Saturday 7 August 2010

Gardening and the joy it brings.......

I cannot believe that we are in August already. Time is so fleeting.
I have felt at one with the garden this year. There have been disappointments........the chamomile and alpine strawberry meadow didn't make it. For some reasons the rabbits took delight in digging up most of the plants. Eventually I gave up, and the plants that survived were put into the borders.

Native wild flowers have changed the garden completely and I feel like I have at last found 'my way' Many have just appeared and I have been relaxed enough to just leave them.
My chaotic planting may not appeal to all, but the birds, bees, and butterflies seem to be loving it.
and I must say in all honesty, I really fit into this garden. Each morning and evening I walk the area I have a wonderful feeling of being connected.
I thought I would share with you some of my favourite plants and plant combinations. I love hops, there will always be hops in this garden. Not so long ago Kent had many hop farms.....sadly most have gone. During the war, my mother was evacuated to Kent and spent much time on the hop farms. She tells some wonderful stories. I shall cut the flowers in autumn and hang them over the fireplace.......
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail'.....I am totally obsessed with persicaria. I have many running through the borders......I love them and this is my very favourite.
I have at last found the seed packet.....this lovely vine is Ipomoea x Imperialis 'sunrise serenade' I have nine plants, all grown from the seed Beckie and Rose sent. They are climbing obelisks, shrubs and running through the borders. The blooms are so delicate.....and beautifully crumpled. I really really love this vine and shall be growing it again next year.
Combinations I like: sweet peas, wild carrot and clematis.
Jerusalem Cross and dill...........
Marsh mallow and verbena bonariensis.......
Echinops and Crocrosmia 'lucifer'.........
Mallow and purple loostrife.............

The above were all planned.....this was not.......mother nature does it far better than I ever can. Ragwort and purple loosestrife........I have plans for this lovely combination. I would love to know which is your favourite combination, it is always nice to have some feedback.

I sent for a new bird table. Really like it, fits in well. The birds seem happy with it.

and finally this little bird flew into the summer house window. I put her amongst the long grass in the copse. She eventually flew away.....hope she will be alright.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend..........and the weather is doing just what you want it to.


  1. I love your garden and your chaotic planting certainly appeals to me! It's hard to choose a favourite from you selection but I think for me it would be between Jerusalem cross and dill or the marshmallow and verbena. Love the new bird table - glad the birds also approve. Hope the little invalid will be OK. We had large patio doors in France and the number of birds which flew into them was huge in spite of all our ideas to let them know it was there - we even had the roller shutters down part way most of the time - but I was so often amazed at how many of them actually did seem to recover if left alone. Sadly we did lose a few too though.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Jane x

  2. Hi Jane....tku for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

    That is the first time a bird has flown into a window of the summer house. I shall try the usual things, but as you say they do not work that well. I have blinds in the conservatory and the birds still fly into the sad....sigh

  3. I just love seeing the overall photos of your garden Cheryl. No wonder you love to be out there your garden is gorgeous. I am always taken aback at first at seeing the children in the garden. ;) I have to tell myself it isn't your Grands because their hair isn't golden. My favorites of your pictured combos are the Lucifer and echinops and the purple loosestrife and the last one. Geez, lets face it I like them all. :) I am having the best weekend. The weather has cooled and is quite wonderful. If summer was like this all the time I would take it. We are to pay dearly this coming week though. No rain predicted and record heat to arrive. I will get out and enjoy it while I can. Cheers.

  4. Hi Lisa....I have to say that sometimes the figures give me a scare. I still am not used to them being there, and wonder who is in the garden with me.....I will admit to a vivid imagination.
    Tku for the feedback Lisa...I am grateful.
    Glad the weather is cooler. It has cooled down here but we have had very little rain. These hot summers seem to be a sign of what is to come. Enjoy the better weather while you can.......

  5. Dear Cheryl - I'm so sorry that I've not been in touch and that I missed the end of your other blog... it's been SO busy this summer with work and watering as we've had such hot and dry weather and v. little rain... at least it's been a little cooler this last few days and at last a chance to add a bit to my blog - have loads to write and hope to be able to do this in the next short while - do take care and I'll be in touch again soon - Miranda x

  6. Cheryl, Every combination is exquisite, as is the whole of your beautiful garden! Love the birds and the likenesses of the children as well. You truly live in a "wonderland."

