My beautiful birthday present



I have recently celebrated a big birthday, and some of my family kindly gave me some money with which to treat myself, and I bought a beautiful black metal rose arch. At the back of this large sloping flower bed, behind the path that runs across the top, was a nearly dead tree. I thought it might leaf up and look pretty come the spring, but no, just a handful of sorry looking leaves sprouted from one branch, and the rest remained bare and ugly.

There was, however, a rose climbing through it, which put on a lovely display of yellow buds fading to white flowers. So the sole purpose of the tree was to support the rose. Now the tree has been cut down (yay!) and instead the rose drapes elegantly across my lovely arch. It will need a bit of pruning and training to fit it better to the shape, but it already looks so much better that a dead tree! I will add a clematis or two up the other side of the arch, to extend the season of interest.


arch B & A


Under the arch is a curved path leading through some shrubs to the rest of the garden. But there is just a bank of soil at the moment, where we need to build some steps. Another project to add to the list.

I have been working through the summer shrub pruning, and some of the shrubs have never been pruned before, so it has been quite a task. This huge Philadelphus was just a thick mass of stems, and getting very tall and broad. I thinned it out severely by removing a couple of huge old branches from the middle , which has opened it out. Then I cut off all the small lower branches to ‘lift its skirts’ and allow the plants beneath to recover. Finally I removed a few more of the taller branches here and there to open it up further, and reduce the height a fraction. Now it is a lovely, open, arching shrub.


Philadelphus B & A pruning


Along my driveway is a retaining wall, with a steeply sloping flower bed on top of it. Most of it is covered by a ground-cover Hebe, which is a bit boring, but doesn’t need much attention. One end, however, was just a mat of grass that looked like an extension of the lawn above. Seeing as I didn’t want to have to mow my flower bed, I finally got round to digging out all the grass, and turning it into the start of a rockery.




Eventually I will remove all the Hebe as well, and have a lovely long rockery, but it is not the top priority at the moment.




This corner of the main border is my next project. It contains very little that isn’t everywhere else in the garden, and I am going to clear it back to one or two plants and then replant it with some of the treasures I have in pots waiting for a home.

And to finish, my Birthday present again. Thank you, family!!




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