Mary, Mary, quite contrary...

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Vertigo, Apr 29, 2011.

  1.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    So how does your garden grow?

    I know there are some keen gardeners knocking around in the Chrons so as it's spring here in the UK (sorry to our antipodean cousins and other inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere) I thought it might be interesting to see peoples gardens and how they develop over the year.

    Let me state up front I am not a keen gardener I just love having a lovely garden and unfortunately (unless you have money to spare) that means doing the hard work as well!

    Living up in the Highlands I have to say my garden is not looking its best just now. I lost quite a lot of plants in the last couple of winters (gardening is tough up here!) and can't afford to replace them so I'm going to have to do a bit of dividing and spreading around what I do have.

    Anyhow here's some piccies:
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    Just showing how close the railway line is. The trains are no bother only about 3 a day in each direction. But the weeds that migrate from it...
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    Overview of the whole thing and my house. It actually extends a little further to the right of the picture.
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    My little "woodland patch"; difficult to get stuff to grow amongst the trees but possibly my favourite bit.
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    The Driveway (the woodland patch is behind me).

    Continues on next post :)
  2.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Then three different views of the "Back garden":
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    There's a veg patch back of the house as well but there's nothing there just now, dug up ready for veg planting after the frosts.

    So how does yours grow?
  3.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    My other half is drooling! Not over the garden, he's not a gardener at all, but at the thought of a steam railway just alongside! How do you cope with all the soot and smuts, though? In the house, I mean -- but it can't do much good for the garden I wouldn't have thought.

    I don't envy you your tough winters; here in the effete south we don't have to worry quite as much (though my betes noires are the damn feral deer which munch on my tulips every spring). The recent heat wave has killed most of my spring flowers, so my patch -- about one-tenth the size of yours I imagine! -- is looking a bit sorry for itself. I might try and get some photos of the best bits this weekend, though. Whether I can manage to post them up here is another matter.
  4.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    It's not actually a steam railway as such, but they run a special steam train trip up it once or twice a year. It is supposed to be one of the two most beautiful lines in the country; Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, the other being the Mallaig line over on the West coast.

    Other than that one they are mostly just two carriage diesel trains (three in the tourist summer months). The village station is just 100m further down the line so they go very slowly past my place; hardly more than a gentle jogging pace.

    The garden itself is a triangle shape with about a 35m base and about 85m long, with the house in the middle as you can see. So yes it is quite large; it started life as a wasteland when I bought the place 15 years ago. Mainly just a place for the dogs I had at the time to run around.

    The road and railway line tend to keep the deer away from here, but friends further up the road either have to put up 12 foot fences or put up with the deer coming in for a munch every now and then.
  5.  
    Rosemary

    Rosemary The Wicked Sword Maiden

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    Lovely pictures of your garden, Vertigo!

    Oh to have a little woodland patch like that..... is that bluebells I see? Silver birch and bluebells are two of the things I miss most 'sigh'.
  6.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    The whole of the hill across the road from me is covered in silver birch, consequently I'm constanly pulling them up as weeds in my garden :) Though the one you see in the back garden self seeded when I first cleared the ground and got the garden started, so I figured I'd let it grow :eek:. The woodland patch ones are actually pine and rowan, though the light in the photo makes the rowans look a bit like birch.

    I'm afraid the bluebells aren't out in the garden yet, things run a bit late up here; they're Grape Hyacinths. But I should have a load of bluebells in another two or three weeks.
  7.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    OK. I've never posted a photo before, so I'm not sure if this will work. If it does, you should see a picture of my front garden taken from the road:


    EDIT: Yay! It worked! The colours are appearing more muted here than on the original, but it's true the tulips are definitely past their best and need dead-heading, as do all the grape hyacinths. The little tree in the bed in the lawn is a weeping crab-apple, which has pretty blossom but the fruits themselves are very disappointing in size and colour.


    I'll try adding two more, again of the front garden -- taken from the house looking to the road, and then a closer shot of the corner "hidden" in the first picture.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  8.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Sheesh, my handful of tulips have only just come out never mind going over. My daffodils are just about finishing now.

    Very nice tidy garden (I'm really not very good at tidy, in the house, garden, office or anywhere else), also I'm so envious of your lawn. It seems to be almost impossible to have a lawn of grass rather than moss up here!

