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, Jan 21 2019 11:44AM

After a recent bout of 'flu, and feeling too weak to garden, yet having to force myself outside with the dogs, I let them run around while I wandered listlessly snipping some stems around the field and garden. If I can't be out immersing myself in the plants, then they will have to come indoors!

The arrangement that ensued lifted my spirits no end. It should last a couple of weeks in the coolness of the Conservatory.

The stems are Hazel, for it's drapey Catkins, Arum italicum 'Marmoratum' (beautifully marbled foliage), Snowdrop 'S. Arnott', a tall and robust variety, Lunaria annua 'Corfu Blue', which has been in flower consistently for months, and a few stems of Skimmia x confusa 'Kew Green'

The container is a Wedgwood pink Nautilus, found on ebay and such an entrancing shade of sugar pink, it is begging to be filled with Easter blooms, and then pastel roses come summer. The only problem with this plan is that I shall probably be too busy then to even think about floral arrangements!

By roses382, Jan 15 2019 12:26PM

This winter has been the mildest and driest I can remember. Wandering around the garden I see Cornflowers and Penstemon still in flower - in January! But the winter stalwarts are in abundance too. This collage shows some of the best plants at the moment. From left to right, top to bottom;

Iris reticulata 'Harmony', Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin', Viburnum davidii, Corylus avellana (Common Hazel), Erysimum 'Winter Orchid', Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill', Salix alba 'Golden Ness' and the stinking Hellebore, Helleborus foetidus.

By roses382, Oct 10 2018 08:46AM

Last year we made a large, rectangular Squash/Pumpkin Bed, constructed from Sleepers joined together with metal rods to hold them in place. We wanted to make use of the clippings from the Wildflower Meadows and thought it would be perfect for growing Pumpkins in, as in the past they have self seeded into the Compost Heaps where they seem perfectly at home. We made this next to the Polytunnel where the plants could wander where they wanted. Using the tractor to load the composting grass in to the bed, it was left to rot down over the winter, with a topping of green waste compost. Last year was extremely successful, but I never quite got around to a blog! This year, despite being so dry, has also been fantastic, and at the weekend I harvested 73 Squash of 5 varieties, these being Red Kuri, Crown Prince, Festival, Barbara and Little Dumpling. I concentrated on the slightly smaller varieties as the bigger ones are so difficult to cut and prepare. Even so, some of the Barbara Butternuts grew so big that I could barely lift them! This is a lovely stripey variety with a long neck and few seeds that has become my 'go to' Butternut.

I think everybody I know will be getting gifts of Squashes over the coming weeks as, much as I love eating them, I will never get through so many, and with 2 daughters away at Uni, the household is sadly diminished. Middle daughter has complained that she had to buy some frozen, prepared Squash, and it 'tasted nothing like yours, Muv'! I can't quite work out how to send some to Edinburgh, short of a very long drive!

Anyway, I am rambling, so here are the photos, one taken in July, and the second, last weekend.

By roses382, Jun 17 2018 08:07PM

Last week I was very excited to find 4 wild Orchids growing in the first of the perennial Wildflower Meadows that we sowed 5 or 6 years ago. The Orchids arrived by themselves, which is fantastic as it means that after several years of lowering the soil fertlity to check the rampant growth of the vigorous grasses, and with the spreading of the Yellow Rattle, which is doing very nicely, the habitat is now right for the Orchids to grow.

I am not sure on the identification. There are no spots on the leaves, and they are flowering later than the Early Purple's on the verge up the road. So I don't think they are Early Purple's or Common Spotted. The flowers have no veining on them so they are not Green Winged, and not stubby enough for Pyramidal.

My best guess is Southern Marsh Orchid, although the soil here is generally very dry we do have a few wetter patches, and I have read that they can grow in drier soils. But the more I read about hybridisation between the species and variations of flower colour and shape of lobing within the species, the harder it seems to make any identification without an expert on hand. So any help/comments very gratefully received!

By roses382, Jun 17 2018 07:17PM

Here is the poster for the forthcoming fund-raising event in aid of

The Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Please come along and support this very worthy cause.

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