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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A damp June morning in the garden

I took advantage of drizzly cool conditions yesterday to take my pocket camera out to take some photos, as I often have a problem in bright light and sunshine getting overviews of the garden, as they appear washed out. Also, on sunny warm days I don't have any pockets to put my little camera in, so I have to purposefully go out to take photos, rather than snapping a few here and there in amongst the chores. The other reason was that the lawns have just been mown and the roses and peonies deadheaded - so I have to get in there quick!

A zoomed in view taken out of the cellar window

We put this arch in a couple of years ago, after we'd had a tree surgeon here taking out some trees. There used to be a conifer totally blocking this path down to the lake so it was pointless making anything of it. The stump is still there but it'll break down eventually. There were so many trees here when we bought the place that we've removed - you would never know it now - but trees grow and it kind of irks me that people don't think about their full size when they plant them too close to each other. As it is, this arch is fairly shaded by two lime trees which are now practically touching each other. Every couple of years we raise the canopy otherwise we can barely walk under them!

I cannot take a photo where this doesn't look wonky - so I've come
to the conclusion that it IS wonky - or 'rustic' as we call it round here!

Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin' - you can smell her perfume from
20 feet away - it's quite amazing!

Looking lovely in the rain - but something's been munching on her.
I wonder if it the bee beetle I discovered on another rose?

These two plants were put in two years ago. The rose nearly died as it got a really bad case of rust, so bad we actually went out and bought a fungal treatment for roses. We're not into using chemicals here unless totally necessary - I don't use anything to kill insects but when you've just spent a bomb on a rose only to see it dying before your very eyes - well sometimes I think it's justified. As it was, the other rose we bought for the planters and trellis by the back door did die during the first winter! But Zephirine came back to life and she's only just starting to grow tall and I've been training her stems up the arch. I hope one day she'll get to the top and then she will be truly amazing!

Clematis 'The President'

Looking back at the house from up near the arch. This shows the planters and (now lovely algae green!) trellis by the back door. We've planted another rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' here and two other clematis, 'Miss Bateman' and 'General Sikorski'.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' in the foreground, bought last year. Yes, she's wonky too.
I blame the wind as we spent ages trying to get her straight but she had a wonky stem anyway.

The purple sycamore was already here and has barely grown in 8 years, unlike the other trees.
Now with my Forest Pansy and purple smokebush beyond, there's a nice balance of colour.

You may have gathered by now that I love purple foliage! I also love lime green, and bought this smokebush in Switzerland (no named variety on the label) and brought it here from my old house. This one's grown in a strange way; I've done nothing to it and for a while it resembled those Japanese cloud pruned bushes that you see, which look fantastic.

Cotinus coggygria no name.
According to Google it is probably 'Golden Spirit'.

The following photo sums up the view from the kitchen window - I don't like island beds just plonked in the middle of the lawn like this, but the peony was already there with some dahlias planted next to it, so I've just worked around it. The grasses (Stipa tenuissima) self seed like crazy (like most things here!) and get too big after several years, but they can easily be replaced. Half of what is in this bed wasn't planted in that place anyway, it's just self seeded where it wants! If they are in the right place I leave them be, the wrong and out they come.

I did deliberately plan the beds on the other side of the drive though for shrubs which have all year round interest (winter bark, autumn colours etc) to make a break from the dull green green green, especially of the never changing conifers! Just behind the peony is one of only two Horse Chestnuts which we kept - there was a whole line of them all along the driveway here - eventually they are going to get too big, not for the space but for swamping the view of the garden and lake off to the right. Hopefully that may be after we move on so I'll just leave the problem for someone else to deal with..... ;-)

View from kitchen window


A last photo, away from this area and taken from inside the veg patch. The campanula spreads inside it and the sweet williams that I grew from seed last year are looking lovely and don't seem to mind the shade from the greengage tree.

Roses, Campanula poscharskyana and sweet williams

This last photo needs clicking on to view properly as it's too compressed as I only cropped off the bottom bit and it looks blurred here.


  1. Wonderful pictures yet again, your garden is looking stunning. It looks like we both decided to do a post this morning. Now do I venture out into the wilderness of my garden or stay glued to the PC doing some real work!

    1. Thanks Steve but having just noticed the title of your latest posting 'harvest' I am not sure I want to read about you and your ripe tomatoes already, lol! Turned gloomy again after being sunny whilst I was getting this post ready for publishing!

  2. Big fan of the 'probably a Golden Spirit' picture :-)

  3. It's beautiful! The colour contrasts are so vibrant and the grasses add a lovely dimension.

  4. wow mandy, its beautiful, i am interested to see you have a green smoke bush , ive a deep red one that flowers baby pink , didnt know a green variety existed. if your ever this way [plumieux 22] your welcome to cut off as much as you like to take cuttings, i have to chop it drastically every year as it goes mad. your garden is wonderful .x julie

    1. Thanks Julie! I wonder if your smokebush is the one called Grace? That's on my wish list. I've just looked up where you are - not far from Loudeac but still well over an hour from here. Maybe we need to arrange another group get together!

  5. Awesome garden/backyard..I also love purple flowers or plants (favorite color)

    I'm excited to have a garden once I'm settled down somewhere =)

    1. Hi Polly and thanks! I'm even wearing purple clothes these days - it's an age thing ;-) You will enjoy having a backyard as I know you like growing plants.