs of opening. On this our March visit things had not developed at all. However some shrubs further down the slope towards the lake where there was more shelter were in fact in the first stages of bursting into leaf.

The light on this visit allowed the colour and texture of the bark on trees show up far better than in February.

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Deciduous Euonymus such as our native Euonymus europaeus, display their heavily textured bark when they are bare of foliage, and Euonymus alatus is a particular star with its winged stems.

 

A few shrubs had open flowers and looked very special, like gems, among so much deep green of the many evergreens growing on the slopes. Hellebores and flowering bulbs added splashes of colour amongst the undergrowth. The tiny insignificant flowers of Euphorbias sat snuggled into the bright green bracts.

  

The common native Hazel, Corylus avellena, is far from ordinary. It is an exceptional plant as it gives so much to our gardens. If you plant a contorted variety then you get the strangest of winter skeletons, but with others you get sturdy upright growth and this growth provides us with our bean poles for the allotment. In the first months of each year they delight us with their catkins which look like little lime-green lambs’ tales. These are the male flowers producing mists of pollen on breezy warm days but if you look very closely you may be lucky enough to find a female flower which is a minute deep red flower like a miniature sea anemone.

 

Buds were just beginning to show the early signs of fattening up when we made our visit in February so we were so pleased to find some fresh brightly coloured leaves beginning to burst forth from them this month.

        

Fresh growth had appeared from clumps of perennials, with Hemerocallis way ahead of others with the brightest and most advanced growth of all.

 

Evergreen shrubs have produced new foliage which looks so young with glossy surfaces and extra bright colours.

 

As we wandered the pathways enjoying the freshness of new growth and bursting buds, we were distracted by surprises and unexpected features, such as this old tumbled-down summer house and a deep fissure in the path where rushing floodwater had flowed beneath the path removing materials.

 

The stream which we enjoyed watching last month tumbling beneath the wooden footbridge had turned into an angry torrent of water, so noisy that we could hear it from far off. Wherever we were inside the woodland garden we could hear running water rushing down slopes, along tiny streams and over pathways.

Let us hope that by the time of our next visit the garden will be much dryer and the water passing down the site will be back within its banks.

 

 

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A Walk in the Park – February at Attingham Park – Part 2

After enjoying time exploring the walled garden and its outbuildings we continued our wanderings towards the beginning of “The Mile Walk”, passing along the way this tree half covered by orange lichen, which looked so colourful on this dull day.

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On the way we noticed how much moss was growing at the bases of the mature trees and how bright their green colours were. Of course we enjoyed the white sparkles of snowdrops on the way.

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There is a wide variety of coniferous evergreens growing close to the path, collected centuries ago under the guidance of Lord Berwick, a keen tree and shrub collector. We looked closely at the freshest of branches to compare colours and shapes.

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It is only in the depth of winter that we can really appreciate the beautifully gnarled lower stem structure of rhododendron bushes.

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Old tree trunks hollowed out over centuries always bring the child out in us. We were drawn to it as soon as we spotted it along the riverbank.

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Closer study revealed wide varieties of texture and pattern.

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It is always good to find a little humour in gardens and parks. This worm was enjoying nibbling away at the big apple. What a great way to take advantage of an old uprooted tree stump. The final photo shows a seat which we imagines was rarely used particularly as it was just a few feet from the river!

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Our next visit to Attingham Park will be in March so we are already looking forward to searching for changes. Of course we will be full of anticipation knowing that the new coffee shop is getting close to its opening date!

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A Walk in the Park – Attingham in January – Part Two – Woodland Walk

Back with the second part of our report of our January visit to Attingham Park we find ourselves taking the path into the woodland at this Shropshire National Trust property.

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When leaving the walled garden the visitor has the choice of two walks and we decided to follow the 3 mile “Woodland Walk” as the weather seemed set dry for the day. Next month when we make our February visit we will follow the “Mile Walk”.

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Just a short way into our walk we came across the “Burning Site” marked by a wooden deer complete with impressive antlers. We like gardens with a touch of humour so we were delighted to discover this family of owls created from wood offcuts left after trees surgery work. They were created by the gardeners as a competition. We loved them all!

