Garden Blog - Blog Post

The Three Week Warning


So we’re just into May and the weather remains…changeable. It’s raining, then it’s not, then it is, then it’s not, then it is again. This is all in the course of a morning. Plans for what jobs want to be done that day need to remain…flexible. Rained off mowing the grass? Split Epimediums instead. Got a dry moment? Use it to treat the benches. So the theme continues.

The Patio in Post-Winter/Pre-Summer mode

We’ve been working pretty hard over the last several days on getting the patio ready for the season. It’s been pressure-washed, the pots are all out and it’s looking rather good. There’s no plants to go in them yet but at least we’re a step closer. I can imagine it might look nice by mid-summer. Going back through photos from previous years, we’re at best two weeks behind and at worst a whole month behind in bedding/annuals growth. The early Spring weather has a huge impact on when things can and do get done. This year is late – probably one of the latest – and there’s no let up to the scattered showers in the forecast. I know it was only a few blog posts ago where I was writing about how far ahead I felt I was in the garden preparation game. The universe was laughing at me at the time.

Delphinium Crescent with new supplies of Delphiniums

With much of the winter jobs done now, work has shifted from what maintenance the plants in the garden need, to what humans (visitors) might need, hence the focus on the patio and areas around the house, treating the benches, tidying up the front, getting rid of rubbish and so on. I file it under “cosmetics”, while we’re not quite at the “finishing touches” stage, it doesn’t feel far off. There is still one major piece of work to do that has been waiting a rather long time. I do want to get it done before garden opening but I won’t want to reveal anything beforehand. It’s another centrepiece for a border but it requires some assembly first, and a fair amount of heavy lifting.

The Rectangle, with worn grass and cherry blossom

With regards to the imminent opening, we’ve already had a pre-visit visit from the organiser of the group who are coming in three weeks. The patio was still in “Winter Mode” then and was distinctly underwhelming, verging on embarrassing. Thankfully, a lot has changed since. It is satisfying to see the difference all this effort is having, despite leaving us exhausted and unable to move in the evenings. I’ve noticed that there’s now actually a hint of a smile on my face as I go around the garden and not the grimace from noticing all the jobs that still need to be done.

Trays of young plants for filling the patio pots, filling border gaps and for sale

Yes, the border edging all needs to be done and some of the roses (still) need a cut back and the fruit vines need to be tied in and some of the shrubs need to be pruned and grass needs to be sown and I need to put the climbers back on the pergola, but there’s a reason I emphasise this garden as being in the “Romantic” style, it’s because I can get away with things not looking at their best or looking unfinished – to a degree. It’s not too much of a disaster if I don’t get around to doing everything. I’m not sure people would notice anything amiss if I skipped quite a few of the jobs on my list.

Let’s just call it a “Romantic” honeysuckle overwhelming a garden arch

In the end, people coming to open days are visiting for a nosy about a nice garden and for a heavy slab of delicious cake. I can only do my best with one and can guarantee the other.

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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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Lynn Hunt 01/05/2023 - 5:37 pm

It is already looking fabulous, Sunil. Know your Open Garden days will be smashing successes. Please beam me over a piece of that cake!! xx

Sunil 03/05/2023 - 9:40 am

Thanks, Lynn, I think I would still be in the same panic if I had another year to prepare! We’re already getting the shopping list together for the cake ingredients, the vanilla sugar has been infusing for over six months and we’re gathering the crockery.


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