A photo a week – review of the year

Slightly more than one for each month because for some months I couldn’t pick just one as typical, but a good look through the year and how the garden changed with the seasons.

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28th May 2017

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25th June 2017

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23rd July 2017

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20th August 2017

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17th September 2017

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15th October 2017

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19th November 2017

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10th December 2017

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31st December 2017

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28th January 2018

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18th February 2018

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18th March 2018

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25th March 2018

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15th April 2018

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29th April 2018

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20th May 2018

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Keeping busy

Another day of getting bits and bobs sorted out today – we started with a trip to the garden centre, in search of a new pot for the canary palm (disclosure: I had to buy a new canary palm as the first one died, and a bigger pot was clearly in order too). The canary palm had been the resting place for one of our rats, and another burial pot was also in need of a new plant as the thing-I-can’t-remember-the-name-of had died. We’re not doing well with things in containers just now! I also wanted some annuals for under the living room window, some marigolds to keep greenfly off the tomatoes, and some lettuces to go in the veg trug. And J wanted to replace our decades-old garden hose.

The replacement plant was a half-price cape daisy, which will probably need to go in the greenhouse over the winter but we’ll see. I got a lovely big tray of marigolds to split with Mum, and for the front window I got some nemesia, some trailing alyssum and some yellow-flowered hyssop. For lettuces I got the same as last year – lollo rosso and Cosmic cut-and-come-again. Everything’s been planted out, the tomatoes have their little marigold line of defence in place and things are not looking too bad.

Produce-wise I’m hoping we have a good year – there’s a lot of fruit starting to form on everything so we should do fairly well if we get it before the slugs and birds! Everything else is coming along well though there’s been a lot of slug/snail activity which is galling. On the plus side, the penstemon “Sour grapes” which didn’t flower last year has buds now so that should be good.

A few quick pics:

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General view

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A nicely packed border

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Starting to overgrow the path!

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Blue geranium growing up through penstemon and lychnis – when they start flowering it’ll be lovely and colourful

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A purple and yellow combo – aquilegia and hypericum.

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Geum “Lady Stratheden” with her background of pittosporum and snow-in-summer

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My new favourite aquilegia

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And an impressive foxglove.

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Dianthus deltoides, doing the ground cover thing like it’s meant to. Lovely flowers.

Hope you’re all having a good weekend!

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The glimmerings of a new project

Not entirely garden-related but there will be some crossover. I have a lot of 35mm slides (and when I say a lot, I mean it). My dad was a very keen photographer and preferred slides to prints – he would have loved digital. I now have a lot of his slides as well as many taken by my mum’s brother-in-law, and a lot of them feature gardens and plants fairly prominently. Both gardening and photography seem to be popular hobbies on both sides of my family.

So I’ve bought a small slide scanner and am making a start. There’s a lot to get through.

To whet your appetites, I’ve got a couple of pictures taken in 1963 in my maternal grandfather’s garden.

105 warley rd 1963 (2) reduced

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I’m quite pleased that with a fairly inexpensive scanner the results are good, probably due to good equipment in the first place of course. No doubt there will be more to come, but I can’t promise it will be as regular and disciplined as the photo a week project was!

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A Friday trio

Just a few quick snaps taken on the mobile phone – we had a fair bit of rain overnight and into this morning and it shows on some of the plants, with a few things looking a bit weather-beaten, but I had to get photos of these three which are just starting to flower.

My lovely blue Geranium himalayense:

25 may ger himalyense

This is actually on a transplanted bit of the plant – the parent is on one side of the path but when we extended the beds and moved a lot of plants a year ago we also split the plant and put some in the bed on the other side of the path. I’m really pleased it’s taken and is flowering as it’s a stunning plant.

The ever reliable Geum Mrs Bradshaw:

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Hiding away a bit under the sambuca but she’s still going strong. I was a bit concerned last week that she might have fallen victim to over-enthusiastic removal of wild geum but here she is.