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Walking in woodlands in the winter helps highlight textures and patterns not easily spotted when the trees and shrubs are in full leaf. The gentle colours of lichens and mosses are more easily appreciated too as they carpet tree trunks. Please follow the gallery below featuring bark textures and the colours of lichen and mosses. The texture of fallen trees is changed over the years by the huge array of hard-working fungi present in the woodlands. Without these fungi the fallen wood would pile up so the fungi’s function of breaking down the dead trees is essential to the well-being of the woodland ecosystem. Click on the first photo and navigate using the right hand arrow.

Woodland walks are made more interesting by the manner in which rays of light penetrate the canopy, creating patterns and patches of strong contrasting light.

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After enjoying exploring the woodland following the Woodland Walk way-marked path we cut back across the parkland to the house itself. First glimpse of the house is through a framework of Cupressus trees. To find this view we crossed over two stone bridges which took the path over water and the stonework attracted as much lichen as the tree trunks did.

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Our return to Attingham Park will be in February when we will look at the Walled Garden again and then follow the much shorter walk, the Mile Walk.

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The one that nearly got away! – My Garden Journal in November

Imagine my surprise when checking back through my list of posts to find my Garden Journal for November still waiting to be posted. It nearly got away but here it is. Better late than never! Imagine we are back in the autumn!

This will be the penultimate visit to my 2016 Garden Journal as we look at what November has in store for our Avocet patch.

Colour launches my November pages with a double page spread of rich colours with the words, “Autumn has crept in further as November arrives and the garden is starting a new chapter where foliage colours dominate and individual plants become the focus of our attention rather than whole borders of blooms.”

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I move on to share our purchase of three new trees for our patch, an oak and two birches, all trees that we have been seeking out for several years. The oak is good for a small garden like ours because it has a columnar habit of growth growing tall but very slim. It is Quercus palustris “Green Pillar” which hides the fact that its main reason for growing it is for its bright red autumn leaves. I wrote, “Three new trees have been planted at Avocet. Tree planting is such a satisfying experience as is choosing and collecting your selection. So a journey down to the best tree nursery near us, The Dingle at Welshpool, saw us returning home with 3 specimen trees neatly tied up and fitted, threaded in fact, into our car. We sat with three of our favourite trees surrounding us, embracing us with the scents of Autumn. We chatted excitedly of the emotions of tree planting, the positive messages and the future joy these trees will give us. 

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Quercus palustris “Green Pillar”is an upright growing, narrow oak and is a relatively new introduction. The deepest red leaves imaginable hold on through the Autumn and odd batches of foliage remain on the columnar tree into the Winter. To add further magic, the foliage is highly glossed almost like Japanese lacquer.”

I chose three leaves to paint in watercolours and fibre tipped pens trying to capture the texture and colour variations.

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My next double page spread featured our other 2 new trees and I started by writing, “Anyone who knows us as gardeners will have guessed that the other two new trees are our favourite Betulas, B. nigra “Heritage” and B. “Hergest”. Both of these Birches should be the same dimensions reaching 16 feet tall by 6 feet wide after 10 years. We have planted them either side of a covered bench in the front garden. “Hergest” is a Birch we have been longing to plant in our patch because of its wonderful bark texture and colour. It is in the “albosinensis” family of Betulas described by tree

specialist Frank Matthews a rare and beautiful tree possibly a cross between B. albosinensis and B.ermanii. We look forward to the bark turning light copper-brown and glossy. Another reason we love it is because it orginates from a local, favourite garden, Hergest Croft. We chose B. nigra “Heritage”, a variety of River Birch, because of its peeling bark of cinnamon, pink, purple and gold. These Betulas will add so much to our garden.”

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“Betula albosinensis “Septentronalis” (first 3 pics top row) and Betula utilis jacquemontii “Snow Queen” (bottom row) with the odd photo of our immature B. albosinsensis “Chinese Ruby” awaiting a colourful future.”

Moments of delight come next in my journal for November, “Autumn in the garden is he time and place for special moments, seen once and never repeated. Cobwebs, droplets of dew and a beam of sunlight catching colours. November moments!” I would like to share seven photos of some of our special moments in our garden.

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“Often our moments of delight are light shows starring grasses, their movement, their filigree seed heads and their biscuit and ginger hues.”

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Turning over the page we encounter a page looking back at early tree planting and I checked out how one favourite is doing now 13 years on.

