Our big garden is tired and begging for autumn to arrive. We’re in the tail end of meshed weather systems today and the humidity is tropical. Rain is falling and the waves are crashing on the beach. The garden needs a good fertilise and for the windiest summer for ages to cease. Hopefully next week I can post on how it looks but in the meantime – on Thursday I was in the city and took some pics of our little Matchbox garden… They show the extent of the tiny space and how we’ve tried to turn it into an escape from the bustle of the city.
The first image is looking from the back path to the largest space of the garden, past the BBQ.
The next is looking along the back path to the side fence. Manchurian pears, ferns, a rhodo, a climbing rose and two white clematis of different varieties. The mainstay of both sides of the path are my special hellebores, along with miniature white cyclamen. In summer there’s a vast row of Solomon’s Seal against the house wall. The massive hedge behind our fence is filled with shrubs from the government’s list of noxious shrubs like cotoneaster and mirror trees and by rights they should be grubbed out. But as hideous and rampant as the hedge is, it affords us huge privacy from the townhouses on the upper level, and we keep our side rigorously trimmed.
The third image(s) is/are of the meeting of the two raised beds that directs one to a street gate or off the path to the lawn. White nemesia and variegated geranium, explode onto the edges of the box beds while perennials of white and black bearded iris and aquilegia grow at the back, two standard dwarf weeping Japanese maples provide visual interest and there are many other perennials, enlivened in summer by white petunia and in winter by white primulas and primroses. There’s also a pic looking from the tall gate down to the box beds.
The fourth image is our relax space. It’s divided into a lawn on one level (mainly for the dog to sunbake) and a blue metal space on the lower level. We introduced the blue metal because no lawn would grow in the dense shade of winter. It gave us a chance to introduce all year interest and we make a central feature of a large pot with clematis growing on a tripod and with seasonal annuals around the roots. Also, the gravel makes the most satisfying crunch as we walk across it. This ‘room’ was my husband’s idea and I confess to being worried that it wouldn’t work but I LOVE it and it suits our needs to perfection.
Image five is a nest that blew down in the harsh summer winds and which is currently sitting in an empty pot stand. All our terracotta pots are in shaded areas where the watering system keeps them moist in summer when the garden must mostly fend for itself.
Image Six is from my files so that I can mention the bulb catalogue finally arrived. I only plant my spring bulbs in tubs so there’s a finite number required. But I’ve stuck with white, orange and black which worked a treat last year. I kept all last year’s bulbs as well – lifted them after flowering and before the leaves had died down and left them in the big garden’s shed to dry out (Monty Don’s advice?). I bagged them up and placed them in our veggie crisper two weeks ago. They look amazingly healthy…
So that’s our tiny garden in the city and all set up for our old age. I have a thing for rusty garden sculptures and stick ‘em here and there and there’s the rusty top of an old windmill on the gravel terrace along with a rusty old bedhead – all from the farm. They all add to the story of the garden.
Do travel across the most wonderful selection of global gardens via Mr P’s SOS.
And thank you for visiting ours. Cheers.
Seeing sunny pictures comforts me today ! Here it’s a gloomy day and we are expecting a cold snap for next week… maybe snow… The bed where there are the white petunias is really a success.??
I’m glad the sunny pics lift you along, Fred. I hope your garden can withstand the awful winter happening in the northern hemisphere. Take heart – ours is on the cusp of the summer wind-down whereas you are on the up and up.
A beautiful garden; of a manageable size yet big enough to give plenty of interest.
Thank you, Paddy. Coming from you with your lovely garden, that’s high praise.
The matchbox garden is looking wonderful, such a tonic, our gardennis looking sad, the had frost we had finallly killed the leaves of the fushia’s which still had loads of green leaves and a few flowers on it, and all the rain has made the ground so sodden its no good for walking on or working in. Its raining again today.
However I can see the crocus’s popping up and the snowdrops are flowering.The daffoldils are in various stated of height and the odd buds are appearing, so hopefully spring is just around the corner 🙂
Hi Libby. I do feel for you because this is the wettest summer we’ve had for a long while. Nothing worse than sloshing around and watching things rot! But I bet the crocus and snowdrops are stunning! Spring is but a whisper away…
What a beautiful garden. Lush but still neat and tidy. I recognised the Solomon’s Seal bed. This has been the first year for ages that mine weren’t decimated by the Solomon’s Seal caterpillar. Do you get them there? Anyway, lovely Six-on-Saturday.
Hi, Granny. No we don’t have that grub to my knowledge. Thankfully as I’ve made a seasonal feature of Solomon’s Seal along that path!
The whites and greens in your garden look very refreshing in the Summer heat.
Thank you. I’ve been a fan of white gardens since I saw Sissinghurst.
I’m a fan of Sissinghurst too. I was lucky enough to stay in the cottage in the White Garden at Easter a few years ago.
Oh how wonderful!
What a lovely space, so stylish!
Thank you, Gill. We’ve built it over 5 years from nothing and have followed Monty Don and an Australian designer called Paul Bangay. I also loved the white garden at Sissinghurst and always promised myself an all-white garden and then I read about Elton John’s garden designed by Rosemary Verey where black had been introduced as a foil to white. I have to say that buidling such a small garden was eminently reachable as opposed to anything bigger! 😉
First visit and I enjoyed it Prue – now subscribed to your blog. Also got me buying one of your books as a Kindle, since I love historical fiction (as well as being a gardener)!
Oh my gosh!!!! I’m feeling embarrassed! Thank you so much for supporting an indie writer. I do hope you like the book. Which one I wonder?
Thank you for the tour. This is a lovely retreat. It appears that you’ve achieved that precious sense of privacy that can prove so elusive in urban gardens. Am I picking up on a white theme with respect to flowers? I can relate to the hedge quandry. We also have some less than ideal species playing a critical role in masking the neighbor’s tarp collection at the border of the lot. My plan is to plant more desirable successors to build out the hedgerow and hope that their success eventually allows me to become selective.
Hi Erin, thanks for popping by. Yes – white dominates both my gardens. I love its simple elegance, no matter the plant. And I love it at dusk when it illuminates the shadows.
The hedge? It’s a think I love to hate. It was planted way back in the 80’s by the developer of the townhouse site and the head of the body corporate has had it pruned in ugly waves – each plant pruned on its own. Front on up at that level of 3 houses, it looks horrendous. But along the back (which is our view of it) we have encouraged the contract cutters to do straight backs and so it’s looking mildly better. Down in our row of little 4 houses, we have a pittosperum hedge and when we moved in five years ago, the same contractors were trying to prune each individual tree. We soon stopped that and now we have an elegant squared off sweep, right long the drive. It is sooo much better! Not sure the head of the body corp approves though… 😉