It is one year ago that I decided to join in with the Prop’s Six On Saturday meme. I must say that I have enjoyed every week having a nosy around other people’s gardens and checking out what is happening in my own. There is one problem though. I have ended up with an extremely long list of plants I crave, and rather a large credit card bill. No, not really, I initially set a budget for making changes to the garden when we moved here, and it has been an expensive year buying in new plants as I bought very few up until last spring. I think I have learned a lot about this plot since I moved here three years ago and although I left it well alone for the first year to see what grew, I have still made mistakes. Now I hope that I am choosing plants with more care and making sure they suit the location I have in mind. There are many I have had to say no to on account of the moist soil, heavy winds and exposure, not to mention the S&S, but there are still enough plants to fulfil this plantaholic’s desires.
- I have managed to complete a very rough sketch of my plot. At least the main garden area which is at the back of the house. It is a long and thin plot, about 6m wide and 20m long to the fence. Behind the fence is an open gravel area for parking and where the septic tank and oil tank are located, about another 7 – 11m.
- Last year I made one of the raised beds  into a white garden using mainly annuals such as Ammi majus and A.visnaga, Cosmos and Scabious. Though the Scabious might actually be a perennial as it has remained all through the winter and is growing again. Annuals are expensive unless you are lucky enough to grow them from seed. I’m not. So this year I am filling the bed with more perennials. Already Eryngium and Echinops and Euphorbia have been planted, new plants will be added and I’ll go into detail during future SOS posts. New herbs have also been bought for the herb bed.
- Changes in the Woodland border  have been minor over the year. Geum, Veronica, Heptacia nobilis and three Helleborus orientalis have been added to the border as well as a new Clematis ‘Prince Charles‘. I am hoping that Charlie will flourish with his roots in the shade and the top part should be in summer sun. It was an expensive purchase so I do hope it doesn’t die like my (equally expensive) C. Armandii did.
- Last autumn I planted extra crocuses (Jeanne d’Arc) under the Kilmarnock Willow (which is looking very pretty now as the new leaves start from the bottom so the tree looks as if it is wearing a tutu), as well as Cyclamen hederifolium. Both did well over the winter months. The snowdrops and aconites on the other hand failed to flower though leaves did eventually appear. Currently the Tiarellas and Heucherellas are brightening up this space.
- In the sunny border wall  I planted several Aubrieta plants in the autumn and they are flowering nicely now. Three new Osteospermum were also added during the year though only the purple ‘Tresco’ variety flowered last year. It has been badly damaged in the recent storms and several large pieces broke off so I shall shear it close to the ground and hope that it regenerates. This border is pretty packed now so I shall leave it to mature.
The Yucca I discovered is a hiding place for snails. On trying to extricate them I was stabbed by one of the very sharp points, resulting in blood being drawn and I was left with a 50p piece sized bruise which is now a lovely black and yellow! Gardening can be a dangerous business!
- The Bee and Butterfly bed in the gravel garden was planted up in the autumn with new perennials that died down over winter. Most are coming back to life now, though I think I may have lost one or two including a Monarda, a Penstemon and the chocolate cosmos (again). I think if I buy another of those it will have to be dug up and brought inside over winter as this is the third one I have killed! I know it is a tender perennial, but I had one survive the winter in snow and frost outdoors in Ludlow in a pot, and I covered this with mulch for the winter so I figured it should be OK down here. Wrong!
This bed is full of summer planting so looks a bit scruffy at the moment – the Forget-me-nots appeared all by themselves and the daffs and tulips were planted from last years pots. As you can see those Anemone coronaria are still going strong! These are just from a mixed pack – next year I might be tempted to buy some named varieties.
The biggest and most expensive change over the year has been the conservatory roof – now renamed the Orangery (left). Still sorting out some water ingress issues which seem to be through the granite blocks rather than the roof and I am hoping to get it re-painted inside and out this summer.
Over the next few weeks I shall go into more detail about the planting in each of my different areas, though as mentioned last week, the focus this year is on tidying up the Wild Garden – planting up the Cornish hedge – and getting some more pots into the courtyard at the front of the house. Hopefully that will complete the overhaul of the garden and next year will be a case of tweaking plants that are in the wrong place or replacing those that die. And I shall at last be able to buy a sun lounger…
As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world
See here for the participant’s guide.