Front, Back and Asides

Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly ~ Pablo Neruda

An upcoming fortnight with ‘builder buddy’ working on more of the design plans has prompted me to quickly take stock of the garden since May.

On the front dais, all the potted trees and perennials are providing impact but I’ve only just noticed that the Trompenburg Acer has been dropping some of its leaves which is a sign of thirst! Mostly its been a dryish Spring here and I’ve evidently neglected to water as needed.

In terms of design and colour palette, this potted collection is obviously haphazard, partly because of having to wait to segregate off the Japanese plants next year when the back garden is ready for planting. But also because I’m still a bit of a magpie, a sucker for a plant sale and sentimental when it comes to the plants I like to have around.

I’d planned to make the summer collection as vivid as possible with citrus colours mixed with striking pinks and purples and this includes annuals like African marigold, gazanias, and petunias but I could not turn down the gift of red petunias or fail to rescue a pale fuchsia in the process.

even Jeremiah goose is wondering about those petunias!

Having worked hard last November to outline two terraces and clear bramble, nettle, grass and pernicious weeds from the back garden slope (see ‘rocking up‘) it was obvious that unless I planted something in their place, these would all return unhindered.

Planting potatoes is a brilliant way to suppress grass and weeds and since my daughter’s ducks provide plenty of used bedding, I’m trying a small patch with the no dig mulch method that I found on YT here

With the help of the greenhouse as starter there are now runner beans, a few peas, lines of lettuce, rocket and sprouting broccoli as well as annual Larkspur and Straw flowers. My pessimistic self had few expectations for the quality of the soil but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the outcome so far. Even so I will be adding fish blood & bone for that growth boost.

In time this terrace will be properly boarded

I also tried out the ‘plant a slice of tomato and see what happens’ – and sure enough I think every seed grew in a clump but were culled down to 10 when potted on. These will have to stay in the greenhouse to grow and ripen as they are well behind time with summer almost upon us.

This is the first time I’ve had a greenhouse and having underestimated just how cold winters are even under glass, the two Manuka plantlets suffered badly without extra protection. They died back almost completely but happily are now resurrected with strong growth.

Meanwhile, I’ve found time to plant up the Marsh garden (see Of boundaries and bogs). A couple of years ago I visited RHS Harlow Carr and was awed by the hostas and candelabra primulas growing streamside. As a nod to that sensational sight, I’ve mostly planted primulas but also have moved the Lysimachia ‘firecracker‘ from its mixed planting pot to here, where it can thrive in the moisture retentive soil it prefers.

And just as an aside, I’m halfway through digging out the lower pond (easier said than done when unearthing brick and rocks) in readiness to create the cascade but that will be for another time!

Take a scrolling view through the June garden….

10 thoughts on “Front, Back and Asides

    1. thanks for your encouragement, Tish – I’m glad to have the time as I estimated from the outset its going to be 2-3 years before I can call this a garden!

    1. In between gardening I gave some thought to whether goose should have a name and in the end decided that because its a Derbyshire goose who once lost his head he’s named in memory of Jeremiah Brandreth and the Pentrich Uprising – 200+ years ago to this day!
      – see “the Pentrich Revolution”
      p.s. its also only 6 miles from where Jeremiah goose now lives!

  1. “Planting potatoes is a brilliant way to suppress grass and weeds” – interesting! We cleared a huge area of weeds before planting potatoes last year, and while the potatoes were coming along nicely, so unfortunately were the weeds. Do you have more info on this?

    1. I’ve seen examples of literally putting potatoes on grass and covering with deepish layers of straw – this way also suppressed most weeds – others might fly in and grow in the top but building up all straw/earth levels as the potato shoots peek through helps keep them smothered – check out the YouTube link above in which she tries 2 or 3 no dig methods- she also gives a link to results!

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