Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Wednesday 18 October 2006

What’s good and what’s bad

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 8:28 pm

I have been thinking about not just what I hate about my garden as it is, but also what I like. I like the patio, although it is probably too big and the wrong shape. I like the blue conifer (Chamaecyparis Lawsonia Pelts Blue) in the far left corner, and I love the camellia, which grows happily in the deep shade in the right hand corner of the garden nearest the house. This photograph was taken in March 2004. Just look. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Camellia March 2004

The marjoram that I have growing in a shady corner near the house does brilliantly. Another huge success is the vinca minor which provides first class ground cover for the patch where the honeysuckle grows up the trellis against the back wall of the house. Both these plants have done very well in deep shade.

On the other hand, what’s wrong with the garden may take several entries to cover, so I’ll just start with one corner. Here’s a picture of the far right hand corner, taken in February 2006. (The reason I took the photo at the time was to show how the rain brought out the colours in the patio).

RH corner February 2006

In the sunniest part of the garden, that far right hand corner, I have put a blackberry frame and behind it, an enormous conifer (another Chamaecyparis Lawsonia variety, but I am not sure whether it is Dutch Gold or Variegata. The colour suggests Dutch Gold, but the vigour suggests Variegata). To the left of the enormous conifer, another rather big one. Along the back fence, at the left edge of the picture, you can see a massive viburnum partly in flower. That’s a good plant, but it’s huge, and it gets viburnum beetle, or whatever it is that eats up its leaves. Along the side fence I have a Pieris, a Buddleia Black Knight, a Hibiscus Blue Bird and a Ceanothus Autumnal Blue. But I might as well not have them at all, because I can’t see them, and they can’t see the sun, and although they try valiantly to survive, it’s not easy for them. They are good plants, but they are in the wrong place. Further along the side fence, the bay tree is growing well but is out of control. However, it is so delicious in cooking that I forgive it for trying to take over the garden. The euonymous (the low-growing bright yellow mound – actually four plants) adds some valuable colour to the garden in winter. That’s definitely staying, although not necessarily in that exact place. Directly in front of the blackberry frame you should be able to make out a magnolia if you put your glasses on and look carefully. It sulked for a few years when I moved it from its original position, but for the last couple of years it has put on a magnificent show. However, I think it will turn out to be in the wrong place again when the garden is redesigned. I don’t think it can be moved again, and I am getting myself ready to say goodbye to it.

So, to sum up: the sunniest corner of the garden is being wasted, and the top of my right-hand border isn’t doing much good either.

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