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I reported, “Looking back into the early November pages of my first Avocet Garden Journal, I notice that back then we were celebrating Autumn by planting trees. “Tree hunting at Harley Nursery, saw us ordering 16 trees. Should give us structure, a top plant storey and the colours of leaves, flowers and berries.” Later in the month I continued, “Three Betula utilis jacquemontii “Snow Queen” and a single Liquidamber styracifolia “Worplesdon” were planted along the road side border to begin the required woodland feel. In the Winter Garden we planted a snake barked maple, Acer rupestris.” We had intended to choose between the more usual snakebark maples, Acer greggii and A. davidii, but our friend Duncan who owned the nursery promised to find us a much better one, A. rupestris. This he did and it has proved to be the right choice. It is a true 12 month tree and a visitors’ favourite.”

My photos show some of its attributes including the bark which varies in colour and texture up the trunk.

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In my October journal I featured the tiny flowered Fuchsia minimiflora and promised to look at two other Fuchsias this month, so I began by stating, “Unlike F.minimiflora these two have long thin flowers and colourful foliage. They are so similar that we are not sure if they are identical but sold under different names. One we bought as F. thalia, the other was a thank you gift from friends and its label gives its name as Fuschia x hybrida “Koralle”.

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A strange creation makes an appearance next, a phenomena we have never seen before anywhere. A sculpture created in grass by the wind! “We grow the delicate grass, Stipa tenuissima , or Pony Tail Grass, on our green roof. The flowering stems grow to 15 to 18 inches long and move in the slightest breeze. Passing the roof and looking up I noticed this strange knot which the wind had created by spinning a few flowering stems together. It hung still attached to the plant presenting an amazing silhouette against the blue sky.” I captioned my photos of it “garden magic”.

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The colour red is the theme of the next section in my November journal. I noticed how powerful this colour looked in the garden at this time of year so took my trusty Nikon out for a walk.

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Red is such an important colour in the November garden. In life red relates to many different emotions from love and passion at the one pole to danger and anger at the other. Red in the garden simply draws me to it and makes me smile. David Bowie wrote, “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues”. The garden puts on its red shoes and chases away the winter blues. Red appears in flowers, berries, leaves, stems and bark, but also on the handles of Felco secateurs and the wattles of garden hens.”

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And there we have, the garden in November. My next look at my garden journal will be the final one of 2016. Where did the time go, simply flying as we enjoyed being in our special patch.

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My Garden Journal in December

Welcome to the final monthly look inside my Garden Journal 2016, when we see what I entered in it during the month of December. Then it will be time to close the 2017 Garden Journal for now, but we share all the journals with our garden visitors on our open days so they regularly get a fresh airing.

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“December, the month with the shortest days, the sun getting up late and retiring early. On sunny days the light emphasises the texture and colour on the bark of our trees, which have stark networks of branches looking skeletal and see-through.

“The colours and textures of our snake-bark maple, Acer rufinerve, become much more visible in the low sunlight of December. Every branch is different. The texture roughens the lower down we look.”

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My entries for December continue to consider the trees of our garden, “During our 13 years developing our patch at Avocet, we have continued to increase our selection of small trees. Having just a quarter acre of  garden to play with and paint our pictures with plants, we have to choose trees carefully. We have to be careful of the shadows cast and the size and spread of the canopies. I thought it would be fun to list all the trees that now grace our garden from those we planted 13 years ago to tiny seed-grown specimens still in their pots. So I shall take a journey around the garden and find and list of our trees. 

In addition to selecting trees for their growth habit we look for more than one season of interest. We linked interesting foliage shapes with good autumn colour, and interesting bark colour with texture. Many of our trees also afforded us the add interest of berries in many colours for us to enjoy in the late summer/autumn and birds to devour in the winter.”

Turning over the page we discover a group of 6 photographs I took in November with the intention of taking the same shots from the same places in December to see how things change.

“In November I took these 6 shots of places that looked good around the Avocet Garden. I have now taken them again from the same location to show how things change in a month.”

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November                                                            December

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November                                                             December

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November                                                             December

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November                                   December

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November                                   December

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November                  December

I thought it would be fun to look at the bark of lots of our trees, both their colours and textures, so took close up photos of sections of the tree trunks.

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I wrote, “We are enjoying the varied texture and colour of the bark on our trees. The sun is at its lowest in the sky this month which emphasises the interesting aspects of bark.”

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Salix trifolia “Blue Streak”, Salix erythroflexuosa, Salix alba “Brizensis” (our own selection we call “Wendy’s Orange”)

I can now share some close up shots of the bark detail of some of our trees.

