Friday 31 March 2017

The Serendipity Garden

The time has flown away for me again – I am sitting here with 3 hours to go before the end of March, trying to put together a post about what’s happening in my garden right now. I have been so busy my feet is hardly touching the ground so this post is going to be brief and I will let the photos speak for themselves. There is an end to all this – well, I keep reminding myself that, although the amount of red tape the council has managed to create regarding my bathroom renovation is astonishing. I still haven’t got a start date for the work, but I am slowly getting there – I hope!

The garden is bursting with flowers and in a way it would have been nice to slow down everything a bit – I have to water quite often now as we haven’t had any substantial rain at all and the ground is dry and the pots and containers are getting dry in just a day or two.

But on second thought – I wouldn’t want to slow down anything – at this rate I will have roses in flower in 4-5 weeks :-)

The last hyacinths.

The woodland area is slowly developing according to plan.

Give it another 2-3 years and it will look really good.

This arum lily have finally started flowering again after having been moved from my previous garden.

Arum creticum 'Karpathos' is absolutely gorgeous, I hope it will bulk up and have more flowers next year.

There are a few hellebores left, most of them are finished flowering and look a bit sad.

Out in the front garden the tulips are in full flower – complete strangers keep coming up to me and asking questions like where I bought them, what they are called, how do I grow them etc. These are just bog standard tulips, but I think the colours I have put together are quite nice :-)

Here is another colour combination that turned out quite all right – in these pink containers I have planted Heuchera 'Southern Comfort', Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’and Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’. My goodness, that was a bit of a mouthful!

I used to have a different type of Omphalodes in my previous garden many years ago but after some years it vanished. This one is prettier and when it gets a bit bigger I will divide and plant some in the woodland bed.

I bought a new Loropetalum last year, the one I had in my previous garden died the cold winter we had 2009/10 so it was about time to get a new one. This is a different one, Loropetalum chinensis 'Ever Red' and supposed to be the darkest red of them all.

And I have bought yet another magnolia. Sigh....yes I know, small trees grow big eventually, but I will grow it as a standard and it grows very slowly (that’s my excuse anyway). Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' has double flowers – and it is soooo pretty, and already has one flower!

The first clematis flowers are soon here, this is Clematis ‘Pink Fantasy’.

I love muscari, and especially the pink ones – had to search high and low to find them!

My Forsythia ‘Minigold’ is supposed to be a dwarf and should grow to less than 3 ft. This one has not read the instructions, I have to prune it about 50% every July. The pot is terribly root bound so this summer I might give it a bigger pot.

If I planted this in the ground I am sure it would become a 3m tall tree before I could turn around. I haven’t really got space for that – too many other trees that need the space! But I love the colour of these flowers so it is a keeper.

One of my new camellias – it is called Camellia japonica 'Volunteer' – not sure where that name comes from but maybe there is a story behind it.

This is another one of my camellias, still just a tiny baby, but with absolutely huge flowers. Camellia japonica 'Amabel Lansdell' will be an impressive sight once it becomes a big bush covered in flowers like this!

There are still some daffodils left in the shady corners, this is Narcissus 'White Lion'.

And this is Narcissus 'Ice Follies'.

And this is Narcissus 'Bridal Crown' – sorry not a very good picture, they are absolutely lovely!

My lovely magnolia soulangeana has been flowering for a good few weeks, 2-3 weeks more and it will all be over for this year.

I am so happy it has taken the move from my previous garden so well.

I have bought frames for my raised beds, now I just need something to cover the beds to protect my strawberries from the squirrels eating all the berries I hope to get.

Not a day too soon it seems, the first strawberry flowers are here!

I am not sure what to use that will keep the squirrels at bay. Will chicken wire be suitable? Would be great with some advice here as I am growing several different types of strawberries so the pollinators will need to get through the wire. Will they fly through chicken wire this size? I am thinking of making a door on each side to get the strawberries out, but if this wire also keeps the pollinators out it will obviously not work. I read that you could use butterfly netting and put it on after the strawberries had started growing – but that won’t work in my garden, the squirrels happily eat unripe berries and the fruiting takes place all summer. Any suggestions?

More flowers – my dwarf rhododendrons.

And the robin is back, I do wonder where he is when not here :-)

Final photo – some more tulips :-)

And as usual I have made a movie from my garden this week, turn your speakers up and enjoy.

The music was ‘Bells across the meadows’ by Albert William Ketèlbey.

That was it for this time, thank you so much for all the comments on my previous posts – I will try to answer and visit when I have more time, but I read all comments and I so appreciate every single one. I wish you all a happy spring!
Until next time, take care.