    What's the wee tree?
  9.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Tidy only at first glance, I'm afraid. Closer to, there's a lot of work that needs doing, not least dealing with a very stupid mistake I made about three years ago. I collect herbs, so when I saw soapwort (saponaria officialis) at a garden fair, I had to have it. Unfortunately, I didn't check my many herbals before planting it -- to quote Jekka McVicar: "Plant in... well-drained poor soil; rich garden soil makes its undisciplined habit impossible. Soapwort can become very invasive." That is the understatement of the century! We spent all of last year rooting out its creeping rhizomes, then a few months back we took everything but the tree out of the central bed and dug over the soil. And still the bed is full of it -- not to mention the surrounding lawn.

    The lawn is actually a bit of a bug-bear at the moment, quite apart from the soapwort. Close to, lots of bald patches, and we suspect an infestation by leatherjackets.

    Usually, our spring flowers would still be going strong, well, not the daffs obviously (though we've still got a couple of narcissi by the green cone) but the heatwave down here has done for them.

    And the tree is the weeping crab-apple -- annoyingly, I don't seem to have kept a record of which variety it is. Red jade rang a bell, but that is apparently a prolific cropper, which this most certainly is not.
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  10.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Getting the hang of the picture thing now (well, in thumbnails -- we haven't worked out how to do full-size), so here are four of the back garden.

    The first is a shot taken from the house, but the photo is deceptive -- the garden is nothing like as big as it appears.

    The second is a close up of Sydney** and the herb bed alongside -- the white flowers are (on the left) a variety of Jacob's ladder and (the right) sweet rocket.

    ** because it's an 'arbour...

    The third image is a shot of the willow and next door's lilac, which is the only colour we've got in the garden at the moment, apart from the everlasting wallflower in the next picture. The little tree to the right next to the cat is an apple -- egremont russet -- still very small after three years as it's been overshadowed by a virburnum which we finally hacked out only a couple of weeks ago.

    The fourth is looking back to the house and the patio -- with another herb bed on the left running along the fence -- you might just make out one of the bays in the corner, and the sages. The climber against the house is a jasmine which is just gaining leaf. It's gorgeous when in flower, but bare through the winter/early spring, so we're growing an evergreen tracheospermum jasminoides through it. That's so slow-growing, though, that after three years it's barely reached the height of the bedroom window on the right.

    So, not very inspiring at the moment.

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  11.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Luckily your location doesn't seem urban, TJ; otherwise I'd be worried about your examples of fauna coming to a nasty end in one of this month's challenge entries.









    * Ursa carefully avoids mentioning Teresa's name. (Oops!) *
  12.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    If I could get the leatherjackets to crawl across a city street, I'd definitely have a balrog torch them. And I could have the soapwort rhizomes bursting through tube stations, bringing toxic cleanliness to all.**

    Ursa, you may have given me an idea...


    ** saponaria was originally used as a soap/washing agent, and still is for delicate antique fabrics/clothes, but it's also poisonous



    eek! just realised what you meant! All felines are rural, and purr with yokel accents, and are definitely not kittens.
  13.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Glad to be of help.


    By the way, I was referring to the visible fauna (visible in the photos) in your back garden. (And I doubt the destruction of leatherjackets in an urban location could, in itself, be described as dark.)
  14.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Yes, I clicked after posting. I shall erect a CATS MAY NOT BE HARMED sign somewhere prominent.


    As for the leatherjackets, dark is as dark does.
  15.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    That's really beautiful TJ, and still much tidier than mine.

    The only herbs I get to grow successfully are mint, oregano, marjoram and chives. I have some Winter Jasmine but it only just barely manages to hang on and has never really done anything interesting. I keep meaning to move it somewhere else where it might do better. It's abviously fairly tough or else it would have been killed off by our winters.

    I do have a veg plot but I didn't photograph that as at this time of year it's just bare dug over soil.

    Re leatherjackets how about this: How to Kill Leatherjackets | eHow.com

    Number 3 looks interesting.

    I had a really bad infestation of crane flies here one year when the grass was in good condition but ever since the moss has taken over I hardly ever see them. Maybe I should just be happy with the moss. After all it is greenish most of the year :)
  16.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Interesting article, Vertigo, thanks. We'd been thinking of nemotodes, but it's the wrong time of year to use them. That black bin-liner idea does look intriguing, though. We might try that next weekend.

    I know everyone says how prolific mint is, but I can't get any variety -- and I must have tried half a dozen -- to grow anywhere save for an apple mint which is in an old sink in what we call our viridarium -- a small yard enclosed on 3 sides by our house/garage and on the fourth by a wall. No pictures of that as yet since it looks like a tip.

