The Gardener's Boot

I think Bob Flowerdew (UK gardening personality who sports a large ponytail and gardens organically) coined this phrase on the BBC's Gardener's Question Time. He's right of course. Walk around the garden and take stock of everything. Sometimes you get so into the act of gardening that you don't see it. I've been doing exactly that. Needless to say there are hits and misses and like many, I'm already planning for next year.

The Cosmos 'Versailles Tetra' has seemed a little slow growing to me. Mind you, so has the Amaranthus 'Marvel Bronze'. Now either everything has conspired to leave my annual bed a little 'tardy or perhaps I'm simply being impatient. I'm pretty sure it's the latter.

This is Cosmos 'Purity'. It's a really nice white which just glows in the evening light. I'm hoping it'll get to four or five feet in height and really look impressive. Again, that can't come quick enough.

Overall I'm pleased with the gable end. The Catmint just billows and flops over the gravel under the yellow rose, a rose that remains nameless for now as it's easily over twenty five years old and was here before both myself and the previous owners. I'm going to have to put more effort into a positive ID.

The walk down into the courtyard looks pretty this year. The grapevine which shades the terrace to La Grande Maison is much healthier. I picked off a lot of moss that was clinging to the main stems and it seems to have helped matters. I guess there are less places to harbour disease.

The Clematis Jackmanii is flowering like crazy. This is it's fifth year and it has become a large shrub. If only I hadn't forgotten to prune it. The new flowering growth has toppled over the old woody stems but hey, I can live with it.
The Campanula muralis is a sea of blue at this time of year and frankly won't be happy until it's achieved world domination. It is SO EASY to grow! I literally pluck rooted clumps from it, stick them into the ground and let it do its thing. On the subject of easy propagation, you could do worse than visit Cameron's excellent post about Sedum. You may never have to buy another plant!

Geranium Johnson's Blue looks good with Campanula takesimana Elizabeth. I'm going to cut back this Cranesbill once flowering is over and see if I can get it to flush again later on.

Finally the planting along the pergola is starting to fill out. There have been one or two changes from my original plan. Notably the addition of Penstemon 'Mrs Hindley' which are both hardy and long flowering. All the rambling roses are healthy, disease free and are flowering. One slight problem in that they are all vertically challenged. They need to grow upwards! I guess they're settling in and next year they'll head in the right direction.

Sometimes it's nice just to step back, take stock and let your boots do the walking.


  1. Everything looks fantastic. I love all the blue flowers and the roses of course. I wish I had a place to plant cosmos. I had it long ago and I really enjoyed it. Do you have hot weather over there?

  2. I love the view into your courtyard garden. What a perfect setting!

    The campanula blue - I can't imagine having too much of that one!

    Your cosmos looks better than mine - I waited too late to sow seeds. I have a few short sonata pink (which I love), but my tall variety are non-existent (rabbits?) or shorter than the short right now! I may have to try that white next year.

    Thanks for the sedum story mention.

    I think our rain left yesterday and now we'll get to 100 in the next day or so.

    The snakes (friendly ones) have been looking for high ground out of the wet woods. My husband opened the door this morning and a black snake was sunning on the stone step. He tried to push it gently along (with my camera tripod) and it turned around and charged him -- getting into the house! He got it out and back to the woods before I stumbled in with my coffee!


  3. What a glorious garden, Rob, and I love the view with the house too! I looks totally enchanting.

    I love Amaranthus - have only grown it once, on a plot at a hortic college in lovely deep soil. The bronze ones are my favourites.

  4. That stunning bed of white cosmos. I think that is a dream that all gardeners have. And you have grown it. Everything looks amazing, lush, and however did you get Geranium Johnston's Blue so big?

    I like the quote of letting my boots do the walking, but I am a clutz, crunch, squish, whoops.....

    My niece just got back from her trip, and yes she did make it to France, loved it. I have a feeling that this is only going to wet the appetite of my sister to "vacation" there. Maybe one day we will be visiting your amazing country.


  5. I enjoyed my visit to France this morning! Lovely! I also liked the pergola. Janet

  6. What a gorgeous garden you have Rob, I would be proud of those displays, so don't be too hard on yourself. I'm just getting into Cosmos.

  7. I don't think anything there needs the gardener's boot! (but I love that saying, I think I'll start using it) I love seeing more of your beautiful gardens. Just gorgeous there!

  8. Hi Philip, thanks. Yes it can get hot over here and we've had a lot of warm weather this year. That said we don't get the frequency of high temps and humidity as the southern US.