  7. I too like and feel at home in a "wild" garden. Only those children sculptures are so realistic I always have to look twice to realize they're not real kids... I too love V. bonariensis and echinops and everything else you show. :) I'm going to need to find a sunnier place for my hops because I didn't get any blooms.

  8. HI Miranda....thank you for your comment, hope that you are keeping well.

    We have also had extremely dry has been a difficult summer.

  9. Amy, you are just too kind. I think if you saw the garden 'for real', you would not call it wonderland.
    It is easy to be selective about the images we post.......there are plenty of areas that do not look so good.

  10. Hi Monica, I am not an expert on hops but I find the most important thing is water. Mine do not like to be kept dry. I have one hop in shade and whilst it does not have as many flowers as the other two plants (in sun), it does have some.

    Hope the weather is not too hot for you......

  11. Hi Cheryl,

    Oooh that persicaria is wonderful!

    And I an very much enjoying your Loosetrife/Ragwort mix, and that's quite unusual considering my dislike of yellow... Perhaps I am becoming a convert??

    I do hope the little Sparrow recovered well, she was probably too busy collecting food for young and not paying enough attention... Either that or you have a Sparrowhawk in the area...

  12. Hi Liz....persicaria is pretty is all Piet's fault. He is a fan and turned me into a fan....can't get enough of them and they seem to love it here, they are romping away.
    The Loosestrife/Ragwort mix is my favourite. Like you yellow was never my first choice for flowers but I am a definate convert........

    There is a sparrowhawk around. She has been in the trees in the copse. I have seen her once or twice. That could well be the answer......

  13. Cheryl, your garden is one of the most vivid, alive and wonderful I have ever seen!
    A coincidence too, as I was thinking today about Verbena Bonariensis - it's one of my favourite plants.
    All of the plants in the pictures look wonderful together! Pleased to see your Maltese Cross is looking great! Mine will have to wait until next year when the build has finished.
    Thanks for your comment on Dungeness. My dad was an mechanical engineer and spent some time at Dungeness - I'll have to ask him about it. We have some friends on Sheppey, so next time we visit, I'll let you know.

  14. Dear Cheryl,
    If I was a bee I would want to have my hive right in the middle of your fantastic gardens. You have something growing and blooming for everyone and all year long! You have a full four season garden. I love the native plants the best. Yellow and purple speak to me. I also love how you have left the plants the birds and wind sowed. Perhaps I am going wild.....
    Charming bird feeder. I enjoy feeding the birds too.
    Bugs and birds and blooms make your gardens so alive. (I too grow hops! Host plant for the Question mark Butterfly)
    I understand how connected you are to your gardens. You have put your heart and soul into them. I love providing host plants for the bugs. I look at the leaves of my plants and hope to see eaten holes. A different sort of gardening!
    It has been unbearably hot and humid at my house. I am trying to keep the bird baths and puddlers filled for the birds and bugs. Water is what my critters need right now. I am allowing all the plants to go to seed for the birds. I will save some for next year.
    Thank you for sharing your sacred space.

  15. Hi Cheryl....very interesting to hear about the Hops plant....I have three or four plants growing in places that I wish not to be overtaking in vines!!
    My Hops plant came from and old abandonded farm near where I grew up in Northern Maine....did not at the time know what it was but got a piece of it and brought to my home here.... I also pick it and use it inside to decorate!!!
    Your gardens are very pretty colors and it would be had to say what combination I really you say the ones in nature aren't always what I might combine,but are always the loosestrife and ragwort to beauties together!!
    I have tryed to think out of the box and put plants together differently hardest thing to control is I am working on that!!
    I have a sign at my side entrance that says "I'm in the garden" and that seems to be what you need!! : }
    Have a fun enjoyable weekend!!

  16. Dan, you are way too kind.....there are many mistakes in the garden but none that worry me. I love the garden for everything it is, and that is the most important thing.

    Verbena Bonariensis grows easily from seed. I grew some when I first moved they re-seed everywhere. They are such a wonderful butterfly plant.....and the bees love them to.
    I love the way they gently sway in the breeze and at dusk they glow slightly.....

    Re know my email, if ever you are this way. Interesting about Dad.

  17. Dear Sherry, I to, am going wild. I love the way the gardens have evolved this year. Many of my plantings failed, mother nature sprinkled her magic and has filled empty spaces with wild flowers. For me, it has made a most magical space.....each day something new blooms. I am learning.....

