We’ve lived here now for over a year so have experienced the garden in all four seasons and this spring and summer is already a stark contrast to last year’s effort. This year we’ve had enough rain to keep the garden lush (and to make our roof leak), but also lots of sunshine to encourage plant growth. We’ve also begun to work out what works and what doesn’t in the garden.
The flowerbed next to the garage always looking empty? Yep that’s because very little wants to grow in the shady, damp, clay soil. Even the hosta hates it. What does seem to be growing is hydrangea and roses, though the roses seem to be susceptible to black spot recently. My David Austin Winchester Cathedral rose flowered for the first time this year last month and now is the time for Heathcliff. I always find the first rose of the season can be a big scraggy, but hopefully more beautiful flowers will follow. My haphazard pruning methods seem to have paid off.
One of the aims for the garden this year was to grow more unusual plants, like cucamelons, using the James Wong Homegrown Revolution book for inspiration. So far not very successful. We’re struggling to grow from seed in this garden and Hubs is a bit of a greenhouse snob. One of the tall thin plastic growhouses that you can dismantle at the end of the season would be perfect but he hates them so instead is borrowing growing space in his dad’s traditional greenhouse.
I can already tell this is going to be a bumper year for soft fruit. Our bargain 75p raspberry (& various hybrids) plants are thriving. They are growing along the back fence and it’s so lovely coming down to the kitchen every morning and seeing another golden or red ruby shining through the leaves. They are like little, sweet beacons. The race is then on to pick them before the birds get to them. The red raspberries are ready, along with the first crop of golden raspberries that doesn’t usually start fruiting until late July/early August. While the tayberry seems a bit far behind, the loganberry is making up for it. The grapevine is looking good too.
The newest addition to the garden is the pizza oven. It was started at the end of August 2013 and finished 7 months later. The mild winter meant Hubs spent most weekends working on it. There is a blog coming about the build, but we have to confess we’re still trying to master the art of getting it to a decent heat and cooking in it all without annoying the neighbours with smoke. When it gets hot enough you get little smoke.
The cheap Aldi clematis plants are showing their money’s worth and doing a nice job of providing a privacy screen in the garden. Even the pear tree that Hubs rather dramatically pruned (think nothing left but the main trunk) is showing healthy growth and lots of miniature pears.
Another joy in the garden is the bees. I think I’ve spotted at least five species buzzing around the garden. They love all the flowers in the herb garden, especially the pretty chive pom poms and we must also thank them for all the work they’ve done on the soft fruit plants.
And on that note I’m heading down the garden with a magazine and cup of tea to soak up this sunshine because who knows how much longer it will last.