    Cameron hi, I'm a little dissapointed with the variance in my Cosmos. The seeds were from T&M. I'll pass final judgement at the end of July. I hope yours pick up. You never know, they love the heat, something NC isn't short of.

    (((snakes))) are you living in the bush? ha.

    Hiya Phoenix, Amaranthus can be so stunning. I saw 'Autumn Palette' at a garden last year. Must have been 5 foot. An absolute stunner. T&M sell the seeds.

    Hello Jen
    I think the 'Johnson's blue' will need division next year.
    You can do a lot worse than visit La belle France.

    Hi Janet, glad you enjoyed your visit.

    Hi Hermes, I just need my climbing roses to actually climb. Cosmos is worth getting into. There's some quite subtle ones like Daydream (T&M again) that I might try.

    Hi Catherine, thankyou. No I won't be booting stuff, just stomping around fron time to time

  9. Your garden is looking absolutely lovely!

  10. Rob Everything looks lovely. I like the white cosmos and wondered what you had growing up your lovely rustic pergola then you showed us a closer look. It looks like a clematis on one pole.

    All the pictures look amazing full size. I see your Bodnariensis is doing very well. Love the red rose on the building. House looks so inviting and the Jackmanii is very early flowering but I guess that's perhaps as you say you did not prune.

  11. Well my cosmos aren't even close to flowering, so I think yours look pretty good! And last year a couple of my shrub roses sent out very tall, strong shoots in fall. Hopefully yours will do something like that to start climbing!

  12. The Ponytailed One proffers some sound advice. I am glad that your roses have taken well. I have noted your comment about cosmos 'Purity' glowing in the evenings. I will grow some at home next year as I rarely get to the allotment in the evening. Thanks Rob :)

  13. I've got to try that cosmos. And your clematis are stunning!

  14. Hi Sweetbay, Thanks

    Joanne, the Verbena bonariensis has taken off. It always seems to get to height quickly the eventually the other stuff gets there as well.

    Hi VW, thanks for letting me know about your roses. You give me hope!

    Hi Anna, the cosmos purity is really nice. I recommend it

    Hi Jeanne, thanks.

  15. This is a lovely blog and I'm really glad I found it. Do keep on posting.

  16. Hi Rob, what a good idea, to step back and take everything in. Micro managing has its place, but to enjoy the fruits of our labors, we must look across the horizon rather than down at our feet. All is lovely, roses without disease? Priceless! :-)

  17. You must be thrilled, Rob ~ your gardens are stunning, perfect for your piece of earth. Also great advice ... I love walking the garden in morning light with coffee, then perhaps a glass of wine in evening ... there are always wishes, things I should have done, but often sigh in delight at glorious mistakes (maybe it's the wine :)

  18. Aah Rob, your garden is looking quite stunning - I love it!

    One day - one day, mine will be almost finished and I really hope it'll look as gorgeous as yours does!

  19. Just lovely! I especially like the geranium/campanula pairing, and your Jackmani is magnificent. My Jackmani has been blooming too, although a little behind yours.

    You garden is a joy to view.

  20. Rob your garden just looks sublime.
    You should be very proud I love cosmos and the white looks beautiful. This year I might plant a white garden over summer.

    Thank you for sharing it with us!!

  21. This is such a nice visit to your garden. Love the geranium and I've never seen so much of it in bloom before. And the clematis is a good goof up. I like it tumbling over too. You have a most amazing place to live and work. Lots to be proud of.

  22. My first visit and I am wowed! Gorgeous gardens! It is so true as you say ... we get so caught up in gardening that we do not take the time to enjoy or something like that... to take time to truly be in our gardens is important. I am so glad to have seen your blog listed over at Sweet bays! I look forward to strolling around if you do not mind.

  23. Hiya Rob, I see you have
    Verbena bonariensis with your cosmos. Ours seeds itself everywhere but seems particularly attracted to the builder's sand soil between the slabs of the sun terrace, where of course, annoyingly, I have to clear it or walking around with drinks trays would be a assault course. All the hardy Geraniums are doing well this year and most have now been sadly cut back in the hope for a second show, except the Johnson's Blue which is flowering inexhaustibly. Beautiful photographs as ever, I'll be posting the vegetables as soon as I catch my breath. Great weather, ugh?

  24. One day, I'll knock at your door and ask you to show me the garden. Next spring/summer we plan to go to Germany/Italy, but after that France will be on my list. Your garden is charming.

  25. very very fantastic..i love flowers...hello,mauri


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