Osmanthus Delavayi

Written by  on April 12, 2014

Our Osmanthus Delavayi performed well enough grown in a container in Aberdeen. Overwintering it in the greenhouse was unnecessary. Osmanthus Delavayi (9) Here in our Cheshire front garden, we have just planted it directly into one of the borders.   I have to admit this plant has performed better in its new location.  Its more robust in appearance, flowers are more profuse and a warm late March morning gave the opportunity for the first time to experience the very pleasant sweet fragrance.

To be quite honest, the Winter has been exceptionally mild, even in Aberdeen, and its performance further north may well have been just as good as it has been here. Osmanthus Delavayi (2) The slow growing evergreen Osmanthus Delavayi has small glossy dark green serrated leaves and in March/April the arching stems are smothered in fragrant, small white blooms. Whilst in flower the habit resembles that of Spiraea Arguta.

I mention the slow growing habit, as some may be put off by the fact that it can grow to a height of fifteen feet.  I would honestly ignore this as its quite simple to keep this beauty in check.  Pruning can be carried out in late Spring.  A general tidy up in the first few years will be sufficient, simply remove any dead wood and crossed over branches, then when you feel that it becoming too tall, just prune it back accordingly. Plant your Osmanthus in full sun or semi shade, grows in any reasonable free draining soil. Osmanthus Delavayi (6) Small black berries are produced after flowering, our plant didn’t offer this bonus in Aberdeen, I will keep a check on this in our new garden and keep you updated.

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On my last post I was talking about removing this Leylandii hedge.

The builders who are doing our extension, (hopefully starting in four weeks time) sent round these guys who made short work of it. They cut back the hedge one morning and came back next day to remove the remaining roots.

April 4th 002


April 4th 005


A few days later, the new trellis and fences were erected.  I have started the big paint job, made much easier with the use of a spray-gun.

I used cuprinol garden shades, ideal for fences and outdoor furniture. This colour is, Wild Thyme. This is what I used on our Summer house back in Aberdeen.

I must say that when the Summer house was completed it looked more of a dusky shade of green, this time it is more of a bluey green, not quite as blue as my picture looks in our monitor.

April 9th  (2)


We have four climbing Roses to plant along the trellis, supplier sent four instead of five trellis panels, we will get another Rose for the fifth panel when it arrives.

The four climbers are.

Aloha *** Salmon pink blooms

Golden Showers *** Yellow blooms

Ghislaine de Feligonde *** Creamy white

New Dawn Red ***  Red

April 9th


Primula Vulgaris

Written by  on March 29, 2014

Everyone loves Primula Vulgaris. Our native Primrose has possibly been the subject of fellow bloggers more often than any other plant.

Primula Vulgaris 5

I will put in my tuppence worth here, not only because I am very fond of  this plant but also for the reason, that I made a decision some time ago to profile every plant which we have in our garden now, or have had in the past.

This task, if I take it seriously enough, should help see me through to a time when I should receive a letter from the reigning monarch.

Primula Vulgaris, starts to bloom very early, in Aberdeen more often in mid/late March. However even in Aberdeen I have seen blooms start to open in February.


Primula Vulgaris

The pictures of this one were taken in our Cheshire garden, where the first blooms did indeed start to open early in February.

Over the years we have grown many of the brightly coloured Primulas and Polyanthus, which give a good show in Spring. These plants are generally treated as annuals and replaced with Summer bedding come late May/early June.   I suspect here in Cheshire it should be safe enough to plant out the Summer bedding at least a couple of weeks earlier than this.


Primula Vulgaris (3)

Being a native plant, Primula Vulgaris gives more garden satisfaction.

Its dependable, perennial, in fact most years it remains evergreen, and reading your comments, it seems they are capable of blooming all year round . It grows in soil which is either on the acidic or Alkaline side.

Looks good at the front of the border or sensational at the edge of a woodland area.  We have such a woodland spot, which I have claimed, as it seems to be  in no man’s land.  It actually looks really good from our garden, I just have to create a method of access.