    I understand, I also like to see holes in the leaves, where the bugs have eaten them. My stinging nettles are full of holes......

    I am sorry the weather is so and humid, I find difficult to cope with.
    It is warming up here, it is very humid today. We have another sunny week ahead, with no rain.......I do not like climate change.

    Hope you are well and happy......

  18. Grammie, my friend, we have something else in common....hops in the home.
    I was very interested to read how you came by your is wonderful to have history and a story to tell when you walk a garden.

    The loosestrife and ragwort are a beautiful combination......I shall grow the ragwort next spring from seed. I have plenty of loosestrife, it does tend to wander.....

    I also have a problem with pink....I must confess that it is not my first choice, and I tend to get pink pop up where I do not want it to. This year I have tried to ignore the has worked so far.

    Hope things are a little cooler for you...

  19. Charyl, You garden totally appeals to me~I see a place of refuge for gardener and critter and not chaos~I love that you let flowers move through the garden and seed about and still plan combinations~That's a fun way to garden. I love the yellows and purples~although, purple loosestrife is a terribly aggressive pest many parts of the US; it is certainly beautiful. gail

  20. Relaxation and connection - what wonderful words to use in the realm of the gardener. I like your wild side too. I don't think gardens were meant to be sculpted (I always used to laugh when seeing a hedge sculpted into animal shapes or something-or-other. Looks so unnatural and strange).

    All your combinations are winners, but if I had to pick, it would be a tie between the echinops and lucifer combo and the last one - the ragwort and purple loosestrife.

  21. Just popping over to say how much I appreciate your kind and encouraging comment on my blog. I am glad you are enjoying my saga!!

    Jane x

  22. Cheryl, I love all your wildflowers! Your garden is so full of blooms. The "chaotic" look definitely appeals to me--that's pretty much my gardening style, too. I agree that nature's combinations sometimes turn out better than anything we had planned. I like purple, so the loosestrife paired with the mallow and with the ragwort are my favorites.

    Glad you found the seed packet for your vine; that's a type of sweet potato vine, which I use a lot of for foliage, but none of mine have sweet little blooms like this.

    Sorry I've missed your last two posts--it's been a crazy, hectic weekend around here, but so wonderful to have both girls home and a house full of laughter this weekend. Oldest daughter flies back to AZ today, so things will settle down a little. Your butterfly photos are so lovely; I do like the little blue one. We have something similar here, but I've never been able to photograph one. Beckie and I were just talking about what a great year this has been for butterflies; not only have I seen so many more than in past years, but so many different varieties. I hope this is a sign that our environment is changing for the good. I'm hoping the Monarchs will still be around in September.

    Another very hot week is forecast for this week--my garden is looking as droopy as I feel:)

  23. Hi Gail....tku so much. I am learning to garden with a relaxed attitude. I have given myself a good talking to during the summer months, and it seems to have paid off.

    Loosestrife can be very invasive. I do have to keep it in check.....but it will always be here, I really love it, so do the bees and butterflies.

  24. Hi Wendy....lovely to see you here again. Will be in touch soon.

    Topiary is not my thing either.....I tried a few box balls one year, they now look like box eggs...completely the wrong shape. Obviously not my thing.

    Thank you for the feedback.....loosestrife and ragwort is my very favourite.

  25. are very welcome. I mean what I write......can't wait for the next episode.....

  26. Hi Rose....tku for feedback and your lovely comments.

    I am so pleased you had a fun time with the is wonderful to have our children back home if only for a 'tiny while.'

    I am also pleased to hear that you have many butterflies. This is wonderful news.
    I read something recently, written by a very well know butterfly expert, and he said that butterflies are indicators of how the natural world is coping with climate change. The reason I am planting more wild flowers is for this very fragile species. Gardeners can make a huge difference........

    Hope you cool down soon Rose.....this long spell of heat is rather tiresome.....

  27. Your garden looks outstanding this year, I am envious - but ina nice way!

  28. Well I made it down to here. What a wonderful blog you have. I am so glad I found you to see such beautiful wonders. I love the little boy and girl (bronze?) statues. How wonderful !
    Oh I love your blog. You are a very special person. I loved how you described see the Merlin on the shed and how your eyes met and you knew he would be gone in a flash. So often I find myself in the same situations and think the same things.
    It's such a treat to visit you !