Category Archives: gardening

Courtyard Garden : new shoots and spiders #courtyardgarden #plants #gardening #orchids #houseplants


Not much gardening to be done on the first day in December, you might think. But noted today how the shrubs cut back so drastically just a short while ago are already beginning to put put up new shoots.

The indomitable holly – reduced to little more than a pole – is already sending out new leaves!



Like wise the Quince and the shrub rose.20181201_14262520181201_142637

You don’t expect new growth so late in the season but it is so mild, with little sign of the cold winter that had been predicted back in September.


20181201_142723Less welcome? A plastic bottle thrown over the wall by some ghastly child. I make that assumption by the style and content of the bottle.  I hate littering – and hate it even more when people litter my garden!


On better things…



The spider plant given me by my friend Misha is flowering well.

As are my selection of orchids, which, having finished flowering back in June, have been on holiday in the conservatory all summer. I have brought them indoors in case of frosts. I have nine orchid plants and had some of those for up to ten years. Most are showing flowers and/or flower spikes. Tip – they thrive on neglect! I water once a week (or even fortnight!)and feed every third watering.




Courtyard Garden : xtreme pruning #courtyardgarden #gardening #pruning #gardens #janedwards

20181104_123554 (1)Following on my blog about overgrown corners I took advantage of a dry day and tackled that Japanese Quince at the weekend.  You may recall it looking like this. 20181118_144001

A tangle of branches bereft of foliage after years of struggling under  a blanket of ivy.

The clippings filled my garden waste bin and three more bags besides,  and took me an entire morning but I think it will have been worth the effort. Continue reading

Courtyard Garden : Quince-essential

DSCN1204A few weeks ago we called in a professional to 20181104_123530prune the vastly overgrown holly and prunus that were running amok at the front of the house. (Picture taken early this year – the lawn beneath the tree died in the summer heat and has not yet recovered)


20181104_121438The corner was an impenetrable thicket that was also home to a vast variegated ivy and though good cover for birds was causing damage. (It had already pulled down a brick pillar! illo)

20181104_121433 (1)There is also a wasp nest at the base of the prunus  which is why I am holding back from full scale works. Waiting for those Jaspers to vanish for the winter!

Continue reading

Courtyard Garden: Name That Mystery Bulb #gardening #plants #courtyardgarden

A very quick Courtyard Garden post today with a question for you all.

You know that thing where you bung bulbs in hither and yon and don’t bother to make a note of which is where?  Well that is me all over.

Below is a picture of fresh sproutings  in the top of a large pot.

Ignoring the pansies – I think the spikes of green pushing up through the soil may be  Alliums of some kind.


mystery bulbs

Courtyard Garden : Spindle Tree #gardening #plants #courtyardgarden

20181031_105016It would be more precise to say that I have a spindle bush – or even partial hedge at the front of the garden.  This shrub leans over the front wall and jostles for position with a variegated privet.

Its botanical name, Euonymus is from the Greek, ‘eu’, meaning ‘good’ and ‘onama’, meaning ‘name’. This is said to have meant ‘lucky’. Though in some areas, it was also thought that if the spindle flowered early, an outbreak of the plague was likely.

European spindle can eventually grow 20 feet wide tall and wide, though it is often seen smaller.  They grow well in chalky soils and will tolerate drought as well as shade, so a good all rounder. Continue reading

Courtyard Garden : Scented Geraniums (pelargoniums) Before the Frost Does!

pelsThis morning we had a frost – second of the season – and more forecast later in the week so time to give my scented pelargoniums their annual scalping before being stashed in the conservatory for the winter.

The flowers are very pretty, but small, yet the scented leaves more than make up for that. Not just because running your hands over them leaves your skin smelling so sweet but also because they provide a gorgeous intricately cut  foliage to offset pots of the more blowsy annuals.

I have three of these, the original plants all being bought some twelve or more years ago at the National Herb Centre in Warmington near Banbury, Oxfordshire. Well worth a visit if herbs are your thing!

These are doubtless daughter plants from those originals. They are ridiculously easy to propogate from cuttings. Hack of pieces of fresh growth and push them into a pot of well-drained compost and you will have dozens in no time!

These plants as with any pelargoniums,  are fragile, however, and need to be cossetted through the frosty months. I have :

One Pepper-scented plant pel 3


One Rose-scented plantgeran-3


pel 4One Lemon-scented plant




20181022_104643All are now safely trimmed and tucked away for the winter20181022_105526

Courtyard Garden : Autumn Figs #gardening #courtyardgarden #figs #fruittrees

20181015_135702Today, once the rain had stopped, I decided that now autumn is truly here, and most of the leaves have dropped from my fig tree,  it was time to remove the unripened figs.

Despite common myth figs are surprisingly easy to grow in this country. All they need is a sheltered spot, preferably against a south facing wall of fence, and they can produce a surprisingly large crop.

This year we had something like 40 ripe figs from this one small tree. I have grown mine in a  pot as figs tend to fruit more when their roots are restricted. Feed it well come the spring and with luck we shall get another good crop next season. Books will tell you to wrap fleece around them during hard winters, but I have had this tree for 12 years, through 2 house moves in the North Midlands, and never had to do anything. Provided the tree is not in a windy spot or frost pocket they seem to be quite hardy. Continue reading