Gardens in general
For some time now I have been meaning to talk about our Evergreen Honeysuckle which is in in our Cheshire garden.
Having lived in Aberdeen for an extremely long time we had never seen an Evergreen Honeysuckle, well I had seen them in the garden centres, but that’s not an indication that they thrive in the area.
To tell you the truth, when we first arrived at our new house in Cheshire, this evergreen climber interested us, and we had actually made up our minds that it was the Winter flowering evergreen Clematis.
Confirmation of this came about when a blog post in January from Helene of Graphicality uk talked of and showed pictures of Clematis Armandii.
The lack of flower buds on our Clematis brought us to the conclusion that the previous house owner had pruned it in Autumn, and therefore had cut away the shoots that may have produced buds (duh).
Come Spring, low and behold, flower buds started to appear, but they were sort of in clusters.
No way was this a clematis, it soon became clear that our climber was in fact an evergreen form of Honeysuckle.
I wont go through my usual format of plant profile with this one, well its obvious that I don’t have the knowledge
Anyway, it is indeed Honeysuckle (Lonicera Henryi)
This one covers a fair sized area climbing up a fence beside our kitchen window, as you can see in the first picture.
The lower stems are massive and give the impression that it has been here since the house was built in 1982.
The elongated leaves are a dark green, and quite attractive, with a leathery feel and appearance to them.
The flower buds developed through June, and to be quite honest looked at their best before they actually opened.
When they did open in early July they were, to be kind, rather insignificant, quite unlike the appearance of many of the deciduous forms, and although it is said to be fragrant, Myra or myself did not pick up on it.
Well that’s about all I have to say regarding our climbing Honeysuckle, which I should say, with its evergreen leaves, does add some interest to the Winter garden.
Spring and Summer has been very pleasant here in Cheshire. The warmer weather has been to our liking although it has been harder to sleep with the night temperatures being higher than we are used to.
The back garden has filled out nicely, very little of the original plants left.
The pictures below give an idea as to how the garden is looking at the moment.
In our first Summer here in Cheshire East I didn’t expect to be quite so pleased with the garden. However, we need! more plants so don’t be surprised if in my next post, very little of the lawn remains.
London Pride, I didn’t buy it or plant it, the truth is, it was (handed down to me)
Performance in our garden
In all the years we spent in Aberdeen, we never did have London Pride in the garden. Surprisingly, as it is one of the first garden plants which I can recall.
Between the age of about seven and ten I was always fascinated with my grandparents garden. The front garden was well planted up with HT Roses which my grandfather spent a lot of time tending. Round the back was a good size patch reached by going down a small flight of steps. First thing you came across was the old Rowan Tree to the left with an equally old garden bench underneath it.
Then you would come to the lawn which grandma used as her clothes drying area. The real garden lay ahead, to the right of the gravel path they had the vegetables and fruit, all in neat rows, and to the left, were the flowers also planted in rows, as or as may not have been the habit in the early fifty’s.
Well, anyway I cant remember the names of the flowers, many of them were colourful, one day whilst in the garden with grandma, I enquired as to the name of the plant which filled one of these rows, (London Pride) she told me.
She asked me if I liked it, not really I said, I guess I couldn’t see the point of this plant as everything else seemed so large and colourful. What I do know is it stuck in my head and was one of the few plants which I could name until I reached my twenties.
Here we are, now living in Cheshire and one of the handed down to me plants is (London Pride) which today I discovered was named Saxifraga x Urbium.
In the front garden it is planted at the back of both sides of the curved bed.
Guess what, I like it, looks very healthy, flowering well and evergreen, and it is here for good.
The small frothy panicles of pale pink single blooms are carried on slender stems reaching a height of about 30cm/12 inches above ground Evergreen rosettes of glossy foliage are an added attraction.
The flowers started to open in early May and now on the 7th of June are still looking good but reaching the end of the flowering period.
Position and soil type
London Pride performs best in full sun and will tolerate light shade. Grows in any reasonable soil that is free draining. Having said that the soil in our garden is heavy and not all that free draining. However they are planted in a slightly raised border where the soil seems to have been improved.
