Sunday, 21 August 2016

August 2016

The front garden, on its first summer since I dug up the weedy lawn:

I am very pleased with how it's turned up. Even now when it's mostly brown it still looks like a tapestry of colours and textures - so much more interesting than just boring green(ish) grass.

The back, also looking much neater every year:

That border on the right is still work in progress... 

Strawberries in a bed of bark mulch (Mara des Bois, planted this year and I've already eaten a handful)

And finally a closer look at the raised beds, with the automatic irrigation system I've just installed: the yellow hose pipes leading off the water butt, attached to soaker hoses, and a timer; the idea is to fill the butt once in a while and let the timer do the rest.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

This weekend's results

After a couple of relatively sunny weekends, I managed to finish most of the post-winter clearing and tidying, and I got started on a few new projects for this year:

The hyacinths by the kitchen door have been a total success. They smell divine!

The daffodils are almost over, but the bed looks pretty enough and full of plants yet to flower - nigellas, poached egg plants, and of course the shrubs (viburnum, lilac, philadelphus and a rose). This year I'm planning to add a few dahlias, red chard and kale (currently trying to grow them in the greenhouse).

The bed around the pond got a bit of a makeover. I've cleared some bigger plants and made room for the sedums and alpines. I think it looks more balanced now, with smaller-scale plants, and I like the mulches. You can see the stones better now.

The side of the patio now has a nice step down, a new blueberry and a fern.

The main changes are happening in the front garden. I've been growing plugs of kniphofia that I bought online and now it was finally time to dig up the old weedy lawn and plant them up.

The bulbs I planted in September are coming up very nicely. But I still have a weedy lawn to dig up, and top up the mulches, so this is very much a work in progress. I plan to use bark chips along the paths, where the stepping stoves are, and gravel among the smaller plants. 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Autumn colours 2015

Here are some autumn colours today in the garden, starting with our patio pots:

Colores de otoño en el jardin, empezando por las macetas de la terraza:

The trees are turning too. Los arboles tambien cambian de color:

Sedum spectabilis and calendula in the front garden, which I'm in the process of redesigning - out with the lawn, in with the plants that don't need watering and remind us of Cape Town:

Sedums y calendula en el frente. Estoy rediseñando este jardin, poco a poco sustituyendo el cesped por plantas que no necesitan riego y nos recuerdan un poco a Ciudad del Cabo.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Summer bedding 2015: the reckoning

So, my pots have been planted with summer bedding for about two months now and are generally looking very good, but here is an analysis of what has worked best and what hasn't. Hopefully I'll remember to read this next year while replanting!

The pots are all in the patio outside the kitchen, the biggest group are on one side and get a few hours of shade in the morning, plus one big pot on one side of the kitchen door. And then there are two more big pots by the other side of the kitchen door that get the most sun. I want to keep watering to a minimum and I've watered this lot only two or three times this summer.

The shadier pot by the door has done really well. These are almost the only targetes that haven't dried out or been eaten by slugs. The other plants are petunias, cineraria and helychrum petiolare.

The osteospermums have also done very well, and the purple and the orange calibrachoas in the semi-shady group too. And so have the pelargoniums. The night stock that I sowed in spring is flowering and petunias look happy in this spot (but hated an earlier shadier place where I put them first).

I love the orange diascias. But I'm not sure about the trailing silver leaved plant (forgot the name already), it grows too long and looks untidy. I've been mearning to trim it for ages!

The silver plant is another helichrysum petiolare, I think. It looks great but it's quite vigorous. I should have planted it on its own, maybe. It's dwarfed the other plants in its pot (I do love it though).

But the pots in more sun have struggled. A chalibrachoa and some targetes have almost disappeared. The mesembryanthemums flower very nicely, but the foliage/stems are not that pretty - I think next year I should mix them with some pelargoniums, which are the toughest of them all in heat and drought.