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Oullins Gage                               Liquidamber                  Damson

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Strawberry Tree         Morello Cherry                    Cornelian Cherry

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Crataegus i. splendens             Quince Vranja                           Prunus Sub. autumnalis

I then took a look back at my December entries of my first ever garden journal and found the words, “Let’s have our look back at my December entry in my first ever garden journal. I wrote, “Visited David Austin Roses nursery to buy roses for obelisks and arches. We did this but also bought nine shrubs for winter colour plus an Arum italicum “Marmoratum” and two willow trees.” All of these plants are still going strong and playing important roles in our garden borders, with the exception of an acer, Acer pennsylvanica Ethrocadum, which sadly succumbed to “an overly strong rootstock and unobservant gardeners!”

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Two other plants from our original batch of plantings back at the beginnings of the Avocet patch are looking particularly good now and are strong performers.

Mahonia “Winter Sun”,

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and Pittosporum “Garnettii”

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Over the next page we find my look at winter structure, where I wrote “December is the month that reveals the importance of structure in the garden. Teextures, light and shade, view points, invitation, archways, pathways, box balls, cloud pruning, entries and exits.”

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I then included a set of five photos illustrating, as I wrote, “structures revealed as leaves fall and plants die back.”

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We have taken a close look at our Agapanthus collection on occasion over the last few months in my journal and promised a final look in December, so here is “the return visit to our Agapanthus collection” which I have linked with a page of photos of our collection of Libertias sharing my pics of their “berries and seeds” and their “sword-like foliage.”

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Libertias ………………………

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December is the month guaranteed to surprise! End of year surprises! Winter months do have a tendacy to throw up their special surprises, those flowers that pop up out of season to cheer us up with their colour that sparkles in the greyness of the depth of the season.

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Inside the back cover of my now completely full garden journal, I have glued my tree list that readers can pull out to study if they wish.

 

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In the tree list I wandered around the garden from front to back recording all the hardwood plants classified as trees rather than shrubs, making allowances for our particular methods of pruning some shrubs into small trees. I recorded their seasons of interest and their main points of interest or reasons for growing them in our garden.

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The Avocet Tree List gave us a bit of an extra December surprise for when we added up the tree list to see how many trees we have planted here in our beautiful patch of land which is our garden at Avocet. The count revealed that we have planted exactly 50 trees during the last 13 years. That is a lot of tree for a quarter acre but every one is so special to us, like a big expanded woody family.

So that is my 2016 Garden Journal. I hope you have enjoyed sharing it with me. Next year I shall create another Garden Journal the format of which is still being worked on. I shall share it with you again.

 

 

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My Garden Journal 2016 – February

Back with the second post sharing my 2016 Garden Journal, we will look at what it holds for February.

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On the first page for the month I mention the changing light values that occurs during February.

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“This is the month when light values really start to improve. We also get longer days when the weather allows. This change in light coupled with slowly rising temperatures encourages birds to change their songs and calls. The Great Tit is the master of calls with its huge repertoire. Luckily they are very frequent visitors to our garden. They are great entertainers! Their song in February is a “see-sawing ditty with mechanical overtones.” (Collins Bird Guide)

I added my gouache painting of a pair of Great Tits.

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On the opposite page I carried on talking about our continued development of our greenhouse.

Having completed the construction of our new heated propagation bench last month we then sorted out our pots, trays, pans and cells ready for the new sowing and growing season. We ensured we have plenty of labels as well as sowing compost and horticultural grit. Jude finished putting up insulation bubble wrap.”

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From greenhouse gardening to pond gardening, my next page features two photos of Jude the Undergardener in her waders playing in our wildlife pond.

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“Mid to late February is the time each year when our Common Frogs come to sing, mate and then leave balls of spawn in our wildlife pond. Thus early this month Jude donned her chest waders and cleaned up the pond. She removed Duckweed, Blanket Weed and fallen leaves, then thinned out the water plants.

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We tidied up the narrow border that edges the pond, pulling a few hardy weeds and taking up seedlings of our Cornus “Midwinter Fire”. It was heartening to discover how workable our soil was, this being the result of a decade of improving it with the addition of our own garden compost and the regular mulching deeply with organic matter.”

I continued onto the next page discussing the welcome appearance of sunshine in the February.

