About Me

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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The 52 week salad challenge the Lazy Trollop way

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Many worthy bloggers & others have recently started in a challenge to have a supply of various salad leaves for 52 weeks of the year. You can read all about it courtesy of VP here. Now I am not involved but thought you might like to see how to take the easy way out. Please note the use of successional sowing – clever eh?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The rhythm of West Dean Gardens

DSCN2467 It has been quite a while since Mr B & myself took a very reasonably priced train trip to Chichester & then onwards to West Dean gardens. As the weather is a bit on the chilly side I thought I might regale you with some travellers tales.

West Dean is known for a number of things; the West Dean College provides studies for conservation, making & visual arts at all levels & lengths, many events, festivals, exhibitions & festivals are held there including the well known Chilli Fiesta & the gardens are home to a fabulous restored walled kitchen garden & an enormous Edwardian pergola designed by Harold Peto. To see everything on offer there do browse their web site.

I have many photos which include the fabulous kitchen garden, greenhouses, trained fruit & borders of colour co-ordinated perennials, but what particularly impressed me was the way so many shrubs in the parkland had been trimmed into undulating humps, hummocks, domes, whatever you might like to call them. I thought it was wonderful. It gave a movement or rhythm throughout the area. Some were very obvious; others only revealed themselves at a distance.

What do you think?


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By the way, there is a rather odd plastic tree trunk in one of the pictures. Did you spot it?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

We have been de-swagged

Rosa banksiae lutea 

When I designed/re-designed our garden some 12 years ago after some building work I was keen to try out some of the lessons & (possible) skills I had learnt from an  Open College of the Arts Garden Design Course. I had a great time measuring up, producing scale plans & axonometric drawings. What was I trying to do?

One aim was to delineate &  emphasise different areas in the garden in some way despite it being the size of a pocket handkerchief.** A ‘garden of rooms’ was not really feasible but I hoped to do something a little creative. I also wanted  some changes of height within the space for added interest, additional growing space & to increase the feeling of privacy. Based on what we had seen at places like Wisley I decided a few posts at appropriate points round the lawn with swags of rope between was the way to go.

I had visions of the rope swathed in frothy masses of roses with clematis clambering between the stems…..it did work, well sort of, but I can’t find much in the way of photos to demonstrate, in fact I can only find a few pictures that show the posts & ropes. These give a bit of an idea.

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One problem was the roses; despite some investigation & research 2 of the roses were really far too vigorous for the position they were in, at least they were in a small garden where a pathway went past the posts in question. The journey to the greenhouse or compost bin  was one of much ducking & diving. One was removed a few years ago & replaced with a Trachelospermum jasminoides. We also discovered that the rope shrank or stretched depending upon the weather; more ducking!

Recently the posts began to lean more & more & one post was very obviously rotten at the bottom & the rope was rotting too; replacement was the only way to go, but how to do it without disturbing everything round the bottom of the posts. I am very lucky, MrB, just like my dad, is a very practical person & had soon resolved the problem, ordered the ingredients & away he went.

The posts were replaced by smaller ones so they could go in the original holes without disturbing any plants nearby & the same sized wooden horizontals go between the posts to help keep them rigid & upright. No more sagging ropes!

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It’s done. A little harsh at the moment but it will soon be covered in greenery. Not the frothy rope swags I had originally planned, but the end result has the right effect.


**Are there other sorts of handkerchief I wonder.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pyracantha; multi-talented & multi-functional.

DSCN1020 Some of the frothy flowers of our pyracantha

We have a huge pyracantha at the bottom of our garden; it is a multi-talented plant. When it flowers it is a boundless fantastically frothy white mass which joins next door’s pyracantha & the one in the house at the back of us. Bees love it. I would share; I have better photos but who knows where they are!

The sparrows love the dense shrub using it as a resting/hiding/look-out point before they use the feeders in the garden. In the summer months it echoes with that tuneless sparrow-song & the air is full of the whirring of wings as they constantly fly back & forth. 3 broods of sparrow babies grow up amongst the branches. We almost had a robin nesting in it last year!

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The sparrows are the rather indistinct little brown jobbies in the photo!

The bright red berries don’t last long with the pigeons & blackbirds gobbling most barely before they are ripened leaving only those on the  edges or ends of the tiniest of branches to brighten the winter gloom.

Lastly the shrub gives us lots of privacy from the houses at the back of us. We are all quite close to each other so it is quite nice to feel tucked away from it all whatever the season.

I normally prune the pyracantha every year to try & keep it under a vague semblance of control, quite difficult & indeed dangerous with a long-handled pruner. It does now need drastic hacking back as it over-hangs the planted areas at the back of the garden. I am not bothered about the shade but it does keep the area underneath extra dry. The not so delicate operation hack & slash began a couple of days ago.

You know that the pyracantha flowers in May/June followed by the immature berries gradually ripening to, in our case, bright red. Much has been written about the mild weather causing plants to be rather un-seasonal in their flowering & fruiting habits. As many plants will flower twice if given the opportunity I have not been too astonished but I was quite flabbergasted to see the pyracantha flowering in January. I had seen blobs of white on the plant but had assumed it was sparrow guano.


Then I noticed that not only was it flowering but immature berries were also forming….

DSCN2925……who knows if they would have reached this stage; doubtful I suspect but who knows.


I must be off, more pruning to do.

** I apologise for the dire quality of the photos in this post; for illustration purposes only!