End of Month View March 2016 (and a hello)

Now that this blog is coming out of stealth mode, I can afford to take part in a meme or two. And what better one to start with than Helen Johnstone’s End of Month View? I can also use this as an opportunity to do a tour of the current state of the garden, which might not have been obvious thus far.

Back garden

Our main (back) garden is ENE-facing, and sloping up from the house. The main growing area is (pleasingly) almost exactly one are: ten metres wide, and ten metres from the end of the decking to the back of the ridiculously thick privet hedge. In front of that is the beginning of the driveway, then elevated decking; in front of that is a strip of low decking; and in front of that (from left to right) is the continuation of the driveway, the house, and a decked patio.

Here’s a tour, starting off at the patio:


Hidden behind the locked bicycle is the unsightly bit where the scaffolders had to cut away at the decking, because the previous owners had foolishly put planters directly onto it, rotting it and growing roots through it. Bad decisions by the previous owners will be a theme of this post, and maybe of this blog for the next year or so….

From the patio, almost spinning on the spot from the above photo, you can see along the low decking past the back doors (we’ll head in that direction later):


and the raised decking with the garden beyond:


Up onto the raised decking, and looking back at the house (I include the ugly rotary dryer this once, for reasons of journalistic accuracy):


We can look at our first couple of updates to previous plantings. The Solent Wight garlic is growing well:


Most containers are growing the number of bulblets we planted, although in one pot two of the three bulblets sprouted, but then failed. It’s possible that cats sporting all over them have knocked them to bits: you can see the brushwood we added to prevent them from digging and all sorts.

The containers of spring flowering bulbs are leafy:


While Iris “Blue Note” and Crocus “Spring Beauty” been going gangbusters:


neither the Narcissus “Pipit” nor N. “Delnashaugh” have flowered yet, although they do seem to have green growth, so I don’t think they’ve died off.

The sunny side of the garden is a bit wasted on this messy border, although there’s some interest developing as spring does likewise:


The buddleia I razed to the ground is already starting to bounce back:


Further towards the left-hand corner is the trough in which I planted Carrot “Parisian” (which I fear might have rotted, but we’ll see) plus the ill-advised brick-built compost heaps, growhouse and the lean-to:


From up behind the lean-to you get a good view across the garden, through the apple tree I’ve also hacked back:


And much of the brushwood from both apple and buddleia hackings-back is still taking up the right-hand, higher back corner:


Round to the front garden

Back to the lower decking, but over to the other side, we see the top of the driveway, where I’m currently storing a few things that won’t fit in the lean-to:


Walking backwards down the driveway, there’s very little that’s green:



The neglected front garden is a rocky rockery, overrun by ivy and overlooked by another neglected privet hedge:


There’s some interesting greenery in it—this clambering jasmine and low-lying choisya—but otherwise it’s a more challenging site than the back garden:


That’s it

Back garden, driveway, front garden: hopefully next time I write a review like this, I won’t have to reiterate the boring bits. And hopefully, as the garden progresses, there’ll be fewer of them!

Thanks again to Helen Johnstone for hosting EOMV!



  1. Julieanne · April 3, 2016

    Hurrah – J-P has a gardening blog. It’s a good introduction to your garden. I haven’t heard of that Carrot variety (though have C. Paris Market), so look forward to hearing what it’s like. I suspect the carrots are just taking ages to germinate as it hasn’t been warm enough. Maybe add a bit of fleece to help warm the soil?


    • jpstacey · April 4, 2016

      It’s a spherical one: I got it because I couldn’t be sure how deep I’d get a root run in the various containers I’m (still) keeping things in…. But I think the soil might have dried out too much and killed the seeds, so I might sow again.


    • jpstacey · April 4, 2016

      Sorry, Julieanne: WordPress only shows up to “… Carrot” in your comment preview so my response didn’t make much sense. I think the soil is probably warm enough, but I’m worried that (at least once) its surface dried to a pan. After what you said about keeping wet until germination (I’m always spuriously worried I’ll damp things off these days) then that could’ve done for them. I might dig up an inch of trench to see if anything’s sprouted and then died.


      • Julieanne · April 4, 2016

        I tend to find that damping off is more a problem in the greenhouse than with outside sowings, but that’s only my experience – I’m not the greatest at greenhouse growing. Digging an inch to check sounds like the best idea.


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