Saturday, 21 April 2018

Change your garden - what can you add this year?


Marsh marigold caltha palustris Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
You can keep your garden fresh and interesting by making a few changes every so often. Even on a small budget you can transform your garden over a period of time - one change at a time. So what could you add to your garden over the next 12 months? Here are a few things I've added to mine over the last 12...




Spring always feels like a time of renewal, as a variety of plants and wildlife reappear in the garden after an extended absence during the autumn and winter. Many plants are coming back into growth, and are flowering for the first time in a year, returning like old friends that have been away. The bees have returned.

Gardens are constantly, if gradually, changing, sometimes with a bit of help from us gardeners, and sometimes of their own volition. A garden would be too dull if it stayed the same forever, so it's good to appreciate the differences over time. 

Here are six things from my garden that weren't there a year ago. I've linked up with Six on Saturday, organised by The Propagator. You can visit his site to see loads of other posts from people in their gardens.


Change your garden - what can you add this year?


Alpine planter


I do love alpines. Particularly the ones that form little dense mats of foliage. They're very tactile, and look like plants in miniature - which they are really, having adapted themselves to extremes of climate by staying close to the ground.

I had an empty terracotta dish lying around unused, so picked up three little cushion forming alpines at the RHS Cardiff Show. 

Alpine planter Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
Alpine bowl planter


Arctic Poppy - Papaver croceum


I sowed some seeds of this last year - I think they were free with a magazine. Only one successfully cane through the delicate seedling stage, but having done so, it survived, in a pot outside the back door, everything that winter (and spring!) threw at it, including being covered in six inches of snow in March.   
Papaver croceum Arctic poppy Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
Papaver croceum - Arctic poppy

Honesty (Lunaria annua)


I sowed these last year too, with the intention of having the opaque silvery coin like seed pods to use indoors over winter. They are biennials so have started flowering this spring and so we should have seed pods later this year.

The flowers are more attractive than I was expecting, so I've planted several plants out into the garden, as well as keeping some under closer observation in pots.


Lunaria Honesty Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
Lunaria annua -Honesty

GREEN FINGERS TIP: When growing biennials like Honesty, Foxgloves or Verbena bonariensis, remember more every year, even if the previous year's batch are yet to flower. You need a batch growing this year to flower next year. If you don't it could be two years before you have more flowers from them.  


Daffodil "Minnow"


I can't remember where I saw these dwarf daffodils but last year I planted some and they have been a delightful addition to the display of bulbs this spring. They produce 4 or 5 flowers on each slender stem, miniature blooms that are very elegant. My only disappointment is that they are less strongly scented than I remember them being when I smelled them elsewhere. 

Daffodil Narcissus Minnow Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
Narcissus Minnow


Pond - Marsh Marigold


Perhaps the most significant addition to my garden in the last year could be just a few weeks ago when I created this little wildlife pond between the rock garden and the woodland area.

The aim is to attract wildlife, particularly slug hungry frogs or toads. I'll be posting details of how I made it in a week or two, but it only cost £20, including the plants. One of the plants is the Marsh Marigold, Caltha palustris, which as you can see is already flowering brightly, and as evidence by the title picture, also attracting pollinating insects too. 

Wildlife pond with Marsh marigold Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
Wildlife pond with Marsh Marigold


Pond - Tadpoles


As well as pollinating insects on the marsh marigold, we've had snails climbing up the iris stems, water boatmen on the surface, and as you see below, more than one tadpole. I introduced some frogspawn from another nearby pond, but wasn't sure any of it had survived the transfer. But once the sun came out this week, at least half a dozen tadpoles could be seen feeding near the surface.

Tadpoles in the pond Change your garden - what can you add this year? Green Fingered Blog
Tadpoles in the pond
So what do you plan to add to your garden this year?

7 comments:

  1. Tiny pond but lovely one !Won't the Caltha palustris cover everything and is it in a pot inside the pond?

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    1. Hi Fred, thank you - it is tiny but i do love it already. The Caltha may spread but it is indeed in a pot -one of those aquatic ones with holes in - so i think it will be contained for a while. I guess i can always divide it eventually and give away the other half. It's a big experiment so I'm just looking forward to seeing it develop, whatever happens :)

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  2. Lovely pond Mr Paul! I can see now what you mean when you explained it. That should invite beneficial insects in which, in turn will bring in frogs who shall munch the slugs and snails! Fab.

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    1. Thank you - That's the plan! We'll see how well it does. Not as big as the wildlife pond at the Old House though i see - but much easier to make i suspect!!

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  3. I've had Caltha in my pond for several years. It does grow tall now, about a foot out of the water (the top of the basked is about 4" below the surface) and it has bushed out above the water about 3" on all sides beyond the size of the basket. Roots have not yet penetrated the hessian lining of the basket. So it shouldn't become a problem. I cut it right back in late autumn every year as the old foliage dies. I'm pleased that your tadpoles have survived.

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    1. Thanks John, I feel reassured. I think with an annual prune it will be fine.

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