Six on Saturday | Courtyard Views

For a change this week we are going to have a look at what is happening in the north-facing courtyard garden which gets very little in the way of direct sunlight though at this time of the year a little does appear in the early morning and mid afternoon!

Our little house is tucked away in a courtyard – it used to be a dairy herd feeding stalls. There is no garden here, but along the front of the barn is a granite ledge in which all sorts of things self-seed. This year wild violets seem to have taken hold. The former owner grew a Hydrangea petiolaris (a climbing hydrangea), a Virginia Creeper as well as a pale pink climbing rose up the walls. The creeper drives me crazy as it grows up and over the roof and being as the ledge is not level so it is difficult to put a ladder on it to reach high up. The hydrangea never has many flowers. And the rose is definitely passed its best.

I therefore grow plants in containers.

(1) White mophead hydrangea. This comes from a cutting of one my late father gave to me. It has been in a pot for years, but seems to be doing OK. This year the leaves have turned red much earlier than usual, but we have had weird weather. Hot then cold, dry then wet. And it was blown over in a recent storm!

(2) Fuchsias. Several hardy fuchsias were bought a couple of years ago especially destined for the steps here. Last year they suffered dreadfully from rust (as did my mint in the back garden – I think maybe spread from the musk mallow?) This year they are beginning to look good.

(3) Also on the steps is a Hakonechloa macra which I think is ‘All Gold’. I planted it in the back garden, but it wasn’t doing well. Now in permanent light shade it is fine and makes a lovely contrast to the fuchsias and Heuchera ‘Red Lightening’.

(4) In one of the Fuchsia pots is Elke. A very pretty hardy geranium that likes shade. A difficult flower to photograph though as the deep magenta colour seems to get overexposed. This time I managed to get a pretty accurate representation of what is a very lovely plant which flowers for ages.

(5) The hare I bought in December 2018 is still happily resting on the top step along with two female Skimmia  japonicas – one with red berries and one with white. I am happy to see the berries forming. Next to them is my recently purchased Heuchera ‘Ginger Ale’

(6) Centranthus ruber, also called red valerian, spur valerian, kiss-me-quick, fox’s brush, devil’s beard and Jupiter’s beard. These red and white weedy wildflowers tolerate dry conditions and poor soil and have self-seeded at one end of the granite ledge in amongst a clump of Crocosmia and ferns (or bracken?) I regularly pull them out of the gravel where they like to grow before they get too big as they have enormously long tap roots! Pretty flowers though and the pollinators love them.

I’ve just spent the morning pulling down loads of the Virginia creeper and dead-heading the roses and cutting back the Periwinkle that I planted in a corner that is full of granite rocks (header). My reasoning was to stop other weeds from growing there, but I may have created a monster…  the sun has just appeared so I might take the rest of the afternoon off and go and sit outside on the Zen Patio and read a book. Hope you all have a lovely weekend too!

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.

Six on Saturday


  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Love your hare. Do you find the fuschia attracts bees?

    1. Heyjude says:

      Can’t say I have noticed bees on that side of the house. But I don’t spend any time there, just in and out to the car.

  2. Catherine says:

    How nice to see your courtyard, your house looks charming. The fuchsias are so elegant and pretty and I enjoyed seeing the mix of planting on your steps.

    I love the final photograph of the red valerian with the surrounding plants has an almost tropical feel. It’s very pretty.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Catherine, fortunately you can’t hear the background noise! Some rather bolshy boys in the farmyard next door at the moment.

  3. Ann Mackay says:

    Your pots look lovely together and the hare looks perfect with them. I like Elke – will try and look out for that one!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Elke is lovely. I must see if I can divide her now she has grown.

  4. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a climbing hydrangea. All looks very pretty, Jude.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I just wish it would flower more, they can look quite amazing.

  5. Fuschias always make such a pretty display.

  6. The fuchsias are lovely – a good mix of different ones.

    1. Heyjude says:

      And all hardy so no faffing about bringing them in during the winter.

  7. Cathy says:

    Your grouping of pots looks lovely, Jude

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Cathy. I do keep moving them around 😂 never satisfied!

      1. Cathy says:

        And why not, variety being the spice of life or so they say!

  8. BeckyB says:

    How lovely, and you were sensible to stop yesterday. Such a warm Saturday, rain back here though today!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well it turned cloudy here in the afternoon, rain overnight but lovely this morning though the wind is back!

      1. BeckyB says:

        Still dark clouds and the odd drizzly moment here. You can keep that wind though, one of our acers is so damaged this year 😦

        1. Heyjude says:

          I only have one Acer, in a pot, in the courtyard. It does get hit by the wind though. I don’t think I have any sheltered areas here.

        2. BeckyB says:

          Normally ours are okay, but this year the wind seems to be channeling around the house 😦

        3. Heyjude says:

          Yup. That’s what it does here.

        4. BeckyB says:

          So annoying!

  9. You do have a lovely selection of potted plants, and the hare statue is perfect where you have placed it! I thought the Hakonechloa unusual and adds a lovely foliage contrast. I have just looked it up to confirm if it is a grass and it is a Japanese Forest grass. I do like it!! Your courtyard is certainly a very colourful and diverse corner!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks H&M – foliage plants do well here, there are several ferns as well in the pots.

  10. Katharine says:

    Hi Jude, I really love your plant combinations but my favourite today is the Elke. So so pretty. Have a good week. K

    1. Heyjude says:

      Elke is rather beautiful. I must see if I can divide her as it would be nice to have some in the ‘proper’ garden.

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