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10/09/2013 at 13:06

This autumn's big plan: extend the existing flowerbed.

I worked out on paper how to lay out all the bulbs I'd ordered, and I dug a trench more than large enough:

 You can see that I carefully built up a turf wall to protect the apple trees that I'm using to plug the gap in the hedge there where all the privet died.

Having dug that, I lined it with compost, tipped the bulbs out of the box and sorted them:

 Then it was simply a matter of putting them in place ... which was going fairly well until I got to the grape hyacinths, with anemones, glory of the snow and crocuses still to place:

 Hrrrrrmmm ... oops?

Well, maybe I'll dig all the way along a little wider and put some of those 200 of the same thing along the front edge of the existing bed, to keep the front straight. It'll mean the tiny crocuses aren't at the front, but they tend to come up on their own anyway.

Sure. That'll work. No problem. Just let me get a cup of tea and my spade and I'll have that half tonne of turf shifted and some more compost laid in there in time for tea. No problem.


10/09/2013 at 14:02

You can layer the bulbs instead of putting them in regimental rows. The larger bulbs need planting deeper than the small bulbs anyway

10/09/2013 at 14:07

hard to tell from a photo but some of those do look a bit shallow.

I think you'd do better planting in groups. if they all flowered at the same time your rows would have a great impact, but they won't all flower at the same time so the impact will be less

10/09/2013 at 14:35

Nice trench. were you in the tank corps?  or REME. My dad was in the REME, and my Grandad was a  RSM in REME during WW2. They both like  (or liked) wide straight paths, and things planted in straight lines.  No floppy shrubs. My mums floppy shrubs got pruned into a hedge while she was out shopping, cutting off all the flower buds off the lavatera and philadelphus.My dads currently on a mission to concrete or slab over as much lawn as possible.

10/09/2013 at 18:21

The depth's a bit deceptive, as that surface is actually sloping down left to right. See that earth wall on the right side? The top of that is significantly lower than the lawn edge on the left. The deepest part is about a foot below the lawn level.

Done! Anemones, crocuses and glory of the snow all the way to the end.

 Here's hoping they're not too shallow now. Thanks to cats disturbing the surface and the rain eroding it, the lilies fell over this year. That's why they're propped up with sticks in the background there.


25/10/2013 at 14:35

My plan to get more compost once the GC had another pallet delivered has run into a snag:

 Two flowers out already! Aren't they supposed to wait for spring?

25/10/2013 at 14:39

I thought that was the idea Charlie, spring flowering bulbs, flower in spring, sounds right.

They're very advanced aren't they, not just the ones in flower

25/10/2013 at 15:00

I think this wet, warm October is  affecting lots of things. I have teasels, with the seeds in the head germinating on the plant. Sweet pea pods still on the sticks with the seed germinating.  I havn't got any daffs in flower yet though.

25/10/2013 at 15:22

Think someone forgot to tell these little polyanthus I've got put aside too!


25/10/2013 at 20:12

great pick fairy

24/02/2014 at 15:29

Eeeee ...

 First image, bottom of the hedge on the right: crocuses I apparently dug up earlier and replanted! They cope with being upside-down after all.

Second picture: close-up of the crocuses and what I hope is chionodoxa. There's a lot of it, so I'll be upset if it's a buttercup in disguise.

The gladioli are looking a little sorry at the moment, probably due to the frost we had two weeks ago, which must have come as a bit of a shock to them. They've been out since October, so they must have thought it was July when *bam* ice.

24/02/2014 at 18:07

I think Charlie, you'll be aware now why the advice is to plant in naturalistic clumps rather than straight lines!

Straight lines are for the vegetable garden, to make hoeing easier.

But, my, they're putting on a brave show.

25/02/2014 at 17:13

Given the growing and flowering season around here (March to January for the honeysuckle, the year before I started this!) I planned it all to be a solid bank of greenery, tallest at the back and shortest at the front. If the crocuses are still up in May when the lilies at the back get taller than everything else, it'll work then. For now, that's a lot of crocuses in a narrow track, isn't it? I don't recall planting them that close together!


Maybe I should get another 900 crocus bulbs, cover the whole area in crocuses and add another couple of inches of compost, so next year it all looks like that.

27/02/2014 at 21:46

Unexpected job this week: prune the honeysuckle ... HARD! It managed to pull the trellis fence over about 5 degrees from vertical, so I had to take a LOT off it to dismantle parts of the fence so that I could put in a couple of props. The fence is now upright and looking rather smarter, but the honeysuckle has gone from nine feet of verdant growth to five feet of trunk with a couple of green shoots. Eh, it'll be back. It's a honeysuckle. I stabbed some of the branches into the back of the compost heap, so I may have some spares rather than just composting the lot.

07/03/2014 at 17:07

Brave display improved by addition of anemones. They're a little late to the party, but they're joining it.


The new batch of crocuses are more elaborate than the ones already there.

 I could upload that picture at 4288x3216 if anyone really wants it.


23/03/2014 at 16:23

Planting the shortest ones along the front starts to look more sensible once the others join in.

 The really tall lilies along the back aren't showing up yet, but when they do they tower over everything else except the trees.

Just to the right of there, the white-flowered chocolate vine has apparently decided it's a good summer:

 It's covered in little white "silk lantern" flower buds. If they all turn into delicious-smelling flowers, the hyacinths will have some competition.


12/04/2014 at 11:19

They're working on it!

Akebia quinata 'Shirobana' bought in October 2010 is quite definitely flowering this year.

 The crocus flowers are gone, but their striped leaves are still showing.

The rest of the flowers are a pretty solid bank of greenery, slowly beeing flattened by the neighbours' cats. The lilies are still only ankle-high at the back. They're always the last ones to the party. I've already killed two adult lily beetles. Guess it's time to start the daily patrols again.


07/05/2014 at 16:57

4 adult beetles and around 15 eggs destroyed.

Allium time!



22/03/2015 at 14:33

No sign of lilies yet this year, so no sign of lily beetles yet either. I'll be watching ...

Current state of play at the near end:

 Crocus still very much in bloom

 Hyacinths on their way. Been up a couple of weeks now at least, and now making it obvious who they are.

 Chionodoxa are few in number this year, but appreciated. I may have to top them up with a new layer.

 Anemone looking good. The bee wasn't interested, though.

 A beautiful golden shade on this ... wait. I didn't plant that.

 The Akebia is going to do something on this side of the fence this year after all. I thought maybe it was only decorating the south side.

22/03/2015 at 16:23

Lovely pictures Charlie.   Very interesting to see your flower bed from start to finish.  I like the straight rows, they look good from the front .  I can see a lot of planning and work went into that Charlie. 

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