PCDL – just as we thought……..

It had to happen one year.  The bulldozer leaves and a spring tide sees gales 4m+ waves.  Some cliffing resulted, so the dozer is back for 5 days to reduce the beach steepness.  Starting today at ‘White Horses’, he will work east through Beachlands and Normans Bay to reach Cooden by the end of the week.

Ian Thomas

The Constant Gardener – May

Complete_Cottage_GardenWhilst we may sympathise with those who hope for seamlessly sunny days, especially during festive weekends, gardeners have been grateful for the recent rain after an unusually dry April: in parts of my garden, the soil had started to crack and some plants began to look distressed. It was with some relief then when the gentle rain began to fall and I could hope to abandon the burden of lugging my hosepipe for a few days.

It is important for me to make sure I enjoy the garden and appreciate its rewards and not allow myself to be bowed down by the chores at the expense of delighting in the joy it brings. But it can sometimes be tough when ‘jobs’ seem to be beating me. So, ever grateful for small mercies, I must remember the difficulty of getting rid of non-compostable garden waste before we enjoyed the benefit of our brown wheelie bins. I have two and my neighbour lent hers last week and all three were filled with sticky armfuls of goose grass that threatened to overwhelm and bury everything in sight. Small mercies indeed.

Another important benefit in keeping my enthusiasm going is to seek inspiration and relaxation elsewhere. I enjoy visiting other gardens whenever I can and find new ideas wherever I go. For example, one day last week I visited two in Kent that couldn’t have been more different. First, a modest cottage garden where every corner housed something to delight the eye. Nothing jarred, despite the jumble of bright colours, because the plants looked as though they belonged there. Without overwhelming the scene (unlike my goose grass!), it also housed the National Collection of over one-hundred geums with coin sized, jewel coloured blooms that looked perfectly at home.

It was the type of garden which would have delighted Vita Sackville-West, creator of Sissinghurst, and which inspired her writings. That day seemed the perfect time to visit the masterpiece. That is, just as it emerges into Spring and before it too is overwhelmed with its own successful plants and hordes of visitors. Something that really caught my eye and will remain a lesson learned is that when planting any containers with bulbs it is important to cram in as many as possible rather what seems reasonable. On the other hand, in the flower beds, a restraining hand is needed: where there remains bare earth between emerging plants, you just want a few bulbs scattered about. Huge drifts would look out of place and OVERWHELM the fragile scene.