The Old Rectory


Isle of Wight

Welcome to my blog


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

By roses382, Jun 19 2019 06:40PM

After a marathon dead-heading session following yet another rainy day, the compost heap looks as colourful as the garden!

By roses382, Jun 17 2019 07:40PM

Yesterday we opened for the NGS, and it was a very fraught week leading up to it, with gales and heavy rain just as the garden was at it's most vulnerable. I had staked many things earlier in the year, but the combination of rain and wind meant that I spent a good deal of the week propping things back up, or cutting them where damage had occurred. So I was feeling pretty fed up as NGS day dawned wet and windy. But my better half was optimistic and told me it would be fine, and of course, I should have known, he is always right (and I mean always!). The sun nearly came out, the people came, all 314 of them! And although I haven't done the final totting up, in the region of £2700 was made for charity, the NGS of course, and the Brighstone Scouts, who once again did a fantastic job on the teas and scrummy cakes.

A huge thank you to them, and to my band of willing (I hope!) helpers, without whom, we could not open. I am so grateful to you all.

Today I think, the garden has never looked as beautiful. It is that perfect moment before things loosen and slip a little into chaos. So here in celebration of that, are some photos taken today.

By roses382, Jun 3 2019 08:03PM

The walled garden is so bright and colourful at the moment you almost need sunglasses! This is mostly down to the colourful annuals that self-seed prolifically and hence bloom earlier than the ones I sow in spring. At the moment the Californian Poppies are almost neon and the flowers seem huge this year. There is also vivid blue from the Cornflowers, and pinks and reds from the Shirley poppies. I weed the self-sowers out where I don't want them, but they certainly liven things up a bit until the Dahlias and Cosmos get going, and they are great for the bees too. The climbing rose in the background is the beautiful 'Meg'; a gorgeous pinky apricot with rusty red stamens.

By roses382, May 14 2019 03:15PM

The Yew 'people' as we call them, on the lawn at the back of the house, are developing nicely. They were planted 5 years ago, as 5ft. trees, and were originally planned as cones. They have since developed their own distinct personalities, and seem to bring the area to life in a strange way, looming over the space and casting wonderful shadows. They can be seen from the top of the hill above the garden, and are wonderful with a fairytale coating of frost. They are also a favourite nesting site for birds, usually Dunnocks, and as the Yews are trimmed in the Winter, the birds are safe in there, unless a predatory magpie intervenes.

In the borders surrounding the Yews, this time of year everything is just about to happen. There are Viburnum opulus 'roseum' , (the Snowball bush), and Tree Lupins just beginning to flower, but otherwise I am enjoying the contrasting greens and the lushness of the Spring growth. It is excting to look forward to a few weeks ahead when the roses and perennials come into their own.

By roses382, May 11 2019 09:04PM

I spend a fair bit of time weeding things out where they have seeded and I don't want them to be, but there are many occasions where the perfect plant puts itself in the perfect place. and when this happens, it usually means the opportunist plant thrives without attention because it has chosen it's ideal growing spot.

The following two photos illustrate this perfectly. The stone steps down to the patio are filled in between with Viola labradorica, Primroses and variations of Lamium maculatum, which mingle and hybridise.

The Lamium is a vigorous spreader, but wonderful groundcover for inhospitable positions such as dry shade, or dry sun, it seems happy anywhere in fact. It is also a great early nectar provider for bees, and flowers for months.

The second image shows the edge of the Fish Pond where the mortar has cracked and various things have found their way here. Hart's Tongue fern, double Feverfew, wild strawberries, the Mexican Daisy - Erigeron karvinskianus, and the white form of Herb Robert, all have somehow seeded themselves vertically with no soil and soften the edges perfectly. The trick with this way of gardening is to know your seedlings and remove anything that might jar - the Feverfew may get too tall for example and then I may intervene. Otherwise I just enjoy the 'happy accidents'.

(The pond, I confess, is looking rather too full of pond weed owing to the fact that Toad-poles are currently prolific and it is almost impossible to extricate weed without them getting trapped in it, so that job will have to wait).

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