    Another advantage of moss -- you don't have to mow it!
  17.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    Yay a gardening thread!!

    I love my garden, but we're in the middle of moving house (hence my elusiveness) so I've not been able to plant anything in my veggie patch this year. :(

    Here's my gardening attempts.

    This year I've just done things in pots so I can take it with me when we move. Tomatoes, spring onions, wild strawberries and proper strawberries and carrots.

    I also planted up some extra calla lillies to go with my two I had last year, although the dog dug up and ate one of my bulbs!! He also ate my tulip bulbs and my narcissus bulbs. Cute, but evil.

    I love my houseplants too, you'll see some of them in my garden pics. My orchids have stopped flowering but are sending up spikes again, apart from my paph (slipper) orchid... anyone know how to get them to re-flower?!

    Just love flowers in general really. I'm off to Chelsea flower show soon. Then I've got a local flower show to go to, then I think there's the Gardeners' World show at some point... Yeah, I sound like an old lady.

    Vertigo and TJ, love your gardens!
  18.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Some lovely pictures there, Mouse, and a very neat little kitchen garden -- I've only ever once tried to grow veg properly, and ended with masses of Good King Henry and salad burnet and very little else.

    You do like your mauve/pink/purples, don't you! Those alliums are spectacular and the purple streaked flower (?viola) is gorgeous. What's the snowball-looking bush behind you, though, in the fourth row, fourth column?

    Can't help with the re-flowering orchid, I'm afraid -- I love them, but have never tried to grow them. While we're on house plants, have you ever tried cape primroses (streptocarpus)? To my mind, much better than African violets, though that's a very pretty one you've got with the purple edges.

    Good luck with the move -- getting a bigger garden?
  19.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    Yeah it's a viola soroia called 'freckles' and it's super cute! I actually got it off ebay when it was teeny tiny, but now it's a huge plant! Had lots of tiny spotty flowers on it this year but it's finished flowering now. I'm going to dig it up and take it with me when we move... Hope it survives!

    The snowball bush is behind my mum! And I think it's just called a snowball tree, that's what we called it anyway. Hang on, I'll Google... Yep it's a viburnum opulus 'Roseum' aka snowball tree. We (or rather mum, because I tried to save it!) had it chopped down last year so it's sadly no more.

    No, never had streptocarpus! I've looked at them but never went for one. Bit gangly I think. I do like my African Violets! I did have three (I've got a pink and white ruffly one too, not in the photos) but my brother accidentally murdered one of them (the plain one, luckily, not the super pretty one!) by over watering it when I went to Prague.

    Less windowsills for houseplants in the new place, so some of my plants are going to have to come to work with me! Means no more orchid buying too. :(

    And no, getting a smaller garden, unfortunately. No veggie plot. There's lots of bushes in the new garden so we're going to pull some up to make room for flowers and possibly fit some veg in.
  20.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Impressive set of photos Mouse - you appear to be much more thorough than me at documenting your garden! Shame you are moving to a smaller garden (never mind the house!).

    I'm afraid house plants are just a disaster for me, for a number of good and bad reasons; I'm terrible at watering them (feast and famine I'm afraid) and my house is pretty old with 3 foot thick walls and relatively small windows so not too much light. On top of that it gets pretty darn cold in the house in the winter at night when the heating is off, especially close to the windows!

    I have not put up any photos of my veg patch as there's nothing to see at present. It is around 25 square metres so I can grow a fair bit and in fact, through freezing and storing, I'm largely self sufficient on veg except for stuff I can't grow (peppers, aubergines and the like). I have given up on Brassicas as I get club root, which is very difficult to get rid of (hangs around for 25 years apparently). We tend to have pretty acid soil up here so I could probably improve things with some lime but I don't really like doing that (read can't be bothered!) so stick to things that will grow: tatties, carrots, peas, broad beans, french climbing beans, courgettes. I tried sweet corn last year but it didn't quite ripen before the frosts came. However I did plant them very late so trying again this year. Temperature and short season are a definite problem here, so I keep trying things to see what they'll do. All the beans, courgettes and sweetcorn I have to grow in the conservatory and then harden off and plant out in June (we can get really quite heavy frost right up to the end of June!).

    I have just had all the new growth on my Rodgersias frosted off, but that happens most years and hopefully the second growth will be all right :(

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