The Old Rectory


Isle of Wight

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An occasional (depending on how busy I am gardening!) comment on beautiful plants or moments as they happen in our garden.

By roses382, Apr 17 2019 10:27AM

The last few weeks have seen many cold nights, with frosts on a regular basis (we are at the bottom of a slope which does mean the frost sits just over the main garden). The winds have been Easterly, cold and drying, with not much in the way of rain. So this morning was one to treasure; milder and misty with the promise of sunshine, and no wind. A perfect Spring morning, and wonderful, filtered light for photography.

The photo below shows Cercis chinensis 'Avondale', to the left of the gate into the walled garden. This is one of a pair, although the right hand one, is slower and smaller, as always happens when I carefully plant a pair! Just in front, another pair, of Chimonanthus Praecox, Wintersweet, which after quite a few years wait, now scents the path with that sweet, spicy scent, for weeks in the darkest depths of Winter.

The tulips in the Urn are 'Charming Lady', a favourite for it's long lasting, eggy yellow, double blooms, along with 'Yellow Crown' and yellow wallflowers, which are currently outshone by the tulips.

The Rambling Rose on the archway is 'Bleu Magenta', a gorgeous slatey, bruised purple when in flower.

The two smaller iron urns last year contained just the Mexican Daisy, Erigeron Karvinskianus,which flowered for months with no intervention and very little in the way of water, so that is something that will be repeated this summer.

It finally feels like we have turned a corner weatherwise, and I am looking forward so much to many joyous days outside.

By roses382, Mar 11 2019 07:36PM

From left to right, top to bottom:

Double primrose 'Vintage'

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Pelargonium 'Deerwood Lavender lad' (Conservatory)

Helleborus orientalis 'Golden Lotus'

Ribes sanguineum 'Pokey's Pink'

Tropaeolum tricolor (Conservatory)

Lunaria annua 'Corfu Blue'

Camellia japonica 'Contessa Lavinia Maggi'

By roses382, Mar 10 2019 03:09PM

The greenhouse was one of the first things we added when we moved here 16 years ago. It is an Alitex aluminium one, a traditional Victorian design and I love it. It is the 'Engine Room' of the garden, especially at this time of year, when there are plants teetering on every surface.

Currently there are pots of Tulips (grown under cover to protect them from marauding bulb eating creatures), Tomato, Aubergine and Cucumber plants on a slightly heated mat, annual flower seedlings in trays, and baby salad leaves.

Cuttings taken last summer and autumn are overwintered here until they are big enough to be a bit hardier. Or some are tender such as my growing collection of Salvias. I usually leave one plant outside and take cuttings as a precaution so that I can see how hardy a plant is. One such is Salvia Curviflora, which has a beautiful magenta velvety flower. I had thought this too tender to survive, being from Mexico, but it has come through very well, and I have babies to plant out in Spring.

There are cuttings of shrubs such as Deutzia, Indigofera and Edgeworthia, pots of Ranunculus, which should provide lovely blooms for cutting a bit later on, and many succulents, some of which I have been propagating this morning by taking leaf cuttings. The 60mph winds have kept me indoors today!

The plants which are not needed in the garden will be sold for charity on NGS days, or by the Barn Gate if I get my act together.

By roses382, Feb 3 2019 03:51PM

With the ground too frozen for working, I have been out cutting Hazel, Willow and Birch for making plant supports. I will make Bean supports with the larger straight stems of Hazel, with the woven horizontals made of Willow where they can't root! Today I managed to push some stems of Birch into the hard ground among some of the perennials that will need support later, and wove some cages. This is very unlike me to be so organised; usually I am trying to rectify the damage done after a windy day when I should have staked before! There is something satisfying about getting ahead of myself though and it has been really enjoyable weaving the twiggy stems of Birch around one another. Six cages done in no time at all and it is a good feeling utilising wood grown here. Hopefully the supports will blend nicely in as the plants grow. I also made a couple of Birch wreaths and hung them in the shed in preparation for next Christmas!

By roses382, Feb 1 2019 09:20AM

The garden in Winter gets better each year as the structure develops. I love the fact that I have time to wander and enjoy it. The summer months are so frantic, and the highlights of Winter obscured by the froth of Roses, flowering shrubs and annuals. The contrast between the Yew topiary and the trimmed Beech is reminiscent of Beech woodland with a carpet of Ivy; the brown of the retained beech leaves contrasting with the deep green of the Yew. The golden backdrop of branches are the Lime Avenue across the road to Kingston Manor. From this viewpoint the road is unnoticeable, obscured by the beech hedge between, and clipped hollies, beautifully shaped by Becky.

The Yews were planted as 5ft trees, about 4 years ago. I had originally planned them as cones, but returning from a trip to Versailles, I got the clippers out, and since then Digby has taken them on and they are developing into wonderful shapes. He is much more patient than me!

The Beech trees will eventually be 3 tiered 'Wedding cake' shapes.

The frosting is like the icing on the cake, making everything sparkle in the weak sunlight.

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