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Thursday 18 May 2023

Tell Us About....Gardens and Gardening

 Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton shares spring and summer garden tips
Dear friends. Welcome to this month's Tell Us About challenge, which is now even bigger. We have 10 bloggers taking part, from the UK, US, Australia and Portugal.

They all have their own spin on this month's topic which is Gardens and Gardening, courtesy of Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper. 

I love gardening and also visiting gardens.

I've written before about our garden transformation. It went from a sad, gloomy little space to a joyful cottage garden.  Here are the  before and after pics.  In the summer it's a good backdrop for fashion shoots, like the picture at the top. 

Today I'm going to share a few learnings from my garden. 

Planning for spring - in autumn 

The end of summer is always signalled by a new series of Strictly Come Dancing and choosing my bulbs for next spring.

I like to have a lot of daffodils, a small number of tulip and muscari and anemones.  I've got quite a few hyacinths in the rose bed, which is at the front of the house, and they're low maintenance and come up every year.

I'd love to have more tulips but every year the squirrels dig them up, so the only place where they're really successful is in 2 large pots outside the front door. This year I tried a new variety called Antartica Flame.  It's a white and yellow tulip with the "flame" being a red flash inside the flower. I wasn't blown away by them because the flame only appeared on a couple of the tulips.

I loved these, called Pink Ardour:

Tulip tips

I treat tulips as annuals, and buy large high-quality bulbs for containers. I dig them up after they've flowered. I've tried planting them in the border but they're typically very small the following year, so it's not really worth it.

  • Don't forget to water them in the winter, if pots seem dry
  • If you're planning to keep them, don't prune away the leaves. Leave them for at least 6 weeks. 
  • If space is at a premium, consider whether you want a big display at one time, with one or more varieties, or a continual display which would feature early flowering, mid flowering and late flowering tulips
  • Tulips look great with some under planting. In the past I've used wallflowers and forget-me-nots
  • If I've emptied a pot of tulips at the end of spring, I indicate with a blob of nail polish on the pot to show that the container is ready for re-use. 

Daffodil fever

In the front garden we have a drive but also a large rose bed and a border along the side which is dedicated to daffodils.  Every year I buy a daffodil mixture and pop some extras in the border. It's got lots of different varieties now, flowering at various times, so it's always a surprise to see what pops up. 

There are muscari along the front of the border to give a splash of blue. Sometimes I grow forget-me-nots from seed and plant them along the front too. 

Daffodils are quite happy to bloom again, year after year, so I have a few in pots which I move to prominence once they're out. 

My favourites are the large daffodils with orange trumpets, the pretty miniature narcissi Tête à Tête
 and a delicate variety called Cheerfulness. I also love the classy late flowering white Thalia. 

One thing I do every year is take a few pictures to show where there are gaps in the border, so that I try to fill the gaps in the autumn without disturbing the other bulbs.

The other concentrated area of bulbs is my hyacinth patch. They're planted around the border of the rose bed. After they've flowered the leaves are droopy and unsightly, but I leave them for a few weeks because otherwise the bulbs wouldn't gain enough energy to grow again for next year. 

The scent of hyacinths on a sunny spring day is quite intoxicating.

Summer garden

I have a notebook in which I've been documenting what I've planted over the years and my plans for each year.  

I do an annual "audit" after the worst of winter to see what didn't survive.  Usually the climate in London is quite temperate and even tender plants survive, but this year we had a long and prolonged period of snow.  It killed a couple of my architectural plants: a huge salvia, Armistad, and a phormium. 

I dug them up and it gave me a lot of space to fill in the back border (yippee!).  I've had one trip to the garden centre so far, where I bought some perennials.  I'll be going back for another haul, looking for phlox and salvias, which grow well in my garden, plus some annuals for containers. 

This was the garden yesterday.  The tulips have finished so there isn't much in bloom right now.

Normally the 3 clematis montana would be at their showy best, but I pruned them very late last summer, in the knowledge I wouldn't get many flowers.  In the lane where they overhang the fence, they're as prolific as usual. 

This was the white clematis montana a couple of years ago. 

I couldn't not give you a glimpse of the roses.  I have 9 roses, down from 12, in the front border. They're magnificent in May and June.  I feed them after the first burst and they come back again in August. I have two varieties, David Austin's Gertrude Jekhyll and Scepter'd Isle.

This is Gertrude Jekyll, named after a famous English gardener. 

Finally my other planting area is "shed corner."  As its name would suggest, there's an area in front of the shed where I like to have containers with very bright flowers. It makes the garden bigger because the eye is drawn to the bottom of the garden.  It's a sunny spot so I go for plants like osteospurmums,  dahlias, pelargoniums. This was last year:  

I hope you enjoyed a brief spin around my garden. I'm planning to visit quite a few gardens this year and will be at the Chelsea Flower Show next week.  I'll be sharing some pictures, don't you worry!

More gardening joy! 

Now let's find out how my blogger friends are tackling Gardens and Gardening.  First, our newcomers.  Marsha from Marsha in the Middle is sharing a picture of a winter garden which she says exists only in memory and in a few photos.  But, it will always be home.

Australian blogger Sue Loncaric from Women Living Well after 50 is sharing the health benefits of spending time in the garden and how she enjoys exploring the public gardens in Brisbane and near her home.

Suzy Turner, who lives in Portugal, has exciting plans for a new garden. Suzy, from The Grey Brunette, isn’t keen on gardening but she misses having her own since her house was sold last year. She and her husband are currently building their dream home and are excited about planning their new garden. 

Leslie, who lives in Texas, US, is sharing her oasis in the far west Texas Chihuahuan Desert over at Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After. 

Now our regulars in the challenge, starting with Australian blogger Debbie from Deb's World. Deb admits she likes gardens but isn't much of a gardener herself - preferring to take photos instead.

Michelle from Following My Muse says gardening is like quilting. "I was amazed when I realized that I plan my gardens the same way I plan my quilts." 

Mary Katherine from MK's Adventures in Style tells us about The Hobby That Got Out of Hand...

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper loves both gardens and the physical act of gardening which she has returned to in her new abode. She takes you through a journey of how her love of gardening developed. 

How does your garden grow? Do share in the comments. There's time to join us with your own post on gardens and gardening  (blog, Instagram or YouTube).  The link-up is open for a week. 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerCurated by Jennifer (Wednesdays), Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon 

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If you have a new or evergreen post on gardens, please add it to the link-up which is open until May 25. Non-gardening posts will be removed. 

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