images from the RSPB website
IN THE NIGHT GARDEN
Drifting in and out of light sleep I woke up this morning at about 4.45 to a scratching noise outside the window. Looking through the curtains I caught eye of something moving very swiftly into the undergrowth. Whatever it was, it was having a happy old time romping through my clump of Cerastium - Snow in Summer!
It took about a minute or so before discovering it was infact a ... very fat hedgehog!
I've only ever seen one other in the ten years we've been here. It's now hedgehog breeding season, so it would be lovely to think it may be an expectant mother. How great it would be to have a family of hoglets in the garden!
It had a good nose around, before disappearing out of sight.
I then sensed movement on the garden steps. It was only a fox, the one with the bent tail, the same one I'd spooked in the garden early morning a few days earlier.
After having a sniffle around, it too disappeared into the undergrowth. On this occasion no calling card was left!
It's good to know, that whilst us two are sound asleep, these two are paying a visit to our garden.
all images from The Daily Telegraph and Crocus websites
Every year I take pockets of inspiration from the spectacular gardens being shown at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Some plants which stood out and caught me in the eye this year are ones featured in the Gold medal winning garden designed by Andy Sturgeon for The Daily Telegraph. This garden creating colour and light, also won Best in Show.
For a 360 degree view of the garden, click here.
This is the first commission Andy has taken on since suffering the sadness of losing his partner, and mother to his three children, who passed away suddenly in her sleep last Summer.
The beautiful blue Salvia nemorosa Caradonna above was one of her favourites, and since I started gardening it's been a firm favourite of mine too. With it's electric blue flowers, it's a great value plant which will go on long into the Autumn, and will only be knocked back at the first sign of frost.
How pleased was I to see other heart-skipping favourite plants of mine chosen for the garden too.
Having always loved bearded Iris after inheriting a lovely white variety in my own garden, I've so far resisted the temptation to add any more.
Will I be able to resist the dusky and demure delights of Iris Action Time above?
Beautiful, just like my maternal Nan who was named Iris.
Or, the orangy pinkness of Verbascum Clementine?
I've been wanting to add more of this plant to my garden.
Or, the ghostly white of Eryngium Miss Wilmott?
I've coveted a big clump of this after seeing it used at Denman's Garden in Fontwell near Arundel, a local garden to me, and home of garden designer John Brooks.
I've had quick look and all these plants, and more, are available on-line!
Tempting enough for you?
TUESDAY GARDEN RAKE
We've seen more breaks of sunshine this week, with very little rain.
The photo above shows dusky fatheads of French Lavender, a plant more suited to these conditions.
I like to dot old garden tools around the garden.
I bought this nice ladies fork for a £1 at a local carboot sale at the weekend.
There's been another trip to the plant nursery!
I had herbs on my shopping list, but came away with a Heuchera Ginger Ale plant instead!
It has such pretty little creamy yellow flowers.
Who could resist?
We've both had time off this week, and on Tuesday with the in-laws, we visited Exbury Gardens in Hampshire.
I'm really pleased we brought these copper-affect birds home, after seeing a pair in the plant area.
They look just the part whirling around, and should help to keep the real thing off the vegetable patch?
There's new fresh growth on the Lemon Balm which seeded itself next to a Gooseberry bush.
Little did I know what good companions they are.
Click here for herbal jam and jelly recipes, which includes one using gooseberries and lemon balm, together!
HARDY PERENNIALS AND OLD-FASHIONED GARDEN FLOWERS
Describing the most desirable plants for borders, rockeries and shrubberies, including foliage as well as flowering plants by John Wood 1884 Illustrated.
I discovered this old book, now to be found as an e-book on the web.
All modes of culture are given from specimens successfully grown in the author's own garden.
Just like me, and my blog!
Click on the illustration above, showing A Corner of the Author's Garden at Kirkstall, to read and gather information from this charming old book.
Just sharing with you a few photos from our day out on Tuesday to Exbury Gardens in Hampshire.
Choisya - Mexican Orange Blossom
Exbury Gardens is world-famous for the Rothschild collection of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, rare trees and plants.
TUESDAY GARDEN RAKE
It's been another busy week!
Gardening isn't just about meandering around with your snips, cutting flowers and dead-heading, the majority of work is hard, and back-breaking.
It's always my job to clear the Bramble, and ending up looking like I've gone four rounds with the neighbour's cat!
The weather has been mainly cloudy with spells of rain, and there's been a drop in temperature.
Like me, the Centaurea Montana above is most happy when in sunny conditions, and manages to catch the very little there was this week.
Unlike me, as a rule, plants with fuzzy hair or silver leaves will tolerate being baked.
A plant more suited to semi-shade is Solomon's Seal.
Once established it will spread, and goes well with shade loving ferns in a woodland setting.
At this time of year, I do my best to keep on top of the weeds!
Aaargh! Two weeds new to my garden last year are Bindweed (which I promptly treated with a Glyphosate-based weedkiller) and sticky Cleaver,which I pull out by hand.
One weed which makes itself at home is Herb Robert (a member of the Geranium family). It does have a very pretty pink flower, so I tend to leave some, making sure I pull up before they set seed everywhere!
The butterflies in the garden have been a welcome distraction.
Holly Blue, Small White, Peacock and Speckled Wood.
Deadnettle and Sweet Woodruff work well together, just like our new coalition government?
The semi-shade border is filling out nicely with Campanula, Potentilla, Geranium, Astrantia, Japanese Anemone, Heuchera, Lamium, Sedum, Aquilegia and Alchemilla.
Potted on plants bought mail order.
Gaura Ballerina Blush and Salvia Mystic Spires for the borders, and Dahlia Bishop of York to plant up individually into large pots.
I enjoy keeping a watchful eye on the birds in the garden.
As well as House Sparrows, Dunnocks, Starlings and Blackbirds, there's been Great Tits, Blue Tits, and a pesky Magpie!
There's been daily visits from the Garden Warbler, and Chaffinches are in and out of next door's Hawthorn tree.
It's not easily recognisable from this photo, but this is a Garden Warbler, and in my garden!
I'm really quite excited, as the birds who commonly frequent my patch, are well, more of the common variety!
For well over a week I've been hearing the most beautiful of birdsong, and not until I took time to investigate, by listening in to a snippet on the RSPB Birds by Name, did I discover which bird indeed it was coming from.
It sings up high from the very top of a neighbour's Conifer tree.
I was lucky enough to get a couple of photos when it flew lower down into one of our Hawthorns. It's the best out of the two, which I had to crop and lighten to get some sort of view. The other photo, shows a very black eye, which is a prominent feature of a Garden Warbler.
I hope it decides on a local site to use as its breeding ground? There's always plenty of insects and berries to eat in my garden.
I also heard my first Chiffchaff of the year whilst walking through woodland in Shermanbury over the Bank Holiday weekend. Even though I am rubbish at birdsong, I know this one, as my Dad does a wicked impersonation which is so like the real thing!
Move over Bill Oddie!
TUESDAY GARDEN RAKE
Sitting pretty in my garden is Aubrietia.
This week sees the first sighting of the Speckled Wood butterfly. Infact there were three engaging in a dogfight!
This one takes a moment to rest on a Euonymus hedge.
I bought these lovely terracotta vegetable markers in Wilkinsons, and a pack of Gladiolus, Nanus Charming Lady, a pink variety, to be grown in clusters of five. Perfect for filling in the gaps.
I've done well for plants this week!
Coming away from our local B&Q with three Stachys byzantina and two Geum 'Mrs J Bradshaw' plants, (5 cottage garden plants for £5), also a pack of bedding White Salvia and New Guinea Impatiens, and a Carex 'Rekohu Sunrise', a very attractive evergreen grass.
A visit to a local plant nursery in search of more grasses, I find and buy a pretty yellow Verbascum called 'Primrose Path'.
Just to put the icing on the cake, my step-Dad-in-law surprised me with a Rhubarb Champagne crown, and a Blueberry bush!
I do work to some sort of plan in my garden, and forever moving and dividing plants.
Certain features you inherit, and short of hiring an excavator you have to work around what you've got.
I do discover happy accidents though, where plants self-seed themselves in just the perfect spot!
The plants have been loving the soaking they've had this week, with heavy showers.
I think this Oriental Poppy flower bud looks a bit like a bunny rabbit!
All the neighbourhood cats love the garden!
The one above, who just happens to be my favourite, wears a bell, so hopefully the birds do get an early warning?
There's lots of places in the garden where cats like to explore and hide, ready to pounce on the first thing that moves, butterflies, moths, frogs, and birds!