The International Steam Pages

Our Cup Runneth Over
Quick Guide to Spring 2016, Part 2

This page is part of a series of garden blogs from 2016. Click here for the index.

We officially saw Spring in on the top of May Hill on May Day but some days before our bluebells were all out. They are truly wild flowers but I do actively manage them by allowing them to die off naturally and regenerate themselves for the following year. It leaves the top of the garden in a mess till mid-July but it's a price worth paying.

At this point, the patio space was under control, plenty of plants but plenty of space to walk between them:

Down below things were moving slowly with the 'public' boxes and hanging baskets installed. Behind the new wall, I had a new flower bed, Yuehong was banished from it as I had dug it over, extracting the builders' rubbish and installing multiple sacks of autumn leaves to condition it. We've had dahlias for three years, the tubers were getting enormous and I had taken the decision to divide them, a calculated risk as I had never done it before although the web gardeners insisted it was largely risk free. All the signs are that it has been successful, what were once around 50 plants are now 100! That represents a lot of extra space needed...

Our azaleas and rhododendrons which have featured prominently on these pages, came and went, they did their jobs perfectly which is more than can be said for the wisteria, there's always next year.

Meanwhile the patio was filling up rapidly and parts of the lawn were being dug up to accommodate the plants as soon as they were deemed ready to fend for themselves. Global sales of slug killer soared.

It was my job to find them all a home, much head scratching was needed, just how will hopefully be revealed as summer progresses. In the meantime, the Albertine rose has produced its best ever display, well may Yuehong smile, she's never been up a ladder to train and prune the beast, I've got scratches and scars all over my hands and arms. It was just about worth it to keep the lady happy.

My good news is that I've been allowed to extend the vegetable patch. My bad news is that all the extra space has been taken up with herbs and flowering plants:

The upper garden is now a splendid place to relax in the late afternoon and enjoy a glass (or two) of something cool and delicious. The new standard roses are just perfect, the peonies are doing well and the lilies will soon make it even better. It's not too bad a view either.

There are three rows of roses at the front, each in their own way has put on a stunning display this year, they were never intended to keep our country cottage private, but that has been the effect. Not too many people have cause to climb our 33 steps but those that do catch their breath and gasp in amazement...

The four original David Austin English Roses at the front are largely responsible for this effect, they have never looked less than healthy but this year they have turned into monsters. Even the wild roses in the bank are joining in the fun and the fuchsias by the wall will soon be in continuous flower too.

There's lots of routine maintenance ahead but the hard work is now done, there are hire cars to drive through rural England and steam rallies and garden centres to visit, not least because Yuehong needs to stock up for next year.

Click here for the next installment.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson