In My Garden: June blooms

In My Garden: June blooms

A garden is always in transition. Nothing is static, nothing lasts forever. Plants come and go. Designs change. A photo taken today will be unlike a photo taken tomorrow. Petals fall. Seeds drop. New life begins.

A year ago I showed you how the garden had changed in the few months we had lived in our new house. Apart from removing a few of my potted plants and planting them into the soil I didn’t change anything in the garden until this year as it is good to understand what is already growing and how the light changes over the year. The overgrown and rotting raised beds at the end of the garden were replaced last May and since then most of the work carried out has been weeding, pruning, mowing the lawn and tending the veg beds.

Until this spring: when I decided that I wanted more flowers and shrubs in the garden and rather less lawn. I don’t need a lawn, I’m not likely to lie on it, I have no children to play on it and I don’t even need the green of it as we have lovely green fields and hills in the background. So my plan is to remove the lawn over a period of time and replace it with shrubs and flower beds and gravelled pathways.

What I hadn’t realised is how much effort this takes! For now I have removed the lawn from around the large rock (which is used as my bird bath) and also alongside the stone wall on the sunny side of the garden (on the right).

Lawn early May 2016

Now the lawn on the right-hand side has been removed and planted with geraniums, hebes and assorted cuttings that I have taken. Several new climbers have been planted and a couple of New Zealand shrubs purchased.

New gravel area

I shall have to wait a little longer to show you a full picture as I still have one section to complete. My illness, then the wind and rain followed by the excessive heat have stopped me in my tracks, but all being well it will be finished by the end of this month.

But I will show you around so you can see some of the changes.

Vegetable beds: Sadly the ‘Bright Lights‘ Chard have failed to materialise despite two sowings and I only have four kale plants this year. Dwarf beans are growing (second sowing, the slugs and snails ate the first lot) a couple of broad beans are in flower and a couple of courgette plants are finally growing after being munched on for the last two months. We are getting many more strawberries this year and the herbs are doing well with the exception of the chervil and coriander, both of which wilted in the heat. Rocket and other lettuce varieties have also bolted in the heat and I had hardly picked any of the leaves.

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Herb Garden

Sunny side:

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Among the penstemons (all taken from cuttings of the original plant) is lavender, fuchsia, rosemary, osteospermum and a day lily that still hasn’t flowered. I suspect I need to dig that up and plant it elsewhere.

Shady side:

Most of the plants growing here are well established, but I still need to fill in some gaps on the wall. Maybe ajuga or brunnera to add colour. I have planted some heuchera (again from cuttings) and hellebores (from seed) and in the autumn I want to plant miniature daffodils, anemones and crocuses, but the trouble is that roots from trees and shrubs make planting difficult along here.

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Patio: Not much has changed in this area of the garden other than a jet-wash last month. The pelargoniums have been re-potted but in all honesty they are past their best and next year I shall replace them. The white lilies got eaten in the spring, but I hope to have recovered a few bulbs so next year I shall place them all in the conservatory until the plants are ready to flower in order to stop them being eaten.  The side of the conservatory has altered. I removed the rotten wood edging and put gravel down all over the ground and cut down the overgrown jasmine completely. Needless to say it is shooting madly now! A Dwarf Hebe and some Crocosmia and a half-hardy fuchsia are getting established as is another white climbing rose which last year was a miserable stick with only two small flowers.

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The Patio and tomatoes in the conservatory

The conservatory may be getting a new roof by the end of the summer and it desperately needs painting outside so that’s another job to tackle, but hopefully there will be time to sit and enjoy the garden this year.

I won’t be joining in the monthly challenge for a while, instead I shall bring you monthly updates of the garden. Plus I have a plan to visit the 19 Great Gardens of Cornwall many of which I have already visited over the years, but I’ll go in different seasons and one is the wonderful garden of Tresco Abbey which will involve a trip across the water at some point in the future…

Truro – the UK’s most southerly city

Truro – the UK’s most southerly city

In February I had the occasion to visit Truro. The name Truro is believed to have come from Tri-veru, meaning three rivers, after the Kenwyn, the Allen and the Tinney. Together these form the Truro River which flows into the Carrick Roads and the River Fal. The rivers mostly run under the streets though so there aren’t many river walks in the compact city. Truro is only 20 miles from me, which takes an hour and a half on the bus and about 25 mins in the car, and not a place I have visited often since moving down here. Although Cornwall’s only city I am afraid it doesn’t really appeal to me. It doesn’t have any distinct areas that other cities have and the architecture is all over the place, although predominantly Georgian with some Regency and Victorian buildings. It apparently has ‘the best examples of Georgian architecture west of Bath’. Really?

There are a lot of ‘high street’ shops and many interesting independent shops and there is an indoor market on Lemon Quay, a name that invokes a place full of scent and beauty. It’s not. Some days there is an outdoor market too, but I never seem to get the day right. The Hall for Cornwall offers entertainment and there is the Royal Cornwall Museum so plenty to offer the visitor one would think.

Coinage Hall: The current building was built as the Cornish Bank in 1848 on the site of the old Coinage Hall where twice yearly tin was brought here to be assayed and taxed.

However, I am not a shopper. I shop when it is necessary and therefore other than grocery shopping, not that often. I need something more than shops to draw me to a place. You would think that being on a river there would be lovely river walks. If there are I haven’t yet found them. And a walk to the Victoria gardens proved disappointing too and the gardens themselves rather too municipal for my liking.

Perhaps I am hard to please.  There is an unusual three-spired Gothic-style cathedral¹, though even my first visit to that left me underwhelmed. I did give it another chance this time and found it to be less uninspiring than I had first thought so it definitely deserves a post of its own.

Lemon Street: With its attractive Georgian architecture, Lemon Street was built to provide easy access into Truro for the Quiksilver mail coaches from Falmouth.

Meanwhile here are a couple of galleries of my impressions of Truro whilst wandering through the city, and if anyone knows it well and can suggest to me any nice walks or areas of particular interest, then please do so in the comment section. I’d love to be proved wrong.


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Eclectic Truro

¹ There are only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom with three spires. Lichfield Cathedral, dating from the 13th and early 14th centuries is the only medieval cathedral. Between the 14th and 16th centuries Lincoln Cathedral also had three spires, but the central spire collapsed in a storm and was not rebuilt thereafter. Both Truro Cathedral, Cornwall (late 19th–early 20th century) and St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh (late 19th century) were built in the Gothic Revival style and also have three spires.

If you enjoy a walk, long or short, then have a look at Jo’s site where you are welcome to join in.

Zig Zag

Does anyone know what causes this strange zig-zag pattern on the sea? Definitely not reefs and hardly any wind to mention. I have never seen this before. Very pretty though.

Edit: Thanks to the clever research of Canadian Sue Slaght this phenomenon could be Langmuir circulation. Thanks Sue!

Other phenomena that have been easy to see on these glassy seas are the parallel lines of Langmuir circulation. They resemble corresponding paths of dark and light lines on the ocean’s surface that linger up and down the coastline. They can be easily seen from a boat or the shoreline.