advances in the back patch


Bearded iris in flower, 28 April 2019.

In the back patch the long flower bed that runs beside the railway path is fairly well established – and full of perennial flowers of all sorts: iris, hollyhock, day lilly, gladioli, asiatic lilly, climbing roses on the pergolas, and so forth.

Also wormwood, peony, lungwort, cyclamen, hyacinth, daffodil, campanula, low growing saxifrage….

So well developed that I’m now starting to plan to dig out, divide and spread some of the plants elsewhere – into the woods!

The back bed, that run along the back fences of the garden flats, is something else altogether.  A bit wild.  A bit ‘in development.’  At the start there’s some sage which has spread wildly and needs taming.  (Don’t even like sage that much!)   And a red currant bush, which really needs a bit better tending.


And of course there’s the well-established (but somehow flagging) rhubarb patch. (Ground’s too poor and needs huge amounts of manure added).

And a handful of amazing globe artichoke plants – they’re growing so large that they’re shadowing out three rhubarb that are planted behind them.  I’ll have to move the rhubarb if I want to save them.

I think the artichoke plants are in their third year, and are already setting flower heads. We’re going to research how to eat them.  I know, really – steam and eat with garlic butter.  Just have to watch a you-tube video on removing the ‘choke’ – the hairy non-edible bit.


Immediately beside the artichoke are two lovage.  Lovage is a lovely aromatic herb and is perennial.  I should probably dig and transplant these as well.  The reach of the artichoke is awesome and overpowering!

Then there’s the massive clump of horseradish – which I really should try to dig out and a sunnier bed of rhubarb, fronted by calendula.

To the edge of this run of plants is a bare batch which I used as a bit of a light compost area in previous summers.

I dug that over today and picked out pebbles and masonry.  That will be the bed where I transplant the three struggling and overshadowed rhubarb.  (Should ideally have transplanted them much earlier in the season, but somehow didn’t get to it and besides, now that the artichoke have sprouted up three feet high and higher, it’s obvious what needs to happen.)


Borage patch – showing chive and raspberry, 28 April 2019.

After the bare patch (new rhubarb bed), there’s the bed with two young raspberry, a lavender, a clump of creeping rosemary and two little clumps of chive.  Then a large borage – glorious & loved by bees.

To the side of this little paradise is a clump of yellow flowering calendula and bare ground: a new seed bed.  I dug again the new seed bed and then planted a front row of Amethyst radish (end of the packet), and then two rather close together rows of spinach beet.  These are under the back neighbour’s elder tree, so semi-shaded and fairly protected.  Again – using up the old seed packets. Hopefully something germinates!

This is edged with the onion bed, which were watered again and weeded.  And then follows the rather derelict corner.  Which will stay derelict for a while (the corner’s the best out of site spot there is – visible only really from the upper levels of the flats across the railway track, so not too bothered ’bout that.)


Seeded bed of radish and perpetual spinach beet, planted 26 April 2019.  With calendula in flower behind.

The side edge of the corner is a large patch of heavily mulched area with straw and compost.  There are bindweed and other weeds starting to grow into this, and this is where I was hoping to grow a few pumpkin or squashes, so I set about to start forking this over and weeding.

Discovered a sunken terracotta pot at the back of the bed, which is a bonus and will be moved to the allotment.  But then the rains came and chased me back upstairs.  Seemed it would settle in and last, and I’d done enough for the day.


The woods in it’s spring glory, with flowering onion, wild bluebell and forget me nots.  28 April 2019.

Especially since I started at 11 by picking up the ladder from Michelob and then he stood and held the ladder for an hour or so as I trimmed the high growing ivy on the woven wicker fencing at the back.  It’s quite a job as the ivy’s all inter-grown into the white rambling rose. Scratchy work.

Filled a huge builder’s bag with the cuttings.  There’ll be lots for the council composting this weekend!

And there’s still so much to do….

  • bring down the window box full of campanula and plant into the back patch
  • dig out a section of the wild onion & transplant to woods bed (half-circle bed)
  • dig out a section of the rock garden succulent by the back patch trellis and move to the front meadow area
  • finish digging over the straw mulched area for the squash patch (bag some up to take up to the allotment strawberry beds).
  • plant the stock bedding plants purchased from Homebase
  • plant the shade/semi-shade plant (? name?)  under the rose arbour in the front/middle (purchased at Ness Gardens garden centre).
  • plant the last of the gladioli bulbs into the back patch
  • seed more radish in the back patch
  • dig out kitchen compost from woods bins and dig into the new rhubarb bed.  Water well.
  • train up the collapsed rambling rose onto the farthest wood pergola in the back patch.




About smallPaws

A tumbleweed from Canada who's been living in London for twenty or so years.
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