I can’t quite believe how long it has been since I last blogged. Or read any blogs. Or gardened. I can’t quite believe that it is October already! First it was Project Kitchen. Then it was recovering from Project Kitchen. Then it was filling in forms describing how rubbish I feel most of the time and enjoying a good long visit from mil and fil. Now, though, it is down to Bad Attitude.

I have been severely hacked off with my perceived lack of progress in all things gardening, from collecting and sowing seeds and taking cuttings to managing the kitchen garden and developing the borders. I have been suffering from a peculiarly negative form of tunnel vision, in which I can only see all the things that I haven’t done. I have explained away my lack of enthusiasm for blogging as being down to the lack of actual gardening activity, forgetting that, actually, whether you actively garden or not, there is always plenty to see and think about. And, let’s face it, enjoying whats there at every stage should be a key part of the adventure of starting a new garden in such a wonderful location. So I am attempting some attitude adjustment, and jumping back in to the whole blogging thing with the aim of celebrating the good and ignoring, for a while, the rest. So thank you Helen, for hosting the End of Month View meme, which yet again has provided the impetus for me to get going again.

So, in the spirit of being grateful, I do now have a new kitchen, complete with beautifully laid bamboo flooring. It is a joy to work in, and for all my grumbling and grousing, I have been cooking in it, enjoying the new ovens and experimenting with bread.

making spelt and ale bread

I also pinched a sunny afternoon, ditching the chores, to take the kayaks out with TNG for possibly the last time this year. We had a magical hour exploring the rocky inlets around the bay and listening to the sound of the waves sloshing and gurgling as the tide came in.

kayak trip

And when I came to actually look at the front garden, there was a lot to take pleasure in, so I am going to avoid the thorny subjects of the bulb order, and the large collection of plants waiting for somewhere to go, and accentuate the positive, which is typified by what I have christened Cosmos Corner.

cosmos corner

There is a large area by the gate post which will, eventually, be filled by the escallonia hedgelet and a ceanothus. Not wanting to leave it blank this year (I have enough weeding to do as it is), I planted a block of Cosmos ‘Purity’ and a load of Verbena bonariensis, and it has been wonderful. For the first time the cosmos started flowering early, right at the beginning of June, and they are still going strong – despite a complete lack of deadheading! They and the verbena have provided the feast for bees, butterflies and other pollinators that I had hoped for, and have tied in with the hydrangeas to make a pretty reasonable show for anyone walking up the road.

cosmos corner and hydrangeas

If I could only ever sow one annual, it is going to have to be Cosmos ‘Purity’, the feathery foliage complements the simple white flowers and provides a really dramatic show, and all for the price of a packet of very ordinary seed.

cosmos purity

Most of the rest of the wall border is planted with shrubs still too small to have much of an impact, and is waiting for me to “manage” the vast crop of self-sown forget-me-not and Lychnis coronoria ‘Alba’ seedlings, but two plants in particular have had me doing a little happy dance whenever I take the time to look at them. The first is the euphorbia I got instead of the Euphorbia glauca ‘Silver Swan’ I had fallen in love with. Called Euphorbia glauca ‘Blue’ it already promises to make a dramatic statement in the border, with its delicately margined leaves.

euphorbia glauca blue

The other is Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, which is one of many plants that I fell in love with through following Christina’s blog. Until we moved here I assumed that love was due to be unrequited, I had neither the soil conditions nor the light levels required for it to thrive in my previous garden. Here, however, in a sunny border of free draining soil, I should be able to build up a glorious mass of them. I love the white stems and delicate silvery leaves, but had never realised that the vivid violet-blue flowers were actually furry!

perovskia blue spire

perovskia flower

perovskia blue spire flower

The circle bed, now free of the violently coloured bedding plants, is home to one of my favourite plant combinations, stipa tenuissima and achillea ‘terracotta’. Wonderful, and one I hope to extend as the clumps develop as the colours go so beautifully with the cliffs in the distance without stealing the focus like brighter colours do in that location.

achillea and stipa

achillea terracotta

achillea terracotta

The fence border will be much improved when we garner the energy to finish the fence, but it is actually filling out nicely.

fence border near house

fence border

Again, one of the plants that will have the most impact in the border given time is so small it is barely noticeable at the moment, but I love the foliage of Euphrobia characias wulfenii.

