We have got permission to take down the two lime trees at the bottom of the garden, that got decimated in Storm Aileen. I think that will all take place next year.
We have struggled for years, like for ever, with the front garden. The narrower the border is, the more difficult it is to have it looking good throughout the year. Last year the Wisteria floribundas alba died almost overnight, with James being a lot more upset than me. He had personally looked after it for a very long time, and they need a lot of attention at least twice a year. Two more Wisterias have been planted this year, and were watered in with the poisoning can, which we seem to have got away with. At the front of the house itself are three Taxus Baccata domes, which are now getting big and making a statement. We have gravelled underneath them, and for years cyclamen have been spreading, and having a backdrop of gravel suits them. I discovered Euphorbia Jacquemontii a few years ago, and it must be one of the best, getting up to my waist height, and still looking good with a lovely golden colour. We have put in five Calamagrostis El Dorado, which in their first year have really taken. Along the front are several Nepeta Nuda, needless to say bought from Graham Gough, and recommended by him, and it is having its second flowering now. It is much finer and prettier than any other Nepeta I have ever seen, as I find them rather coarse and too bushy on the whole. When it is flowering it is exciting because it is so pretty.
When you look at my house, on the right hand side is a big Ptelea trifoliate aurea, which is beautiful with its seed pods, and has a back drop of a plain wall. The wavy beech hedge on to the road, has been really well cut by Polly, and we have brought the height down by about two foot. It got too tall, and was taking the light from the front windows, and the plants along the front of the house did not like it. We are planting some tulips along the front, which we have not done for ages, they are a red Viridiflora, Eyecatcher. We definitely change the tulips, or the associations that we do each year to make life more exciting! I am going to give James the credit for the Beech hedge, as before we grew Rosa rugosa blanc double de Coubert for years (very boring). Opposite the Ptelea at the other end are five Rosa Mutabalis, which seem to flower indefinitely with almost no deadheading. You can see them all out of the drawing room window.
A typical November day, pretty bleak and cloudy in the morning, followed by rain in the afternoon which we badly needed. All the colours in the garden are muted, several shades of green and brown, but the lay out is good, as is the structure. Colour is provided by the berries of Malus Hupehensis, five tall trees down the left hand side of the garden, and the three Irish yews have had their tops clipped so they look like sentinels. Polly has now finished all the clipping of the yew hedge, which I would describe as chunky. She has tidied up and lifted the dahlias in the par terre, so it now looks clean, waiting for the tulips to be planted. It is the same pattern as last year with the addition of tulip Black Bean. I made a list on my i pad on Notes of my tulip plantings, and in some incomprehensible way they have all vanished. Never mind Polly and I managed to work out what I had wanted to do. The main border is going to be completely different from last year which is exciting. The ferns have come into their own, I never cease to wonder why I took so long to like them. Since going on Gardeners World in August I have been asked to do three lectures on the garden, and Clive is going to do a memory stick with me of his photos, which hopefully I will be able to talk round them. Tensing is walking without hopping, which makes me very happy. Part of this morning was spent digging out variegated mint, every bit as bad as the ivy.