Friday, 29 June 2012

The Scented Garden - Lavender

Scent in the garden is an elusive delight, but a powerful one.  Lavender has been grown in gardens from late medieval times, and the essential oil used for perfumes.  The oil is a powerful, natural antiseptic.  Perhaps this is why the Romans used it in their baths; its name comes from the Latin verb lavare, meaning to wash. (Anna Pavord)
Pinned Image
"ladies fair, I bring to you
lavender with spikes of blue;
sweeter plant was never found
growing on our english ground."
Caryl Battersby
I have a small Lavender hedge in the garden whose fragrance gives me great pleasure.  It is planted at the edge of the path so that when I walk past I brush against it .  On a soft summer evening the the garden fills with its scent.
Pinned Image
"lavender, sweet lavender;
come and buy my lavender,
hide it in your trousseau, lady fair.
Let its flovely fragrance flow
Over your from head to toe,
lightening on your eyes, your cheek, your hair."
Cumberkand Clark Flower Song Book 1929
Each year I take a few cuttings and now I have another small hedge beginning in the front garden which is intermixed with Rosemary bushes.
Pinned Image
via pinterest
"here’s your sweet lavender
sixteen sprigs a penny
that you’ll find my ladies
will smell as sweet as any" Lavender Sellers’s Cry, London England CA 1900
If you want to dry Lavender pick the flowers when they are at their best - the temptation is to leave them on the plant too long.  Tie them in bunches and hang them upside down in an airy place.

Pinned Image
Lavenders must have sun and good drainage and should be clipped over after flowering to keep the bushes tidy.  After a few years the plants will become straggly and full of dead wood.  But if you always take cuttings they can easily be replaced and don't take too long to establish.
Pinned Image
via pinterest
Lavender leaves and flowers have more crushability than any other plant - their fragrance is so reviving and should be a must for any garden. (Helen Dillon)

All quotes from Lavender Shoppe Quotes

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Flower of the Month

  I didn't realise,  until I started taking photos of the garden, just how many different types of Geraniums I had.  I love them for their hardiness, and for the fact that the slugs don't bother with them, they flower for ages and repeat flower if you chop them back.  The are easy to take cuttings of or to split the plant to make several others.  A definite godsend for the garden.

Top row:  Ann Folkard - Wargrave Pink with Johnsons Blue in the background - (not quite sure of the name of the third one.
Middle row:  Kashmir White - scent leaf - scent leaf
Bottom row:  Pelargoniums - varieties unknown

I have no idea what the spikey pink one is - it was given to me by a friend and is planted under the damson tree in the shade - it seems to thrive there, after it has flowered I use the shears and chop it back quite hard and it flowers all over again - eventually.

There is one missing from the photos - an early one - with lavender flowers - my favourite

This was taken at the end of May.  I don't know the name of this one either I'm afraid.

Do you have many varieties in your garden - maybe you could help me out with the names of some of them?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

An English Country Garden

If you want to see a typical English country garden then visit Coton Manor in Northamptonshire.  The garden covers 10 acres on a hillside location extending down from a 17th century manor house built in  mellow Northamptonshire stone.
I went on a visit there yesterday with a friend as it only takes about half an hour to get there from where we live.We struck lucky with the weather - it  was a gloriously sunny day - I know - a rare occasion - just right for strolling round the gardens, woodland and meadows.
formal garden
The reason I like this garden is that it is do-able - you can translate areas of the garden into something you can achieve in your own garden.
Plants for sale
Stableyard cafe
There is a stableyard cafe which services delicious lunches and afternoon teas - with a resident parrot who you can have a good chat with, and where there are plenty of plants for sale.

There is a beautiful three acre wildflower meadow which was full of ox eye daisies, clover, vetch  and wild carrot.
wildflower meadow
The herbaceous borders are beautifully managed - not a weed in sight- and the lady of the manor in amongst the plants doing her bit - one or two gardeners and a handful of volunteers really keeping the whole place immaculate.
View of the Midsummer Border & Rose Bank
herbaceous borders
 One of the features of the garden is lots of water - little runnels running all through it, with ponds and small areas of water for ducks and their ducklets.

