Thursday, August 4

State of flux

For a couple of reasons parts of our garden are looking a bit sorry for themselves.

One reason is the fact that the plants have had very little rain for months now. We have rarely ever had to resort to watering as much as we have this year but even that doesn’t compensate for the lack of natural moisture.

Our John Downie crab apple already has fruits turning colour which I’m sure hasn’t happened this early on in previous years.

Another problem is that most areas of the garden seem to be in a state of flux. We started off with plans to renovate parts of the garden but this seems to have spread like a virus to most other parts.

As regular readers will know - we had planned to add a focal point to a shady border under one of our crab apple trees. This escalated as we decided to virtually dig out all the existing planting, seriously prune the crab apple and carry out a complete redesign. In doing so I decided that some plants elsewhere in the garden would be happier moved into this bed. The plants have been duly dug up and planted temporarily but this has now drawn another area of the garden into the redesign frenzy.

Another issue has been that the vicious winter that we lived through last year has caused several casualties - our tree fern has definitely been killed but the trunk remains in place until I decide exactly what to do with it. The trunk is a feature in itself and my idea at the moment is to plant some sort of fern in the crown to create a sort of false tree fern! 

Then there is a potted fig which is causing me a problem. I think it’s dead - no leaves, shoots etc. But when I started to cut it up to discard I noticed that the wood itself isn’t dead. I’ve left it for now just to make sure but realistically I can’t see it recovering.

Anyway to concentrate on successes so far this year:

I decided to have a go at growing some osteospernums from seed and this has proved to be far easier than I had thought it would be. I bought the variety called Giant Mixed which, although very colourful, are rather straggly plants. 

Next year I’ll grow osteospernums again but will go for a dwarf variety called Passion Mixed

Another source of great excitement has been our new nectarine Fantasia. This was planted in a large pot just outside our greenhouse door. We never thought that it would flower this year let alone produce any fruit. It had just a few flowers and it would appear that every one of the flowers set fruit - we have about nine nectarines swelling on the tree. Some are now full size nectarines and starting to turn colour. Interestingly the skin looks more like a peach than a nectarine. From the photo on the suppliers website, I presume that when the fruit ripens, the skin will lose its furriness.

Our new kiwi Issai also has plenty of fruit but these seem to be slow to grow. We've planted it in a large pot and are considering whether this was a good move. Maybe it needs to be planted directly in the ground but if so where?

We have quite a few hostas in the garden, some in terracotta pots around the pond and others in wooden planters on the patio. Each year the ones in wooden troughs gradually succumb to slug attack but the ones around the pond fare much better. I’ve stuck copper tape around the terracotta pots which seems to work well. This method seems to be also working well at protecting young plants and seedlings in our cold frame from  being decimated.

One project for this year that has actually come to fruition is the tidy-up planned for the cold frame area. We still have a little to do here but it is now being used far more productively.

We have lots of ferns in the garden and as always they have performed well - some are even self propagating.

I could go on and on and … but I’ll let the photos in the album below paint the rest of the picture instead.


  1. Wow you do have so many variety of fruit to harvest this year.

  2. We just can't resist fruit Diana!

  3. I love the idea of the false tree fern - ingenious!

  4. I have to find a suitable fern first SVG and hope it isn't too dry for it on top of the tree fern trunk! It may not work.

  5. Your gardens look great! It's funny how when you start on one seems to lead to another! My gardens, except for the veggies are a real mess this year (neglect) I really think that the tree fern trunk is a great focal point in that bed! I would leave it too.

  6. Eeek! what a supreb post I love it. So much to be proud of and to enjoy. The idea of planting a fern in the dead tree fern trunk is, to me, absolutely the best idea ever!
    I love ferns though so I am biased.
    Sorry I haven't visited in a while - super duper busy xx

  7. It's all down to careful photography Robin

    I love ferns too Carrie - it's good to have you visiting whenever you can!

  8. It all looks pretty good to me Sue!

  9. Aah but you've only seen the bits I wanted to show you Damo!

  10. Your pond area is looking lovely Sue, and you are definitely the fruit queen, nectarines and kiwis? Up north?! Fab! Its always a bit difficult when you start a redesign phase in the garden, it always seems to have knock-on effects, and can be frustrating, but I am betting you will be really pleased with the results come next year.

  11. You should see the other side of the pond Janet as it's now been drawn into the renewal cycle. I'm not too sure we'll be there by next year though!

  12. Cool to see the Kiwi growing!

  13. It will be even cooler if we get some to edible size Dan

  14. Well I think your garden is looking lovely....mine is kept very plain and low maintenance for lots of reasons. Your fruit is looking very impressive!!

  15. Individual plants look fine tanya - it's just when viewed as a whole!


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