Monday, 27 May 2019

A summer garden update

When you have pale English rose skin like mine, finding shade in the summer is a necessity. We've spent the past few weekends waking the garden up from its wintry slumber - chopping back dead branches, clearing leaves, and planting.


Earlier this year, our landlord organised for a huge ivy on the back wall of the garden to be removed, which has changed the feel of the garden no end. Growing through the ivy was a rampant rambling rose and I feared for its life during the big prune. But it's sprung back, more robust than ever and I'm not kidding when I say I've watched it grow a foot every week.

Here's that rose pre-ivy massacre
We've removed the old Chilean potato vine that was in a giant pot in the corner because it just wasn't thriving. The jasmine on the other hand is in its element right now. So much so that I woke up in the night last night and the strong winds had wafted the scent of jasmine right into our bedroom, which was something of a treat. Plus, we have sweet peas (my favourite), a hydrangea, a peony on the brink of flowering, plus another glorious rose with flowers the size of cereal bowls in peaches, yellows and pinks, and with the most beautiful scent. That rose has it all.

The kids are into growing veg and so we have potatoes, carrots, courgettes, cucumbers, and plenty of strawberries. Plus, most of the pots are now planted with busy lizzies in bright pinks and mauves, and nasturtiums grown mainly because they remind me of being a kid and using the leaves as tiny umbrellas for my toys.

Aside from the bright red brick walls, the majority of our garden is grey concrete slabs and particularly jabby gravel (v painful when trying to cross to the bench with a cup of tea). I'm loving this garden - Allison Sadler from the People Shop's home and I'm 100% sold on the IKEA Havsten sofas. At ours, there's a corner with a table and chairs, a couple of easy chairs and a whopping great big hammock too. I'm toying with trying an outdoor rug to make the garden feel a bit softer, but I can't quite get my head around it being rainproof. Any readers had positive experiences in this area?

But the main issue for me right now is shade. We're lucky in that the garden gets loads of sun for most of the day, which is lovely for the plants and also warms up the walls, which then keep the chill out after the sun goes down. But like I said, my skin is not built for hours of sun (I'm a factor 30 girl - always have been, always will be) so I'm toying with one of these Solero parasols that would fit nicely just outside the back door.



I love how these look - simple, sturdy, and most of all, shady. My parents had one a few years back and the kids took it in turns cranking the handle up and down which was quite annoying but at least made sure they were out of the sun. It's always been my dream to have a house with a pool (dream on!) so I'm very much enjoying these pictures.

And thinking ahead to the future, our new home has a very overgrown garden which will need some planning, clearing and planting. I'm loving that prospect, and I'll be planning in some good shady options too.



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