Euphorbia characias wulfeni

In fact foliage is one of the things I am really enjoying about this border, with some good combinations beginning to develop as well as some plants that are stars in their own right. I seem to be developing a bit of a thing for euphorbias, as two of the other plants I am really enjoying for their leaves in this border are Euphorbia mellifera and Euphrobia myrsinites. Dramatically different from one another, but wonderfully architectural.

euphorbia mellifera

euphorbia mrysinites

Yet another euphorbia crops up in one of the foliage combinations I am enjoying, Euphorbia palustris, here growing with cephelaria gigantea and hakonechloa macra, which is one of my favourite grasses.

promising contrasts

(If you think those holes are bad, you should see the hostas. Or rather, you shouldn’t…)

Further up the border I am enjoying the foliage of Knautia macedonica with stipa tenuissuma, though the knautia flowers do rather steal the show, even when they sneak in to the middle of the sedum ‘Purple Emperor’.

stipa and knautia foliage

kanutia and sedum

One of the things missing from the fence border at the moment is more contrasting flower shapes, but I am enjoying the buttons of the knautia and the knapweed. The knapweed is new to me, but I love the feathery effect of the petals and it is the perfect colour for this border. Plus, such an insect magnet! And eventually the echinacea purpurea will add in pale pink daisies to the mix.

kanutia and knapweed

greater knapweed

greater knapweed plus insec

greater knapweed feeding station

All of this is great, but my favourite plant at the moment has to be Aster frikartii ‘Monch’. It spent two years in a pot, but now that it is in the ground it is repaying me with masses of daisy-like flowers in vivid violet blue, which contrast wonderfully with the cotinus ‘Palace Purple’ behind it.

aster and cotinus

aster frikartii monch

Well that was a good dose of therapy, lots to smile about, and I am sure if you check out the End of Month View post over on The Patient Gardener’s blog you will find links to lots of other posts to make you smile. Happy October!

64 thoughts on “End of Month View September 2013

  1. Delighted to see you this morning Janet – was about to launch a search party but the remembered that royalty has departed from your neck of the woods. There’s always a tendency to think about what we have not achieved (usually big projects) and sometimes let our smaller achievements slip by unrecorded. I read a most thoughtful blog post recently if memory serves me correctly by Sara over at ‘Hillwards’, in which she wrote about celebrating the now which is what this post does so well.Your kitchen is done and dusted, that stipa and achillea combination look great and aster ‘Monch’ is certainly celebrating the now. I’m with you about the cosmos although mine have been slightly wayward this year toppling over to one side. Hope that you are back soon and if you are struggling with gardening posts it’s been a long time since you’ve posted one of your delicious bread recipes :)

    1. :-) Glad you didn’t have to send the dogs out after me Anna!! I’ll check out Sara’s post, I realised that I had rather lost the ability to live in and enjoy the moment, not to mention the ability to just enjoy what is, rather than worry about what “should” or “could” be all the time. Funnily enough, my cosmos has stayed remarkably upright, given how windy it gets in the front garden, but my verbena bonariensis is all leaning strongly to seaward, as if bracing itself against the sea breezes. And hint taken about the bread posts, I have a new recipe book…

  2. I too am delighted to see your post in my inbox this morning Janet, and to me you have lots to post about in your garden, I’m glad the kitchen has turned out well and you are enjoying it, I slightly envy you being able to go out in kayaks, I’m sure there would be some interesting coves and places to visit here that can’t be reach by land,
    you always sound as if you have a busy life and this year with a new home and garden there has be a great deal to do, I am wondering if you are perhaps like others tell me I am, I always feel I could do more yet people constantly tell me I do a lot, I’ve been feeling low about my garden too and have been fighting hard to see the postive, at the moment due to the rain, the ‘other side’ is winning and I’m finding it harder to see the positive, I wish you well in your fight, mind games are hard and few really understand, take care, Frances x
    ps. thanks for sharing so many beautiful photos of your garden and the bread looks really yummy,

    1. Thank you Frances, your comment brought a warm glow with it! The kayaks are wonderful – inflatable and no spray deck to worry about, just as well as my ability to roll has long since atrophied! We are very sedate and never venture very far, but I do love the different perspective provided.

