Ivy and the Bees.

Why you should allow some ivy to grow in your garden.

Wild Ivy in flower.

I do grow some cultivated variegated forms, ivy does not produce any flowers until their adult growth stage when the leaf shape changes, usually at around 10years. They can be kept pruned to their juvenile stage and leaf shape when they will at least provide nesting sites for birds.

Ground cover under the Bug Hotel.
Hedra helix Gold Child on a shady fence.

Do you grow ivy in your garden?

Autumn Project 4, Unexpected!

Banana Bench & Boston Ivy, Autumn 2018.

This year I noticed that the Parthenocissus Tri. Veitch, Boston Ivy, behind the banana bench, had been almost completely replaced with wild Ivy. Now while I like Ivy in the garden for its benefit to wildlife, here I would prefer to see a more colourful plant. I decided that it was necessary to remove the ivy.

This revealed that the Ivy was holding up the trellis, with most of it rotten along with two of the posts at ground level. I was left with no other option than to replace it all.

Picture from behind where trellis would have been.
From the front, with two posts waiting for sanding and staining.

I have, in previous blogs mentioned my inclination to watch TV gardening programmes for inspiration. On several occasions concrete reinforcing steel grid has been used to support climbing plants instead of wood trellis. With the advantages of not going rotten, not requiring painting (the rust look is on trend, so I’m told) and at 3.6m x 2m for just under £20 is cheaper than trellis. Two repair spikes were required with some rapid set postcrete to repair the two rotten posts, then a coat of wood preservative applied. Next grid was cut to size with a steel cutting angle grinder. The grid was fixed to the posts with 2×1” treated and stained timber screwed through to the posts.

Autumn Unexpected Project Completed.

Have you had any unexpected autumn Projects?

The Birds and the Bees…

Today (Friday) was the first day of sunshine here and after too many days of rain, it does bring a song into your heart.

I ventured out into the garden to finish pruning the climbing roses, before I began, I decided to do a tour with the camera. The gardener’s friend, was as usual, keeping an eye on me while providing his own welcome tune.

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The Mohonia in full flower, with the sunshine, brought the honey bees out from their hives.

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Mahonia Bealii

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They were also visiting the Clematis which scrambles all over it.

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Clematis cirrhosa balearica

The Flowers and the Trees.

By the front door there are pots planted up for a seasonal display with Carex, Ferns, Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviramea’,  Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’, Thuja ‘Goldy and the…

 

…Snowdrop elwesii…

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Galanthus elwesii

…and a hellebore.

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Another pot contains the Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’.

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Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’

On the other side of the door an Euonymus is trained against the wall with Sarcococca confusa in front…

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Sarcococca confusa

…the powerful scent from the Sacococca ( Christmas Box) fills the house every time the door is opened.

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Sarcococca confusa with Euonymus Emerald & Gold

In the Oriental garden the Hamamelis is in full flower, I have mentioned before I would not recommend this variety, because it holds on to its dead leaves. I removed them all before taking this picture.

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Hamamelis Moll Pallida (Witch Hazel)

The sunshine was highlighting the Erica ‘Albert’s Gold’ by the entrance to the White and Green garden and the standard variegated Holly, Ilex ‘Argentea Margenata’ at the back.

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Around  the Holly are planters with variegated Myrtle, Tulips just starting to show and Vinca minor ‘Alba’

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Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Margenata’ & Myrtus Communis Variegata

The snowdrops are beginning to open around the garden, especially where the sun reaches…

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Galanthus nivalis

…the common double, which was given to me by a friend, are clumping up well, ready to divide later on…

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Galanthus ‘Flore Pleno’.

…as is the winter aconite, although more slowly.

Winter Aconite
Eranthus hyemalis

The Prunus Serrula always looks wonderful with the sunlight on its bark, its mug decorations ( Mug Tree) have so far survived the winter.

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Prunus serrula

Around its roots is a Skimmia and variegated Ivy. Many gardeners fear ivy in the garden, I like to see it, the variegated forms are not so vigorous, while providing some colour to lighten a dark area of the garden along with being good for wildlife.

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Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ & Variegated Hedra.

It is easy to ignore plants such as Skimmia when everything else is in full flower, however at this time of year they make a welcome contribution to the garden and this one below is a little more unusual than most.

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Skimmia Hermaphrodite

The House Sparrows are gathering in the top of a Viburnum before diving down on to the ground feeders.

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What ‘Birds and Bees, Flowers and Trees’ are making you sing in your garden?