And the relative newcomer, Geum Lady Stratheden:

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Bought at the end of the summer for a pound or two from the supermarket. Loving the vibrant yellow – and both she and Mrs Bradshaw are surrounded by lychnis, so if most of that is pink it’s going to be positively psychedelic.

 

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Meanwhile, back in our garden

We had a day of tidying and weeding yesterday, following by a bit of planting. I took some photos at the time but most of them were terrible so I took some more this morning.

In the front garden I trimmed the forsythia and both photinias to let in a bit more light. The peony was starting to look very unhappy, so with a photinia overshadowing it a bit less I’m hoping it’ll do better.

Both gardens got a thorough weeding and once we’d established where we had some gaps, I planted out the herbaceous perennials that I bought last autumn as tiny plug plants. They’d been overwintering in one of the veg trugs but it was time they went in the ground. We’ll see how they do – I’ve never had a lot of luck with coreopsis, never grown echinacea at all and all of my previous scabious seem to have vanished over the winter so fingers crossed that some of these survive!

General photos at the back, taken this morning:

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Heucheras are starting to look ok, though we’re having trouble with some in pots and I’ve sent off for some nematodes to deal with vine weevil.

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L-R: Sugar Frosting, Black Beauty, Ginger Ale

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Paris, coming in to flower

Aquilegias are looking good everywhere.

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The ceanothus at the back is starting to flower – as ever, a few weeks ahead of the one at the front.

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And the little weigela is looking gorgeous.

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At the front, there’s a viburnum pulling out all the stops, and the peony is getting ready to show off.

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A couple of weeks ago (while we were away) we had out birthdays and Mum’s little dog Benji gave me a set of pot feet – a hunter, his dog and a pheasant:

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Rather sweet!

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What we did on our holidays, part 3

After our visit to Kingston Maurward we travelled just a few miles to the very lovely Athelhampton House & Gardens. Again we used our 2-for-1 card – it is a few pounds cheaper if you only want to go round the gardens, but the house is fascinating and it’s a shame not to do both.

The house is a 15th century manor and is still lived in, though it has changed hands a few times.

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And there’s a proper dovecot behind the house.

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The gardens are formal, lots of rooms, water features and topiary, but also lots of recent and ongoing work.

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A statue of Queen Victoria looking at…

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… a bed of double flowered narcissus still hanging on into early May.

The owners have created a Lime Walk, with blue spring flowers in profusion at the base of the trees – which makes me wonder what will be flowering there later in the year.

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The Lime Walk leads to the Canal (on the right as you exit the Walk)

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Beyond which is the Walled Garden – currently something of a work-in-progress.

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Though it does boast a lovely central pool and fountain

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with a laburnum pergola beyond (I do love laburnums).

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To one side is the greenhouse and on both sides are beds of heuchera and tulips.

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Opposite the Walled Garden is the Octagonal Cloister – an octagonal pool surrounded by a walk of young trees.

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Continuing past the Cloister and the Walled Garden, the path leads down to the River Piddle (yes, really) where we found a lovely Monet-like bridge leading to a walk on the opposite bank – sadly the gate at the other end of the bridge was locked so we had to make do with staying on the garden side.

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Some stretches of the river were covered with this plant, which (in another art-related moment) makes me think of Millais’s Ophelia in her brook.

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No idea what it is – the flowers look like poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii) but that prefers dry soil, so presumably it’s unrelated!

If you’re in the Dorchester area, do give Athelhampton a look – it’s absolutely charming, and all the staff we encountered were lovely and friendly. It’s definitely worth a few hours of your time.

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A photo a week – week 52

Well, here we are. The grand finale.

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My next task will be to work out how to do a proper retrospective of the year. In the meantime, here’s a quick look through the “quarters”:

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Week 1: 28th May 2017

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week 13: 20th August 2017

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Week 26: 19th Nov 2017

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Week 39: 18th Feb 2018

And for the uninitiated, here’s how it looked on the day we got the keys – back in December 2012:

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the Photo A Week project – now I have to think of another one!

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