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 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.

By roses382, Oct 5 2017 07:44PM

Berberis are not generally one of my favourite things; far too prickly to weed under comfortably, and although I have a large specimen of Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea, it remains purely because it was a present from my daughter, and not because I like it much (sorry Eleanor, if you are reading this!).

But there is one Berberis that I love unconditionally, Berberis Georgei, despite it being thorny, with non-descript yellow flowers. Most of the year it sits on it's sunny bank, quietly waiting for it's moment of glory, which comes in autumn in the form of glistening red berries.

It is currently laden; it's spindly branches pendulous with the weight of all those berries, like little ruby beads, which last for ages as the birds don't seem to be bothered - too many other tempting things in the hedgerows at this time of year.

The matt green foliage is a perfect foil for the berries, which look as though they should be adorning a Christmas tree. It will eventually make a shrub up to 12ft, mine is about 4ft and I look forward to the time when it has achieved full glory.

For such a beautiful thing, it is not easy to find. RHS Plant finder currently only lists 2 suppliers nationwide.

Mine came from 'The Place for Plants' in Suffolk although I was on a waiting list for a year or so, it was worth waiting for. I will be trying some hardwood cuttings shortly, so I can use it in other places that need a bit of autumn cheer.

By roses382, Sep 23 2017 08:01PM

Today was one of those delicious September days to be cherished. The sun was warm, the apples were shiny and heavy on the trees, and the garden was full of butterflies making the most of the late flowers.Today was the much anticipated Cider Making day. The Orchard has never been as abundant as it is this year. We planted it 14 years ago on vigorous rootstocks, to make large trees, in keeping with the age of the house. There are apples, pears, medlars, cherries and plums, but today the apples were the stars.

Two daughters were at home to help with picking; we borrowed an apple press from Digby, and were excited to use the new 'Apple Scratter' to pulp the apples. After a morning's work picking, scratting and pressing, we had about 30 litres of beautiful juice, some for the fridge, some for the freezer, and the rest to make cider. My better half being a Chemist, is well placed to fiddle around with PH, specific gravity and the like. Me, well I am happy picking the apples with the daughters and dogs. In fact I have to say, it was the most perfect day.

By roses382, Sep 20 2017 04:12PM

This year I have planted a number of Delphiniums in the borders to the rear of the Potting Shed. These four equal size plots are open to the ravages of rabbits, but Dahlias and Bearded Irisis do very well here in the open sunny position and remain largely untouched. With a bit of space in one of the beds I thought I would try Delphiniums as I had read that they are rabbit-proof. This does not always prove to be true and I have lost many so-called rabbit-proof plants, so I was sceptical. I can now report that Delphiniums are, here anyway, also untouched by rabbits.

One of the cultivars planted was from the 'Highlander' series, a range of double Delphiniums bred by a Scottish couple, Tony and Maureen Coakley. These are extremely hardy, sturdier than the average Delphinium, and come in the most exquisite colours. I have planted Highlander 'Moonlight', and it lives up to it's name, being the most beautiful mix of palest opal, lime green, sky blue, and lavender, with an unlikely hint of chocolate. Using it as a cut flower means it is at eye-level on the patio table and I can fully appreciate this wonderful colour mix.

Also in the vase are; Dahlia 'Emory Paul', the most edible shade of raspberry red imaginable, Symphiotrichum novi-belgii 'Marie Ballard' (commonly known as Aster - how I wish the powers that be would leave names alone!) with Eucalyptus gunnii 'Azura, and a solitary stem of Dahlia 'Hillcrest Royal'.

RSS Feed

Web feed