Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Pretty as a Picture 28/07

Don't usually have words on Pretty as a Picture, but today is my birthday (number undisclosed) and Susan in Hebrew means Lily, so here you are...2 for 1!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Great Lawn

The Handyman made a general comment on this blog the other day when he said that it was tricky sometimes to understand where in the garden I might be in any particular post; he also commented on the lack of attention the top lawn receives on the blog.

I'm planning on addressing his first comment by creating a walk through the garden in a post to come...currently a work in progress. To remedy his second point, I dedicate this post to the Great Lawn.

You should understand that this area is primarily the domain of the Handyman, he created the shape and the levels and selected, sowed and tends the grass.  He also, at least once a year, enlarges the circles in which the shrubs and trees which edge the lawn sit.

The work began in 2008, with all the ground works; setting the levels, flattening the top, and all the preparation for sowing the grass seed.
Not the Somme, but the start of the Great Lawn
Hmm, interesting (yet effective) riddling of the ground

Over the past 5 years the Handyman has nurtured the grass, cutting it at least once a week through the growing season, accompanied by some colourful language as the lawn mower (not a ride on version) misbehaves.  We have planted a number of trees and shrubs which are now becoming established and the transformation is incredible every time we remind ourselves of where we started.
inherited and re-sited Christmas trees

sambucus nigra - glorious in flower
So now as you enter the main drive at Holly Grove, through Stars Gate, the Great Lawn is on your left, all along the edge there are shrubs and trees to shelter and provide a screen for the garden from the drive.
One half of the Great Lawn
All of the Great Lawn
It has been interesting for me to focus on a view of the garden that I rarely consider and reminded me of all the work that has gone into Holly Grove over the past 8 years - helpful to reflect on what has been achieved so far rather than on what is yet to be done - thank you Handyman for the prompt!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Good Companions!

Some planned, some good fortune, some a total surprise...not much more to say!

hosta Satisfaction with self seeded sedum

spirea with inherited climbing rose

hosta with geranium Blushing Turtle

heuchera Palace Purple with geranium Elke

hosta aureomarginata with self seeded valerian officinalis

sambucus nigra with rosa Erfurt

hardy geranium with valerian officinalis - both self seeders

rosa Blush Noisette with clematis The President

geranium sanguineum striatum with golden marjoram

Sunday, 21 June 2015


My Dad died in April last year, before which I had a few precious weeks with him when we talked lots about his youth, his National Service ('some of the best days of my life'), his football team ('come on the Jags'), his love for my Mum ('my Bet') and their early days together as a young couple and then my appearance ('the apple of our eye') just 11 short months after their wedding day.  We reminisced about family holidays; Mum, Dad, my brother B, sister JA and me together in caravans and self catering flats - Blackpool, Scarborough, Girvan, Isle of Wight - happy times, Dad loved a holiday.

Mum and Dad on holiday
Although Dad was very ill indeed, I'll always hold memories of those days and conversations close in my heart and reach for them at moments when the loss of him overwhelms me.

My Dad came late to gardening, when he moved to a wee house with a small garden after my Mum's death.  This was his first garden, as he had lived all of his life in tenement flats in Glasgow, so at 62 years old he began gardening.  

Dad predominately grew roses, and he nourished them with much care and attention.  His small front garden was a joy to behold through the Summer months  with a variety of roses including Trumpeter and Margaret Merril, whilst the side of his house was festooned in climbing roses, New Dawn and Handel.  He fed, sprayed, pruned, mulched, deadheaded and generally cossetted them and was rewarded with many lovely compliments from neighbours on the beauty of his small space.

Dad's roses

So when I came back to Holly Grove after his send off I thought about a rose for remembrance, but I'm not sure my roses reach the high standard set by Dad.  Then I considered planting something in bloom on his birthday, but that's at the end of January and could prove quite a challenge (and I don't spend time in the garden in Winter).  

So what about something to cheer up the end of April, something heralding in the Spring and new life, something joyous, something ostentatious, something welcoming...

Dad's cherry tree
Prunus Shirofugen, described by the RHS as: 'a small deciduous tree with a flattened spreading crown.  Young leaves deep coppery-brown, turning orange in autumn.  Double flowers 5cm in width, dull pink in bud, opening white and fading to pink.'

image from Chew Valley Trees
Not sure I agree with the assessment of 'dull pink in bud', I prefer to describe them as soft pink, is that the romantic in me?  It's a later flowering cherry, coming into blossom in May. Planted in May 2014, young as it is, it's given us our first few blossoms this year and managed to hang on to them through very windy weather.  It stands just inside the entrance to Holly Grove, greeting our visitors and reminding us of Dad in all his glory!  

Happy Fathers' Day Dad - with me always x