Garden Blog - Blog Post

Spring Oddments


I’ve been working on things generally related to plants in pots over the last week, now that the heavy work of top-dressing is finished. I’ve decided to have a little mini-break before I dive in (somewhat reluctantly) to making the new border.

Upcoming Plant Sale

I’ve ended up with a lot of divisions and splits from the work I’ve been doing in the borders and from the patio pots. Some plants do just a little bit too well in the garden and I’ve been taking some of them out (mainly the Iris Sibirica) hoping to have a little plant sale in late spring/early summer. I can’t bring myself to throw surplus plants out. I find it much easier to carefully pot them up, keep them watered, get them re-established and then palm of them off to others.

One huge agapanthus into four large ones

A rather heavy piece of work was splitting the large agapanthus that we had on the patio. We couldn’t save the pot, it was too jammed-in, there was no way to get it out besides cutting down the pot sides. Thankfully its pot was a trug and so it was relatively easy to split. I managed to get four large divisions but not before a lot of hacking and slashing with a meat cleaver and spade. The meat cleaver is practically vegetarian now, we only use it to divide plants and I couldn’t begin to count how many freebies it’s created over the years.

Flowering Cherry now out in full bloom

The flowering cherry is now out in full bloom and there’s something about the way it comes in through the pergola and how some of the branches seem to sit on top that is really pleasing. On the opposite side, I’m trying to encourage the rhododendron to do the same. I’d like the pergola to look almost enveloped by its surroundings, even if it is almost three metres tall and nine long.

A much more respectable back end

This is the first season in the garden that we will start off with a well-made back part of the garden. The Willow border (background) and Landing Pad border (foreground) are both made and gradually establishing. As with the other borders, there’s some additional planting needed but it’s not urgent. I’ll need to top-dress the Willow border next year as the soil level will have sunk. The back of the garden used to be awful, frankly. Bad grass, overgrown bamboo, piles of rubbish scattered about, overgrown areas etc. It’s taken a lot of work to get it looking like this and I wanted to take a moment just to think back to how it was and how it has turned out.

Spring light on fresh green

While not as soft as the autumn light that we get when the sun is low, there’s something about the spring light on newly-emerged leaves. Here, the Climbing Hydrangea is being bathed in morning sun and its fresh green leaves are so vibrant they look edible and as though they would taste of limes.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about replacing the header image to this web site with an updated shot of the two chairs (facing slightly towards each other) under the cherry tree. I’ve almost got the same position but I’ll need to do something about the wheelbarrow and plastic. Having the border made and planted would be good too, but perhaps I should leave that for the third iteration.

The inherited ornamental cherry is a very strong anchor point in the garden and it is lovely to sit under it as the blossom drifts down. In the recent picture, the blossom is just opened up so I might retake the shot in a week or two and see if I can’t get a “before” and “after”.

This is now the 8th year in the garden and sometimes I end up stopping and pausing, trying to remember what it first looked like. The desperation of trying to get something lovely to look at while the rest of the garden was full of so much work. I look back at old pictures, even just from a few years ago and it’s hard to believe the starting point compared to now.

Before I get lost in the past, I’m going to sit under the cherry and perhaps just listen to the birds, or try and make a shortlist of seeds to order for an autumn sowing, ready to plant in the very final border, this time next year.

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author & gardener

Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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gardeninacity 27/04/2021 - 3:42 am

Your garden is looking great. I know what you mean about how hard it is to throw out plants. I just watched an old episode of Monty Don dividing an Agapanthus so I know that is real work!

Sunil 05/05/2021 - 6:43 pm

Thanks, Jason. I almost had to get the chainsaw out for the agapanthus. I hope you’re enjoying the various episodes of Gardeners’ World.

kvbixal 11/09/2021 - 7:05 am

I’ve only just found your blog — stumbled across it while Googling gaura, which led me to one of your posts from 2012 — but what little I’ve seen of your garden is so lovely!

And this bit: “The desperation of trying to get something lovely to look at while the rest of the garden was full of so much work.” — hugely relatable. I moved into this house about 2.5 years ago (my partner bought it just prior) and have never felt at home in it, but I’ve been trying to make the garden, at least, feel habitable and inviting. What I’ve managed is a chaotic assortment of several hundred potted plants in the front, which isn’t ideal to say the least — but it is leagues better than what was there before. I haven’t touched the back yard yet, am honestly terrified of the thought (it’s an overgrown jungle of grass and weeds and junk lying around), but your garden gives me hope that with time and love and effort, it might all become beautiful.

Sunil 12/09/2021 - 9:20 pm

Thank you and good luck with your new garden endeavours. I’ve found that breaking the whole project down into manageable pieces, areas and sections works well for me. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, plan and sort one border or part out before moving on to another. It minimises the amount of “plate spinning” needed and you see definite progress, even while everything feels like it’s continually “under construction”.


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