The Plot Continues

20190524_145401Every gardener has the sense that they do not own their plot but are only temporary custodians, and that they are creating something for a better future, whether that is next season or many years hence. We are selling our house and this blog is about saying goodbye to my much-loved garden and the hope that whoever buys our house will enjoy it as much as I have.

June 29th, 2019

My #SixOnSaturday today is all about our new garden in Portugal. We’re looking forward to learning about the new things we can grow beginning with the ones we inherited. Our garden was scorched by a forest fire just as the house was finished back in July 2017.

1 Pear – If these fruits ripen without incident, they will be our first. I had to prune off many badly burned branches.


2 Orange – we have 3 orange trees all different and all delicious. This one is the first to ripen and these fruit, which are just 2- 3cm across at the moment, will be ripe in January.


3 Vines – we lost our first harvest to the scorching summer heat last year apart from about a half dozen dessert grapes in a shady area of the courtyard. All the grapes were turned to raisins on the vine. Apparently lots of folk lost their harvest to a fungus last year too.


4 Olives – we have 23 olive trees which fruit on second year growth so this will be our first olive harvest. I’ve spotted some mealy bugs on one of them, so I hope they won’t spread! Talking to friends and neighbours, it sounds like it will be hard work to harvest them by hand, but we hope to be successful.



5 We constructed our Herb garden from stones that were busted out of our old walls to make way for patio doors. This lovely lemon thyme was cropped and dried a month ago, so we have several jars to hand in the kitchen.


6 We have brought a few plants with us over the past year or so; a few box plants which were newly planted last month and have survived the heat, some snowdrops which popped up earlier this year, and a few dahlia tubers that we started off a few months ago – first to flower is Garden Wonder (I think).


These are my #sixonsaturday and you can find out what other gardeners are up to using this hashtag. The Propagator started the conversation and is well worth following. Enjoy your weekend!

June 15th, 2019

Weeds 3When I close my eyes all I can see is weeds. I’ve spent my day weeding so my Six On Saturday has to be about… weeds! Or… just a plant in the wrong place.

The introduction of Herb Robert to my garden is all my own fault – Dad used to have it growing all over his yard and I took some home with me one day.  I like the way the plant adapts to fill the space available – if it is growing on sand it’s quite thin but if it manages to get into rich soil it grows thick red stems and luscious leaves.

We must have sown Feverfew years ago and it pops up all over our garden. I love the smell of the crushed leaves.

Fennel loves our sunny garden and we have quite a few plants which have self-seeded. The feathery leaves are good to eat but they are even better in the border. I have to pull lots out as there are always too many of them and if you let them get established, they have a very large root that is difficult to get out.

Weeds 1

These three are my least favourite. I have to admit I love Bindweed flowers, but various parts of our garden have become infested with it in the past. The only way to keep it down is to keep digging and pulling it.

Ground Elder is one I love to hate. Apparently, the Romans introduced it as a vegetable. I find it oddly satisfying to lift and tease the shallow roots in long chains. The soil has to be moist – not too wet or too dry to do this most successfully.

Lastly – does anyone know what the third one is? It has a nasty smell and its roots help it to cover the ground efficiently. The leaves are like fluffy stinging nettles.

Weeds 2

Please leave a comment here…

June 8th, 2019

Until recently I would have said I don’t much care for roses but they’re growing on me. Needless to say, I’ve never bought one, they are all inherited.

  1. The Rambling Rector has collapsed over two paths today in all the wind and rain – it’s not really his fault as we took away the pergola he used to clamber over. Don’t tell him but he’s not going to last much longer but we thought we’d enjoy the flowers before he gets the chop. We inherited him with the house and have propagated Rambling Rector junior who is taking his first handholds into an ornamental apple.


2.  Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’ or Rosa mundi was a gift from dad – it loves it our clay soil and quickly spreads wherever we put it. Today it has broken a cane, released itself from its ties and is shambling over another of our paths.


3.  These next 3 were all inherited. We liberated this yellow rambler from a horrid plastic pot and have trained it (I use the term lightly) over the shed.


4.  This red rambler was also consigned to a restricted life in a nasty plastic pot, but when we had the concrete and wall removed from the front of our house, it flourished and is now often admired by passers-by.


5.  This pretty small white shrub rose is in the shrubbery squished between a Deutzia grandiflora (I think) and a Fuchsia Lady Bacon.


6.  Lastly this brilliant vermillion red floribunda rose called Trumpeter was bought earlier this year for a client’s blog from P.J. Brown, a lovely friendly local nursery in Terrington St Clement. It’s welcome to stay as are all the others and who knows I might even propagate a couple of them to take with me to our next garden.


I have a few other roses, but they are not in flower yet. I think this has been the swiftest #SixonSaturday I’ve ever photographed (complete with raindrops on my camera lens) Thanks to for hosting.

June 1st, 2019

Ken’s grandad hardly left Norfolk but it’s likely that his runner beans will be travelling to Portugal with us.  He was a keen gardener and reckoned on being able to produce two veg for the table every day (including potatoes) all year round. He saved his seeds and gave Ken some of his runners over 20 years ago and we have been growing them ever since.


This pretty patch of Forget-Me-Nots has grown up around last years tomato canes.  It is the first year in more than 20 years that we haven’t sown our own tomatoes. It’s a bit of a wrench to see our stocks of frozen, bottled and passata slowly diminishing.


This is our treehouse – it used to look a bit more picturesque, but Ken’s son grew up and extended it to house his stock of pallet wood for his recycled furniture business. It is still the nicest place to sit on a hot day as it’s a great vantage point and one of the few shady spots in our garden.

This other shady spot is where our German Shepherd used to keep cool.  He all but decimated the Woodruff which has grown back since we lost him 3 years ago. He was a constant companion in the garden, and we miss him.

We had a wonderful big box ball in our London garden and Ken propagated all this box hedging and more of it at the front of our house from that plant – we still have around 20 plants in pots that will move with us to our next garden.

Multi images 1st June

A few years ago, our neighbours had to stop digging footings to a new house because they found peat, but they also found clay and Ken and his son spent most of one summer holiday making a pizza oven from clay bricks. Unfortunately, it collapsed as soon as the first fire was lit.  The second one lasted much better but eventually collapsed when rain got into a crack in the render during the winter. We finally got a professional builder to copy one we saw Jamie Oliver had and it’s great fun to have pizza parties.


End of May, 2019

Dad was a nurseryman and inspired in me a love of all things horticultural – he also gave me many of the plants in this garden, so my first Six on Saturday is about some of these.

Back in the 60s I began helping in the nursery by taking cuttings of succulents and I’ve never lost my love of them.

Alpines and succulents

Outside our family home next to the nursery was a monkey puzzle tree. I’ve had this one in a pot for several years and never found the perfect spot to plant it so it will be coming with me.

I love Oriental poppies and I’ve had this vivid red one the longest. The original plant dad gave me is in our previous garden.

Dad taught me to listen for the cracking of pine cones and the first trees I grew from seed are already growing in various places. These ones are from some huge 6” pine cones I collected from Holkham Park and these last 4 plants still need a home.

Muliple images

This White Marseille Fig always seems to struggle to put its leaves out and no wonder as they are so big and thick. I’ve struggled to propagate it successfully but this year I must concentrate a bit harder on the task if I’m to take one with me.

Ficus carica 'White Marseilles'

This last picture is of Cotoneaster villosulus – it’s not very common and not very impressive to look at right now but the bees love these tiny flowers and it has great autumn leaf colour.

Cotoneaster villosulus

These are our contributions to Six on Saturday, a gardening thread run by The Propagator – find out more about what is involved here