      Yes, I do constantly wonder if I should be – or could be – doing more, part and parcel of battling with ME, though even for me I seem to have lost perspective in recent weeks re what I could reasonably expect myself to do. Part of it is just frustration that the year is slipping away and the combination of poor health and indoor projects has meant progress has been more limited than I was hoping outdoors. But still, putting this post together really brought home how much there is to enjoy.

  3. Welcome back with your lovely loaves, beautiful plants and shiny new kitchen! This is such an honest post, but it is great to see so many positives already in your developing home and garden. I agree with you about Cosmos ‘Purity’. I sow a few seeds every year because it covers a lot of ground; looks great; is a wildlife magnet; and saves on weeding. I have discovered kayaking this summer – isn’t it wonderful to explore places where other boats can’t go?

    1. Thank you! it is good to be back, and my shiny new kitchen is rather wonderful, so worth delaying playing outdoors for. It is, after all, supposed to be a long term project, I keep having to remind myself to enjoy the journey at the moment though, which is mad as its not as if there is ever a destination, or rather end point, when it comes to developing a garden. And isn’t kayaking wonderful! I love the different perspective it provides. I thoroughly recommend picking up a cheap waterproof camera, it adds another dimension to the experiences.

  4. We have Aster frikartii ‘Monch’.and I love it.Ours started flowering in July and is still going strong. In fact I have a photo that I took of the flowers which I am going to have made into a piece of wall art.

    Our Aster Purple Dome is very slow to flower – in fact it never managed it at all last year..

    I thought the gaps in the fence were an intentional design feature so you could chat to the neighbours.

    1. Hi Sue, yes, Monch does start flowering wonderfully early doesn’t it, I love it. I still get to talk to the neighbour lots, either over the shorter part of the fence or across the wall on the other side, but I do want the extra protection from the winter storms.

  5. Lovely to see you back Janet, I understand how you feel, I sometimes get very depressed with the drought conditions here; I sometimes think there are only 4 or 5 plants that will tolerate it, not true, but it feels like that. Your garden is growing so quickly, do try to enjoy the process because you are creating something truely beautiful.

    1. Thank you Christina, what a lovely compliment, and yes, I really do need to enjoy the journey. I said something above in reply to someone else that really, gardening is all journey and no destination! It was good to take the time to enjoy the “now”, knowing that so many of the plants will have filled out tremendously by this time next year – in fact I will probably have to move perennials around to give them more elbow room!

  6. Happy October Janet and welcome back! Great to hear from you again and see updates and progress in your garden. And yay for the new kitchen!!

    We know that feeling, having a house project is so disruptive to ones routine and train of thoughts, and is so time consuming and can take all of your attention away from other things such as gardening. We’re in the same situation now and there are days that neither of us go out in the garden at all (apart from when feeding the fish). On days that we have difficulty thinking about things to talk about anything gardening related we just talk about what we’re currently doing instead which is the house…even in a gardening blog. But this phase is temporary and once all is sorted we’ll have time to garden again and blog mainly about it.

    Well glad to hear that your kitchen is done and that bread is just the first of the many you’ll make in it :)

    1. Thank you, it is very good to be back. I knew you would “grok” the tension that important indoor projects bring when it comes to fitting in even thinking about gardening, let alone doing any! Your own adventures in that regard are considerably more ambitious and disruptive, I am looking forward to catching up with it all.

