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, 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).

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'

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