51/52: red and green for the season

One little area that was overgrown with seaside daisies has had a re-vamp, just in time for Christmas. Erigeron is great for a cottage garden, spreading itself with wanton abandon. I have a number of plants in the garden that I am constantly trying to control.

Swaying between a casual, cottage garden and a more formal, trimmed and pruned look, I sometimes allow areas to become a little overgrown. Currently this garden bed has been allowed to go a little wild, and was more than ready for some timely revision.

overgrown with seaside daisiesWith that in mind, I dug up all the seaside daisies, Erigeron, and trimmed back the irises to little stalks, reminding myself to separate the bulbs and spread them across this garden bed next March, as two dozen in a clump is rather too much.

Meanwhile, I have planted mainly red bedding begonias , plus some Pratia, a small-leafed ground cover with tiny blue flowers. Hopefully this will eventually cover the entire area, and any Erigeron that sneaks through will be eradicated.

fitting for the seasonred and green makeover for ChristmasThe result is rather festive, just in time for Christmas, but will be lovely on a continuing basis, particularly when the ratio of plants to mulch is greater than at present.

44/366: tools of the trade

Regularly maintaining the garden is easier if you have the right tools for the job. Our driveway is bordered by seaside daisies and three conifers. The daisies spill out onto the concrete so have to be cut back regularly. The ivy that is starting to creep up over the conifer also has to be contained.

I  love both my pruners. The electric hedge trimmer is good for bigger jobs, while my little hand-held rechargeable pruner is just right for more intricate chores, or fine tuning, as I need to level off the top of the conifers. There used to be four of them when I first planted them, but unfortunately one died, which is the only drawback of serial planting that I can see. Otherwise a row of similar plants is very effective.

The big scoopers are like having an extra large pair of hands to help pick up leaves or prunings. After that I either sweep or use the patio blower to finish off the task.