  7. I think your garden looks fab and I am sure your kitchen does too. You are as bad as me trying to achieve too much and beating yourself up when you dont. The bulb order doesnt matter as you have an excuse to go bulb buying at the garden centre instead. I am trying to learn that the garden will still be there when you get back from whatever distraction and really, despite what we think, it does quite well on its own.
    Glad to see you back and thank you for joining in this month

    1. Hi Helen, well, I’m glad I checked my spam folder because your comment had been dumped in there, very rude, I can only apologise on askimet’s behalf! And yes, you are right, we do appear to share the same disease. I did manage to get the bulb order in, having whittled it down based on a more realistic assessment of how much I will be able to get done. Widening the wall border is unlikely to happen any time soon so alliums will just have to wait.

      I too am trying to learn to be more relaxed about the garden and getting distracted/prevented from garedning. Fingers crossed we both achieve enlightenment before our eighties! And I am quietly chuffed at how the front garden is begining to develop, so it is lovely to hear you think it is looking good too. Thanks again for hosting – it really is the perfect meme for getting me back involved!

  8. You have hit a chord with me Janet. Currently I am feeling completely overwhelmed by the garden, not least because as quickly as I clear an area the weeds sprout up again. It is good therapy to concentrate on the things that are going well.
    The verbena/cosmos combo is absolutely exquisite, as are the colours in the circle bed. I must find a place for a terracotta theme somewhere here, it is perfect for the season. How beautiful that aster is too.
    Enjoy the new kitchen, it makes a big difference to a house does it not.

    1. Hi Jessica, sorry you are feeling a little beleaguered, the weeds can really do a number on you can’t they, and you have a lot of garden to manage, let alone the river area. I hope you get some bounce back soon. I am still mentally girding my loins before donning full protective gear and wrestling with the shoulder high nettles I seem to have collected, nicely bound around with my personal bete noir, bindweed. As to the kitchen, it makes a massive difference, I love finally having two ovens again, and cooking on an induction hob is a dream – four whole rings! After a year with only it is pure bliss!

  9. Hi Janet,

    Awww, lovely to see your post Janet. Honestly I know how easy it is to only see the bad, but seriously I think you’re doing really well. But you’re used to seeing the garden and we are not… You easily get used to things and don’t notice the changes so much.

    I do hope you get some time in the garden to enjoy it before the weather makes it too cold… You still have lots of lovely lush blooms there and it doesn’t look much like autumn is touching your garden yet??

    1. Hi Liz, no, not many signs of Autumn yet at all, just yellowing leaves on the hostas. Mild coastal climate maybe? Not sure. Though I’d best recover the dogwoods from the embrace of the weeds before it kicks in properly… Happily I get to enjoy plants like the sedums and aster from the comfort of the lounge window, so hopefully I will also get to enjoy the first Autumn colouring from the cotinus and spindle however cold it gets! Watch this space…

      1. Hi Janet,

        I’m not sure if I prefer last autumn or this year. It’s been so dry that things just seem to have died rather than had pretty autumnal shades. The Astrantia is mostly all that’s clearly gone unless you count the early summer plants that died months ago?? For example, Asters are poor this year and I’m very disappointed with them, also the fact the flutters have already gone yet I had Commas around into mid October last year.

        Bit of a mixed opinion at the moment. We’ll see what the next few weeks brings! :)

        Although saying that, with torrential rain for the west tomorrow, I’m not sure how much garden you’ll have left! I think we’ll be missing the worst of it here.

  10. Pleased to see you back Janet. Your garden is looking great! You have some really great combos coming together – don’t you love it when that happens. By the look of things, it’s not obvious that you haven’t spent much time in the garden.
    I had a bit of a thing for euphorbia in years past all but one suffered dreadfully in the wet last year. E. Silver Swan is the only one I have left and I don’t think there’s much difference between it and E. Blue – to the eye they are very similar.

    1. Hi Angie, oh goodness, I hope we don’t have a really wet winter, I really don’t want to lose these, hopefully the free draining soil will help. I’m glad the neglect doesn’t show too badly, I did manage to do some major weeding a couple of weeks ago which helps.

  11. Beautiful photos of your garden!
    I must remember to get Cosmos seeds for next year. I forgot this year and really do miss them.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Lea’s Menagerie

    1. Hi Lea, its always so annoying to realise you have forgotten to get seeds for a much-loved. Enjoy your garden, and your gardening!

