Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gardening is the Best Medicine

Firstly, thank you for all of the supportive comments that I received to my last post. I was overwhelmed, as I usually choose not to post on 'negative days' - I had not been looking for sympathy, but was cheered no end by the constructive advice that you all offered. (I also received several personal emails, so will reply to those as soon as I can - thank you!) I do appreciate that everyone should have their own likes and dislikes and can understand why some would not value vintage/antique items. I wasn't going to let those who do not however, keep me down, so yesterday I sort therapy from my garden.
I had been saving some garden vouchers that I'd been given by my Mum and Dad for Christmas, and with Wednesday being my day off, a trip to the garden centre seemed like a very good idea! I came back with some wonderful new friends to settle in...including saponaria Tumbling Ted, veronica Red Fox, and phlox Bright Eyes.

I also thought I'd be a bit extravagant and buy a real doozie that I wouldn't normally be able to stretch to, seeing as I had the vouchers burning a hole!
This beauty found her way into my shopping trolley - A clematis called Diamantina. The flowers are truly breathtaking and will open up more to reveal a huge layered specimen. The label says that it is repeat flowering through the summer and into early autumn, so she should be real value for money...Hopefully I shall be able to keep her happy and will post more pics of her later in the year.

With the shopping done, the best bit was getting my hands dirty...I used an old rusty pyramid that had once supported a clematis Armandii in our front garden, which became such a thug that I had to ask it to leave! This dainty lady should be better behaved and will add another touch of purple in my mixed border.

I also bought a couple of what might be considered rather ordinary sempervivums. These were like chocolate cakes to my hens, who had free range of the garden. They would eat every fleshy leaf until the fiery red florets were no more...Having lost our hens this year, I can at least start to grow what makes me happy. These chaps will be potted into some shallow terracotta pots with lots of gravel and be perched inside one of my old chimney pots...that's a job for another day...
Last but not least, I also bought a David Austin climbing rose, called Blush Noisette.

I already have one of these beauties in our garden. I planted it several years ago at the base of an old apple tree where it has flourished (even though it is in poor soil and must be fighting for root space with the tree.) It now weaves its way through the branches and rewards us with a fabulous display of blooms.
Once it starts flowering (any day now) it doesn't stop until well into late autumn. It has small double blooms, with lots on one stem and they have good fragrance.

I thought I'd plant the new one in the mixed border, but it would need support. I remembered an old gate that was left at the house when we moved in. I had used it to hold up a winter flowering jasmine, but this was now happily growing unaided, so I retrieved the old iron gate from its clutches.

Two metal stakes hammered in to the ground hold up the gate and the rose was planted at the base. Hopefully it will get away soon and smother the old gate in beautiful roses.
The border is a bit of a mish-mash of plants, but I love the effect when it all gets going (or should I say growing ;-)) - The various metal supports and chimney pots add some structure when the plants fade for the winter too.
Just coming into flower now though are the giant poppies...
They seem particularly happy this year, probably because we've had a long dry spell. Rain always seems to finish them off rather quickly.

There's still so much to look forward to in my predominantly pink and purple display...its such an exciting time in the garden, isn't it?

I have been watching some of the Chelsea Flower Show coverage on the BBC...Have you? I've not enjoyed it as much as some years - its all very modern this time round with very little nostalgia thrown in. My favourite garden design this year is one of the small courtyard gardens - its called 'Music on the Moors' and is designed by Christina Williams.
All very inspiring, but in my view not as much fun as digging into the soil yourself and seeing what develops over time.

Niki x
PS: I'd also just like to mention that Isabelle's husband Alan has now added the village where I live to his Somerset in 3d website, including a photo of our house. (You'll need a pair of 3d specs to view properly.)


  1. Beautiful! Gardening really is great medicine!

  2. Beautiful garden and great choice on the plants...........I love the chimmney pots in your garden, I was married to a brick mason and have a few of my use in the garden.....Have a wonderful night. XO MARY

  3. That clematis is amazing and I can hardly wait for updated garden pictures, especially the rose)!I just love bringing home new babies for the garden too (even though my space is limited). Have a great evening!

  4. Wonderful post. I love the clematis you chose. I have never seen one quite like it. Your gate is such a clever idea to use for climbing plants. It adds interest to the garden. Lovely.

  5. Anonymous7:01 am

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  6. What stunning pictures Niki. I love the poppies they're such a wonderful colour and using the old gate is a fab idea. So much inspiration!

  7. lovely garden and the idea with the gate is great. I'm with you on the "music on the moors" it's my fav as well. By the way I saw some terracotta pots outside a vintage shop in Norwich the other day, £5 for 2.Your obviously not charging enough.

  8. I thought it was just me not enjoying Chelsea much anymore, the last few years have been too modern for me. Love the idea of the gate,lovely garden Niki, best wishes Betty xx

  9. Aah! Clematis and Roses, lavender, honeysuckle,oriental Poppies...these are a few of my favourite things... as the song goes LOL!
    Chelsea..umph! I used to sit glued to the 'box' when it was on, now, if it wasn't for the enthusiastic presenters and SOME good gardens, I wouldn't watch it at all!
    I love the picture of the children in the garden by the way.

    Have a great weekend!

    Sandie xx

  10. Beautiful plants and garden, Niki.
    I haven't watched the Chelsea programmes this year, I do agree about the "modern" gardens, much prefer a cottage garden look with lots of plants. It is indeed a lovely time of year.
    I shall watch out for Blush Noisette, it sounds a perfect addition to any garden.

  11. I love it when someone is passionate about their garden as you so obviously are Niki. I wonder if you sit staring at the plants.. willing them to grow and flower.. I do.. sadly! Will have to make a note of that Clematis.. it is amazing.. though not sure where I would get a chance to grow it in our jungle without the slugs having a 2 course meal.
    Enjoy your garden when the sun comes back.
    Michele x

  12. Guenievre8:04 am

    c'est tout simplement : "magnifique" !

  13. Lovely ! Are you still blogging ? :)


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx