It’s the best time of year for making changes in my cottage garden
I feel the need to make some big big changes in my cottage garden, even if it means it won’t be so cottagey.
The wallflower Bowles Mauve is a fabulous shrub. Mine flowered every day of the year for about 4 years. It is a short lived plant though and it suddenly went from a cloud of purple to a tangle of brown sticks.
I could have trimmed it and hoped it would revive next year but I decided to dig it out and am glad I did. This is what I dug out looked like.
It was tired and old and totally fed up with flowering. It had sprawled over a nice big area so I now have a fresh space for something else.
Making changes by digging things out
I also dug out huge clumps of the most common hardy geranium, the pink one, which was also dry and tired and spindley.
The soil was great after 30 years of adding organic matter. I’m very keen on making compost and you can read more about that here
I want to have more roses as my current ones are so unsuccessful. I have 3. Each one does its best but the blooms come one at a time, one bud every 5 weeks. That’s hopeless for a decent supply of roses to cut for a vase.
It’s a lovely rose but I would like more than one bud every 3 weeks. See my Instagram feed for some photos of the few roses I do have at the moment.
This new space would be great for a couple of roses and I must must resist the urge to fill it up with more ditsy 9cm plants that I have waiting for a space. I am always in danger of popping in yet more oregano, more thyme, more daisy, more alpine strawberry.
What is a nice big space now would then be a smaller space surrounded by an array of little ground hugging plants. Yet again. I wouldn’t put it past me to pop in another blooming hardy geranium. I MUST NOT.
I will of course want to cover every inch of soil with something before the winter. I don’t like roses sticking out of bare soil but common sense tells me I need to plant the roses first and add the ground cover plants afterwards. At the same time I could pop in some small narcissi bulbs and some alliums. I’d better order some then.
This is such an exciting time of year when the ground is warm and wet, anything planted will put down good roots before the Spring and all possibilities beckon for next year.
Making changes before winter sets in
There’s also the frisson of time being limited, time running out before gardening becomes a struggle rather than a joy. I don’t plant tulips till November/December so no hurry there. You can read about them here
I look forward to showing you my new roses once I’ve put them in. I’ll be buying from davidaustinroses.co.uk
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16 comments on "Making changes in my cottage garden"
I love your newsletter.
When buying your roses from DA, where there are of course many great roses, I found the Olivia and Harlow Carr roses a disappointment.
Oh Susan ! I just planted Harlow Carr yesterday . Please do tell me more about it if you can. It is so hard to choose isn’t it. Pot luck really. thanks for getting in touch. Best wishes, Julie
Julie – I too have three Harlow Carr roses (in pots). Lovely flowers, beautifully fragrant but viciously thorny!
Love to hear about your garden, we are in NW England so our weather is slightly colder than yours. We planted quite a few DA roses, most have done very well, and probably my fault if they haven’t! Our Teasing Georgia has been wonderful, and prolific. Will look forward to hearing more, and your choices
Best wishes, Janet
I have 7 DA roses that have bloomed 3 years in my garden now. Four are in pots. And I have to agree withh Susan, the Harlow Carrs are a huge disappointment (I planted 2). I think I will be digging them out. I absolutely love “Roald Dahl” and “Lady of Shalott”. “England’s Rose” is quite nice, “Boscobel” is lovely but has the strangest soap scent.Perhaps you will do better with your Harlow Carr, David Austin Roses may be able to give you some pointers as it may need some special care?
Wonderful….I’m trying to do the very same.
Great to read about your changes. I love this time of year. It always feels like next year is a clean slate
A neighbour has a HC mini-hedge which looks great, so hope you’ll be lucky with yours! Our best rose is Champagne Moment which I’ve moved 3 times (!) but is still blooming its socks off with not a trace of black spot or any other nasties.
I think I need you to come and cast your eye over my garden! I do love the clearing up in Autumn filling bins is so satisfactory I am going away for a week so there is a great incentive to get as much as possible done before I go. It is so exciting to be going anywhere.
Hope you are well, busy and recovering from all the stress and strain of last year
I think of your mother often
Thanks Kit, I too have her in my head and in my vision all the time. I must have got my love of colour in the garden from her. Best wishes, Julie
I have that tug-of-war between filling spaces and opening them up to give me new possibilities. Have just dug out a huge Monkshood and – sigh of relief- realised the nearby rose will get more sun. Cut down another shrub and the dahlias that we’re giving up perked up… Meanwhile we wonder if we’ll one day have a bigger garden but love our little one. Good luck with the roses! And thanks for the reminder that I don’t need to rush with the bulb planting.
It is quite liberating isn’t it when we dig out something that was keeping other things back. what amazes me is that a plant in a hole the size of a plate can spread over a square metre or more and taking it out leaves a huge space! hurrah for little gardens and thanks so much for taking time to comment. Makes it all worthwhile. Best wishes Julie
Thank you Julie for your inspiring newsletters!
I love David Austin roses, I have four of them in my garden. The dark Lady, Lady of Megginch and Crownprincess Margareta (married to former Swedish king long time ago)are my favourites. Different colours but so beautiful! The flowering season in the south of Sweden is from July to November so there is plenty of time to enjoy!
Oh gosh your roses flower later in the year than here, lucky you. Isn’t it lovely that people all over the world can share the same joy of the same plants. Thanks so much for getting in touch, it is lovely for me to hear from other garden lovers. Best wishes, julie
I’ve just planted a lot more alliums. I’ve also got tulips waiting to be planted. I get seduced to buying bulbs each year and actually get stressed planting them as I can’t remember where spaces exist in garden. Of course I’m full of good intentions to mark where they are but just another job never gets done. Haha.
Also bought 3 climbing Roses Claire Austin, New Dawn and Keith Maughan.
FYI. Rose Mortimer Sackler from DA is brilliant. We have 2 here on the Wirral
Thanks so much for the info on Mortimer Sackler, a rose I’ve never heard of. Will have a look at once. I never mark where I’ve planted things and seem to think I’ll remember but of course I don’t so now, I’m almost digging one up for every bulb I plant, so have to keep popping them back in. And I think I’ve ordered just a few more massively reduced …..thanks so much for your comment. It’s lovely to hear from other gardeners.