Non-tacky garden wall fountains are hard to find

March19

 

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In 2007 I started collecting pictures of garden water features I’d like to have, but the reality at retail level was disappointing. Unless I wanted a leprechaun spitting into a pot of gold, shops both online and off-line were destined to be a dead-end for me.

After much thinking, searching and persuading of my husband to organize an electrician and an outside power point, I have assembled this (admittedly blurry) slate coloured fountainhead in the shape of a lizard, pouring into a stone-effect slate coloured trough which is in fact fiberglass. In the foreground is a hellebore. The fountain head is from Haddonstone and the trough from Dunbar Garden Centre near me here in East Lothian in Scotland.

I promise to post more pictures of the wall fountain as soon as the growth is more lush and/or I found some way to disguise the transparent pipe that carries water from the submerged pump in the trough up to the fountainhead.

Apologies for the ten-month absence on this blog. I became ill and stressed last May and needed to step right back from lots of things, including the podcast I had been publishing on this blog. However I plan to start posting at least monthly here again.

What are you doing in your garden this month? Does March make you feel as restless and as eager to garden as it makes me? Leave a comment below.

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SWG008 Early May: white bluebells and water features

May1

white bluebells with parrot tulipThe abundance of May slightly takes me by surprise every year. So much of the greenery that strikes my eye, from the herbaceous peonies to the delphiniums, was invisible in January, but now it is all part of the greenscape that makes the May garden seethe with life.

This week in the podcast I’m appreciating how well white flowering spring bulbs look up against all those greens, including the unusual white bluebells that grow in this garden, as well as leucojum (the summer snowflake). In this episode I’m also looking at a few new sponsors for my charity plant sale on 24 May – including David Austin Roses (donating a raffle prize of a cut roses bouquet), Macplants, and Binny Plants – and I’m giving a brief rundown on the water feature I’m planning in the corner of this small garden.

Do you have a water feature in your garden? I thought and dreamed about one for years, but I could never find components that wouldn’t look twee or cost a fortune. I have finally found a stone-effect trough that is convincing to my eye, along with a classy wall-mounted fountain spout from Haddonstone. I’ll keep you posted as and when I get it installed, if I figure out how to make all the pieces work together.

What are you doing in your garden this week?

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SWG007 Mid April: planting combinations, new peonies and ailing camellias

April19

peony Duchesse de Nemours

I’ve been in my small garden long enough to know that every square inch is precious, so I still surprise myself when I realise I’m giving up space to plants I don’t love, like a pieris near the French doors by my office.

There’s a camellia I love – camellia sasanqua Winter’s toughie – which is struggling in a small pot in the courtyard part of the garden. The right thing to do would be to transplant it into an ericaceous barrel with the pieris, but I’ve hesitated because I’m afraid of crowding out the pieris. The shrub has only just moved into its own barrel after tucking in beside a rhododendron for a number of years, and my natural sympathies for the plant make me reluctant to force it to share space again. But it’s time to be ruthless: the camellia means more to me, and with my full garden getting ever fuller, I really can’t afford to be indulgent.

In this week’s podcast I’m talking a bit about my ruthless streak, including my habit for shamelessly chopping back strong perennials that are crowding out first-year plants like a fabulous Bourbon rose I bought at the RHS Chelsea flower show last year. I couldn’t think of the grower’s name during the recording, but it is Peter Beales Roses, a fine grower who had a most impressive (and crowded!) stand at last year’s show.

You can hear the current episode below, or use an app like iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to it as a podcast for iTunes, Windows or Android: Stitcher subscribe instructions are here.

Here’s a list of plants and other key names in this week’s episode:

  • Pieris
  • Rhododendron purple splendor
  • Tulips Orange Emperor, Professor Rontgen, Passionale, Moneymaker, Clusiana Sheila
  • Narcissus Sun Disc
  • Zaluzianskya – night scented phlox
  • Anemone Blanda
  • Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote
  • Mahonia japonica
  • Lily of the Valley – convallaria majalis
  • Herbaceous Peonies: red Sarah Bernhardt; Duchesse de Nemours (pictured above)
  • Bourbon Rose Mme. Isaac Pereire
  • Peter Beales Roses is the supplier I visited at last year’s RHS Chelsea flower show
  • Sarah Hayhoe is the stained-glass designer: see samples of her work in one of my Chelsea posts from 2013.

What are you doing in your garden this spring? Have you allowed yourself to spring clean plants that aren’t earning their keep?

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SWG006 Early April in a Scottish cottage garden

April4

Early spring bulbs from the Scottish cottage gardenIn this episode I’m looking at the delphiniums that are growing like wildfire and planning how to get bigger blooms this July.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Annual surprises in the October border

October9

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I’ll bet you clever gardeners realised this long before I did: a few annuals spangled across an autumn border can be terribly effective.

This is the first year I’ve really seen this in action. The orange daisy above is calendula “flashback mixed”, and elsewhere I have morning glory looking stunning and deeply purple every morning. Alongside the more sturdy perennials, like the Aster Frikartii Monch in the background above, the annuals make a great picture this time of year.
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I showed my daughter the morning glory through the window before school today, and asked her what she thought it looked like. She looked at the heart-shaped leaves and the purple flowers and said, “it looks like the trumpets are blowing love kisses.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

What’s in your autumn border looking gorgeous?

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