  12. It is tempting at this time of year to look back over the summer and assess what has and hasn’t been achieved. My ‘must do’ list is always too long. But you have some lovely colour in your garden at the moment. The cosmos and verbena together are beautiful. I’m hoping to plant Blue Spire and Asters next year (I’m already planning next years list…) The kayaking sounds wonderful.

    1. Hi Wendy, I think sensible looking back and assessment at this time of year is one of the great pleasures of gardening, because it also involves lots of looking forward too. It’s avoiding the tyranny of “must” and “should have” while you do it, I think. I can thoroughly recommend Blue Spire, and will quite possibly be in search of more asters myself next year, depending on how much progress I make with the landscaping. Any plants that extend the flowering season well in to Autumn are desirable, I think.

  13. It’s good to see you blogging again with this lovely post and terrific pictures.
    Cosmos are one of my favourite flowers, especially the white ones, and they seem to have done really well this year which is typical as I only had a few on the plot.
    The sight of Michaelmas daisies starting to flower at this time of year is always welcome. xx

    1. Thanks Flighty, it is really good to be back in the blogosphere, I miss it when I duck out. And hey, you had so many other lovely things flowering away at the plot, I’m sure the cosmos wasn’t missed as much as it might have been. BTW, your Flighty’s Mix are really coming in to their own in the kitchen garden now, so thank you again!

  14. So lovely to read your post. I very much sympathise with your negative tunnel vision. Negative thoughts multiply so much more quickly than positive ones which is why it’s so hard to change thought patterns. I had exactly the same thoughts in August. There are parts of the garden that I’m really not happy with because I just haven’t had time to tackle them. Resignation has now set in that I will tackle them over the coming months and into next year. But having a garden photographer and a garden magazine editor coming to the house tomorrow has only enhanced my gardening shame. ;) I know what it was like when we moved, what with a new bathroom, floors stripped and endless tins of paint. it sounds like you have been busy and your garden is looking lovely. It’s frustrating in the first year when there is too much bare soil but you’ll be surprised at how quickly everything fills out. Loving the euphorbias. They are a plant I don’t really grow. I bought my first this year and I love it, so I must try to squeeze a few more in. Glad to see you got a chance to get out and enjoy that stunning scenery. I often wonder if I lived by the sea whether I would ever have time to garden as I’d always want to be on the beach. That bread looks amazing by the way. WW x

    1. Hi WW, so true, the way the negative multiplies so much more readily than the positive, a bit like weeds vs. much-loved plants I suppose. I can only imagine the stress potential of having an actual garden photographer visiting. Though I do think you need to cut yourself some major slack given everything you have achieved this year, not just writing a book but growing plants to take starring roles in it, not to mention dealing with being haunted by blue water butts!! And isn’t it funny how we can garden for years and never grow plants of a certain genus, only to suddenly find ourselves seduced by them? I hope you find yourself in a position to discover how you balance beach time with gardening time some day. It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it ;-)

  15. Aren’t asters just amazing! I love the fact they’re blooming right now even though today feels like winter! Always good to take the positive approach. I’ve struggled a bit over the summer with Adam making such a mess in the garden while making his shed (that he’s still not finished) and now I have a house project too! It can be hard to make time for blogging and I’ve seen quite a few bloggers do less over the summer. I love looking at all your plants. I’ve missed out on cosmos this year, it was always a staple annual in my garden and whenever I see it I wonder why I’m not planting it anymore? I love the Perovskia too, I’ve seen that on Christina’s blog and thought it looked lovely. Funny you mention your hostas! I just posted a dire photo of mine looking very much neglected!!!! I feel so guilty! But hey animals need food too ;)

    1. “Feels like winter”? Yikes! I suppose this isn’t the moment to say it has been T shirt weather here, albeit long sleeved T shirts due to see breezes… I am so not ready for winter just yet. I hadn’t thought about the downsides to Adam’s shed creation project, but yes, I can imagine how disruptive it is to normal gardening and garden enjoyment. I suppose, a bit like my kitchen, you just have to tell yourself that it is only for a short period, and that next year you will be able to enjoy the garden AND the shed. As for hostas, I was lulled into a false sense of security, the cold Spring meant they looked lushly perfect, just how hostas should be, making me think that perhaps they were worth planting in the borders after all. The tattered remains currently “decorating” the border make me feel like a complete idiot for having dared to believe!!

