30th January
These pages are a rolling diary of the changes and events in the garden for the year 2021 in words and pictures.
May to August
I’ve built two shelves for the pagoda front to enable us to put pot plants on there out of reach of most hungry wildlife, and also plants which are not winter hardy. We are expecting four alstroemerias to be showpieces, but they are still not ready to be sent from the suppliers. Everything is late this year because of the weather.
19th May we hired a turf lifter. Meant to be delivered at 9am it arrived at 7.50am which rather caught us unprepared! Fairly exhausting to use as it was so heavy, but once we got the hang of setting the depth of cut correctly we cleared the site for the fruit cage in an hour, then set about two other patches of garden to create beds. The best rolls of turf, as in those with least moss content, were re-used in other parts of the garden.
Anniversay day 26th May. In 2017 all of these shrubs had long passed flowering, 2021 is so late they are all still going. The new variegated maple is showing very well too.
Polytunnel centre bed cleared, new compost added and the self-watering pots are ready for cucumbers, tomatoes and cucamelons.
2nd June. The north-east corner has some pretty May blossom underneath the red maple. The bluebell ring is almost finished, this year there were more clumps of Star of Bethlehem in it. Next task for our fortnightly gardener is clearing the brambles and weeds from the border beside the north Devon bank.
8th June and the rhododendron also in the north-east corner has blossomed magnificently. In previous years we’ve had maybe two small bunches of flowers, sometimes none at all. Now it has more light and has responded well. It is also creeping quite quickly away from the road edge. As a bonus it is a colour we don’t have elsewhere!
The rather strange spiky plants next to the revitalised rhodi flowered for the first time in late June, with a beautiful fragrance. It is Cordyline Australis and the flowers didn’t last very long but were quite spectacular. How long we have to wait for the next flowering we don’t know but cutting away some of the overhead tree branches has let more light in to this part which seems to have helped a lot.
The long-established crocosmia patch now next to the pond has been badly decimated by a vole during July. It has cut itself a path through the plants by biting through the stems right at the bottom. Doesn’t eat the leaves at all, just cuts through and destroys the growing parts. I never managed to catch it with the usual traps.
Then and now! Top picture was taken on 10th June 2015, just about two weeks after we moved in. Lower picture is just after Lesley finished the beds in front of the gin palace on 4th August 2021. Not taken from quite the same positions but so many changes. The wooden fence has gone, now a laurel hedge. The yellow cypress which sheltered rabbit burrows cut down and the bush behind it where now stands the Joseph Rock sorbus we planted later in June 2015. The two evergreen trees are just visible on the left, long gone and now where the ponds are. The wildflower patch was just uncut grass in 2015 but is still there albeit planted with flowers that make their own choice whether to grow or not. Aside from the new gin palace, what a change in the garden colours! Plenty of interest, new trees and even the grass has been freed from the moss here.
Left is the polytunnel on 13th August with cucumbers growing in profusion along with tomatoes taking forever to turn red. The cucamelons are interesting plants, largely hidden by the cucumbers. The cucamelon fruit is a bit disappointing, rather tough skin and not a lot of taste. They do well sliced in half and added to a G&T though! The huge swede on the right, taken on 25th August, has turned out to be enough for at least a month, and the second one behind it will be equally as big when pulled.
26th August and the gunneras have now grown to over two metres tall although the one on the right suffered after the septic tank was emptied in June, losing its supply from the overflow tank we suspect.