Saturday, 18 June 2016

It's all a bit Gertrude Jekyll



A friend leaned over my garden gate and gazed down the garden, then shook his head slightly and said "Oh dear, it's all getting a bit Gertrude Jekyll isn't it..."


I don't think he meant 'It's all wonderfully planned, planted and managed, isn't it ?', as, of course, Gertrude Jekyll's gardens all are. Sadly I think he meant, 'It's all a bit out of control and wild as the wind, isn't it?'

Taking my friend's interpretation of a Gertrude Jekyll garden, I can say, with my hand on my heart that I am glad it is 'a bit Gertrude Jekyll', as, if a garden can't be wild, rambling and overflowing in June, then when can it ! It isn't well manicured, but it does celebrate all the many plants which are accelerating towards their zenith, outgrowing their allotted spaces as they do so.


There is so much work to do out there, trying to keep them staked, tied in, cut back, cut down, that I did wonder today if I am a weeny bit crazy, and really I should be lying in a hammock on a square of artificial grass with not a leaf or flower in sight. I could smell the BBQ's firing up in other gardens, and hear people starting to relax and to enjoy the evening, but I just couldn't justify stopping. Whilst the process of gardening is infinitely enjoyable and rewarding ... so is just sitting sometimes.


So, I have resolved to let it become even more 'Gertrude Jekyll' and take time to smell the roses, as well as weed around them. I will sit on the deck chair which has served only as a resting place for my gardening gloves ! I will take the time to enjoy the days of summer which are slipping by so quickly.


We have been busy with new projects, that there has been little time for relaxing. We have developed  three new areas in the garden since March, and they have all needed digging, hard landscaping and  planting but are now well on the way to completion. 

The fourth new area is shown below, and still has a long way to go.


We didn't do the decking ourselves, as we know 'a man who can', but we are beginning work on the raised bed. Topsoil is on order, and then we can start planting hostas and ferns, as it is an area of partial shade. The whole bed will be lined with heavy duty plastic sheeting to keep adjoining walls free from damp. I am in the process of selecting a couple of climbers too.The area is very sheltered so I could try something reasonably tender - perhaps a couple of the Abutilons which I bought at Chelsea.


Above is one of the new areas we have made this season. It is using land which we have never cultivated in 30 + years, so was very hard to dig initially. It is an extension of the exotic garden, and very much in its infancy. Skeleton planting of palms and small tree ferns has been completed and underplanting, such as hostas and brunnera is in place. I have grown loads of annuals to fill gaps, and am waiting impatiently for these to get moving.

 I have grown Amaranthus Caudatus, Amaranthus 'China Town' and Amaranthus 'Velvet Curtain', all for the first time. I will not be growing 'China Town' as you need a magnifying glass to see them, even though I sowed the seed very early! Although you can't see them in the photo there are also Tithonia 'Torch', coleus and zinnias 'Candy Cane. You can just see, bottom right, Ricinus and nasturtiums, starting to put on some growth.


As well as making new areas in the garden, we have been planting up annuals, in pots and tubs.



Again, they need time to fill out, but at least the hard work is done - just watering and dead heading from now on ...


We have also made a purchase from our new, local reclamation yard - a Victorian/ Edwardian garden gate. It has seen better days and needs some tlc, but there is something very quintessentially English - garden about it, and I love opening it, and thinking of the other hands, down across the generations, which have done the same. Cost is not important, but it was actually only £30, which is the equivalent of a few basics in the trolley at Tesco, which seems slightly ridiculous, for all that history.


Underneath the gate as a sort of ornamental threshold, we have put another piece of salvage. This is  a panel from an Indian railing, and shows a depiction of the young Queen Victoria.


What a strange journey indeed, from India to deepest Lincolnshire...














28 comments:

  1. In all seriousness, I am so grateful for every one of the "Gertrude Jekyll-y" gardens I see on blogs! I was raised in a manicured-lawn-only environment, and it has been quite freeing to feel I can let the plants be exuberant and happy in my garden ;-) Love your gate - what a treasure to have found something so beautifully mellow! Hope you do find a few moments of relaxation with it all... :) Love that shot with lupines and kniphofia!

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  2. I can't do it. I try. But I sit down and within a minute I have spotted a weed. Or more likely several. And well, you know the rest.

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  3. I love a good hedge as much as the next person but I'm forever drawn to the overcrowded, slightly chaotic feel of every plant lovers garden. There are so many plants I love and only so much space to fit them into!

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  4. Your garden looks absolutely lush. It seems to be a tropical paradise. You can't get too Jekyll for me. Your gate is a stellar find, especially at that price. Worth any work you have to do to it. Can't wait to see the new areas all planted up. Do try to enjoy some of your summer. You deserve a rest after all of this work.

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  5. I know I should enjoy sit and enjoy the garden more, but there is still so much to do! Love your new gate and the Victorian panel, salvage fits so well into gardens. Enjoy the summer!

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  6. I've been doing too much during down, albeit socialising, and it's fine a bit beyond Gertrude. Ah well, maybe tomorrow. I reckon need a solid week of weeding. Love your new decking are and your other efforts are verging on heroic, but if it all makes you happy, why not carry on using the deckchair as a glove store, at least you'll know where they are!!! The exotic extension looks great a already.

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  7. I think it is all looking wonderful. There is nothing wrong with it being a bit Gertrude Jekyll. After all it is that style that has made her name survive over the years.

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    1. If it was a 'bit Getrude Jekyll' in the true sense of the word, I would be very happy ! Mine is just overfull and overgrown!

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  8. I think Gertrude Jekyll' s long borders were carefully planned and maintained by a team of gardeners. But she did go for a painterly effect, which is what you are doing. And how lovely it all looks. It is such fun having projects on hand. Much more fun than sitting in a chair. I love your exotic areas and the new decking area will be lovely.

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    1. Gertrude Jekyll's borders were meticulously planned, planted and maintained, as you say Chloris, and still inspire today. I think my friend's interpretation was somewhat different, and he was using it as a euphemism for 'a bit overgrown and out of control', which I'm sure G.J's never were!!

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  9. Your garden looks amazing. Who cares if the overfull and overgrown as you say it(I don't see that just a wonderful garden). Nature is always overfull and overgrown. I'd much rather sit in the middle of your garden than in some completely symmetric garden.
    I love to grow Amaranthus, it's one of the plants that stays the longest in my garden, but this year I need magnifying glass for all of them. 7 varieties and all are only 20cm and blooming.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments Leanan ! I interesting about your Amaranths as mine are all much smaller than I hoped they would be by this point of the year. Seven varieties - that is impressive ! Which is your favourite ? Have you any tips for success ?

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  10. Your garden looks gorgeous Jane! I love that overgrown wildness. I started my garden with Gertrude Jekyll as inspiration too, I collected all her books, but.....I have no army of gardeners and over the years I like the wildness.
    I love that old garden gate and the threshold from India is so very special.

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    1. Thankyou Janneke. Her gardens are so inspirational, but as you say, need lots of work to maintain. Embrace the wildness I say!

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  11. Gertrude Jekyll took her inspiration from William Robinsons and his Wild Garden book. You are in Stella company, sit back and enjoy (with a glass or two)!

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    1. Well, well well, I didn't know that Brian! I shall celebrate that fact as you suggest!

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  12. Pity the poor friend who sees 'Gertrude J.' and "tsk"s instead of rejoicing. When you do take the time to sit a bit, such beauty will surround you.

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    1. I guess everyone draws their own line between in/ out of control ! I get a bit depressed by over - manicured gardens where growth is severely restricted, but everyone has their own preferences. Thank goodness we can do what we like in our own gardens, and just please ourselves!

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  13. In my almost wild garden, or for that matter any garden I had created, I would take this as the highest of praise, unfortunately I struggle to grow the rose well.

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    1. I don't think it was intended as praise by my friend Rick ! Not his sort of garden I think!
      What do you think is your problem with the rose ? They can be very fickle.

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    2. I grow very few roses Jane, not enough sun and plenty of blackspot. I have had Gertrude J in the border and in a pot but it never seems to respond well, I don't think I am destined to grow roses here really. By the way some people just haven't got taste if they criticise your garden :-)

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  14. Your garden is looking fabulous Jane and I hope that you've found some time to pause and relax in that most well placed deckchair. I would say that your garden looks lush and exuberant rather than "out of control and wild" Your new to you gate looks as if it has always been there.

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    1. Thank you Anna. There seems to be a little more time to relax now, as all bare earth is covered, and garden jobs seem to consist of cutting back, staking and deadheading, which are quite leisurely jobs.

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  15. Love a good reclamation yard, Jane, and we seem to have similar tastes in our gardens. I certainly think I would feel at home in yours! I have grown amaranthus for the last two years and have been puzzled at how tiny some of the plants were, even when they started flowering, but generally they have increased in stature during the season - must look at the named varieties you mention.

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    1. I feel the same about yours too!
      I have been puzzled by the Amaranthus 'China Town' I have grown, as, to a man, they have stayed at about 5cm tall, despite love and care! Won't be growing those again. Which are your favourite varieties ?

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  16. Huzzah for Gertrude Jekyll! And the more of her there is about the better, as far as I am concerned. Your friend was just showing his ignorance, not to mention his bad manners. Your garden looks marvelous, in my opinion. I share with you the same self-doubt about the amount of time and money I devote to the garden, but then I shake it off and buy more plants.

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    1. Ha ha, I know what you mean! Luckily my partner and I are both afflicted by the same addiction so we just egg each other on to buy more plants !!

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Thanks for visiting and reading.
I really welcome comments and have learned much from them, over the years of leaning over the virtual garden gate ...