“Sunshine is not often in evidence this February but when it does make an appearance its effects are magical. It highlights the peeling bark of our trees and directs a spotlight on blossom and glossy foliage.”

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As I turn the page I see that I have written about cold temperatures and on the opposite page and on the following double page spread I share the amazing number of plants in flower on one day in February.

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“A sudden overnight plunge in temperature can have drastic looking effects on our early flowering plants. The flowering stem of this Bergenia can be standing to attention during the day but cold at night can make it droop, with the flowers almost touching the cold soil”.

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“The following day when the sun has driven away any frost and added a degree or two to the temperature, the Bergenia flower slowly rises again and returns to its former pink glory.”

February flowers are celebrated over the next three pages. I hope you enjoy sharing this selection of plants that keep us cheerful and the garden colourful.

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These pictures certainly illustrate how colourful and interesting the garden can still be in the depths of winter. From flowers I moved on to foliage, as on my next double page spread I celebrate Phormiums and how important they are to the winter garden.

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“Form, texture and foliage colours are so important in the garden in winter, so we are lucky to have discovered and planted Phormiums as they give us all three. They move beautifully too, swaying in the slightest breeze.”

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For some of our Phormium I took a shot of the whole plant and then one of the top surface of their leaves and finally the final surface. Their two surfaces are usually very different.

“I love plants that hide some facet of their beauty from us”.

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In the final pages of my February entries in my Garden Journal I wrote about coloured stems and look back at my first garden journal to see what I had put for my February entry.  I discovered that I was writing about grass and grasses.

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“It is in the dull times of February that we appreciate the brightly coloured stems of our Cornus, Salix and Acers. Once their leaves drop the colours, yellows, oranges and reds begin to intensify. I then shared a watercolour painting of a selection of these stems from our garden alongside a trio of photos.”

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Looking back at my original Garden Journal, I notice that I had commented “14th February and the grass gets its first cut. As the North wind died out the strength of the winter sun meant a good day could be had doing general maintenance work.” This year our grassed areas are wet and slimy and definitely too slippery to get a mower on. But the grass has continued to grow slowly so it is in need of its first cut. Meanwhile our ornamental grasses continue to delight.”

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So that is it for another month. Next time we make a visit to my Garden Journal we will be in March and maybe we shall be seeing signs of spring.

 

Categories
allotments arboreta autumn autumn colours colours ornamental trees and shrubs shrubs trees woodland

Arboreta in Autumn – part 1- Bluebell Arboretum

The highlight of every autumn season has to be visiting various arboreta of which there are many within a day’s drive. Our first visit this year was to Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery situated in Derbyshire near the town with the wonderful rather eccentric name of  Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The nursery specialises in rare and unusual shrubs and trees and every plant they sell is of excellent quality.

Within the first 5 minutes of our wander around the arboretum we had discovered a lovely variety of trees, shrubs and perennials. Betulas, Acers, Clethras, Euonymus and Hydrangeas.

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But of course you can find little clumps of the brightest of colours, orange as in these Kniphofias.

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We enjoyed close up views of fruits and flowers in between having to step backwards to appreciate the full beauty of specimen trees.

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In close proximity to trees we always take a close look at textures on their bark.

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Of course being autumn time we were here largely to view the colours of the season. The leaves of this Cotinus were turning red slowly beginning with splashes of colour between the veins, giving a great contrast of reds and greens. Liquidamber turn deep shades of red through the autumn and hold onto their coloured foliage until the early spring. The first leaves to turn can provide almost black shades amongst the greens.

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This oak displayed foliage in the deepest orange and had the interesting name “Quercus x Warii “Chimney Sweep”.

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Where autumnal colours are concerned none could be brighter than this deciduous Euonymus.

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Luckily for us the nurseryman were well into a trial of new strains of Physocarpus opulifolius, those shrubs that afford us the glossy almost black foliage. At home we grow the well established “Diablo” but we were pleased to be able to study newer varieties with differeing tints of colour working amongst the black, such as “Diablo D’or” . In the next few years we will be seeing some interesting improved variations on “Diablo”.

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I shall finish the first part of our visit to the Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery with a look at a few specimens of my favourite trees the Birches, grown as usual for their incredible coloured and textured trunks. These three photos show how the trunks can vary from white to black with colours in between.

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We shall continue our tour of this great little and relatively young arboretum in part 2.

Categories
autumn forests photography trees woodland woodlands

Textures of the New Forest