Sunset from St Agnes Isles of Scilly
Time moves on as do the plants and trees in the garden, This year did not see much more hard landscaping undertaken ,really only preparation for laying the rear patio and path, the manhole cover was lowered 9" and the well capping removed and the last few feet of the shaft filled with rubble, The area outside the back door (17sq mtrs )was then re-concreted, this time to ensure that the fall is away from building. ceramic tiles have been purchased for the patio area and natural slate for the path along the rear of the cottage, This work will probably take place during the spring of 2001,weather permitting? We had 100 days of rain in this area between the end of Sept and December, we were lucky not to have been flooded as were many other parts of the UK.
In July of this year the garden was entered into the 'Liskeard in Bloom' competition and also into the Menheniot Parish Garden competition, The result of this was the First prize in both for the best large garden and Second prize in the Parish Competition for Window boxes, Planters and Hanging Baskets and also for a Feature displaying Climbing Plants (The Pergola)
There was so much time and hard work involved in entering the two competitions that in 2001 we are going to bypass the competitions and garden only for our own pleasure this will give us much more time to wander around and sit down and enjoy the flowers etc,.
The following photographs were taken by the Judges of the 'Liskeard in Bloom' competition during their visit in July.......
Looking east from under the laurel Looking east to the summer house
The pond looking N East The Vegetable plot & Fruit cage looking West
Click picture to see larger version
These Lady Orchids were photographed during a trip to Ireland
Well the weather finally gave us a break from rain during February and allowed me to lay the ceramic tiles on the patio, lay a new concrete path and lay natural slate tiles on it, all that is needed now is to grout the joints, hopefully we will get a couple of dry days in which to get this done, the spaces between the path and the cottage and the path and the retaining garden wall have been covered with blue/grey and white stone chippings obtained from a local quarry, these areas will be planted with low growing and creeping plants such as Campanula, Thyme, Chamomile, Thrift and Edelweiss. This area of chippings will also be used to accommodate pots of fuchsias, begonias with pansies and gazanias to add a bit more interest.
A start has been made with seed sowing in the greenhouse, three colours of Ageratum, Antirrhinum, two colours of Gazania, Pansies, Sweet peas, Tomatoes, Phlox, Nemnesia, Aster, Zinnia, Lobelia, Marigold, Achillia, and Lychnis Arkwrightii.
Out in the garden vegetable plots garlic is already about 6" high and shallots, onion sets, first early and second early potatoes and broad beans have been planted
This is a big day for Cornwall and the world of horticulture as The Eden Project opens its doors to the public for the first time today. This project was first envisaged in the mid 90s by Tim Smith who was the prime force behind the restoration of the Lost gardens of Heligan near Mevagissy on the south coast. It is on a massive scale with the site being a worked out china clay pit and covering an area equal to 35 soccer pitches and the greenhouses or Biomes as they call them large enough to house fully grown Teak and Mahogany trees, the humid tropics biome is 47m or in old imperial terms,152ft high and will be kept at rain forest temperatures and humidity with plantings of Balsa, Cocoa, Coffee, and Rubber. In the Warm Temperate Biome the plants of the Mediterranean, California, and South Africa can be found with Citrus fruits, and Vines growing alongside Olive Trees, while all around are the vivid colours of flowers from sunny climates, giving the air a scent of the warm perfume of a summers holiday. The areas outside the biomes are planted with plants, shrubs and trees from all over the world that are hardy enough to survive the temperate Cornish winter. On its opening day people were waiting from 4am until the opening time of 10 am and by lunch time they had to close the gates as the site was becoming overcrowded, I hope this bodes well for this ambitious project.
The patio and rear path were finally finished during April this year these photographs were taken during August.
Looking west Looking east
Click on the picture to see a larger version
The Eden Project has surpassed all estimates of visitors and has clocked up over 1.6 million visitors up until Christmas this year and plans are now being made to install a third biome to house a desert environment, this will be a welcome addition to the site. Also in the pipeline is a project to build a large car park close to the A30 trunk road and operate a park-and-ride scheme between there and Eden itself, this should help to ease the traffic problems that occur during peak summer periods.
The 'Mermaid' at the Lost Gardens of Heligan
This year did not start too well regarding health problems, nothing dramatic but several small things that gradually wear you down so we decided to give ourselves a winter break and took off for a week in Madeira at the end of January. The weather did us proud with mainly blue skies and temperatures at sea level of around 20deg C. enabling us to eat at street restaurants in comfort. and sunbathe by the hotel pool. It was also our 43rd wedding anniversary while we were there so we treated ourselves to afternoon tea on the terrace at Reid's Hotel
Now this place is a naturalists paradise with good soil conditions and except at the highest levels it is frost free, There are wonderful Botanical Gardens in Funchal where all the tender and semi tender tropical plants are growing, during a Jeep Safari through the forests, Arum lilies, Mimosa, Sterilitzia and herbs such as Rosemary and Oregano were in bloom, and Canaries were singing their heads off. altogether a memorable experience.
Reid's Hotel terrace Funchal flower market
Back home in the garden a problem that I had had with germinating hellebore and aconitum seeds has been solved, last year I collected seed from my own plants and sowed them immediately, low and behold an excellent germination rate was achieved with both, as in February this year both pots were full of strong seedlings, as there are more than one variety of hellebore in the garden it is going to be interesting to see what new forms if any develop as they are prone to self hybridizing.
Not a great deal changed in the garden this year in the way of plants except for removing an old Hazel, which didn't bear any nuts, with a Filbert, the planting included a good helping of well rotted FYM, so we are looking forward to some nuts next year, if the squirrels don't get there first?
The steps alongside the pond which take you up the 4 feet to the lawn level were rocky and uneven so these were replaced with riven finish dark concrete slabs with matching coloured bricks, this will lessen the chances of any accidents as we get older, next year it will be the turn of the steps opposite the back door to be improved.
The Liskeard in Bloom and Menheniot Parish garden competitions were entered in July and we managed to get the First Prizes for Best Large Garden, Best Vegetable Plot and Best use of Climbers, this made all the hard work leading up to the Judging worth while, but enough is enough and in future I am going to concentrate on judging instead of entering, so that the work on this garden becomes less demanding.
September saw us off to Exmoor for a few days as the weather seemed set fair for a while, we stayed in Lynton just above Lynmouth (the scene of the disastrous floods in August 1952). This is a beautiful part of the country and you should visit there if you ever get the chance. On our way back we called in to a specialist Fuchsia nursery in Coombe Martin and purchased some orange fuchsias :-
Aurora Surperba Bush Single Light Apricot and Deep Orange
Orange Blossom Trailing Single Orange and Pale Peach
Postiljon Trailing Single Honeysuckle and Magenta
Duchess of Albany Bush Single Whiteish pink and Pinkish cerise
Mrs Marshall Bush Single White and Rosy cerise
These have been cut back for the winter and placed in the greenhouse as they are all tender, Come next spring they will be planted out in baskets and containers (after cuttings have been taken to increase stocks). Cuttings have also been taken of Osteospermums, Marguerites, Bidens, Verbenas, Jamaican Primrose and Pelargoniums to overwinter in the greenhouse.
What is going on in this country, its only December and we have some Daffodils in bloom.
Hemerocallis 'Chicago Sunrise'
Well February is now with us and work has started in the garden with pruning back all the hardy Fuchsias and other shrubs that need to be contained or just kept in shape, the grape vine was trimmed back in January, this is a good time as it will not 'bleed' at this time of year. Daffodils are well advanced with the early varieties giving a good show and the Camellias are coming into bloom, we have just added another one, 'Reigyoku' which is a single red but with variegated foliage. The first early potatoes 'Sharpes Express' are in and last years seedlings of Heleborus and Sweet William have been transplanted from the nursery bed to permanent positions
Seed sowing has started in the greenhouse and the tomatoes, variety 'Alicante', are about 1" high, other sowings include:-
Ageratum Gaillardia Pansies Viola Digitalis 'Ferruginea'
Petunia Heliotrope Hardy Geranium Euphorbia Rigidia
Euphorbia polychroma Antirrhinum Gentian Sisyrinchium
Lythrum Valerian Polyanthus Sweet Peas Cerinthe Major
Sweet and Chilli Peppers
These steps up to the lawn outside the back door were constructed of rough hewn stone and were of uneven levels and varied in height so it was not the favoured route up into the garden, these were replaced with a curved flight of concrete slab steps rising evenly on two courses of dark grey bricks, now a much safer route.
This year did not start too well, first of all Stuart was diagnosed with Angina in January and then his sister died of lung cancer in February, this has somewhat limited the gardening and household activity and really only essential maintenance will be done until the heart problems are sorted out.
We decided to return to Ireland for our holiday this year and divided our time between County Clare with its music festival in Miltown Malbay and the beautiful Burren landscape, for our second week we moved south into Kerry to sample its wonderful coastal scenery and mountainous hinterland, a most beautiful area.
Stuart had an angiogram in October which showed the seriousness of the heart condition and he was placed on the hospitals urgent waiting list, knowing what hospital waiting lists can be like it was a great surprise when in November he was given an admission date of December 14th. Things went very well and he was home on the 21st, just in time for Christmas, a very quiet one naturally. Recovery is steady and without any complications so gardening will be resumed again in the spring, all being well.
Things have started well and Stuarts strength is getting better by the day, he gets out for a walk most days and has got his distance up to 2 miles now without becoming short of breath, tidying up in the garden has started as it doesn't involve any heavy work, after last years inactivity there's plenty to be done! February started badly as Muriel's sister Mary had a heart attack and didn't make it to the hospital, we then had a long trip to Norfolk for the funeral, she was 66.
Stuarts 70th birthday was in May this year so we went to France for a weeks holiday and took a Gite in Brittany, the weather could have been better but the food as usual was superb and the medieval city of Dinan was beautiful.
Stuart is still recovering at a steady pace and getting the garden ready for a charity open day in June, this is being held under the auspices of the National Gardens Scheme and in conjunction with 8 other gardens in the village over the weekend of the 18th and 19th. In the event the weather was glorious and 250 people visited us some local and also people who were on holiday in this area, we raised over £1000 for charity so it was a very satisfying weekend.
September was not the best month, we were leaving Truro after a very entertaining visit to the theatre and had stopped at a roundabout to let traffic through when we were rammed very hard in the rear by a young idiot who must have been blind, fortunately we were able to continue our journey home as there were no injuries sustained and my car was still drivable, on examination the damage was severe and being an elderly vehicle was a write off. I managed to find a 3 year year old Citroen C3 on E-Bay at a very good price with a very low mileage and decided that this would be a good replacement for my 14 year old Citroen BX, it took some getting used to as I had been driving BX's for 20 years, one great advantage is that it's much easier to enter and exit as it's higher off the ground, another is that the road tax is only £85..........However over 3 months later and the insurance claim still has not been settled-- so much for Saga Insurance!..
We have decided that one of the two vegetable plots is to be turned over to a flower bed, we can produce all the vegetables that we require from one plot so perennials have been grown from seed and cuttings taken from plants and shrubs this year to stock the new bed in the spring, the Hapil strawberry plants in the fruit cage were replaced this year with Cambridge Favourite as they were over 3 years old and past their best, also this winter the timber supporting the roof netting will have to be renewed as it's showing signs of rot, over the years as manure has been added to the soil in there the level has risen so boards around the bottom would be a good idea to contain the raised level and also prevent the birds from getting under the netting.
Well the new year is upon us, the compost heap that has been growing over the last few years has been spread over and dug into the bed where the potatoes are going to be planted, the seed potatoes are in the shed chitting so as to be ready for planting at the end of February, the remainder of the heap has been spread over the new flower bed prior to planting, I have managed to find and obtain 6 HT roses that are vigorous, scented and resistant to blackspot that you have to live with in this part of the world.
Simply the Best
These are going to be the centerpiece supported by Day lilies, Hardy fuchsias, Monkshood, Campanulas, Lungwort, Evening Primrose, Epimedium, Eryngium and Bergenia, any gaps this year will be filled with bedding plants and in the autumn, bulbs for a spring show the following year.
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