The City Garden – Spring in London

I have been digging, tidying, mulching and feeding since I returned from South Africa at the beginning of the month and the garden in London is finally ready for the summer. There are still some spaces left to fill but the cuttings for these spaces still have some growing to do before they can be moved again. This is the difficult garden. I have a damp and shady bed along a flint wall; a bed along a brick wall which is hot and dry at one end, dampish and shadyish in the middle, and shady and dry at the other end; a bed along the fence which is hot and dry at both ends and semi-shaded under a tree in the middle; another hot, dry corner; and pots in the ‘Fernery’ which has not quite settled. And to cap it all I have SNAILS!

The flint wall bed is looking good apart from one very small corner under the birch tree – here the soil is shallow, dry, and ‘rooty’, but I will find something which enjoys a challenge! I could perhaps plant more Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ or Aquilegias, which are both doing well, or  Bergenias, Aquilegias, and Japanese Anemones are all flourishing and ferns are starting to grow in spaces in the wall and amongst the plants. And next to that the patio bed is settling down nicely – the Amelanchier is flowering and the persicaria, pulmonaria, and aquilegias are filling out well.

The flint wall & the patio bed
The flint wall & the patio bed

The brick wall bed has been reviewed, tidied, and some parts have been rearranged. Deschampsia, Japanese Anemones, and Dogwoods are doing well at the hot end, where the Veronicastrum is coming up and thickening nicely. The Himalayan Clematis is also doing well, but I need to find a way of shoring it up/containing the growth. I have moved a Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ to this end as it was groping for the light and plan to contain it with pruning. This side should work well in a month’s time and during the summer. I have left the grasses on the sunnier side and balanced with ‘spiky’ libertia and ferns on the shadier side. Under and inbetween planting is with geraniums, saxifrage, and ajuga, amongst other things.

The brick wall bed
The brick wall bed

Unfolding Holly fern, Cyrtomium

Geranium Macrorrhizum 'Spessart'

London Pride Ajuga

Along the fence I have spread the grasses – Miscanthus ‘Kleine Silberspinne’ and Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ – and surrounded them with Sedums and Nepeta. This should look less crowded than last year, and there may be space to tuck in some Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ which I have been dividing in Suffolk. I have added Carex Testacea and Othiopogon and the Pennisutum ‘Hamelm’ and Anamanthele are clumping up well. Inbetween I have Geranium Macrorrhizum ‘Spessart’ and Geranium Phaeum ‘Samobor’, dark-leaved sedums, and a shortish Veronicastrum which I have moved from behind the dogwoods. It looks ‘right’ and I am hopeful of a good show this summer.

The bed along the fence

The hot corner

And that leaves the pots in the ‘fernery’. The Hakonechloa are just starting and I anticipate this pot looking abundantly gold in a few months’ time – but there is still work to be done beyond this little fringe of gold.


The Fortnight Garden – Spring in Suffolk

The garden in Suffolk should really be called ‘The Fortnight Garden’ because that is what I am trying to do – make an interesting garden on a few day’s attention once a fortnight. Crazy! I returned from wonderful weeks in South Africa to find the garden in Suffolk hadn’t missed me at all; instead it was getting on with the New Year. I have squeezed in a few days but it really needs my undivided attention for at least a week and I don’t have a week until early April. So what is keeping me busy? I am digging in London, still posting on my travels in South Africa (with gardening posts to come from South Africa!), thinking about what is needed in Suffolk, and starting to work on a little photography exhibition in early 2018 together with a friend! Quite a long list of ‘things to do’ but first I am going to enjoy the spring in the Suffolk garden.