All’s Well that end’s Well.

Waterford, south-east Ireland, 12th June 2021

It wasn’t the best of gardening weeks; the weather was against us and we even took two days off to go “orchideering“, one to the mountains and the other to the seaside, and, though they were damp days, they turned out to be a very pleasant ones and gave us the opportunity for a good walk. There wasn’t a lot done in the garden during the week – though Mary reminds me now that I did cut a good number of the hedges last weekend – but then Friday dawned brighter than the previous days and turned out to be a glorious day, warm with bright sunshine, and allowed a full day in the garden – a little tidying up, blowing the fallen leaves and laburnum flowers from the drive, putting up supports for sugar-snap peas and tying in sweet peas before cutting the front lawns and strimming the roadside verge.

On such a day, the garden looks well:

It’s a good time in the garden. Everything is growing well with the copious rainfall we have had coupled with the ample warmth. I must confess that the vegetables are not great and germination of vegetable seed in the open ground has been very poor. Asparagus was reasonable but not brilliant this year; potatoes are coming along grand; sugar-snap peas are in flower and should crop soon and runner and French beans have eventually begun to grow. The ornamental areas of the garden are doing far better and there are a few nice things to show you.

This little chestnut tree is a special favourite and although it has been growing here for well over twenty years, is still a very tidy and manageable size, hardly above head height and every year it is covered with attractive flowers. This is Aesculus mutabilis ‘Induta’

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow of larger images:

There are a number of named Astrantia cultivars here but also a number of seedlings which have proved to be great garden plants. I suppose Astrantias are old-fashioned plants but they continue to grow well and to make a gentle and filling contribution to the garden. I am very fortunate to have a number of seedlings from Gill Richardson, the Queen of astrantia growers – who has an astrantia named for her, Astrantia ‘Gill Richardson’ – and these are especially loved here.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow of larger images: These are all unnamed seedlings, mainly from Gill Richardson – the better ones!

Another very old and old-fashioned plant is London Pride, Saxafraga x urbium. It enjoys the damp, shaded conditions on the roadside under the front garden wall where it runs between primulas – P. japonica and P. pulverulenta. It is at its best at the moment and the only maintenance it needs is to take off the dead flowers when they are finished – a great return for little work!

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow of larger images:

The Head Gardener did a big sowing of foxglove seed last July, a white-flowered one, and she planted them out in September/October with a few left over which I planted out in March this year. These latter were planted on the ditch on the roadside outside our garden and are later than the others to come to flower as they were held longer in small pots. They are beginning and should look well in a fortnight or so. In the meantime, we can enjoy those Mary put around the garden – a big group in one corner and others sprinkled along a path running to the back of an hydrangea bed and in her White Garden.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow of larger images:

I’ll finish for this week with a tree, a hawthorn, one that I’ve had a hate/love relationship with over the twenty five years since I grew it from seed. This is the Cockspur Hawthorn, Crataegus crus-galli. It has a spreading habit, the branches spreading out rather than reaching for the sky and for the first fifteen or so years of its life these branches reached out over the grass and, oh so many painful times, I came along on the lawnmower, watching my progress along the edge ever so carefully only to have my head pierced by the vicious thorns of that, at the time, blasted tree. The thorns are almost ten centimetres long, strong and sharp and penetrate to the bone with the greatest of ease and the greatest of pain. Why did I tolerate this suffering?, you might well ask. Well, I like the now higher spreading habit of the tree, the wonderful covering of flower that it provides reliably each year, the abundant set of haws each year and the wonderful autumn colour. Yes, it has much to recommend it and, now that I have raised the crown sufficiently, it no longer attacks me when I am cutting the grass.

Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow of larger images:

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator”. To read more contributions go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!

32 thoughts on “All’s Well that end’s Well.

  1. I have often seen Astrantia on northern hemisphere blogs and admired them, but I’m pretty sure they’d be unhappy here. They’re such interesting flowers. As always, I enjoyed seeing the slide show of your garden at the beginning….simply divine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your hawthorn sounds quite scary! Still it is very beautiful. Your garden is looking fabulous as always. I’m very keen on astrantia too and the white foxgloves are a picture. Compliments to the Head Gardener (and the under gardener of course).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a little patio area immediately behind the house and the garage. It’s a very sheltered spot and good to sit out or eat out though there is another table and seats immediately outside the kitchen door which gets more use – it’s more convenient though only a few steps closer to the house. Laziness!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your front gardens look marvelous, and your hawthorn and Mary’s foxgloves are so beautiful. Paddy – you tease us regularly with bits of the white garden. Would you do a full post on it sometime?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know the old quip: couples who garden together should have separate beds – well, the white garden is Mary’s. The Ash Bed , Cedar Bed, Carrick Crab Bed are mine – mainly because there are so many snowdrops in them and Mary doesn’t want to disturb them. I’ll do something on the White Garden soon!


  4. Paddy, your posts are inspirational. Thank you for taking the time to share all the loveliness your garden holds. Today I’m enamored with the damp area of saxifraga and primulas. I’m very interested in adding loads of P. japonica along our stream after seeing it at Bloedel Reserve, a spectacular Pacific Northwest garden nearby, I only dream of having your success.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cold weather when the seed was sown, I reckon. Fingers crossed that things improve. I put out runner and French beans, courgettes, pumpkins today


  5. Your garden is amazing, and very inspiring, and I’m envious of all the space you have. The flower combinations are lovely. The white foxgloves are looking wonderful planted together, and the Astrantia are really lovely! I can understand why you endured the torture of the low growing hawthorn. It looks stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much – very flattering comments. It is a simple garden which we have worked on for thirty+ years so bit by bit we have added etc etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, the efforts continue. It is our pastime and, especially in these Covid days, we spend most of our time in the garden.

        Liked by 1 person

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