We have been here for six months now and its beginning to feel like we are finally getting settled in. The garden is starting to take shape although the interior of the house is still like a battle field. Here below is a little of what’s been going on
New paving slabs have been fitted to the paths at the front, and also patio areas in the back garden. The rickety old arch fell to bits, as was expected, and we put up this new sturdy metal one in its place. The white Clematis Montana on the right hand side had to be cut right back, however its making fresh growth and I expect it will benefit from this rejuvenation.
My mini garden shed arrived flat pack a few weeks ago. Reasonably easy to assemble although I am not all that happy with my fitting of the doors.
The main patio area is just outside the back door, this small seating area above, we have just finished feeking up, and I am very pleased with it. At the top of the garden it catches the sun for the best part of the day.
The back garden has been receiving a lot of attention this past couple of weeks. We have reshaped the lawn, making the borders a fair bit wider. Loads of planting has been going on with many perennials, Roses, and shrubs. Not quite finished as yet but I am happy with the progress.
Clematis Montana Mayleen, we had this one in Aberdeen growing up through a Rowan tree in the back garden.
Performance in our garden
As you would expect, Clematis Montana Mayleen is thriving in Cheshire, every bit as much as it did in Aberdeen. It is one of those plants which flourish from John o’ groats to lands end, well! perhaps you have had experience which disputes this claim.
Here in our new garden this Clematis at the end of the pathway leading to our back garden appears to have been here for a number of years.
It came into bloom here at the very beginning of May, in Aberdeen it was usually the third week of May before the first blooms opened.
Although we usually have a preference for Clematis that require hard pruning in late Winter, this Montana which is performing extremely well is here to stay. Only thing is, we are placing a small garden shed in front of it, ah well, it will just have to scramble over the shed.
The highly scented pale dusky pink blooms of Clematis Mayleen will bloom in your garden for a few weeks between late April and mid June. The leaves are a distinct bronze colour.
Clematis Montana is a vigorous, fast grower capable of actually smothering a deciduous tree to such an extent that the host could well suffer or even die.
Mayleen in my experience was not quite so ruthless and caused no harm to the Rowan tree in our Aberdeen garden which it climbed through, and after eight years still only clung to the lower branches. This one shown today in our Cheshire garden also appears to be pretty well restrained.
Mayleen carries the RHS award of garden merit and although as I have said, I prefer Clematis which requires hard pruning, Mayleen is here to stay.
Position and soil type
Mayleen grows best of all in full sun or partial shade, however if you only have a north facing position available, plant it! you will not be disappointed.
Grows well in all soil types which are free draining. Add plenty good quality compost when planting and remember the golden rule with Clematis, plant deep, at least three inches lower than the level the plant was in whilst in its pot. This helps to prevent Clematis wilt and also helps keep the roots cool which they also like, in fact it is often advised as good practise, to place a layer of pebbles around your Clematis as an aid to keeping the roots cool.
Well, I think I have already made it clear that Montana requires no pruning. However a bit of tidying up after flowering may well be necessary, and will cause no harm. If after a number of years you feel it has got out of control there is no reason why the plant can not be rejuvenated by cutting it back hard.
Another Montana in our garden is the white form, Montana Grandiflorum. I am also rather fond of this one, growing up a rickety old metal arch which leads to the back garden.
I have actually cut this one back and removed the old arch. The arch will be replaced with a new one and the Clematis will be left to regrow.
The habit of Grandiflorum is the same as Mayleen. The white blooms of this one are not fragrant, however I expect many will favour it over the pink form.
The garden was starting to take shape, however I knew it would get messed up with all the work which the coming extension entailed.
Well in actual fact, its not going to happen. The strain and stress of moving house has left Myra totally drained and we have just decided to upgrade the house without any serious building work involved.
Although, having said that there is a bit of an upheaval at the front of the house. The garage as it is, is gone and we are having a shower room and cloakroom added. (Cloakroom is posh for bog)