The pelargoniums by the front door were only watered when I planted them and haven't stopped flowering since!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

New pond wildlife

A frog has decided to colonise our pond! I discovered it today, here he is:

Por fin tenemos una rana en el charco!

And the water snails have reproduced. I bought ten big ones in spring and now there's quite a few small ones all over the pond weeds:

Los caracoles de agua se han reproducido. Compre diez grandes en primavera y ahora hay muchos pequeñitos. 

This is what the pond looks like now, with lots of green stuff around and in the water - so the frog and the hedgehog that visits us feel safe when they come to drink.

Monday, 27 July 2015

What's new this summer

I have been away from the blog for a while, but not away from the garden! These are some new things that have kept me busy this year:

The main addition to the garden has been the greenhouse - yes! I've got my own greenhouse at last! I use it for propagation only, as it's too small for growing crops inside. But it's working very well for seedlings and cuttings. I've become slightly obsessed with cuttings, I've taken LOADS, let's see what grows by the end of the summer!

El invernadero es el cambio mayor desde la ultima vez que escribi aqui. Lo uso sobre todo para semilleros y esquejes - tengo un monton de esquejes, a ver que prende!

The flower bed around the pond in the middle of the garden has grown to it's final size. I'm still tweaking the planting, but it's got some of my favourite plants that I've been waiting for years to have, such as verbena bonariensis, kniphophia, pink achillea, and most recently a cistus - in the top part I've gone for a dry garden plant combination. So I'm very pleased.

En el medio del jardin esta el charquito, y alrededor hay varias zonas para plantas. En la parte de arriba he puesto plantas de clima mas o menos arido: verbena bonariensis, kniphophia, achillea y mi ultima adquisicion, que llevo años esperando: una jara (cistus). Al fondo se ven las flores blancas de unas margaritas, que desde que las transplante a esa parte en semisombra se dan mucho mejor (no las tengo que regar).

Since I moved the daisies to this shadier part of the garden they're a lot happier, I never have to water them and I love the way they glow when in shade.

Friday, 27 March 2015

End of winter and plans for the year in the back garden

This is how the back garden is looking right now, and what plans I've got for the rest of the year.  As you step out of the kitchen and do a full turn on the spot:

Los geranios al lado de la puerta de la cocina al jardin. Y resto es lo que ves segun sales y das un giro completo:

Yellow daffodils planted last autumn and the pink blossom of a prunus and the neighbour's quince overhanging from the right. The showiest corner at the moment.  The new compost "station" is going to be build by the fence (under the quince), and when I can afford it a proper glass greenhouse is going to be between the prunus and the shed.

Los narcisos amarillos que plante en septiembre han brotado, y el prunus y el membrillo de la vecina (a la derecha) estan en flor, es mi rincon favorito en este momento.  Debajo del membrillo, junto a la valla, va a ir el nuevo recinto para el compost, y mas adelante entre el prunus de las flores rosas y la caseta pondre un invernadero.

The compost currently in a builders bag while we build a new compost area, it kind of spoils the look. The planting bed around the pond is getting bigger too (what a surprise).

El compost esta en ese saco blanco mientras construimos un recinto nuevo. Y alrededor del estanque/charco estoy poniendo mas plantas (que raro).

Donde estan esas bolsas va a ir un banco de madera nuevo. El de metal blanco da el pego de lejos pero no se puede ni sentar uno!

A new bench will go where those bags are, the white metal one is broken!

The lovely new grass by the patio looks even lovelier now that it's been mowed. I plan to put new hanging baskets by the doors and a few more pot flowers this spring and summer.

Este verano voy a prestar mas atencion a las macetas de la terraza, y colgar un par de cestas a ambos lados de las puertas, que es algo muy ingles pero que queda bonito.

Y por ultimo justo delante de la cocina tengo mi zona de hierbas aromaticas y otras plantas similares. Esta zona alta del jardin junto a la casa es donde mas da el sol.

And back to where we started. The top part of the garden near the house gets the most sun, it's where I've got my Mediterranean herbs.