Tag Archive | hydrangea

July is Hydrangea Month

Our first spring here, I pruned some of the hydrangeas a bit too hard, and therefore they failed to flower last summer. I have had to wait another year to find out what colour they are.




So the line of four huge bushes are all the same blue – nice enough, but I have the same variety elsewhere as well. I may take one or two out and replace with something different. There is a white-flowered one tucked behind them, which at least makes a change.




In the Pond Bed, however, several have turned out to be much more interesting – they open white, then intensify to a lilac/pink, and continue to darken to a rich purply pink. Very nice both on the bush and in a vase.

The blue shrub in between is a deep blue lace-cap, which is unique within the garden. It is also huge, though – not a delicate plant at all.




I also have Hemerocallis flowering for the first time. The above is ‘Christmas Island’, a big, bold red. Below is ‘Frosted Pink ice’, which is delightful.




The rest of the garden is looking fairly nice, if you don’t look too closely at the weeds!












What a beautiful Autumn!

Devon is just glorious at the moment. Every day I wake to blue skies, sunshine, gentle breezes, and gorgeous autumn colours. The leaves are late with their colour this year, as it has been so mild, but we have had one or two nights with a touch of frost, and gradually the greens are turning to yellows, oranges and reds. But that is not the only colour change going on. My hydrangeas are all changing too. The clear blue flowers are ageing to deep, dusky pinks. The purple flowers are now a lovely wine red, and my white paniculata variety is a pretty strawberry pink.




My dwarf pampas grass obviously liked the extreme haircut that I gave it this spring, as it has come back with a lovely collection of flowers.




My favourite spring shrub, Corylopsis, is looking great in autumn too, with a lovely show of buttery yellow leaves.




I have been working hard in the garden, digging out and levelling a new path. So for a bit of light relief I put a new edge on my new rose border. This is how I get a smooth curve on a border, by using a hose to lay it out first.




Result – a nice neat curve. Just a couple of miles of border edge to go…




We stopped for a coffee break this morning, and sat out in the garden and just listened to the peace and quiet. Coal tits were quietly wittering away in the tree above us and ravens flew overhead with their deep kronks. And then a peregrine flew over, checking out the garden for prey. Fabulous! I love my garden!




A summery summary

The last few weeks have flown by so quickly, with days away visiting family and friends, and plenty to do in the garden. It is amazing how much the floral palette has changed in just a couple of weeks.




In early summer, borders were filled with low billowing mounds of pink and purple hardy geraniums, white oxe-eye daisies, with plenty of acid green Alchemilla mollis. Now those are mainly finished, and instead the taller, late summer perennials have taken over, including crocosmias and Japanese anemones.




There are around 12 clumps of Japanese anemone, with attractive purplish foliage, and the most lovely rich pink double flowers. I am relieved, as some are less attractive, with smaller, paler pink flowers, and to have so much of something a bit dull would have been a shame. But no, they are gorgeous. And its a good job too, as from previous experience I know they have very deep roots and are nigh on impossible to dig up!




I also have one large clump of  very pretty Veronicastrum, with lovely whorls of leaves and tall flower spikes. It has flopped a bit in the recent rain, so it might be getting the ‘Chelsea Chop’ next May. Some late-flowered perennials can benefit from being cut down by half in late spring, which produces a shorter, sturdier plant, but with later, smaller flowers.




Some of my many hydrangeas are now in flower, although the ones we cut hardest are still sulking. I only have one lace-cap, which is a shame as I much prefer them to mop-heads. But at least, with my acid soil, it is blue!




Some of the mop-heads are also blue, and a lovely clear blue too – no muddy in-between colours here!




And the rest are a rich purple.




One of the paniculata type hydrangeas is also flowering profusely, and is a delight!




I am very pleased with the buddleias, mainly, as some of them have amazingly large flowers in rich shades.





I also have a white one, which could be ok in the right place, which is not next to a rather nice white Hebe, above a bed of a white Lysimachia. Why??? Something will have to move.



So the flower border is looking very pretty, (if you don’t look too closely…) but I do now have to start cutting back all the early flowers which have finished, which will be a big job. Another big job…

We are making progress towards a new shed at the far end of the garden, as the one near the house is not large, and really only a potting shed. We have had a base laid on the only level patch we could find, and now we just need to order one. Exciting!




Bye for now!



Not all cream teas and coast walks

I know that I paint a picture of a lovely lifestyle here in Devon, and, don’t get me wrong, it is pretty good, but there are always going to be things that go wrong, and things that need dealing with, and it is all hard work.

Today we had our leaky shower fixed, so that is one issue dealt with. Tomorrow an engineer will hopefully stop our precious heating oil dripping from a leaky joint. Then the garage door gets fixed….it just goes on and on.

It’s not much better in the garden.




This is the archway right outside my kitchen door. Once an attractive structure, I am sure, with a lovely climbing rose carefully trained over it. Now it is a crumbling unsightly eyesore completely swamped by dead rose stems. There is an outer layer of living rose, but it obviously hasn’t been tended for years. It will have to go!

Talking of roses, do you know the species rose, Rosa rugosa? Healthy foliage, large single fragrant pink flowers, followed by huge orange hips. What’s not to like???




This is one of three patches of Rosa rugosa in my garden. This one is at least 10 metres across… It spreads, and regrows if chopped to the ground, and is extremely thorny. It has to go before it takes over. Yeah…maybe next week.




This is the centre of my main perennial bed. I haven’t tackled this area yet. To be honest, I didn’t even know it was there until I had trimmed away some dead foliage round the edge, and saw what was beyond. I will get to it soon, now I have finished working on the front of the border.




The wheelbarrow contains the dead leaves of just one of my fifty thousand clumps of crocosmia. The border does look better now I have cleared away the dead stuff though. The photos aren’t quite at the same angle, but you get the idea.


main border


It’s not all doom and gloom, however. I uncovered this little beauty while clearing – it is a spring snowflake, much taller than a snowdrop, and a solid bell rather than individual petals. Not supposed to flower until at least February.




Everything is confused by the weather. This hydrangea is continuing to put out new flowers!




as does this azalea.




And the daffodils and other bulbs are coming up all over the garden, so I have a feeling we are going to have a spectacular spring display. If it ever stops raining!





Getting to know the neighbours…

Our human neighbours are all lovely, but of much more interest to me is the wildlife that lives in and around the garden. Apparently pheasants are reared locally for shooting, but every day more and more of them are finding that our garden is not only a gun-free zone, but comes with free food!



I keep finding small holes and tunnels in our slate garden walls, which I am assuming make safe, dry homes for small mammals of some sort.




It is very obvious that we get large numbers of red deer in the garden. There are tracks everywhere, as well as nibbled shoots. Precious new plants will have to be protected! This hydrangea has been stripped.




We have caught glimpses of them, but are yet to get a good view of them. These tracks below are just made by deer!


deertracks small


Last but by no means least, this chubby chap is a regular visitor, and remarkably undisturbed by my presence!