Spring 2022: Summer Solstice reflections

I’ve taken some time away from the blog as I felt a little uninspired. I’ve also been enjoying running, completing a half marathon in Crystal Palace in February, Brighton marathon in April and the South Downs trail half marathon in June. Excuses aside, now that spring 2022 has finished I’m excited to share some of the developments in the garden since I posted last year.

I finally got around to planting some bulb lasagne pots. The results were fantastic and meant that we had blooms from January until late April. I think my favourite bulbs were the reticulated Iris – the colour combination of Iris reticulata ‘harmony‘ with the miniature daffodil Tête-à-tête worked particularly well. The group 9 daffodil (I can’t remember the name of the cultivar) in the first photo below was incredibly fragrant so I will look to grow more of this type in the future.

Spring bulbs in full swing (22/03/22)
Iris reticulata and daffodil (3/3/22)

We were treated to some large patches of frog spawn this spring. Since creating the ponds in August 2019 we always hoped this would happen so we were very excited! As of May the frogspawn has developed into lots of little tadpoles with some now having developed their back legs.


In late 2021 I planted hundreds of tulip bulbs into the 3 side beds next to the house. The colours of orange, pink and purple really worked so nicely together and we were pleased with having such vibrant colours in early spring.

Tulips in bloom (15/04/22)
Tulips in full bloom (21/04/22)

The crab apple (Malus ‘Evereste’) blossomed magnificently this spring. The trees were festooned in flower and it was such a delight. We planted these trees as really young specimens in November 2019 and they have flowered more vigorously each passing spring.

Crab apple blossom (21/04/22)

I was really pleased to see how much the dahlia tubers which I planted into pots last year had grown. As these are hungry plants I replaced the potting medium with fresh compost for this year.

Various dahlia tubers (30/03/22)

And here is an update of growth so far…

Dahlia’s in pots 22/05/22

In September last year, Luke built us a tool store that lives behind the new greenhouse. We took the opportunity to have a go at growing new types of plants – alpines. The joy of creating a planting bed is that within reason, you can provide the ideal growing conditions for whatever plant you would like to grow. In this case we added in lots of horticultural gravel so there was plenty of drainage for these plants to thrive. My favourite plants in terms of flowers are the Veronica ‘Heidekind’ which are reminiscent of miniature fox gloves in raspberry pink hues. I think it works well with the white of the Armeria ‘Ballerina White‘.

Tool store roof (6/10/21)

Here are some photos of how these plants are getting on in June 2022:

Tool store roof (14/06/22)
Tool store roof; in the foreground is Veronica ‘Heidekind’ and in the background Armeria ‘Ballerina White’ (14/06/22)

I was so impressed with these alpine plants in the tool store that I decided to grow more on the patio table to create a focal point nearer the house. I’m pleased with them so far as they’ve been flowering prolifically. I’ve also chosen evergreen varieties so that we’ll get foliage interest over winter.

Saxifrage alpine plant in bloom (22/05/22)

The flag iris (iris pseudacorus) planted into the ponds flowered for the first time this spring. I’m already looking forward to it blooming more abundantly next year.

Iris pseudacorus flowering for the first time this spring (22/05/22)
Ferns have continued to naturalise in the walled garden. It’s exciting that new types such as this Asplenium are now appearing.

It’s fulfilling to see the garden develop over time. Below is an example of how the new beds at the side of the house have developed over the last three years. As they’re now more mature the perennials have definitely started to fill out the space. Look at how much the hedge we planted in November 2020 has developed too!

Every year I like to experiment growing new plants. This year I’ve had a go at growing strawberries, choosing early, mid year and late fruiting cultivars so that we can pick fruit over a long period.

The hedging we planted in November 2020 has continued to flourish. Below is a photo of the bed in July 2020 compared to May this year.

Here’s another development picture; it shows the same angle of the garden taken in July 2020 and then again in May 2022.  As you can see, it’s gone from a disused space to masses of planting.

Here’s a before and after view of the garden taken by the ponds looking back diagonally towards the house. the first photo is from 2020 compared to May this year. It’s become one of my favourite spots to look at the garden; I think it looks best pictured here in early morning light.

One of the biggest developments this year has been a complete redesign of the mound planting bed. We felt that the previous scheme required a re-think as the cornus dominated the other plants and the overall look was too wild. Redesigning the bed has meant that we’ve been able to experiment growing new plants including geum, phlomis, and salvia. We’ve planted in swathes and have chosen colours that should compliment each other. We’ve tried to be more adventurous in terms of using some punchy colours like oranges and purple, something we’ve shied away from in the past.

The newly designed and planted mound bed (18/05/22)
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine‘ (22/05/22)



  1. I’m so inspired by you guys, we are moving in Aug /sept to be nearer the wood, and will have a new, big garden to plan, I may need your advice! Xxxx

    1. Jill! How lovely of you to message. It’s strange as I was only thinking of you the other day. That’s really exciting about your new house/garden. Would love to help x

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