Well anyway, these Primula Vulgaris with their pale yellow blooms are dotted here and there in our front and back garden.  Blooming profusely now in late March, I expect they will still be going strong well into April.

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Back garden March (4)

I spent such a long time ridding our Aberdeen garden of Leylandii.  Guess what, well you don’t really have to as you can see for yourself.

Yes, Leylandii running the length of our Cheshire back garden.

For the past three months I have been kidding myself that this was kind of all right.  The mild Winter resulted in continued growth of this monster through the season.


Back garden March

I am feeling less troubled by it now as, its COMING OUT, roots an all,  so glad we have come to this decision. I am not keen to tackle this job myself so I have arranged for the heavy squad to deal with it, hopefully next week.

In its place we are putting up wooden trellis, where we will grow climbing Roses and Clematis.


Front garden March (2)

The front garden, although there isn’t much in the way of blooms at the moment, I am rather fond of it.

I have been continuing to cut out additional borders where we can add a bit of colour in Spring and Summer.

All the main existing borders had been well planted up, and to be quite honest was quite easy on the eye, even in the dead of Winter, well, we didn’t really have a Winter, but you know what I’m  getting at.

There are a few shrubs that will need replacing, and I will probably see to this soon. That’s the Hydrangea Pinky Winky in the tub, apparently I have to find a place for it.


Front garden March (3)


Cant say these guys have been making a nuisance of themselves, in fact they are very entertaining.

March i5th 014

 I was contacted by the producers, who are at the moment looking for gardeners like myself to put their names, or should I say gardens forward for the Alan Titchmarsh (Britain’s Best Gardens)

They had come across my blog as they may have done with yours. Anyway, after seeing pictures of our Aberdeen garden they were asking if we wanted to participate or nominate anyone else.

As we no longer live in Aberdeen, I had to decline, however I have many blogging friends with beautiful gardens, perhaps you would like to check it out, go on, click on the link. Britain’s Best Gardens


Growing Heather in a Scottish Garden

Written by  on March 15, 2014

Looking for a reliable white Heather for the garden? Erica x.darleyensis Ada s. Collings is unlikely to let you down.

This  Heather is said to grow well in soil which is either  alkaline or acidic, quite unusual for Erica’s as most of them only thrive in soil which is acidic.

The large white flowers are produced in late Winter and are long lasting, often still looking good at the end April.

This white form is much loved by our youngest daughter who is a jewellery maker. She has a fine technique of embedding the white Heather into crystal clear resin making the Heather last forever.

custom made

Erica blooms in Winter/Spring, Calluna growing in the mountains of Scotland is the late Summer bloomer.

I used to make the mistake of pruning back the late Summer Callunas after the blooms were spent. Not such a good idea in Aberdeen as flowering with some of them continued well into October.   Pruning at a time when Winter was approaching meant the plants often got severely damaged.

Regarding pruning,This is how I managed to get the best out of Heathers.

The Spring flowering Ericas I cut back after the flowers went over, many of them in early April, this is also a good time to prune back the Calluna’s which bloomed in Summer/Autumn.  You may find that some of the Ericas are still in bloom, its fine to leave them flowering before cutting back.

To maintain healthy plants its essential to start the pruning process in the first year after planting, otherwise they will become woody.

Cut back your Heathers quite hard making sure you do not go below the point where there is no green shoots.

Also useful to know that when you plant Heather dig them in a little deeper than  you would normally do with the likes of perennials.

If after a few years you find some of the plants getting that splayed out appearance, dig them up and replant them a bit deeper, often works a treat.

Being generally acid loving, its worthwhile giving your Heather bed a mulch with ericaceous compost every second year in Spring.

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Heather bed beside our round garden as it was, planted three years ago

When we moved into this house in Aberdeen in the mid eighties Heather beds had become all the rage. It wasn’t until 2010 that we decided to give them a try.


See how they filled in, two years after planting


Nearing the end of last Summer we had become very pleased with this Heather bed beside the round garden, very soon we would be saying goodbye.


Looks like we had become so obsessed with Heathers as we planted up the border  in front of the kitchen window in a similar manner. This time they were partnered with Box Pyramids and dwarf Azaleas.