Six on Saturday | Gravel Garden Part 3

Another odd sort of week with sunshine and fog and varying temperatures! I have been working on the new section of the gravel garden, planting some new plants and emptying all my spring bulb containers. That was a horrid job and nearly every container had a mass of slugs hiding at the bottom. Most very small, but one or two yucky big ones. I found that the plastic containers were the worst and the wettest despite crocks at the bottom to assist drainage. The tulip bulbs in those pots were mostly rotten too, so I have concluded that to keep tulips in containers to re-flower you need to use terracotta or glazed pots. Anything in plastic should be composted or planted into the ground pretty much when finished flowering.

So on to the project which began in 2017.

Just so that you get the idea of the changes this is how the garden looked in May 2016 with the rather large flat rock in the lawn area. The lawn area is about 10m x 5m so not big.

Lawn – early May 2016 shortly after moving in

There has been a lot of turf removal over the past five years – you can see some of the progress of the gravel garden here

Lawn and Gravel Garden – August 2018 from the Patio

(1) Getting Started

Removing more of the lawn by the flat rock (1)
Half finished – turf removed and pebbles scattered (2)
New plants planted (3)

So what newbies have arrived in the gravel garden?

(2) Geums – three new ones from East Lambrook Manor (Somerset), but only two planted here in full sun. Geum ‘Karlskaer’ has vibrant orange flowers from May – August and Geum ‘Redwings’ has rich red semi-double flowers in early summer and again later on in the year. Geum ‘Emory Quinn’ is a compact variety with golden-yellow flowers from May – September and enjoys partial shade. That has been planted in the dappled shade bed.

Red Wings

(3) Several plants from Beth Chatto nursery including two grasses – Calamagrostis brachytricha and Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ and a Gaura lindheimeri  to create an open, airy feel. No photos yet as they are new plants.

(4) Two new Aeoniums from the Surreal Succulents Nursery down the road from me plus a few other odds and sods which will remain in their pots so they can hide indoors over winter – not so much from the cold as from the wet.

Aeonium Arboreum and Aeonium Sunburst with friends

(5) Erodium x variabile ‘Bishop’s Form’– this one is from the Bodmin Herb Nursery and has been flowering his socks off since May. Fingers crossed he survives the winter. Currently next to a rather pretty Pittosporum  tenuifolium ‘Golden Ball’ which may have to be moved.

(6) You may have noticed that there are already lots of things planted around this flat rock. A couple of Carex grasses, Rosemary, Olearia Haastii which is just about to come into flower, a blue Geranium ‘Orion’ and Sedum or Stonecrop ‘Ruby Glow’ which I hope will creep even further into the gravel now. And by the more upright rocks are Penstemons and a large Fuchsia. All of these started off quite small (many as cuttings) but now they are beginning to fill out.

The pathway around the rocks (4)

Next job is to return to the nursery for more pebbles and cobbles so I can finish off this area. And then I can rest. For a while anyway.

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. Ann Mackay says:

    Argh, slugs – I’ve just been writing about them! Your garden is looking lovely and I liked seeing the progress of the area. Geum Red Wings is very tempting – a bit more exciting in shape than Mrs Bradshaw. Gaura is one of my favourites for an airy feel. It seems to just last a few years with me, so I also have a new one to plant. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I had a pink Gaura, but it spread untidily in its second year and so I cut it back. Bad decision as it died over the winter. We’ll see how this one fares. I have learned (slowly) not to cram too many plants into a small space, so hopefully these new ones have room to spread.

      1. Ann Mackay says:

        I found the pink gaura didn’t last so long and I agree about the way it grows. The white looks a lot more elegant. I have a lot to learn about not packing too many plants in…oops!

  2. Beautiful scenery 👌🌷have a great weekend 🙏🌹

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you 😊

      1. Most welcome 🙏🌷

  3. Looks like it is going well. I’ve been putting off emptying some tulip pots but don’t really have anywhere to put them in the border and don’t really like just composting. Been going back to Beth Chatto dry garden a lot for inspiration for planters at work. Need to survive with pretty much no watering as they will be neglected for the six week holiday and no-one really has time even when we are there.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have the same problem with tulips, but bit the bullet and threw this years bulbs away. And all the remaining ones from previous years. I might have a break this year. Beth Chatto blog is good for advice

  4. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Fabulous, love the gravel garden

  5. It’s always interesting to see a project develop. Was the large rock brought into the garden or is it part of the natural geology of the area?

    1. Heyjude says:

      There was an iron age hill fort up on the hill so I assume that some of the rocks here are from that. There are a lot of large rocks in the garden, not just this flat one!

  6. Lovely geums and the gravel garden looks so good.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you. I think it will look rather nice once I finish the other bit and get a few more plants in.

  7. Suzanne says:

    Low maintenance is a winner and more time to enjoy the blooms. I used to love creating gardens and watching the plants fill the spaces, it was the weed culling that was the worst part of gardening. Jude, you have certainly made a huge improvement since you moved in.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Don’t mention weed culling! I have a constant battle with bindweed at this time of the year.

  8. Slugs – gross! It’s far too dry here for them, thank goodness. You’ve done a lovely job with this part of the garden. It looks great.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Won’t be finishing it today as it’s pouring down ☔

  9. Chloris says:

    What a wonderful transformation Jude. I love your use of cobbles and gravel. Plants are always so happy growing in gravel.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Chloris, it may be a small space but it keeps me busy.

  10. Katharine says:

    That’s a wonderful transformation Jude. I love your gravel garden and your choice of plants. I’m not sure I could cope with a succulent nursery down the road – I’d be there all the time buying new things!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Katherine. One reason why we try not to visit the nursery! I never leave without buying something!

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