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Lyn and Malcolms Garden Blog
July  2011

July 30th
A few days ago we had a visit from the judges of the Ferndown in Bloom competition, they can only judge Lyn's front garden as it has to be on public view from a road or pavement.

Today they returned to say Lyn had won the competition. The prizes will be awarded later in September.

Late afternoon sun in Lyn's garden

Ipomoea lobata                                                                                 Fuchsia boliviana

Dahlia 'Windmill'                                                                              Canna 'Reine Charlotte'

July 29th
We are hoping for a casual weekend, but would like a bit of sun please. It has been a dull day today with hardly a breeze, so not much watering to do in the garden.
Lyn's cottage garden is now at its peak of flowering and scent.
As mentioned yesterday, the Thalictrum 'Hewitts Double' always catches the visitors eye, so here are a few more pictures of it.

Thalictrum 'Hewitts Double'

Thalictrum 'Hewitts Double' close up of the individual flowers

Thalictrum 'Hewitts Double' in the centre bed.

July 28th
I had to be shaken from my sleep this morning, I guess it was the extra year old I am now, or perhaps the garden opening yesterday.
This afternoon I mowed and freshened up the lawns with a drink of water, and a clear up of the remaining chairs and tables etc.
Later in the evening we had a private visit of The Chase Garden Club, just nine people so an easy evening for us. Once again there was much interest in Thalictrum 'Hewitts Double' which was in full flower.

July 27th 
Well we, and the garden survived the open afternoon today. In the first hour of opening we had 141 visitors ! it was a bit packed in the garden to say the least, as you can see in the picture below. After that first hour it did get less crowded, and we ended up with a total of 184 visitors in the 3 hours we were open. 
Another great opening, and many thanks must go to all those that came to the garden and our 7 helpers that gave of their time. There is no way we could open the garden without help serving the teas, selling plants and manning the gate.

The Exotic garden at 1.20pm before we opened the front gate for visitors.

The Exotic garden this afternoon at 2.56pm. !!

July 26th
Does anyone want to take a guess how many visitors we might get tomorrow afternoon ?. Well we haven't a clue really, last year we had an astonishing 200 in the 3 hours we were open. Previously 128 was the record for a Wednesday pm opening. I really can't imagine we will get anywhere near the 200 this year. Just in case, we have made plenty of cake, so we won't run out at 3.30pm, like we did last year.
So no pictures from here today, but might get a few while we are open.

A couple of days ago the postman remarked on the scent of the garden as he entered the front gate and walked down the path. The phlox and lilies probably produce the most scent at the moment. We have not seen many butterflies this year, but there are some bees and a lot of bumble bees. About a week ago I saw two slow worms, one by the front gate and one basking on the gravel outside our garage door, I had to coax it away, as I needed to go out in the car.

July 25th
A good proportion of the day was spent being taxi for my 93 year old mother to hospital. She had a Basal cell cancer lesion on her back, which has been surgically removed, which should be the end of it, providing enough has been removed.
Back home there was really only enough time to water the garden, and make some shortbreads, part of the cooking to do for the Wednesday afternoon opening, the rest of the cakes will be made tomorrow afternoon.
It looks as though the weather is set fine, perhaps with a fair amount of cloud at times, which is good enough for us.

Echinacea purpurea, an easy Echinacea for us, unlike some of the latest introductions.

Another picture of a Hoverfly

July 23rd
A nice day today, quite warm, nice to see the sun again. During the day we got rid of a couple of Canna that have been in the garden for many years. They were showing signs of Canna virus, and we don't want them to infect some new ones we bought last year.
We also dug up an Actaea in Lyn's garden, that was being overgrown with other plants and moved it to another position. The lawn got its haircut again today, I try to cut it every two days, this is what thickens the lawn up, preventing weeds and moss.
Lyn has been pricing more plants for the sales bench, ready for the open afternoon.
We enjoyed having lunch and dinner sat on the patio

A few views of the Exotic Garden taken this morning.

A view from the patio towards the Aviary.

