Nemeses


This is the night time activity on the wall behind the house where all of my Hosta sit in pots in the shade. The snails are already shredding some of them and I presume that this one is on his way home for the evening after a satisfactory feast. I have tried everything to deter them but these creatures can swim, scale any kind of pot and probably jump as well. My latest tactic is to remove every snail that I find each day and move them to a distant part of the garden. I would imagine that this is a useless technique as they seem to be able to travel long distances each evening, but at least I feel that I am doing something and they are getting some extra exercise into the bargain. Although now that I think of it this may just make them hungrier.

This Hosta is safe for the moment but I expect to find it riddled with holes very soon.

I now have three small Amelanchier growing on the bank behind the house. The early and Autumn leaves are enough to make it a plant worth having in costal garden. The delicate flowers and purple berries are the icing on the cake. The fact that they seem to be impervious to salt and wind and can live on a modicum of soil makes them a ‘super’ plant.

The garden is at its best at this time of the year and there is colour everywhere. This Prunus Shogetsu (Blushing Bride) is the last to blossom and is the most graceful of all cherries. The deep pink buds turn to a pinkish white when mature but retain their delicate appearance throughout. Despite this they are very tolerant of the conditions here. I have planted eight or nine prunus on the curved path from the house to the garage and hope that they will create a covered walk in the years to come.

My rockery needs a little bit of work this year as I decide which wildflowers to keep along with the more formal planting. Last year I added herbs and as usual most of the thyme did not survive. Golden Oregano/Marjoram are as successful as ever and provide the perfect contrast to other plants. This tiny Scarlet Pimpernel seems very happy growing through the herbs and is one of my favourite wildflowers.

Blue and yellow is always a good colour combinations and this Ajuga and Golden Majoram are providing nice clusters in the rockery behind the house. Now that the curved gravel path is lined with Prunus trees I have decided to use the blue and yellow theme as a mark of respect to the amazing people of Ukraine. I will cover the edges of the path with these three plants and allow suitable wildflowers to join the display.

. The perfect colour for my Ukraine walk but these wild violets have a mind of their own and I will just have to wait and see if they seed themselves there.

This Magnolia Laevifolia was one of the delicate trees that I could not resist when I first started gardening here. It has struggled for a number of years but now seems very healthy. I think that this may be due to a combination of dryer weather and increased shelter. I was tempted to move it from time to time as it looked so poorly but will leave it alone for a little longer.

Magnolia Laevifolia – ever more interesting as the petals fall.

This crab apple, Malus sylvestris, is the latest to be planted and the last one to flower. It is part of my attempts to use trees as resting places for the birds so that they do not have to fly across large expanses of exposed garden. Soon I hope there will be a bridge from one end of the garden to another although this will give them easier and safer access to my fruit garden.

I am becoming confident planting acers, as I develop some new sheltered areas but this has been in the copse for over ten years. Sadly, any new ones have to be protected from rabbits and hares so I won’t get to see them in all of their glory until they mature.

The protection is not very pretty but is the only way that I can keep this Acer palmatum ‘Oridono-nishiki’ safe from rabbits and hares for a few years until it can fend for itself. Plants on the driveway are the most vulnerable as the dogs do not have easy access and the rabbits munch at will. They are particularly destructive when they eat the bark at the base of the tree but seem to dislike the older trunks so I will eventually get to see the delicate trees that I have planted in all their glory.

Each year that I have been here I have tried to work on one new area. It is hard to call this a garden, although it is a small self-contained area about fifty by twenty feet. It was a space used by the builders and was full of rubble and stone. I have now planted it with camellias, small azalea and rhododendron so there should be lots of colour next year. I name each area to help me keep track of my plans and this is now the lantern garden rather than ‘the dump’.

Stage two. The stone work is rather primitive as it was my first and last attempt to try to build steps and a small retaining wall. I am hoping that the shrubs and a box hedge will hide much of the mistakes in the coming years. If not professional help will be required. In the meantime I will stick to gardening.

Azalea japonica Hotshot variegate one of the new additions to my new ‘garden’.

Azaela japonica Schneewittschen another shrub to decorate the new area.

This photograph gives me a great deal of pleasure as it is a reminder that plants can recover if given the right care. This is one of three oak trees which were crammed into an overcrowded copse when I arrived over 10 years ago. They produced a few sickly leaves each year and when the tree surgeons thinned the area they were uncertain as to whether the oaks would survive. To look at these leaves it is hard to imagine that they ever had to struggle for life. A symbol of hope and tenacity that is always needed in this world.


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