Category Archives: In the garden


The Magnolia this year has been absolutely magnificent.  It was given to me by my father 50 years ago, so is very special.

I thought we were not going to have any apple blossom this year as the leaves had already come out, but now the blossom has bloomed, so I guess we will have lots of apples again this year.

Our Trachelospernum has died (there is a lovely picture of it on the website), but we have cut it right back to dead wood and a frame work and now planted 2 clematis in the hope that they will cling to this frame work and might look good.  We have now planted 2 Trachelospernum on our south facing wall in place of a rose (new dawn), so we will see how this works.


In a space when it wasn’t raining, I have managed to get out and remove all the old and marked leaves from the Hellebores and now the new flowers are up and beginning to look good – they are such a lovely plant for the winter time. It is important to remove these old leaves as they always get a disease and must not be put on the compost heap.

I have also done a mammoth job in weeding the vegetable garden – I am a great believer in clearing weeds as soon as possible, working on the old adage that ‘one years seed is seven years weeds’ – so remove them before they get the chance to flower.

Stuart Cottage – at last to bed.

As I sit here and watch still more rain falling, I am glad that the garden is taking its well earned rest.  All the tender perennials are now safely in the green house, which, with the aid of a heater does not fall below 10 degrees.  The  four large Brugmansias are reduced by a good half and stripped of all their leaves and will remain like that until about March.

With dahlias, some I leave in the ground and cover with a thick mulch, but any that I really prize,  have been taken in and stored.  These will definitely need watching, as last year, for the first time, in their storage place in a workshop, the mice had a good meal from them!  So I ended up being very grateful to the ones that remained in the ground and were fine.

We have several pots with hostas and having removed any remaining leaves, we put a piece of glass on top of the pot to help keep out the rain and stop it from freezing and cracking the pots.

With 2 Cordylines which are in separate large pots, John has made frames in wire netting encircling each plant and filled in the space with dead leaves.  This means that there will be space for air circulation and they are undercover, so no rain will get in to rot them.

Apple tree in bloom

I took this photo last Friday of an old apple tree that was here when we moved in. It is in full bloom and is lovely to sit under having tea when we take a break from working in the garden.

A slow start

What a winter! From what I have read in the paper the winter has lasted five weeks longer than usual. Is that all? It was all about the jet stream apparently.

That is now hopefully in the past and we can all start to move ahead in our gardens. There is a lot to do at Stuart Cottage if we are to be ready for what is going to be a busy summer with all the openings we have planned this year.