The gravel bed

Another view from the patio

Looking over the top of the water feature towards the greenhouse

Another view of the gravel bed

So I don't get accused of not taking any pictures in Lyn's garden, here is a view from her garden looking towards the arch that leads into the passage to my Exotic garden !!!!

July 21st
Afternoon showers are still about, thankfully nothing too heavy. 
Building up to another open day, or should I say afternoon this time, the weather always gives us concern, so it is good news to hear the weather is supposed to settle down for next week, I have seen a forecast for up to 27c on the open afternoon, which could even be a bit on the warm side.

Next week is also judging time for the Ferndown in Bloom.  It appears there are no 2nd and 3rd prizes for Best garden on public view this year, just 1st prize of 75, daft really when the tallest sunflower class gets 50 for 1st place.

Here in the garden it is a bit more restful now, just keeping the plants dead headed, the lawn mown and a bit of watering despite the showers.

July 17th
Sunshine and showers today, so it was an in and out day. Potted up some Echium pininana into big pots, they will have to be over wintered and then should flower next year. We grew them from seed sown in January this year.

Despite the showers the Hoverflies are still about.

The 'Moorish' door, half closed today to keep the rain out.

'Alice' sheltering under the Trachycarpus fortunei trunk.

The 'Moorish' window to match the door.                                          Rosa 'White Pet'

Ricinus                                                                                                 A 3 metre tall Sunflower

Trifolium rubens

July 15th
The sales plant stall has now been refilled after our open day, we keep some of the spare sales plants at other locations around town as we have no room for them here.
Our thoughts are turning to our open afternoon on the 27th July. The big decision is how many cakes to make. The record number of visitors on an afternoon only opening, previous to last year was 124. Then suddenly last year we had 200, visitors and we ran out of cake just one and a half hours into the afternoon.  How many visitors can we expect this year.

Agapantus buds just ready to open.                                                        Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Lilium 'Olina' and Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'                                       Delphinium and Phlox

July 13th
A less hectic day for us today with just 10 people on a private visit this afternoon. It was fairly cloudy with a few glimpses of the sun.
We have had an invasion of hoverflies the last couple of days, they don't seem to have much of a brain, they get into the conservatory and insist on trying to fly out through the roof. The one in the picture below just about to land on a Crocosmia 'Lucifer' has the right idea, feeding on the nectar of the flowers in the garden.

Gazanias opening in the sun.

July 11th
Well it stayed dry for our National Garden Scheme open day yesterday, with a little sunshine as well. And we had 270 visitors, which we were very pleased indeed with.
There where lots of 1st time visitors, so the word is spreading around. I managed to get a couple of quick pictures between answering many questions during the day. We didn't have anyone actually kneeling on the lawn trying to find out if it was real grass, but there was much discussion. 
The highlight of the day must surely be a lady who spoke to me, the lady said that in her retirement she had been visiting gardens all over the world, and ours was the best she had seen !!!

Many thanks to all who came to see the garden, and made the day so successful. Also we must all thank our helpers, who give of their time on the day, to make it possible for us to open our garden. We certainly could not man the gate, plant stall, kitchen and speak to as many visitors as possible, all on our own.

Part of Lyn's garden at about 12.30pm, we had 125 people visit by then.

Part of my garden around 2.30pm

July 9th
A long day today, but it should help us not having to do too much tomorrow morning.
One of the last jobs today was to put up more directional signs round town, and also fit "Today" to the signs already out. That took us nearly an hour to do, driving round in the car.
But I did find time to take a few pictures of the garden today, for everyone interested in the garden, but are too far away to visit us, here are a few photos of both gardens.

Lyns Garden

Lyns garden from above

Lyn working on the plant stall


July 8th
The 14 cakes for our open day are now made, apart from cutting them into slices and filling some of them early on Sunday morning.
It has been pretty windy again today but dry during daylight hours.
There is quite a lot to do tomorrow, we have to do as much as possible to leave us a bit more time on Sunday morning before we open at 11.00am.

Hemerocallis 'Corky'  and Hemerocallis 'Mallard'                                Aloe striatula  and Begonia fuchioides

Potentilla 'Melton Fire'                                                                              Salvia blepharophylla

July 6th 
We missed most of the showers this morning, but caught a few this evening with gusty winds too. The wind spoils the flowers on the Brugmansias, as they bruise easily.
The forecast for our open day on Sunday is for an improvement, not a hot clear summers day, but as long as it stays dry with at least a little sun, we will be happy.
Tomorrow afternoon and Friday morning is cake making time again. Last year we ran out of cake on all three openings, so it looks like we will have to make 14 or 15 this time, which equates to around 160 slices. We hit the supermarket this evening with our shopping list of ingredients to add to the 60 eggs I bought this morning, the fridge here is now bulging.

Brugmansia 'Herzenbrucke' this morning before the wind.

July 5th
Back to paid work today after a busy 4 days. The garden has had a little rain on it this afternoon which has freshened it up ready for this Sundays open day. During last summers open days, on which we ran out of cake on all occasions. We are having to bake more cakes, so instead of baking on the Friday before, we will have to start on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile we can recoup our strength. 
Lyn fell asleep watching the TV, and I fell asleep in front of the computer this evening !

July 4th
The Leeds tour group coach arrived a little early, and from a different direction than I had expected. So plans on how to get 41 people safely across the busy main road were not needed.
After a rush to the plant stall the group explored our two gardens, and had just about enough time to have their tea and cake or biscuits.
The lawn and variety of the plants in the garden were the main topics of conversation. Many of the group wanted to stay in the garden, rather than be ushered back to the coach. It was obvious they had enjoyed their short stay with us.

July 3rd
Another busy day for us, I spent 4 hours baking cakes and biscuits for another Garden Holiday tour group, this time from Leeds UK, a coach with 41 people due to arrive tomorrow morning. That is quite a lot of cake and biscuits, though not anywhere as much as needed on our open days.
It was also a very warm day here today, temperature up to 25c so the garden needed some watering and dead heading. By this evening we are pretty much ready.
And thankfully mothers telephone line has now been restored, despite getting an email from BT to say it wouldn't be repaired till Wednesday.

July 2nd
One of the combinations of plants that attracted attention from the Swedish visit yesterday.

Thalictrum rochebruneanum, Clematis 'Prince Charles' and Clematis viticella  'Etoile Violette'

July 1st
Today we had a Swedish Garden Holiday tour group of 32 people visit our garden.

We also had a film crew from ARD German TV. The crew arrived at about 9.15am, and prepared to film the arrival of the Swedish tour group coach at 10.00am. They filmed and talked to the group in the garden for about two hours. Just before the group left,  they were asked for a show of hands to vote whose garden was the best, Lyn's or mine. We had to be out of sight of the vote, but later we found out that the vote was equal 50-50.
During the afternoon we were filmed in our respective gardens, and the filming ended with the camera on the end of the biggest transportable crane jib I have ever seen, which was on the pavement outside our front gate. The camera was soaring above the garden in great sweeps. The camera crew left at 4.15pm.

We really enjoyed the Swedish group and the filming, and thought the film crew were very professional, we had some good laughs with them too.

After clearing up a bit and watering some of the plants in the garden, we sat down for our dinner at around 5.15. Halfway through, the phone rang, it was the neighbour of my 93 year old mother, to say that mothers telephone had stopped working, so she was unable to ring or take calls from anyone, and more importantly not to be able to use the lifeline emergency line if she fell or was taken ill. The neighbour had rung BT to advise them of the fault, but was unable to speak to anyone, just an automatic message machine. So I had to drive to mothers house and test it wasn't her phone that was causing the problem. By the time I arrived at mothers, her neighbour had established from the BT automatic machine that there was a problem with their equipment and it wouldn't be attended to for another 5 days.
After returning home I did manage to speak to someone at BT, and they said if they considered it urgent they would try to mend the line earlier.

The ARD tv camera crew, with apologies for not including Robert the producer who was out on the pavement putting together the camera crane jib !!

More pictures of the film crew at work, talking to our Swedish visitors ( pictures taken by Malcolm 2 one of our helpers on the day )

And a picture of the vote just before the Swedish Tour left to decide whose garden was the best, Lyn's or mine. We were not allowed to see the vote.