Around Our Patch


Yesterday, I took a tour around my  Social Work patch from the 1970s and ’80s. Today I took several around the domestic one I share with The Head Gardener.

Back door

I began by stepping through the kitchen door into the patio. The large window box filled with mimuluses and pansies stands in earth which was so poor that we believed it to have been used as a midden in more recent times than one would imagine. Jackie did a very thorough job of getting rid of the rubbish and replenishing the soil under and around the planters. The plentiful erigeron plants have populated the rest of the garden. Between one clump and the window box can be seen flowers of one of the two thriving thyme plants I transplanted from the blue painted Butler sinks in our first year. The wall by the path to the right is crammed with an assortment of planters.

Rose (patio)

This little patio rose has responded to feeding,

rose peach

as has this peach coloured beauty.

rose peach stems

There were just two blooms on straggly stems when we arrived. They will soon be cascading from stronger limbs.


We have a new rhododendron in the Palm Bed.

Passing this on the way to the Rose Garden,

rose Altissimo

where Altissimo stands sentinel,

I was reminded of a visit to  a perfumer in Bergerac. This was with Emily and Alice a few years ago. They spent ages choosing a present for their mother, Heidi. The scents were most enticing. But they couldn’t match those emanating from our living blooms.

Rose garden entrance

Petunias and geraniums in the foreground urn lead us to the entrance arch bearing Summer Wine, Madame Alfred Carière, and honeysuckle;

Chris Beardshaw, Festive Jewel

Chris Beardshaw introduces Festive Jewel;

Rose Magic Carpet

and Magic Carpet is beginning to fulfil its function.

Cordyline Australis cabbage tree

Even these wonderful aromas, however, are not as far-reaching as the sweet, heady, scent of the Cordyline Australis. Anything smelling less like a cabbage, (it is also called Cabbage Tree) I cannot imagine.

Jackie planting Elizabeth's Bed

One of Jackie’s major tasks today was further planting of Elizabeth’s Bed. She can be seen in the centre here working on this.

I have mentioned before that geranium palmatum has taken over from honesty in its ubiquity. It can be seen dancing in synchronicity with

geranium palmatum, clematis Rouge Cardinal, rhododendron

clematis Rouge Cardinal and rhododendron;

geranium palmatum, rose Compassion

with rose Compassion;

Clematis Natacha, geranium palmatum, aquilegias

with clematis Natacha;

Foxglove, geranium palmatum

and with foxgloves.

Bee in antirrhinum 1

Lazy bees were about this afternoon. This one dusted its rear in an antirrhinum.

Waterboy Bed

The pieris I brought in a pot from Sutherland Place is thriving in the centre distance of this bed, that also contains heuchera, marguerites, geraniums, bronze fennel, and, further right, out of shot,




We have a solanum under the dead snake bark maple,

rose Félicité Perpetué

and Félicité Perpetué is now opening in the front garden.

This evening we dined on pork rib rack and vegetable risotto followed by profiteroles. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2014.

Before And After: The Shady Path

Butterfly Speckled Wood

As I wandered around the garden this morning, a Speckled Wood butterfly flitted across my path and settled, to cast its shadow, on the outside of the sitting room wall.

Like the roses

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous, still living up to its name,

Rose Chris Beardshaw

and Chris Beardshaw, just needing a bit of a trim,

it still enjoys the sunshine.

Here is the next section of the series charting the progress in the garden.

Copper beech – Version 2

Path to decking 1

The Head Gardener’s Walk links into the Shady Path, seen here first on 7th, then 19th May 2014. This path, although now opened up to the light is so named because it was then mostly in deep shade.

Cleared patch

This was one of the first paths we had begun to clear. By 27th July, we had reset the extant Victorian edge tiles, and thinned out invasive euphorbias, some of the roots of which were quite stubborn.

Jackie on Ace Reclaim bench 1

The following day Jackie was able to relax on the Ace Reclaim bench that we had bought from that architectural salvage outlet.

Jackie working on bed

Here, on 5th September, Jackie is working on clearing the bed on the opposite side.

Shady Path 2

This is what the Shady Path looked like on 20th October 2015. The trellis in the background now borders the refurbished decking.

In preparation for the winter which is bound to come, and in particular for the twice-yearly tampering with the clocks which results in earlier darkness, The Head Gardener needed lighting in her shed. Off we went to ScrewFix in Lymington and bought a battery operated lamp.

On our return Ron and Shelly arrived to help sort out the problem I am still having sending the party photographs to Ray Salinger. His son transferred them to a memory stick. Our visitors stayed for dinner.

Lamb jalfrezi simmeringChopped peppers

As attractive as the taste of Indian food is its colour and its aromas. The fragrance of Jackie’s superb simmering lamb jalfrezi alongside the fresh scents of the chopped peppers were extremely appetising, so who could resist an invitation to share it.

Jackie drank Kingfisher and the rest of us shared a bottle of Mu red wine 2013 that Ron had brought back from Spain.