  16. Welcome back, Janet, and I am sure you will be relieved to read how many other bloggers have been going through various stages of disheartenment about their gardens. And as for the blogging – if you haven’t the time or the inclination then it’s not a priority anyway and doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. As others have said, despite your initial thoughts you have in fact got lots of lovely things going on in your garden – the achillea and grasses look lovely together and those cosmos…. ! I have cosmos envy, having succeeding in getting only a single plant from my sowings, which has had buds for a few weeks but which are resolutely staying shut!! Our intended trip to Anglesey is still on, but early December now to tie in with a birthday, so if the offer of a cup of tea is still on we shall pop in and have an ogle at your new kitchen! ;)

    1. Hi Cathy,lovely to hear from you, and yes, it is most heartening to know I am very much not alone with these feelings. it was good to re-engage with the good things going on though, it is far too easy to accentuate the negative rather than the positive. I sympathise with your cosmos envy, I had years of it up until now, growing weedy seedlings that struggled on and didn’t even start flowering until September. I suppose the great test will be whether sowing them early again (February under a growlight) and the well drained soil mean I can repeat this year’s success. Mind you, all my Cosmos Sonata seedlings failed, throwing up handfuls of stunted flowers before dying. Would be lovely to see you early December if that works out. In the mean time, enjoy your garden!

  17. Welcome back! With Blotanical down, I’m going back through my faves list and saw you had a new post. Your kitchen counter and tiles look fantastic–and the homemade bread even better. Looks like your garden is doing just fine with neglect–it looks great!

    1. Goodness, is Blotanical down? I have to admit that I haven’t visited the site all year, but that must be a problem for countless garden bloggers, what a shame. Great to hear from you though, and thank you, I am really happy with the kitchen, and even happier with the new ovens, they do wonderful bread and biscuits. As for the garden, ah, you wouldn’t say that if I showed you the back!!

  18. I think we all get a bit overwhelmed by what needs doing sometimes, so do nothing. Suddenly as October is upon us panic sets in as to what we have to do before winter – I’m going through the very same thing myself. I did have those Achillea seeds for you that I promised but seem to have misplaced them (hope the beloved hasn’t thrown them out as they were folded inside a paper towel. If they don’t arrive with you during next week you will know the inevitable happened. p.s. despite your lack of gardening activity it seems to be doing pretty well without you!

    1. Hi Elaine, sounds spot on, a kind of rabbit-in-car-headlights approach to gardening, even though we all know that “little and often” is far more effective. Ah well! No worries about the achillea seeds, there’s always next year, a phrase that is rapidly becoming my motto. Thank goodness that the garden does indeed tend to be rather good at looking after itself. It’s why I am leery of adding in plants that rely too much on careful and appropriately timed pruning to look good!

  19. I can totally relate to your negative attitude, Janet; when other parts of life get busy, I have trouble getting out in the garden, too, and wind up feeling guilty and overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done. But I keep repeating this mantra to myself: “There’s always next year!”:) You have accomplished so much in your garden in such a short time, and you’ve given me some inspiration today–I’ve been looking for just the right plants to put in one area of the garden, and now I think it will be euphorbia!

    1. Hi Rose, am very happy to have provided some inspiration for you, not least because so many of the plants I am choosing to grow in this garden are inspired by blog posts too! And your mantra is spot on, and so important to hang on to when we start getting that overwhelmed and guilty feeling. I have been so comforted at reading all the comments that basically say “me too”.

  20. Janet, somehow seeing your garden mixed in with bread-baking and kayak trips is incredibly happy-making — it’s just nice to see all these beautiful facets of life all together in one place. Hang in there re: your grand projects. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to combine the unpredictability of illness with actual, unpredictable weather, too! At least here I know that an up-day WILL coincide with a nice, sunny day. ;) “There’s always next year” seems like a fabulous garden mantra. (Maybe not so good for bread-baking.)

    1. Hi Stacy, how lovely to hear from you! It is wonderful to live somewhere that, on a good day (weather and health-wise) I can jump in to a kayak or garden as the mood so takes me. I know you get the frustrations of ME, and you are right, the weather is almost as unpredictable here, but at least when it is raining it is still beautiful, which really helps. I do love feeling free to have grand projects, something that somehow perfectly defies the illness side of things, provided I can deal with extended timescales. Hope you are finding lots to love about your life and all that wonderful sunshine.

  21. lovely to have you back blogging Janet! I bet passers by have no idea of your inner turmoils with the smell of baking bread wafting out, and the garden full of colour and pollinators. They probably refer to you as that house with the Cosmos – how well ‘Purity’ combines with the painted walls round about. The new kitchin is in situ and your garden aleady showing signs of establishment but people can take longer to settle
    p.s. Christian the Pilgrim escaped from Giant Despair and the Castle of Doubt with the key called Promise ;)
    pps Am grateful for all your visits and comments on my blog x

    1. Hi Laura, it is good to be back, I missed it. I’m sure you are right about the neighbours, they’d probably laugh themselves silly if they knew the hours I spend gazing out at the front garden obsessing about it! Actually its really nice, so many people stop and say how good it is to see someone gardening here again, the previous owners were passionate gardeners but it had been left totally neglected for a couple of years. Love the Pilgrim’s Progress reference – and it is always a pleasure to see what photos you have been taking, it is really inspirational.

  22. I envy all of your Euphorbia. I try them every year, but we get so muggy in the summer that many of them just melt.

    1. I had to smile at the thought of melting euphorbias, but there again, I can only dream about growing most of the beautiful plants you have in your garden,! The beauty of garden blogs is that I get to enjoy what I can’t grow myself through your photos.

  23. Hi Janet
    It looks to me like you have a lot to be happy about. We are moving way down south to a village named (Holmes Chapel) in Cheshire We will have a much smaller garden but I intend to plant the achillea ‘terracotta which you highlight today.

    1. How wonderful Alistair, does the house have a good garden? Holmes Chapel isn’t a million miles from here maybe when you have settled you could bring Myra and visit the Island. I might even have “terracotta” plants fit to split by then too. Hope your move goes smoothly.

      1. The new house has a small garden Janet but we will eventually make the best of it. Loads of work to be done in the house first to bring it up to the standard that the boss requires. I have rather been neglecting our garden this past week or two and then a couple of days ago I got a call from folks at BBC gardeners world who had come across my blog. They are coming up this week for a look with the intention of filming the week after. It may fall through when the see how less fluent I am with words than my blog may suggest.

        1. How exciting Alistair – both the move and the GW opportunity. I hope the latter comes off, it would be a lovely way to celebrate your current garden before you move away and start something new. I shall keep my fingers crossed! Have you started making a list of plants you haven’t been able to grow in Aberdeen that you might be able to get away with in Cheshire?

  24. The only one that comes to mind is Magnolia. Most of the herbaceous plants grow in Aberdeen, although they may be a couple of weeks later in blooming, some may be more robust in Cheshire, Echinacea for one.

  25. I love, love, love how close you are to the ocean! What a wonderful place. Your gardens are lovely even if you haven’t had the enthusiasm to work on them. The earth is so forgiving……

    1. Hi Sally, yes, we are extraordinarlily lucky, living here, it is endlessly fascinating being able to watch the sea and sky, inspiraitonal too. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

    1. Hi Charlie, thank you. I’m delighted if you find some inspiration for your own garden here, as I have so frequently been inspired by the plants and combinations bloggers show, it feels as if I am “paying it forward” a little!

  26. Some stunning combinations there, Janet; lots to take pleasure in indeed. I love the stipa and achillea, and the verbena and cosmos are doing a great job. Our verbena has self seeded here like crazy, surprising me in our clay soil, so that all summer I have been pulling out more than I ever sowed in the first place! So pretty, though.
    Our Monch has really got into its stride this year too, and I’m loving its cousin ‘Little Carlow’ too, much later to start flowering, but dense with lavender flowers now. Love your Euphorbia foliage too, wonderful contrasts.
    I have a stack of blogs to catch up on after only a week away, and have been less inspired to post in the past few weeks, though photos have been mounting up still. It’s so easy to drift off course for a while, I think everyone does from time to time, but it’s good to hear that things are mostly in the pink for you. You’ve achieved a lot in these months; a shiny new kitchen, and a garden that already looks pretty established. It must be rewarding to look back at pictures from the start of the year and see how it has already begun to grow into itself.

    S x

    1. Hi Sara, I somehow missed your comment, sorry about that! I am really hoping the verbena self seeds here too, everything else seems to, which is new to me as in my old garden only the hellebores and euphorbias seemed to manage it! Isn’t ‘Monch’ wonderful? I may think about adding ‘Little Carlow’ in to the mix next year, assuming I manage to extend the border up past the area where the pond currently sits.

      You’re right, we all have periods where the blogging takes a back seat to other things, including plain old inertia, but like you I take way more photos than ever make it to the blog, and its invaluable, looking back, both to check progress and to remember what happens when! As to the garden already beginning to look established, I fear at least part of this is due to my complete inability to space plants appropriately from the start. Even when I know I have this problem, and actively work to avoid it! Good job I rather enjoy moving plants about…


  27. Janet it is hard not to lose interest when we see the work that must be done…I had 2 months of no gardening this summer and waited until fall to finally get started again…it is hard to see it all but I am focusing on the good as well and just what must be done for now. Then I am taking stock next year and making small plans that are manageable…the veg gardens will still be a big part of my garden and we are adding another raised bed…you have so much that is lovely in your garden…you will get it to where you want it in time…for now relish in the beauty you have created so far.

    1. Hi Donna, I am currently repeating the mantra that served me so well when I had the allotment “if I can see where I have been that is good enough”. So I can report small bits of progress in the back garden, with veg beds cleared and alpine strawberries planted. And yes, I am very much enjoying the sedums and asters in particular at the moment – and the cosmos, which is seemingly unwilling to acknowledge Autumn at all!

  28. Some lovely plants and combinations, Janet. I love perovskia too – I don’t suppose it would thrive at the Priory but it does at the other garden I tend. The block of ‘Purity’ is a great success – I haven’t grown it for a couple of years now and I have no idea why. And I’m with you on the euphorbias. I like E. ‘Fireglow’ too though it is a little invasive. Dave

    1. Thanks David. I am really happy to finally have the soil and aspect to grow perovskia, must be rather nice to have two such different gardens to play with – sorry, work in! A much wider variety of plants. ‘Fireglow’ looks rather fine, and might go rather nicely in the zingy border I am dreaming about for the back garden once we have sorted out what we are doing with the patio.

  29. I have to say that the combination of cosmos and the verbena b. is divine. I am going to remember that combo! And I’ve been passing up perovskia, now I wonder why. Next time I see it, it’s going in my cart! I think autumn is the perfect time for gardeners to begin anew. The heat of summer is over, and the light is so warm and welcoming.

    1. I agree, it is a wonderful time of year to re-engage, plan, dream, move plants, and ot just enjoy the lovely low sun, assumung there is any. Today is sadly very grey, but even then the cosmos and perovskia light up the scene, happy to have give you ideas, though sorry for my part in diminishing the contents of your wallet ;-)

  30. I saw your comment on Christina’s post today and took a look at your blog – what a beautiful selection of plants you have in your garden! I am not usually keen on Achillea, but that one is so attractive. I like the soft colour next to the Stipa grasses. The Knautia also looks lovely among the sedum. And the Asters certainly are the real “stars”!

    1. Hi Cathy, thanks so much for dropping by. I’ve found ‘Terracotta’ very well behaved for an achillea, no flopping, no staking required, and wonderful feathery silvery foliage as well as the colour-changing flowers. Glad you found me, am now off to visit you in return!

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