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A morning in two halves


I spent the first half of the morning in the garden digging up a Camellia: something I thought I would never do. Problem is that I garden on clay laced with chalk so the Camellias struggle. This particular one also lives in a bit of a dip where the frost tends to collect, and the garden drains to. As a result of the harsh weather over Christmas all the flower buds have fallen off and the leaves are black in many places. Time to do something drastic. Then I saw on Gardener’s world that you can give them a fairly dramatic haircut so it seemed like a good plan to move the whole shrub.
It is now in a large pot outside the door, filled with ericaceous compost.

I have no idea if it will survive but I am very pleased with the impact. The whole area by the table and chairs has opened up.

There are drawbacks – a disgruntled frog gave me a hard stare that I had removed his ground cover, but I’m sure I can do something about that in the fullness of time, and he headed off under the other Camellia so life can’t be all bad. I will also have to sort out my compost area, but then that comes as no surprise!

No doubt my new area will get planted up with things properly at some point, but for now I have just moved things about a bit. A largish geranium was blocking the light from a Bergenia so that has been posted to the new patch, and some Forget-me-nots, also from further up the garden, have joined it to provide a bit of instant colour.

Time for a cup of tea – and to survey the result.
Whilst I was in the garden I was followed at a discrete distance by Mr Blackbird. Mrs kept demurely out of sight only deigning to join him when I was round the front and she thought I couldn’t see, but Mr was quite tame and never even shouted at me like he sometimes does. The robin was far more coy though he sat on “his” perch and let me know when the worms unturned met with his approval.

Since having my cup of tea the garden has come alive. No photos of this bit though I’m afraid as I’m not very good at bird photography.

Two pairs of Goldfinches have been to the niger seed. They sit up in the Eucryphia for a bit to check that there are no cats and only then come down to squabble for supremacy at the bird feeder. During the winter I get a flock, but by March they have all fallen out of friends and spend their time impressing their mates. They seem unperturbed by the Robin and various Tits that came to feed though I notice that Mr Blackbird flew past in a bad temper, shouting his head off. I had been out of the garden for perhaps half an hour before the Nuthatches came to feed too. I had assumed that there was just one lonely bachelor, but no his wife is there too. They take it in turns to skulk under the laurel before flying, feeding and returning. No wasting time strutting or just playing like the other birds do, but oh what a mess as they fastidiously pick out the best bits. They have displaced about an ounce of seed at one sitting. The pigeons and magpies love them because they then descended to clear it all up again. All of this activity happened over the course of the last hour and now as I sit looking out there is only a lonely chaffinch at the feeder (obviously sick of tearing my plum blossom to shreds and looking for distraction). All the rest have patiently waited for me to get out of the way before feeding in a tearing hurry in case I come back. Which of course is exactly what I am going to do now.

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Good idea to put the Camellia in a pot and give it a haircut..

I've had a Camellia in a pot with ericaceous compost for a number of years, and because of this cold winter, I'm planning to do the same as you and give it a good trim...

Your garden is taking shape :o)

4 Apr, 2011


Thanks TT - sometimes it seems a bit beyond my imagination.

4 Apr, 2011


Your table and chairs area looks good ...
I design my gardens as I go along ...
... no definite plan. Lol.

4 Apr, 2011


Lovely interesting blog,and I'm sure your camellia will love you,proper food ! you have a lovely selection of birds,visiting your garden,Sarah..My little Robin,just came and stood beside me as I was digging a border over..but,typical,no camera..but I just loved looking at his little face..made my day.:o)

4 Apr, 2011


Thanks Bloomer - I almost give up trying to take photographs of the birds - so frustrating. At least the plants sit still!

4 Apr, 2011


Me too,I'm just not quick enough,or more to the point,not prepared.!

5 Apr, 2011


Sarah, I'm just catching up on GoY and must tell you that when we came to this house & garden, about 10 years ago, the only plants in the back garden were two ancient Camellias! We also have Susex clay to contend with, so I was amazed they were thriving. Eventually, they were both removed. With hindsight, I should have kept them in pots ......

8 Apr, 2011

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