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 19 2019 07:55AM

When we arrived here 16 years ago, there was a grass paddock to the East of the house. In our first winter here, we planted native hedging to enclose this space, and filled it with fruit trees on vigorous rootstocks where available, to recreate the atmosphere of ancient Orchards, and to fill the kichen with produce.

We planted pear, plum, apples of course, medlar, quince, crab apples, and some ornamentals for blossom including magnolia and cherry. In the intervening years, Rambling Roses have been planted to wrap around the trees and provide interest over the summer months between blossom and colouring of the fruit.

Over the years many hundreds of Narcissi have gone in. The season starts in March with the diminutive but cheerful 'Tete a tete', albeit a rather garish yellow (but in March I am grateful for this!), and then carries on with a succession until May when finally the Pheasant's Eye flowers. Currently I am enjoying the soft creams and pale yellows of 'Cheerfulness' and 'Yellow Cheerfulness' which are deliciously scented and wonderful for cutting. We let the grass grow long and untidy after flowering, and just mow paths through, which further creates the effect of romantic neglect.

The Orchard is also where we have just buried little Sophie, our first Sausage dog, under the Weeping Cherry, in the sunshine that she loved. I have planted Cowslips over her and a small pot of Narcissus Eystettensis, an ancient special daffodil that dates to 1601, creamy yellow with double flowers.

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!

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