Developments in the garden

Although I still haven't found much time for dyeing since our move to Sussex, I have been making some changes in our rather small garden here.

We have been gradually digging out sections of lawn to make more flower beds and planting mainly perennials, including several roses interspersed with lavenders. My husband is concerned that if the beds are too large, this may make cutting the grass difficult, so I have made smallish beds, with a view to making them larger once he has got used to mowing round corners and in narrow areas. I am aiming to concentrate on useful plants, such as dye plants and herbs, and plants which will attract butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. And I have also decided to get rid of any existing plants here that we simply don't like, as there just isn't room for anything other than plants that please us. So the yucca has gone and the next  plants to go will be a hedge of six small "Castlewellan Gold" conifers next to the Morello cherry tree in the front garden. We hope this will make space for one and possibly two small apple trees. And the war against the ground elder infesting one bed continues. At present this bed is full of daffodils but as soon as they have died down, everything will come out so that we can make another attempt to get rid of this invasive plant. If only it were the variegated ground elder we had in our last garden, which was actually rather nice, especially when in flower.

I have of course started a small dye garden, with second-year woad from my old dye garden growing well and woad and dyer's chamomile seedlings coming on in pots until they are ready to plant out. The dye garden also has a few weld plants, some lady's bedstraw, a rather pathetic-looking rhubarb plant, some perforate St. John's Wort and a very small purging buckthorn bush. The dyer's broom I bought last autumn by mail-order has its own spot in the grass in front of the dye garden and is looking promising. The madder plants I brought with me are at present in a corner of a raised bed destined to become a rose border, so they will have to be given a new home somewhere, possibly in yet another section dug out of the grass.

Here are some photos to give an idea of how the garden is developing.


Dye garden bed in front of my summer house, with woad and dyer's broom


Raised culinary herb bed with a raised bed for medicinal and other herbs just visible in the background


View of the back garden with new flower beds


View from the patio

Morello cherry tree in blossom in the front garden

9 replies
  1. Marian
    Marian says:

    what a pretty garden! My husband had similar thoughts about the garden having large flower beds but slowly I've turned half of the garden into a veggie patch with dye plants interspersed. Flowers, herbs and vegetables go well together 🙂

  2. arlee
    arlee says:

    Spring is late as usual here, but there are many plans and seedlings afoot for the Dyer section of mine! Yours looks peaceful.

  3. Chris Saunders
    Chris Saunders says:

    Lovely garden – so neat (not like mine!!)
    Have you ever thought of eating the ground elder?  We don't have it here (thankfully I hear you say?) but actually I quite miss it – I became rather addicted to it when we lived in Scotland.  Lovely lightly sauteed in butter with salt and pepper!  . . . and if you can't beat it, eat it!

    • says:

      I can’t say I’ve thought of eating the ground elder, although I know it was eaten in the past. It’s worth a try anyway but I do need to clear it so that I can use the bed for plants I’d rather have.

  4. Rena
    Rena says:

    Greetings from Alabama USA
    What a lovely garden, i am starting i dyers garden too, got me some plants for it in spring, when it gets a little cooler  the rocks are waiting for a herb garden spiral.
    Jenny over here there is a weed growing called poke very young plants they make salad out of it, afterward it is very toxic. The berries from the plant are excellent for dyeing. Have one growing in my flower bed not by choice, (kind of ugly) 2 more weeks and the berries are ripe and go in the freezer.
    I love the looks all around your beautiful home.

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