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On a Chalk Hillside – June 2024

Thu 06 / Jun / 2024
Let’s start with a star plant for the beginning of June in my garden – which also happens to be a very long-lived hardy perennial – the Oriental Poppy, (Papaver orientale):- This month I am going to consider the life span of different plants, and how long I expect different…
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On a Chalk Hillside – May 2024

Tue 14 / May / 2024
After the landscaping and creating the gabion wall described last month, this month is about constructing and planting up the fern bed.  By 21 July 2019, the ground at the base of the gabions had reverted to weedy grass and had to be weeded and levelled.  You can see below…
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On a Chalk Hillside – April 2024

Wed 03 / Apr / 2024
This being a gardening column you would naturally expect me to major on all the ferns I have collected into my new fern bed, and I will be introducing some of the plants in between my explanation of how we created the fern bed planting opportunity on our new bit…
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On a Chalk Hillside – March 2024

Tue 05 / Mar / 2024
This month I shall describe how we started to plan how we wanted to landscape and plant up our new piece of garden. For this March article, I shall also thread through some photos of my favourite Cyclamen-flowered Narcissus which are a joy during the month. We are all familiar…
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On a Chalk Hillside – February 2024

Thu 08 / Feb / 2024
Continuing my look at inspirational gravel gardens and their learning points for us, I mentioned last time that Derek Jarman had been in correspondence with Beth Chatto regarding suitable plants for his garden and that the BIG learning point (presumably for him as well as me) is her mantra “right…
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On a Chalk Hillside – January 2024

Thu 11 / Jan / 2024
Happy New Year!   Last month I mentioned another type of garden we wish to develop on our chalk hillside – a gravel garden.  (You may recall I already have a gravel garden I’ve described to you before, which is a gravel mulch on beds, rather than what looks like plants growing…
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On a Chalk Hillside – December 2023

Mon 18 / Dec / 2023
Let’s start with some festive Cotoneaster horizontalis berries brightening up my December garden to send us all some cheery seasonal greetings: Previously I mentioned that himself was hankering after an exotic garden down the slope on our Chalk Hillside, but during last year had been rethinking what “exotic” meant as…
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On a Chalk Hillside – November 2023

Sat 11 / Nov / 2023
As I finished last month talking of bees on beans, here is a shot of the flowers of my Runner Beans this year – showing, I think why they were originally introduced as ornamentals here:- The white flowers are “Moonlight” and the red are “Best of All”. I try and…
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On a Chalk Hillside – October 2023

Tue 10 / Oct / 2023
This month:- compost experiments; some fruit and vegetable progress; thoughts on pollination techniques.  But first following on from last month’s article, I am just going to finish the path clearing jobs with a shot of the wiggly stakes I use for pushing geraniums, back, and their effect:- Hopefully you can…
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On a Chalk Hillside September 2023 – Developing our garden

Sun 17 / Sep / 2023
More summer jobs Tying things up and cutting things back feature heavily in this post, as well as in summer jobs generally. In “posh” garden terminology – staking and summer pruning! I call it tying things up as we mainly don’t use stakes as plants are tied to climbing frames…
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On a Chalk Hillside August 2023, Peonies – which one is which! And late spring/summer garden jobs

Thu 17 / Aug / 2023
On a garden visit, I was idly wandering along a bed of herbaceous peonies during the heat of later June this year and suddenly was struck at how many of those flowering at that time were white. I associate peonies flowering with May and early June, and thinking about it,…
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On a Chalk Hillside July 2023 – Developing our garden

Sun 16 / Jul / 2023
Unwanted wildlife affecting our garden this spring Two star plants in late June last year were Hebe ‘Great Orme’, and Hebe ‘Midnight Sky’:- I stress “last” year, as neither survived the winter, which was a great surprise to me – the Hebe ‘Great Orme’ was here when we arrived and…
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On a Chalk Hillside June 2023 – Developing our garden

Fri 16 / Jun / 2023
Before we start with spring sowing and growing, and look at more plants that did or did not survive the winter here, here are two shots of star plants in the garden at the end of May. I was a bit worried I had lost Lamium orvala as it was…
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On a Chalk Hillside – May 2023, Catching up with Seasonal gardening jobs

Tue 16 / May / 2023
Though this article is officially NOT about the weather 1) I’m British 2) Its been the winter, so a great many of the seasonal gardening jobs I would do/expect to do during the winter and spring in the garden are governed by the weather. On our chalk hillside we had…
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On a Chalk Hillside April 2023 – Hardy Plant Seeds winners and losers in our garden 2

Sun 16 / Apr / 2023
Let’s start with a current star plant in my garden in early April, and one that I have saved seed from to send to the HPS in previous years, the Snake’s Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris):- Now after March’s pause to look at some lovely snowdrops, to part two of reporting…
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On a Chalk Hillside March 2023

Thu 02 / Mar / 2023
Posted on 02.03.2023 | Updated on 03.03.2023 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Snowdrops  It is two years since I talked about snowdrops and the famous snowdrop gardens that inspired my love of the little plants, so I thought I would write about some more gardens and plants that we…
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On a Chalk Hillside February 2023

Fri 10 / Feb / 2023
Posted on 10.02.2023 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – Hardy Plant Seeds winners and losers in our garden 1. Let’s start with a stalwart February star plant – Crocus tommasinianus – here flowering under the plum trees in our orchard:- These flowers are a vital source…
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On a Chalk Hillside January 2023

Sat 07 / Jan / 2023
Posted on 07.01.2023 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – a giant winner, and how the vegetable garden coped Happy New Year.  Let’s start with a giant winner from the heat and drought of this summer.  You would expect Yucca filamentosa to have coped well with that…
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On a Chalk Hillside December 2022

Mon 05 / Dec / 2022
Posted on 05.12.2022 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – winners and losers in our garden (2) Continuing on with my review of winners and losers in our decorative garden this year of drought and heat. As you all know, we have almost no topsoil to speak…
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On a Chalk Hillside November 2022

Fri 11 / Nov / 2022
Posted on 11.11.2022 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Drought this summer – winners and losers in our garden (1)   I shall start with a current star plant that began flowering in September and was still going strong til the end of October – Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Album’ – growing under…
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On a Chalk Hillside October 2022

Tue 04 / Oct / 2022
Posted on 04.10.2022 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Variations in my self sown Aquilegias In May I mentioned that I have a lot of Aquilegia vulgaris in the garden and that I leave their seedheads so they can self-seed and hybridize, just removing the dirty pale pink ones that…
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On a Chalk Hillside September 2022

Tue 06 / Sep / 2022
Added in Sheila May’s Blog Variations in my self sown Common Spotted Orchids You may recall when I wrote a series of articles regarding letting the grass grow, and seeing what comes up in it and I told you about my great delight in finding Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)…
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On a Chalk Hillside August 2022

Thu 11 / Aug / 2022
Posted on 11.08.2022 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog Variations in my self sown Hardy Geraniums A few months back I had a comment on one of my articles regarding a photo of a self-sown hardy geranium that I had identified as a Geranium versicolor and the commenter suggested looked…
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On a Chalk Hillside July 2022

Fri 08 / Jul / 2022
Posted on 08.07.2022 | Added in Sheila May’s Blog One thing leads to another –  Erecting the new polytunnel    So FINALLY after all these months of one thing leading to another, we are about to deal with the new polytunnel.  To show you where it is going to go,…
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