Showing posts from March, 2019


Last month we visited Malta for a well-needed winter break, and as is tradition whilst away visited a couple of gardens. University of Malta Argotti Botanical Gardens  is situated just outside of the capital Valetta in the aptly named town of Floriana.  It is hidden from view behind the enormous Church of St. Publius.  Once there, a small donation gains you entry via a buzzer system where you are taken into a resource centre and provided with a receipt - the staff are so welcoming.   The garden used to be two gardens and has existing since the early part of the 18th century.  Having had several iterations they were taken over by the University in 1805.  The Department for Agriculture took brief ownership in 1973 (great year to be born), prior to the transfer back to the UoM in the mid-nineties.  You can in fact walk around the circumference of the garden without entering but then you miss out on the vast cornucopia of plant species, the different levels and the interesting

Spring garden update

Today has been sunny and the perfect gardening weather, cue a mammoth 6 hours working outside.  First I have turned over all of the bark-mulched soil in the new green and white border. Dug compost into it, top-dressed it with leaf mold and planted out some new items.  Each planting hole has been given a measured amount of organic fertiliser mixed with more gorgeous leaf mold.  Putting into practice what I have learnt at horticultural school has been very beneficial to this heavy clay area. Next on my to-do list was to revisit this bench idea that I planted last year.  This time I have paid a bit of attention to the soil by turning it and lifting the couch grass roots.  I have added some more Heuchera's (Palace Purple) and a new addition is the Brunnera macrophylla (Jack Frost) which sparkles in shady corners. A wind-damaged fence panel has been replaced and painted, a willow screen erected to split a border, the usual weeding has been undertaken and a general tidy

Approaching Spring

Spring commences next week and over the last few days we have had snow, hail, torrential rain and strong winds.  I have taken some time out of my normal routine to work in the garden and photograph some pops of colour, I hope you enjoy them. Buffy has been ogling the rampant frogs and the immense quantities of frogspawn.  This bodes well for our section of the larger ecosystem and strengthens my resolve to be pesticide-free (i'm thinking slug and snail control). This is the first time I have witnessed the Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae come into flower.  I just love the zingy contrast at the tips. This Primula denticulata was almost hidden beneath the lush foliage of the surrounding shade-loving evergreen ferns and Geum. The Camellia japonica 'Desire' has started to flower, I'm not sure why the edges of the outer petals are brown its not occurred prior to this moment. Even on clay, the Pulmonaria pop up all over the place and I lov

New for 2019

With our initial motivation to transform the garden, an area remained challenging to plant.  At the time, we couldn't access it.  We had been using the space to store tree litter (trunks and huge conifer roots dug out of the ground, branches, pruning's, leaf-litter).  For several years we did nothing but watch the waste break-down and partly rot into the soil whilst nettles and other weeds began to rise up and take over.    Then we tried a wild flower area. Another option we attempted was the purchase of a ready-made 8x2m border pack.  A couple of weeks starting them off in the potting shed and we were ready to go.  This was planted out and fingers were crossed with our limited horticultural knowledge. We had mixed results. But the winners were mainly perennial weeds. The time has come to focus on this border.  It is an area opposite the wildlife pond right at the back of the garden hidden from view by the potting shed.  It holds much potential,