  1. Hi Helene, your garden is such a peaceful place, just wonderful! As always you have so many interesting flowers to show, I really enjoyed the photo tour and the video.
    Your tulips especially caught my eye. Your color combination is stunning and I am not surprised that people stop and take a closer look at them. Sooo... pretty!
    I also enjoyed playing more with colors in my garden this spring. There is something so satisfying and pleasing about it when you get color combination right.
    Wishing you a wonderful spring, Helene!
    Warm regards,

  2. Hej Helene!
    Alltid lika trevligt att göra ett besök i din trädgård, så mycket vackert som blommar. Både fåglar och ekorre som trivs där, har du kvar räven? Fina färgkombinationer på dina tulpaner, och kan förstå att du skaffar flera Magnolior, de är så fina. Har bara en på prov, för att se om den klarar vintrarna, än så länge verkar den må bra.
    Ha det fint / Marika

  3. Spring is a joy and you have every reason to be delighted with your garden, Helene! I love all the blue touches - I just planted some Chinese forget-me-nots (Cynoglossum amiable), which I hope will self-seed for me this time. I LOVE the tulips - ordinary or not, they're all nearly impossible to grow here (even when the bulbs are properly chilled prior to planting). The only flower you and I seem to have in common this month is the Narcissus 'White Lion' and, even there, most of my buds were taken out by our persistent Santa Ana winds over the last 2 weeks. Happy gardening and best wishes with the bathroom remodel project!

  4. Dear Helene, spring is definitely coming to your garden.Your garden is full of the colorful flowers of the season. Here in my garden most of the spring flowers are withered. It has been rather warm these days. Daffodils and tulips have mostly done their best, yet some camellias are still in full flower.I would like you to tell me if you know some tips to make my lilac Mme Lemoine produce more flowers, since it is three years old and it is quite high too, but still it doesn't make as many flowers as I would. Shall I prune it? Give it a specific fertiliser?Happy gardening!

    1. Hello Guy, sorry to reply so late - when it comes to pruning lilacs the advice is usually to not prune at all, if you do you will loose the flowers the following 1-2 years. My lilac was very tall when I moved in spring 2015 so I pruned a bit, and it all grew back - and some more. After flowering last year I pruned quite a lot and this year I have very few flowers as expected, but a better shape. For now I will just leave it alone and accept that if I want flowers the lilac will just have to be quite tall. I think Your lilac will produce more flowers when it gets older, just be a bit patient. And don;t give it any fertiliser, it doesn't need it. If your soil is very light it is better to mulch with some organic matter in spring, but most lilacs doesn't need anything, when they mature they are quite the thugs and can grow like mad. If you fertilise you might end up with lots of leaves and less flowers. Just be patient :-)

  5. Beautiful and inspirational as ever Helene. Thank you so much for taking the time to record and share your garden. I have trouble with grey squirrels. They are a pest! I use chicken wire secured with 'U' shaped metal pegs stuck into the pots or other container and that seems to work. Perhaps that could be a solution for your strawberries? I have no idea if the pollinators would get through the chicken wire. Good luck!

  6. You have some lovely flowers at the moment. I've no experience of squirrels raiding gardens other than bird feeders so I can't advise I afraid. I hope you manage to find something effective.

  7. You are amazing, Helene! This is a new garden, and it's already looking great!

  8. Hello,Helene! Your video is lovely, the music is new for me, I think it goes well to the film.
    The tulips are my favorite vernal flowers, I wait for their sprouts in fin of April. It's not surprisingly that people ask you about them, such fresh and colorful are. Your new header is beautiful, it's flower is Chionodoxa, not scilla. I have it in my front garden, now is early for Chionodoxa here too. Magnolia is stunning,love this color very much.
    Have a nice week, dear!

    1. Happy Easter, dear Helene!
      I wish you quiet warm days in your lovely garden, and health to be able to maintenance it.

  9. Hi, Helene! It's been awhile since I've visited, and what a treat it is to see your garden in all its spring glory! The magnolia blossoms and the forsythia are so lovely; a cold snap here after some warm weather in February zapped both plants in our area, and I miss seeing them. I can see why passersby stop to ask you about your tulips--a gorgeous combination of colors!

  10. I know what you mean about wanting to slow things down a bit in the spring--in the blink of an eye it will be summer. I wish spring would linger a little longer. I would think the chicken wire would allow the pollinators in--I know they find their way in here. Your tulips are beautiful! Our gardens and weather seem to be on about the same schedule this year. Enjoy!

  11. Thank you so much to all of you for your lovely comments, I am working in the garden as often as I can and things are progressing nicely. I have invested in chicken wire for my strawberries now, time will tell if it works and if the pollinators will find their way. Hopefully the squirrels won't find out how to reach through the wire to eat the strawberries already developing!


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