In May the 10 acre bluebell wood is stunning sight - I visited it in May last year and it took my breath away.
Bluebells Panorama
bluebell wood
After a pretty hot wander round we sat in the courtyard and had tea and warm scones with apricot jam and clotted cream.  Heaven.  It really is worth a visit if you like a garden that isn't too grand but will give you plenty of ideas to go home with.  All in all a lovely day out.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Fancy A Walk?

When I am busy in the garden I don't have much time for walking  - but after being stuck indoors on Monday I felt like re-acquainting myself with the village where I live.  There is a circular route that takes you right around the village - fancy taking a walk with me to see what we can see?

Turn left at the end of the road and you come to Dag Lane, only enough width for one car and fields on either side.  This is where all the 'dog walkers' seem to congregate.

The views across the Laughton Hills are wonderful, especially on a sunny day or a winters day when there are no leaves to disturb the view.

The hedge banks are full of wild flowers - foxgloves

and vetch

at the end of Dag Lane you follow the road round and come to Laughton Lane and the village Cricket pitch

past lovely pink Campions

and a cathedral of trees, especially welcome shade on a hot summers day

where the Elder are just coming into flower

at the end of the road is the abandoned Wesleyan Chapel

at the crossroads - which leads you back on to Main Street

walking past the newly installed village bench in honour of the Diamond Jubilee

and the village hall - the sign was carved by an old gentleman in the village

past the now defunct telephone box which is waiting for a coat of paint from some kindly volunteer

and back to the end of the road where I turn off into my street

back home and into the garden

full of flower but looking slightly bedraggled after all the wind and rain
right to the end of the garden which overlooks grazing pasture

and a beautiful view of the Mowsley hills

walking back down to the house you pass by the fairy rings that have sprung up in the wet weather

past the greenhouse where the tomato plants are struggling to keep warm

and finally my little red tea pot and geranium on the table where I would like to spend the rest of the summer reading and taking shelter from the sun under the umbrella.  Fat chance! 

Hope you enjoyed our little stroll together - we must do it again sometime.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Keep Your Eyes Down

As I have only just got back from holiday I haven't had a chance to go out in the garden to see what has happened whilst I have been away so I thought I would add an article published by
 Helen Dillon - On Gardening until I am able to check out what has changed over the past week.

"The chief problem of gardening is one of application.  How often does one set off with the firm intention, say, of watering the beans, only to be so distracted en route that you never get there?  Well, there was the rose that needed deadheading, so you had to go back for the secateurs.  Going to fetch the secateurs, you spot some seedlings crying out for water.  Returning with the watering-can you pass petunias, in even more urgent need of water.  Now you may as well deadhead them whilst you are about it.  Now back in the deadheading mode, off again for the secateurs.  But on the way to the shed you notice a hairy bittercress, loathsome weed, its seedheads just about to burst.  Imagining all the valuable time it will save you to remove it then and there, straight away your mind is on weeds alone, all ideas of deadheading immediately vanishing.  Beyond the bittercress is a miniature forest of meadow grass, so much of it that you need a bucket to collect it in.  Off again to the shed for the bucket.
As usual, all the buckets have migrated to the compost heap area.  Typical.  Something at last achieved, you collect a bucket.  But on the way back to the meadow grass, horror of horrors, a delphinium is leaning over and just about to snap.  Focusing forthwith on staking alone, you make a temporary prop for the delphinium with the bucket, and rush off for a stake and some string.  Usually at this point the telephone rings, and everything gets fogotten.

Gardening and pottering are synonymous.  Amazing how long you can spend doing nothing whatsoever.  But although the nicest part of gardening is wandering round in a daze, wondering at the flowers and scents and colours, what you need to run a garden is plenty of work ethic.  The only way to get some simple task (such as watering the beans) done, is to head for the beans with a can of water, looking neither to the right nor to the left.  Look down at all times, and try not to notice any weeds in the path."

This could be describing me in my garden every day - although the odd job does get completed eventually.  Elaine.